Dennis Hastert on Next Step for Rescue Bill

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," October 1, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: This is a FOX News Alert. You're looking live at the Senate floor where the Senate has just gotten enough votes, 74-25, to pass the $700 billion bailout bill. You also just heard from the Senate leadership following the vote. Among them, the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who called this "our bill." He said "inaction was not an option here tonight." He said "we had to stop a bad situation from getting worse." You had the Senate Minority Leader, that would be Senator Mitch McConnell who went on to say "here we are five weeks before an election and yes, we can all come together to help deal with a crisis to get the economy working again." A very different tone obviously than one that was set last week when Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made her statements even over the weekend accusing Republicans of being unpatriotic. Joining us now for reaction, former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert. Mr. Speaker, do you think this is going to pass in the House?

DENNIS HASTERT, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We'll have to see. I think probably there's a very good chance. You know, this is one of the classic situations you see that the Senate has taken advantage of the House not being able to pass something. They move something past, and they'll just stick to it the House. The Senate will adjourn and go home. If the House doesn't pass it, this thing weighs on their plate again, and so I think the leadership will be very, very active this time, and they'll probably do a vote count before they bring it to the floor this time.

Video: Watch Sean and Alan's interview with Dennis Hastert

HANNITY: Do you think that was part of the problem here? It was interesting because we learned some things afterwards. No. 1, usually the House majority whip, in the case of the Democrats, that would be Congressman James Clyburn, there was a report out he wasn't whipping the votes. That Nancy Pelosi insisted this also be a Republican bill. But 95 Democrats had voted against it, including 12 of the 37 on Barney Frank's own committee. I don't see how they could blame Republicans considering it was their bill.

HASTERT: Look, the traditional wisdom is if a speaker brings the bill to the floor, it's expected that he or she has the votes to pass it. That's just the way it's always been. You don't get anything done with a laissez faire type of administration.

HANNITY: Mr. Speaker, we spoke earlier to our reporters on the ground, and they are actually saying that in fact there was not a lot of communication between the U.S. Senate today and the leaders in the House of Representatives as it relates to the specific changes that they're talking about here in this bill. If that's not the case, and I know all the members would like to go home and they all want to begin their campaigning, but is there a chance this gets sent back to the House and this does not get passed in your view?

HASTERT: Well, if it doesn't get passed in the House, it basically crashes, and nobody knows. We're all in a world of unknown in this situation. And how the markets react, who gets blamed, and I think most members who are all running — every member in the House is running for reelection. Only about a third of the Senate is running for re-election. You notice, probably most of those guys who voted no are running for reelection in the Senate.

But in the House, everybody's running for reelection. They don't want to get tagged with this, and they're going to try to find some solution. Now, one of the things that happened, and there were some subtle changes in this bill. First of all, the tax extenders are in there. They had the extension from $100,00 to $250,000 deposit insurance, and also there's some issues on the mark-to-market issues. So there's always something for people to hide behind.

HANNITY: Mr. Speaker, last night and the night before on this program, we showed congressional hearings from 2004, and we showed the Democrats, all of them say no, there's not a problem with Fannie and Freddie. Frank Raines who ended up making $90 million in six years, he along with Jim Johnson, these are economic advisors for Barack Obama, no, they're doing a great job for the American taxpayer. Senator McCain had made the warning.

My question to you is this. The people that had all the evidence, the audit was in, the regulators had exposed all of this, but it was defended by specific members of the House and the Senate who are getting, I would argue, the word would be kickbacks vis-a-vis their campaigns including Chris Dodd who everybody was praising there tonight and Barack Obama. Should that become an issue to the American people in this campaign? Do you think they're capable of wrapping their arms around this?

HASTERT: Well look, first of all, philosophically, the Democrats wanted to make this credit more available to lower income people, to people of — that lived in sometimes not very good housing situations to move up, and they were doing everything they could to let these people move along and even sometimes extending what is good business sense on credit. The issue was political. It wasn't policy.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Mr. Speaker, it's Alan Colmes. Sean was asking a political question about what this redounds to in terms of each campaign, and mentioning Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson. Raines says he's not part of the Obama campaign. And in terms of John McCain, 59 lobbyists, 29 who were involved in Fannie and Freddie — 19, rather, involved with Fannie and Freddie, and Rick Davis got $15,000 a month until last month is running the McCain campaign. Is this a problem for John McCain?

HANNITY: He hasn't been paid for years.

HASTERT: I think people want to get beyond the politics. Our financial system is bleeding. They wanted to see Congress get something done. They don't want to see finger pointing, they don't want to see partisan politics here. I think probably the Senate played it right tonight. They did it on a bipartisan basis. There's times when the American people want to see good policy and things change for the better. It's time to get it done. So I don't think all the finger pointing and the name calling probably run out very much.

COLMES: Do we even know if this is a good bill? I know there's a sense something has to be done. We're concerned about what the stock market is going to do tomorrow. Do we even know - we've got a multi- hundred page bill that most people probably who voted on it haven't read. Do we know tat there might be some poison pen stuff in there that may not be too good? How do we know?

