This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 26, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: It is another day and surprise, surprise, yet another Democrat is calling it quits as a result of a major scandal. This time it is embattled, New York Governor David Paterson, who told reporters just a short time ago that he will not seek a full four year term as governor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOVERNOR DAVID PATERSON, D-N.Y.: There are times in politics when you have to know not to strive for service, but to step back, and that moment has come for me. Today I am announcing that I'm ending my campaign for governor of the state of New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: All right. Now, Paterson's departure comes on the heels of a bombshell New York Times article detailing his handling of a domestic abuse case involving one of his aides. Now last year Paterson aide David Johnson was accused of brutally attacking a woman. Now, that woman later pursued a restraining order against Johnson. However, just prior to her court appearance, the woman alleges that she received a call from none other than Governor David Paterson.
Now he responded to these very serious charges and allegations earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATERSON: I am looking forward to a full investigation of actions taken by myself and my administration. But I give you this personal oath, I have never abused my office. Not now, not ever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: All right. And as that investigation continues and so does the one surrounding New York Congressman Charlie Rangel. Now Rangel, who chairs the powerful House Ways and Means Committee violated house ethics rules for allowing corporations to fund his trips to the Caribbean. But that is just the tip of the iceberg for Charlie Rangel. Now, calls for his resignation are heating up as even more ethics investigations continue.
Now, sadly, none of this was surprising. The Democratic Party has been plagued with scandals recently. Now, everyone knows about David Paterson's predecessor Eliot Spitzer and his adventures with a high-prized call girl.
Then, there was the controversy surrounding Chris Dodd's Irish cottages and sweetheart Mortgage deals and who could forget the frozen assets of Congressman William "Cold Cash" Jefferson. And then there was a pay-to-play scandal brought to you by Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Need I say more. The list could go on and on and on.
And joining me now with reaction to all of these is the host of the nationally syndicated radio show, "Morning in America," and the author or "A Century Turns: New Hopes, New Fears," Bill Bennett. Bill, good to see you, welcome back.
BILL BENNETT, "MORNING IN AMERICA" HOST: Good to see you Sean, thank you. Let's go sign some books together next month, what do you say, on your tour. I will join your tour.
HANNITY: We've got the "Conservative Victory" tour and we'll going to be out there, it's on my Web site by the way, Hannity.com. And yes, you will be out there with us. You gave away the surprise, by the way.
BENNETT: I'll hitchhike. I'm sorry, what'd I do?
HANNITY: All right. Well, first of all, I want to play a tape and this tape is of Nancy Pelosi. Nancy Pelosi was asked the question today, she had made a promise when she first became speaker, she would have one of the most ethical House leadership ever and here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ethics committees I'm sure you know admonished Charlie Rangel given that you promised to run the most ethical and honest Congress in history.
HOUSE SPEAKER REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF.: And we are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think he should step down?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: What do you think of that?
BENNETT: Well, you know, it's ugly stuff and it's discouraging stuff and it's demoralizing stuff. I wish I could say it is just Democrats, it's not. You know, we've had troubles on our side too. But, they really could seem to be running for the hills, don't they? They're stepping down, they're resigning, they're not running. And you know, this is a discouraged and demoralizing bunch and maybe with good reason. In the book, "Century Turns," I talk about the same kind of demoralization that they had in the '90s, early '90s, started ethical challenges to Clinton early on, you remember?
And then '94, which I think, I don't know if you want to talk about it but what we've got right now, Sean is shaping up, as a real parallel to 1994 and what we call the elephant stamped. Do you remember the 52 seats that Newt Gingrich and company captured because of the disaffection with Washington. It had to do with ethics but as you know, it mainly had to do with a sense of fiscal irresponsibility and people being fed up with Washington and its arrogance and the arrogance of power. Sound familiar?
HANNITY: Well, sounds very familiar. But think of how even just the Mark Foley scandal, that one scandal had a big impact on one race. You got "Cold Cash", you've got Blagojevich, you've got Spitzer, you've got McGreevy. I'm not saying Republicans are immune, we have Mark Sanford. You've got the senator from Nevada.
BENNETT: Sure. Sure.
HANNITY: But certainly, the corruption scandals, I mean, tax cheat Tim Geithner, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Rangel.
BENNETT: You know, but there's a difference, we take ours seriously. And, you know, when stuff happens in our party, we say Cunningham's got to go. Foley absolutely have to go. Shame on Abramoff and the people who took that money. A lot of us were upset with, you know, other people you mentioned as well. We hold to that — the Democrats not so sure. I think, I still think and this book is about that era, that the Democrats made a deal with the devil in the '80s. I'm sorry, in the '90s with Clinton.
