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Hannity

McCain on Sotomayor, North Korea Threat

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 27, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: White House aides are flooding the airwaves as they attempt to sell President Obama's Supreme Court nominee as a moderate legal mind. However, details of Judge Sonia Sotomayor's left-wing history on the bench continue to surface, and that is our headline tonight, "Radical Record."

Now the White House may be praising her lengthy service on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals but a closer look reveals that Judge Sotomayor's opinions have actually been overturned 60 percent of the time by the U.S. Supreme Court, and her rhetoric outside of the courtroom has been just as questionable.

Now last night we reported that she once stated that she believes, quote, "A wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male."

Well, yesterday, Robert Gibbs, my friend, was asked to clarify those comments, and he said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think what she said was very much common sense in terms of different experiences that different people have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Robert, you may call it common sense, but it sounds to me all whole lot like reverse discrimination, and as the Supreme Court battle rages on in Washington, a very serious crisis continues to develop in North Korea.

Video: Watch Sean's interview

Now just days after North Korea detonated a nuclear device whose power was on par with that of the Hiroshima atomic bomb, there are reports that Pyongyang has test fired multiple missiles and has restarted a plutonium plant responsible for building more nuclear bombs.

Now the North has also said it will no longer abide by the armistice that ended the Korean War, putting U.S. and South Korean forces on high alert.

It's a busy night on "Hannity" and we are joined now by a busy man, Senator John McCain.

Senator, thanks for being with us, appreciate it.

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: Thanks, Sean. Thanks for having me on.

HANNITY: All right. Let's start with this — the folding record of Judge Sotomayor and what she said. You just heard the quote about Latina women and — versus white males, and her idea that, you know what, we decide policy.

What are your thoughts?

MCCAIN: I think that her record deserves examination. She deserves her days of hearings. I would point out that for Justices Alito and Roberts, there was a very long period of examination, 70 some days and 93 days. And I think that we will examine her record carefully.

I would point out that Jon Kyl and I both voted against her in her nomination for the Court of Appeals. Then-senator, now-President Obama tried to filibuster Justice Alito. If he had 40 colleagues who would have joined him, Justice Alito would not be a member of the Supreme Court today.

But we want to give her every opportunity to make her case and — but we will exercise the Senate's responsibility of advice and consent.

HANNITY: Newt Gingrich made a lot of news today when he said and he put out a Twitter, tweeting, whatever they're called. He said, imagine a judicial nominee who said the following, and he said, "My experience as a white man makes me better than a Latino woman."

He says the new racism is no better than the old racism. And then he said — he went on to say that a white male racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. A Latina woman racist should also withdraw.

MCCAIN: I think that we should be color blind in every way on this issue. The people should be judged on their merits, on their qualifications. The president, because elections have consequences, is exercising his constitutional authority in nominating. We in the Senate will be exercising our obligations for advice and consent.

HANNITY: Senator, let me press you.

MCCAIN: So I'll give her a chance to make the case. Yes. Yes.

HANNITY: Let me press you a little bit on this.

MCCAIN: Yes.

HANNITY: That comment, does that concern you?

MCCAIN: Of course, and a number of other statements said, have been made and her record before that concerned me at the time, obviously, otherwise I would not have voted against her confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals, but the nomination is there.

The president, as a result of the elections, gets to put forth his nominee, and we will give that nominee every opportunity to make a case for an affirmative vote.

HANNITY: When she talked about the Second Circuit and she said basically, "We decide, I know I'm on tape, I shouldn't say that," did that reveal to you somebody who actively believes in judicial activism?

MCCAIN: I'm sure her response to that maybe, and most likely, well, that statement was taken out of context, examine my whole record, et cetera, et cetera. I will be glad to listen to her case that she makes for confirmation of the United States Supreme Court. It is a great success story, one that all of us should be proud of as Americans.

But the criteria for voting for or against is based strictly, on my view, on what kind of a Supreme Court judge she will be, and that judgment, to me, is an interpretation of the constitution as intended by our founding fathers.

HANNITY: Twenty-nine Republicans were against her for the Second Circuit. You were one of them. You mentioned that just a moment ago. Why?

