March 05, 2013

The sequester's unfulfilled prophecies

Guests: Mary Matalin, Kirsten Powers

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 5, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: "President panic's" doomsday sequester narrative is unraveling faster than we can keep up. Now, Barack "Nostradamus" Obama predicted a Mayan apocalypse if sequester went into effect, and now his unfulfilled prophecies are mounting forcing his administration doing what they do best, lie to you, the American people.

Let's begin with Homeland Security Janet "Sherlock" Napolitano who has quickly dispatched to spin a tale of lines and delays at our nation's airports.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JANET NAPOLITANO, HOMELAND SECURITY: We are already seeing the effects at some of the ports of entry, the big airports, for example, some of them had very long lines this weekend.

Sequestration is like a rolling stone. It keeps picking up speed as it goes downhill.

We could see a lot of missed connections.

Average weight times declared customs can increase by a significant percentage.

We will not be able to pay TSA workers overtime.

I'm not trying to alarm you.

It's just doing the math.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Now, take a look at this video from LaGuardia airport yesterday, now does that look like long lines, massive delays? I've been there often in my life. Not quite. In fact, airports from all around the country reported, well, business as usual, no increased wait time. And look at this airport flight tracker. Now, oddly enough almost all of them say, wow, on time.

And for all the worries about the TSA employees and their welfare, now according to one report on the eve of these cuts, the agency sealed a $50 million deal to purchase new uniforms for its agents. At least they'll look good when they're winding you and patting you down.

And then there's this -- it seems talks about layoffs and furloughs may also be exaggerated because according to The Washington Times, by Monday, 6 p.m., the first business day following the sequester, our federal government, guess what? They posted 400 brand new job listings.

And shockingly, were able to find at least one victim of the sequester, although I'm not exactly sure if this is entirely legitimate. Now, it's the White House, the place that Michelle Obama herself labeled as quote, "the people's house" is now closed to the public for tours. Now, listen to the automated message on the White House visitors' hotline.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Thank you for calling the White House visitors office, 24 hour information line. Due to staffing reductions resulting from sequestration, we regret to inform that White House tours will be canceled effective Saturday, March 9th, 2013. We very much regret having to take this action, particularly during the popular spring touring season.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: So the question is, is this a political maneuver? Several lawmakers are already hitting back, calling this petty, childish and are stunned and it's politically motivated.

Here to react to this and much more, former Bush-Cheney adviser, our good friend Mary Matalin is back and Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers.

By the way, Kirsten, I do know one way to get into the White House, if you're one of those big donors of $500,000 or more, you get to go to quarterly meetings at the White House.

KIRSTEN POWERS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Jay Carney says that's not true, Sean.

HANNITY: Who says, Jay Carney?

POWERS: Yes.

HANNITY: You mean the same guy that called Bob Woodward a liar, that guy?

POWERS: Yes, that's the one.

HANNITY: Oh, just checking.

POWERS: Hey, I'm just reporting the news.

HANNITY: Oh, just reporting, fair and balanced -- OK, and Mary, welcome back, good to see you.

MARY MATALIN, FORMER BUSH-CHENEY ADVISOR: Hello, Sean, hello Kirsten, and Happy Lenten season.

HANNITY: All right. Let me explain this, Mary. We can't cut $44 billion this year without predictions that children will starve, they won't get their immunizations, airports will shutdown, long lines from TSA, doom, gloom, apocalypse? I think the president has kind of been exposed, nothing happened.

MATALIN: The audacity of mendacity. You know, what's really depressing about this, is the strategy is predicated down on, the presumptive ignorance of the American people. They know it's not a cut, they know it's a reduction in the rate of growth which is infinitesimal relative to the budget, and it defies common sense, we're going to balance our budget by spending more money? It denies empirical data.

When you cut your spending, you grow your government, and this debt is not only burdening our children today, crowding out private investment, it's reducing capital formation which means there's lesser real wages, lower real wages and fewer jobs of people out there are -- people in the real world get that. It's so -- the presumption that America is so ignorant. And can I say one more thing, as you know, Kirsten knows this, too, you worked in the White House, those tours are done by volunteers, it's another audacious piece of mendacity.

HANNITY: You know, I think it's pretty interesting. You know, because I think the strategy is what The Washington Post and even the Wall Street Journal pointing out, Kirsten, this is about 2014. This president thinks that Nancy Pelosi speaker, he gets everything he wants. So, he wants to fight the one big battle. Am I wrong?

POWERS: Yes. Look, I mean, I do find this pretty despicable and I was thinking exactly what Mary thought, I was remembering back when I worked there and I thought, I'm pretty sure they're done by volunteers and also, employees can do it. I used to do tours all the time. People can chip in if it was really necessary. The idea that people are coming here for spring break, people plan these, months, years, sometimes in advance to come here, and the White House is shutting the doors to them just to win a political battle? I have a real problem with.

Here's the thing, the whole sequester thing has nothing to do with the deficit or the debt because it's not even going to touch it. So, this really is a political game and there's no reason for him to exaggerate what's going on, just to talk about what the CBO said. Seven hundred thousand jobs will probably be lost because of that. That's not -- the economy. There's no reason to make up stories about janitors or turn away honest, hard working Americans who have come to go to the White House on a tour.

HANNITY: All right. The president often uses props, he's used the first responders, he's used children, the Republicans, their plan is dirty air and water, and kids with autism, Down syndrome, and the elderly fend for themselves. But he also said in this debate over the sequestration, what do you want to cut? Poor kids, poor children or the disabled children? Here is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: You know, the problem is, when you're cutting $85 billion in seven months, which represents over a 10 percent cut in the defense budget in seven months, there's no smart way to do that. There's no smart way to do that. You don't want to have to choose between, let's see, do I close funding for the disabled kid or the poor kid? Do I close this Navy ship yard or some other one?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: The disabled kid or the poor kids. How about this? I would rather cut Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood 9/11 truther, the guy that refers to the Israelis as descendents of apes and pigs, how about we don't give him 1.5 billion. Good idea, Kirsten?

POWERS: Well, I mean, foreign aid is the tiny, tiny --

HANNITY: Wait a minute. I don't want to cut the children, I don't want to give it to Morsi, I want the children not to suffer.

POWERS: I think there are arguments in favor even if Morsi is a terrible person, of giving aid to Egypt to try to maintain some sort of level of influence there.

HANNITY: Wait a minute.

POWERS: It's a bribe, it's not aid, it's a bribe.

HANNITY: The president made a choice to give money to the Muslim Brotherhood guy, Mary, over the disabled children and the poor children. I would have chosen the children.

MATALIN: This is why people are so cynical about government. And the presumption that we're so ignorant that the president of the United States, the commander-in-chief would not choose to cut nonessential positions, you just said, there are 400 job postings over not canceling a deployment of an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf or to releasing illegal immigrants. Are we that stupid or is he that irresponsible?

HANNITY: He's a demagogue which I think is the answer. I think he's been demagoguing from day one, Kirsten, tell me where I'm wrong.

POWERS: No, in this situation, I think that he is demagoguing, he's wanting something, almost wanting something to go wrong, so he can point the fingers and you know, you have Napolitano talking about TSA agents, like, oh, well, if there's a terrorist attack it's because of the sequester? I mean, I don't, you know...

HANNITY: All right. Mary, welcome back, by the way. Glad you're off -- you were like, you disappeared for years, nobody saw you.

MATALIN: No, I never disappeared. I know what you mean, but I missed you, I love you, I'm glad to be back.

HANNITY: All right. Good to see you. Kirsten, always good to see you.

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