And I remember sitting there on all the talk shows arguing with Democrats about Clinton stuff and they said no, no, no, it is fine, there's no big deal. The show would be over and they would say, you are right, it is horrible, it's terrible. You can't swallow that stuff whole and expect it not to somehow corrode. It does corrode. I remember Michael Kelly. Do you remember Michael Kelly?
BENNETT: The journalist from the Washington Post, independent guy, he said, he died in Iraq, you remember. He said, I can never vote for the Democrat Party again, given what it swallowed during the Clinton era. I know Clinton is something of an icon now and he has done a good job of rehabilitating himself. But they've looked at all these obvious ethical problems and looked past it. If Pelosi does that again, they're going to have more trouble and it goes into the future, it goes deep in the soul of the party.
HANNITY: She is in a state of denial. I mean, the actual comment was I'm still running the most ethical House in history. And, you know, William Jefferson — Charlie Rangel is still the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. And the White House they didn't seem they have a problem putting a lot of tax cheats or at least trying to appoint lot of them and one of them is the head of the IRS right now. So, I don't think, they seem to think it is a problem.
BENNETT: One of the questions is, has the press — enough of the press become sufficiently disenchanted with Barack Obama that they are going to look into these things with the same vigor, the same intensity that the look into the errors of the Republicans.
HANNITY: No, no, no.
BENNETT: No? OK, I was just curious. Now, I know, what you mean. So, the work has to be done, work has to be done by other people. But anybody that discourages young people particularly, you know, I still think I'm the Secretary of Education, about politics by this kind of trashy behavior, there's a special condemnation. You make people cynical about this, it's got to matter. You know, when — yesterday when you saw a guy, our guy, you know, Paul Ryan, didn't that make you feel better about politics?
HANNITY: Listen, Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, Mike Pence, I mean, there's a real emerging young group of solid conservatives that I think—
BENNETT: I got it.
HANNITY: — are going to be the future of the party. All right. Let me ask you this. Because, you mentioned 2010 moments ago. Look, I've had Scott Rasmussen, I've had John Zogby, Karl Rove — none of them think as of right now, Republicans take back either the House or the Senate. Dick Morris thinks the opposite. Newt Gingrich thinks the opposite. I think the opposite. So, where do you stand?
BENNETT: Well, you're the guy, you know, who had me on. So, what do you want me — of course, I'm a historian, I'm not a pollster. But I'll tell you, we had the elephant stampede in '94, what are we going to have now? This is a president who is further to the left than Bill Clinton was. The people are angrier than they were in '94. Don't you think?
BENNETT: I think they are much angry — and notice that's the very interesting thing, the parallels. The Republican Party, the conservative base known for the social issues and the values issues primarily the thing which is motivating them is deficits, spending, fiscal irresponsibility like just in '94. What that means, your base is broader so your revolution may be broader.
HANNITY: Did the Republicans yesterday because I thought it was pretty much a slam-dunk for them in terms of this health care summit with the president. I mean, that confrontation over the process over the bribery that the bill could not stand on its own merits, had they not offered specific senators, key senators, taxpayer dollars. Do you think the Republicans, did they make a clear enough distinction, did they go a long way to maybe rehabilitating and bringing back the base — rehabilitating their image and bringing back the base of people that were disenfranchised by them?
BENNETT: I think they went a long way. I mean, anybody watch that yesterday could not say, there's no difference between the parties. You know, the Republicans are just dime store Democrats or Democrats on the cheap. Fundamental differences. And as the Republicans kept saying philosophical differences. You know, what else was great? They sounded so intelligent, because they are intelligent. And you know, a lot of liberals just don't think conservatives are very intelligent people.
BENNETT: And that Republicans are — their analysis was so much better. And you know what I liked? Spine. You know, I like Lamar Alexander, you know, talking back.
HANNITY: He's good.
BENNETT: Jon Kyl talking back, Paul Ryan talking back.
HANNITY: I like it too. Look, my only advice to them and no one is going to listen to me. I think they should put their promises on paper, follow the success of the contract. And then there's a way — if that will hold them to the values and the promises they are making in the election.
But, Bill Bennett, good luck with the book. Now, you gave — the cat's out of the bag. We'll see you on the book tour. We'll be out there together. There's Bill Bennett's new book on our screen, "A Century Turns: New Hopes, New Fears."
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