HASTERT: Look, I don't know, but at this point I don't think there's much poison pills or poison pen stuff in here. And most of this stuff, as far as the tactic standards, that's the bulk of this bill, people know this backwards and forward. They pretty much know the principles of what this bill is. The Senate's not going to send something to the House with a lot of surprises in it. So I think this bill is pretty straight forward. The issue is will the House be able to muster the votes to pass this legislation?

COLMES: What would be your prediction on this?

HASTERT: I think they will.

COLMES: And by what margin? Will it be a similar percentage in terms of what happened in the Senate?

HASTERT: Well I'll tell you one thing. Everybody already has a recorded vote in the House, and when you have a recorded vote, and you're recorded one way, and you change your mind, then you have to explain why you changed your mind. So there will be the minimum of changing. Maybe they need 13, 15 votes to change. That will probably be the margin.

COLMES: Mr. Speaker, we thank you very much for being with us tonight, Speaker Denny Hastert. We go back to Karl Rove has been with us for the entire hour. What we've seen in the House last time Karl was that those congressmen, everybody up for reelection obviously in the House in swing districts and those who have tough races are the ones who voted no. Are we going to be seeing the same thing happening tomorrow?

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Look, I'm not - Alan, I respectfully disagree with you. Yes, there were a lot of vulnerable members, both Republicans and Democrats who voted no, but you had five committee chairs. None of them were vulnerable. You had some of the most senior members of the Democrats. You had Pete Stark, the Sanchez sisters, Solomon Ortiz. These are people in solid Democratic districts, Jesse Jackson Jr., Bobby Rush, both of them in solid Democrat districts in the south side of Chicago. Virtually all the members of the Congressional Black Caucus who have solid Democratic districts, so I'm not certain I would say it was only people in vulnerable districts.

That's why - you know, look, Speaker Hastert said it best. When a speaker, whether it's Pelosi or Hastert brings a bill to the floor of the Senate, it's because they generally have worked to make certain the votes are there. And if they aren't there, they work hard to make certain they are there. Speaker Pelosi should have had a better handle on this before she brought it to the floor.

COLMES: But Karl, this is something that originated in the White House with Paulson and Bush. They didn't seem to have the clout to make this happen. They're the ones who originated this and wanted it to happen earlier this way.

ROVE: Alan, again, it is going to happen, and I would remind you that the Republicans are not the majority in the House, and the House had a responsibility under Speaker Pelosi to set the right tone, work hard, do a count, and get this bill through. And it did happen, it will happen because the Senate rose above partisanship tonight. This is a huge vote, 74-25. This probably means Ted Kennedy was not there to vote. He probably would have voted for it if he were there. This is a 3-1 margin in the Senate. This will give a lot of cover for an adequate number of people to switch their votes and vote for this in the House.

HANNITY: Karl, only because we're running out of time, I want to move on. There's a big debate tomorrow as you are very well aware, Governor Palin and Joe Biden. We found out tonight that the moderator, PBS journalist Gwen Ifill is in fact writing a book due out on inauguration day. It's called "The Break Through: Politics and Race in the age of Obama." A lot of people feel - apparently the McCain campaign didn't know about it. A lot of people feel this is a clear conflict of interest. The McCain people didn't know about it. Do you think it's fair that she be the moderator of that debate?

ROVE: She had an obligation to raise this. She needed to be thoughtful about this and raise this as a potential conflict of interest. I would say that she's got a problem. I also think the debate commission has a problem. The debate commission, which is run by a couple of people here in Washington, my experience with them is that they're slip shod, and I bet not a single member of that debate commission said to all the potential moderatos, do you have anything that could potentially embarrass us or impugn your impartiality in the debate? It's a problem.

HANNITY: Should she be removed at this last minute?

HASTERT: Here's the problem. It's very hard to step somebody into this 24 hours in advance and have them do a good job, but this is appalling that she did not have the sensibility that this would be a potential conflict.

HANNITY: Let me ask you this. If you were to talk to Governor Palin tonight, what advice in the minute we've got left would you give her?

HASTERT: The worst advice you always get before a debate. In fact, it became a joke when our debate prep with Governor Bush and then President Bush is be yourself. But in this instance, it's pretty good advice. I saw somebody step on the stage in Dayton and in Minneapolis who was exciting, fresh, and new, and herself, and I saw somebody in the Gibson interview who did a pretty good job, but in the Couric interview, it looked like they had stuffed her with too many facts and prepped her just like they overprepped Ronald Reagan for debates. So I would say to herself, have fun, be loose, you don't have to have an answer for everything, go out there and be yourself.

HANNITY: No pressure. She also was part of that attack the record of Senator Obama, because I think Senator Biden is going to ignore Governor Palin and just be on the attack against Senator McCain all night. In the 10 seconds we have left, should she go on exposing the record of Barack?

HASTERT: Absolutely. We're electing the president. The vice president rolls along with the president. So keep your focus on Obama and McCain. McCain to explain who he is and Obama to explain his views too.

HANNITY: All right, a busy news night, the Senate passing that $700 billion bailout plan. It will now move to the House of Representatives.

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