Between 20 and 45,000 people assembled on Capitol Hill to protest health care reform
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. & Rep. Steven King, R-Iowa
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," November 5, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And as the Democrats were working inside to finalize the government takeover, Republican lawmakers proposed their own health care bill, which would lower health care premiums and end junk lawsuits.
Now, it would also do so without letting the government make decisions for you and your family and without adding billions to our national debt.
And joining me now with more on all of this are two of the organizers of today's rally, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Iowa Representative Steven King.
Congresswoman, it was less than a week — it was a week tomorrow that you announced on this very program that you wanted people to come. Twenty thousand plus people showed up. Were you as surprised as I was?
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN.: Absolutely I was. We had no idea. When I was on your show last Friday evening, that was the initial shot that was heard around the world. And people heard that, Sean.
Today people told me they heard that call out on your show on Friday night, and they immediately started contacting other people. And this was totally word of mouth. This was nothing that we organized, nothing that we planned. We didn't order one bus, one carload. Nothing. Complete word of mouth. And estimates are anywhere between 20 and 45,000 people had assembled.
And the marvelous thing is people didn't just come to hear speakers. They then pivoted, fanned out, went into the Capitol, went into the office buildings, were very polite, went from door to door to door, knocked on the doors.
We handed out, actually, pages, actual pages from the bill. People would take one page, and then they carried that page and asked members of Congress, "Can you read this to me and explain it to me so that it makes sense?" It was a beautiful sight to see.
HANNITY: Well, it's fairly amazing and such short notice. And by the way, in the middle of a day on a Thursday. I understand people from as far as away as California and Oregon coming up here. What happened, Congressman King, inside?
REP. STEVEN KING, R-IOWA: Well, I shook hands with people from San Francisco that comes to mind right away.
But the dynamics of this, Sean, was just unbelievable. I had a hard time composing myself when I saw the people come flooding in, in this fashion.
And the original idea, actually, comes from Medal of Honor winner Colonel Bud Day, who said to me about three weeks ago during a pheasant hunt, "The only way we're going to save our freedom from these people is if we surround the Capitol, and the American people answer the call. They come to the Capitol." Now, they have taken Capitol Hill. They need to hold Capitol Hill until we kill the bill.
HANNITY: All right. Congresswoman Bachmann, originally you thought that this vote may take place on Friday. There's been reports all throughout the day that, in fact, the bill may take place on a special session on Saturday. What is the status of that?
BACHMANN: That's what we are hearing still, Sean, that there may be a vote on Saturday. Although the other scuttlebutt that we're hearing is that the speaker doesn't have the votes.
That's clearly a direct result, I believe, from the overwhelming victories on Tuesday night. And also this absolutely outstanding grouping of people that we had today at the Capitol. This is organic. It was a meet up. It was spontaneous. And it spoke volumes to the members of Congress. And it's continuing those ramifications on Capitol Hill.
HANNITY: Congressman, what's interesting to me is if you look at the election results on Tuesday, it seems like the Democrats, you know, they didn't hear what happened.
But I've got to wonder if some of the Blue Dog Democrats are looking at this a little bit differently than, say, the leadership in Congress.
Your reaction? Do you think — are you talking to those Blue Dogs? Are they nervous about the results? Especially a 20-point shift in the year in New Jersey, a 25-point shift in Virginia in a year? Are they concerned?
KING: Well, Sean, I'm trying to talk to them. I'm not seeing them around.
HANNITY: They're hiding. They heard Mark Levin was in town so they ran for the hills.
KING: Well, what I've told them is that people just deployed out across the Hill, and they said, "What can we do?" And they did fill the hallways. They filled the hallways and surrounded the buildings. And the Cannon building, in particular, there was a security issue inside that shut down people going in the doors. So they surrounded the building and chanted, "Kill the bill, kill the bill." The hallways echoed.
And I just said to them find somebody that wears a pin like this and won't look them in the eye and tell them not to steal your freedom.
HANNITY: By the way, will you sell that pin on eBay, Congressman, I mean, you'd probably get a lot of money for it.
KING: It's a pretty expensive pin but not as expensive as Michele Bachmann's and not worth as much, either. I guarantee you, Sean.
HANNITY: I have no doubt about that.
And actor Jon Voight was there, as well. He flew in all the way from California. Very impressive showing today. It will be very interesting. We'll be watching, Congresswoman, to see if they have to delay the vote one more time, because they don't have enough votes. And we appreciate your efforts on this, and I promise we'll continue to stay on the story and follow it. And we appreciate your being with us.
KING: Thanks, Sean.
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