This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," November 23, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And a new poll spells more trouble for the Democrats' health care Bill. According to a Rasmussen report survey released earlier today, only 38 percent of voters now support their plan. This is the lowest level of support the Bill has received since polling began way back in June.
So it sounds like the more people learn about the plan, the less likely they are to support it.
Joining me now from Minneapolis is the governor of the great state of Minnesota. Governor Tim Pawlenty.
Governor, welcome back.
GOV. TIM PAWLENTY, R-MINN.: Thank you, Sean. Good to be with you.
HANNITY: There's an 18-point differential. Now people opposing the Bill. Zogby, it's 12 points. Bu yet, Congress seems just, you know, focused, you know, blinders on. They're going to push it down America's throat anyway. Politically, is that smart?
PAWLENTY: Well, I certainly respect Scott Rasmussen and Zogby the other pollsters, but I think this is the point in the conversation when my 16-year-old would say, "Thank you, Captain Obvious."
It's pretty clear the American public and big parts of our population does not support this Bill. A majority do not now. Congress isn't listening. There's only so long you can ignore the American public, without having the consequence set in.
And hopefully, that will set in before they finally pass this Bill. It's bad for the country. It's bad policy. It's particularly out of sync with the main issue right now, which is we've got to be providing jobs for our fellow citizens, and this Bill is adding taxes and doing things that will actually make it more difficult for our economy to grow and for jobs to be provided.
HANNITY: What does this mean as we head into 2010, especially looking at it through the prism of the — the electoral results, the gubernatorial races in Virginia and in New Jersey?
PAWLENTY: Well, if you look in Virginia and New Jersey, I think one of the resounding messages coming out of those two states are people are focused primarily on the economy when you have Republicans like Bob McDonald, Chris Christie, focusing on the bread-and-butter issues of jobs, education, basic infrastructure, things like that.
That's a good message. That's a message we need for economic recovery. We should be focusing on that, instead of the bureaucracy expanding Bill you're seeing coming out of this administration.
HANNITY: How would you grade this president? And how would you grade him on the economy? How would you grade him on national security?
PAWLENTY: Well, I think this is one of the biggest bait and switch schemes in modern American political history. This is an individual who's a gifted orator. When he's reading the teleprompter, he can give inspiring and grand rhetoric. And he's run as somebody who's going to unite the country, and now he's governing as somebody who's a very, I think, dangerous — has a very dangerous liberal agenda.
So I think it's a bait and switch tactic. I don't — do not think he's governing like his rhetoric suggested. I think the performance that he's going to put forward in terms of the deficit, the spending going up, the consequences that's going to come with that, and the drag on the economy. It's going to be a huge missed opportunity.
So great orator but not a great president so far.
HANNITY: Would you grade him?
PAWLENTY: Well, on a grading system, I'd have to look at it by issue. But I would say he has missed focused, misdirected. Right now, he should be focused like a laser on doing things that are going to stimulate job growth and economic activity and recovery, dragging us into a big fight on health care, on cap and trade, on card check.
And the rest is going the exact opposite direction. I'd give them — I'd give them not a very good grade.
HANNITY: I feel the same. I mean, if you look at the economy, you know, unemployment wasn't supposed to go up above eight percent. He's increased quadruple the deficit in a year. He's quadrupling the debt. The debt ceiling now is going to be $13 trillion. I don't see any hope of any jobs being created. Taxing everybody on health care.
Then we're giving Miranda rights to enemy combatants. He can't make a decision on Afghanistan. And Khalid Sheikh Mohammed gets the rights of American citizens, so — we'll talk about this in a minute — so that he can attack America while he's on trial. None of this makes sense to me, and that was not what he was running on, as you point out.
So the question is, are the American people waking up to the fact that he's different than the person that he campaigned as?
PAWLENTY: They're clearly waking up to it. I think the American public still gives him credit, and they like him as an orator and in terms of his personal qualities.
But this isn't personal. This is about the issues. It's about the policy direction for our country. One example would be the spending and the debt. People realize they can't run their lives that recklessly. When they see the government acting that recklessly, they know that the gig is up.
The epitome of all this — this is one of many examples. The cash for clunkers program, you have our federal government, which is already broke, they cannot pay their bills, borrowing money to from places like China to pay ourselves money to incentivize themselves to buy cars from companies we bought so some day we might be able to say — pay ourselves back.
It's ludicrous, Sean. The average people understand how ridiculous that is. We have a federal government that's broke. Our debt and deficit is out of control. It is reckless and irresponsible. When you add that debt and deficit to the other and unfunded liabilities… I saw a statistic at it adds up to over half of $1 million per household in this country. That is ridiculous and the American people are saying, "Enough." It's like inviting somebody out to dinner and having them just continuing to order.
At this point, we have to say to the Obama administration, "put down the knife, put down the fork and push yourself away from the buffet."
HANNITY: Governor, where are you in the process of you considering this run for the presidency? Where are you in this process?
PAWLENTY: Well, I have a year or more left in my term in Minnesota and I am certainly doing all that I can to help the Republicans and conservative causes across the country, including being vice chair of the Republican governors association. I started a federal PAC, TimPawlenty.com.
But as to running for president, Sean, beyond next year I haven't made any decisions about what I'm going to do after being governor.
HANNITY: All right, Governor, appreciate you being with us, as always. Governor Tim Pawlenty, thank you.
PAWLENTY: You're welcome. Thanks for having me.
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