MCCAIN: Because we did not think that she was qualified and because of her previous judicial decisions and opinions that she had rendered. She — that was some time ago. She now has accumulated a record in the appeals court, and we'll be looking at that carefully, I'm sure.

HANNITY: OK, and so I'm — all right. I'm reading between the lines here, Senator. If you didn't think she was qualified for the Second Circuit, I've got to believe that you're gong to be very — it's going to be a very difficult uphill battle for her to convince you she's qualified for the Supreme Court. Is that a fair statement?

MCCAIN: Well, yes, but I also — it's fair to respect that her previous record I did not find satisfactory, but I do believe that she's got to be able to make her case, and for me to prejudge it before a single hearing starts, I don't think is the way we should go.

Let him — the president won. He gets to nominate who he chooses. Now we decide as fat as advice and consent is concerned. I'll let him and her make the case for her.

HANNITY: All right. I want to move on to North Korea, because we have a pretty serious situation unfolding there.

MCCAIN: Yes.

HANNITY: ... with the missiles being fired, with the nuclear test that has taken place. I think it was Peter Brooks who said in The New York Post that in the four months Barack Obama has been in office, he has been challenged more by Kim Jong-Il and North Korea than George Bush was in eight years.

His — Obama's response — the president's response has been, "We've got to get tough." Didn't sound too tough to me.

What is your reaction? Do you think he's testing the new president?

MCCAIN: I think that this is part of a testing that's going on and I have to say that I was disappointed in some of the Bush administration's handling of this issue of the North Korean nuclear capability, but I believe that this administration is taking it all too lightly.

This is very serious. This is a dictator in an Orwellian situation, a dictator who is capable of actions that we cannot predict. There is no doubt that they are —- the scenarios you described at the beginning of the show is taking place, and there are thousands — I believe 30,000 American troops in South Korea.

The North Koreans have the ability of setting Seoul on fire because of their artillery placements that — on the other side into North Korea. This is of the utmost seriousness. We should act unilaterally and urge the United Nations to act as well, and also with the Japanese, who have some influence.

HANNITY: All right.

MCCAIN: And finally, Sean, I'm sorry — the Chinese should — the ones that have the ability to influence the North Koreans. It's time for the Chinese to step up to the plate, and our relations with China should be effected as to how they believe in this crisis.

HANNITY: All right. But — so we have the nuclear test. We have the missile test. They say they're no longer bound by the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War. And the President Obama says he expects within the year a positive response from the Iranians in terms of halting their nuclear program.

Why am I — why do I not share that confidence? And your reaction to that. What should they be doing and saying, and how should they be acting?

MCCAIN: Well, we should reinstate North Korea on the states that sponsor terror list. We should freeze financial assets wherever we can. We should work with the Japanese to prevent transfer of funds to North Korea.

I talked about the Chinese, and by the way, the prime minister of Israel does not share the president's rather optimistic view about the Iranians and nuclear weapons.

HANNITY: Last question on the economy, Senator. There's talk in Washington now about a value-added tax coming on board. We've had record spending, quadrupling of our deficit in just four short months by the new president.

I think as they spread the wealth around, they want to nationalize health care and also talk about taxing health benefits as income. Your reaction to those moves on the economy.

MCCAIN: I think the worst thing we can do at this time is raise anyone's taxes. As far as taxing health care benefits, my proposal, which was roundly attacked throughout the campaign, was that we do away with that employer treatment, tax treatment of employee benefits but give every family a $5,000 refundable tax credit so they can go out and buy their own insurance policy.

So they got half of it, but I think we are on the course of committing generational theft, and if we do not get the spending under control, then you're going to see taxes increase and inflation out of control. We do not need to increase any taxes at this time.

HANNITY: You know, Senator.

MCCAIN: Or at anytime.

HANNITY: I've got to run, but I remember this debate that took place recently where there was one candidate that kept saying, "spread the wealth around." If you're going to spend all that money, obviously, you're going to have to get it from somewhere.

Senator, good to see you. Thank you for being with us.

MCCAIN: Yes. Thanks for having me on, Sean.

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