Sen. John McCain on Scott Brown's 'seismic' Senate victory in Massachusetts
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," January 20, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And we are now one day removed from the shot heard round the world, the stunning come-from-behind victory by Republican Scott Brown in the Massachusetts special election.
Now the sweeping victory by the GOP in the bluest of blue states no doubt has Democrats all across the country extremely worried about their chances for re-election.
On behalf of the rest of the nation, Massachusetts voters put an abrupt end to the Democrats' super majority in the United States Senate and now the health care reform bill, the number one item on President Obama's agenda, is in serious jeopardy.
Now earlier today a defeated president began to backtrack on his party's threats of shoving health care reform down your throat. Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I just want to make sure that this is off the table. The Senate certainly shouldn't try to jam anything through until Scott Brown is seated. The people of Massachusetts spoke.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Now I doubt very much that this is how the president had envisioned being celebrating his one year anniversary since his inauguration. Now calls for change have once again filled the air in this country and Americans are sending a clear message to President Obama and his allies in Congress.
They are demanding less spending, more transparency and a new director for our nation.
And joining me now with reaction to Senator-elect Brown's big win and the future of health care reform is Arizona Senator John McCain.
Senator, good to see you. Thanks for being with us.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: It's great to be with you. It's great.
HANNITY: Explain your reaction to last night's big victory for Scott Brown.
MCCAIN: A seismic event. Obviously, campaigns matter and candidates matter. But this was a national election the proportions of likes which I have never seen. I'm proud of him. I'm proud of his message. The way he campaigned.
But the fact is, this is a shot heard around the country if not around the world for Massachusetts and it's — what we have done is send a message that we're for change but not the kind of change that we have seen in the last year.
HANNITY: All right. Is this a repudiation of the president? And if so, specifically a repudiation of what policies, in your view?
MCCAIN: Well, primarily, I think it's a — it's a repudiation of the product and the process.
Sean, I've been having town hall meetings all over the state of Arizona. People are angry. Not only because it's a $2.5 trillion mortgage of our children's future but it's also the most sleazy Chicago-style sausage-making that we've ever seen.
This latest, which was obscured a little by the tragedy in Haiti, of the special deal for unions. A political favor to your political base? And other Americans are subjected to a different taxation?
I mean it just goes on and on. The cornhusker kickback, the Louisiana Purchase. And the people are really angry about that they think that this is not change you can believe in. This is a worst change to the backrooms of the capital went from the — to the backrooms of the White House. And they don't like it.
HANNITY: Yes, well, two Democrats I thought had very interesting comments. One was Jim Webb and he said in many ways this campaign became a referendum not on only the health care reform bill but the openness and integrity of our government process.
And then your colleague, Evan Bayh, said look, there's going to be a tendency on the part of our people to be in denial about this. Then he said, if you lose Massachusetts and that's not a wake-up call, there's no hope of waking up.
So what does that say about the state of the Democratic Party? Because no one was speaking out again the lack of transparency or broken promises or the reckless spending or the bribery that has been going on.
Is this now the wakeup call?
MCCAIN: Well, it clearly is a wake-up call. And I'm hearing that from my Democratic colleagues. But I also want to point out that the setting for this was the out of control spending.
The stimulus package, the thousands of earmarks, the pork barrel spending, the incredible process where we have run-up debts and deficits that have committed an act of generational theft.
So that was, I think, the backdrop for the anger and the backlash over the health care reform effort.
• Great American Blog: Sound off on Massachusetts shocker!
HANNITY: All right, Senator, it's been one year since the inauguration of Barack Obama. You ran against him, you lost the race. How do you assess the one year that he has been the president of the United States?
MCCAIN: Well, Sean, since I'm not an objective observer, I'll have to leave that up to the American people. But I do believe that when you look around the world, that there is greater danger than there was when the president took office.
Whether it be relations with China or the Iranian continued path toward nuclear weapons, the stalemate on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, to the North Koreans, continue to act in a belligerent fashion.
Domestically, the president promised that we would have an open and transparent government. That's the last thing we've had. He said that the C-SPAN cameras would be in and the American people would know who's on the side of the pharmaceutical companies and who's on their side.
The process has been exactly the opposite. And as you said, it is bribery. And let's call it what it is. And the American people don't like that and they want people to keep their campaign promises as well.
HANNITY: All right, in the aftermath of yesterday's election, interestingly, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, David Axelrod and the president himself — they say full steam ahead. This is not going to stop Obamacare.
You agree, disagree? And what are the political consequences if they go forward?
MCCAIN: Well, my greatest fear was never that they wouldn't seat Scott Brown. That would be too blatant. My fear is that they'd try to ram it through the House. And I don't know what the mood is in the House amongst the Democrats.
But they could ram it through the House, the Senate-passed bill, and then they would never have to go back to the Senate. That's what I still worry about. If they do that I think they will provoke another huge backlash.
But I don't have any control over it. But that's not the way we should decide on 1/6 of our gross national product.
HANNITY: All right, now, Governor — coming up next, we have — Sarah Palin is going to join us. Now there was a press release out today, she will be with you campaigning for you, in your state, in March, correct?
MCCAIN: Yes, and I'm so proud that she's coming. It will be a little bit of nostalgia. She has done a fantastic job. And I continue to be amazed at the hysteria of the attacks on her by the liberal left. It shows she must be — remain a huge threat to them.
HANNITY: All right, Senator, good to see you, thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.
MCCAIN: Thank you.
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