This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 23, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And we are live in our nation's capitol tonight where earlier the president sealed the deal on health care, signing the bill into law and forever changing the United States of America.
Now to break this down, it means higher taxes and lower quality of medical care for you and your family. While the Democrats got what they wanted it may come at an equally high cost for them.
The GOP has promised to repeal this bill and there's no doubt that will become the rallying cry of the 2010 election which is shaping up to be a tough climb for the Democrats.
Now here's what Indiana Congressman Mike Pence had to say about this earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIKE PENCE, R-IND.: The House Republicans are determined to stand for both repealing and replacing Obamacare.
The American people have rejected this government takeover. They want a different approach.
And Republicans will talk about repealing that government takeover while bringing forward at the same time the kind of programs and alternatives that will meet with the expectations of the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: All right. So will that strategy translate into the 2010 GOP victory, conservative victory, we are all hoping for?
Joining me now with analysis is the former speaker of the House, the founder of the Center for Health Transformation, Newt Gingrich.
Mr. Speaker — and by the way, he has a free weekly newsletter that you can sign up for at Newt.org.
Good to see you. How are you?
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Glad to be back.
HANNITY: Now you just got back from —
GINGRICH: Good to have you down here.
HANNITY: Well, it's good to be down here. I just spoke to the NRCC dinner tonight.
GINGRICH: Great speech. I think it was very, very well received.
HANNITY: Well, it was a lot of fun. First of all, what do you think about what Mike Pence said?
GINGRICH: Well, I think it's the right general direction. I think — but remember, this campaign is going to be much bigger than just health. It's going to be the failure on the economy, the failure with terrorism.
It's going to be all the efforts to have the Environmental Protection Agency take over our economy. It's going to be all the radicals that are being appointed to various jobs. And it's going to be trying to socialize the health system.
But it's an entire range of things. And I think the average American has two feelings. One, that on the thing that matters most right now which is the economy, this administration is just gone. Everything they're doing makes it worse, not better.
Two, that this administration wants to use power in the rawest possible way, almost like a Chicago machine to fundamentally change America. Even if the American people are opposed.
GINGRICH: And so I think that's all going to come together. We're also going to learn a couple more things. More deals are going to come out. People are going to realize how corrupt and fundamentally wrong this process is. People are going to start seeing the federal bureaucracy try to manage a bill that is this massive. I think —
HANNITY: 159 new agencies.
GINGRICH: You know, so, you say to yourself, I mean, what are the regs going to look like? What are the agencies going to look like? Who are they going to appoint? By summer this will be a mess.
HANNITY: Yes. You know it's funny. Because I took a lot of heat for seeing Barack Obama for what he is.
This is not a victory lap time because I don't think this is good for America. I'm deeply, deeply, fundamentally concerned about the direction of the country and I know you are, too, and I know a lot of other people are, too.
And there were some people — I want to give Barack Obama the benefit of the doubt, et cetera, et cetera. They were wrong. They were dramatically wrong. Those of us that looked into his background and his history, there was a lot of evidence there that showed this radicalism.
Do you think now the country gets this, at this moment in time?
GINGRICH: I think more and more Americans get it. I noticed there's a Rasmussen poll out that shows that almost half the country wants the bill declared unconstitutional. I think the opposition to the bill is very, very powerful everywhere.
You know, what has surprised me has been the combination of sort of Springfield, Illinois corruption. With Chicago machine-style politics. With Saul Alinsky's radicalism.
And it's bringing the three together — I mean, if this was an honest, transparent, out-in-the-open administration, they wouldn't get half this through the Congress.
GINGRICH: But the level of muscle — I mean if you look at what they did to Congressman Stupak, the level of pressure, the browbeating, the intensity, you either get bullied or bribed.
HANNITY: Yes, but look at the poll numbers. You mentioned the one poll. There's another poll out, 64 percent disapproval rating of Congress as a whole. Nancy Pelosi has an 11 percent approval rating. She should be happy because — or favorable rating. Because Harry Reid has an 8 percent favorable rating.
You've been around Washington a long time. You've monitored elections all your life. Did you ever see numbers that bad? Because I've never seen numbers that bad.
GINGRICH: I can't remember — I mean Richard Nixon at his bottom just before he resigned was in the 20s.
GINGRICH: But I think — first of all, as I've said to people repeatedly, they ought to find a candidate against Pelosi. They ought to find — they should not assume any Democrat is safe this fall. Because, I think the country is going to get madder and I think that things are going to get worse.
I don't think — it's not like this is a turning point. And where the Democrats left really made a mistake is Sunday's vote wasn't the end of the fight. Sunday's vote was just one more step in a long series of fights.
My prediction is you're going to get a Republican Congress in 2010 in the election. They're going to come in and they're going to refuse to fund any of these new offices. And they're just kind — they won't pass the appropriations.
Then in 2012, you get a new president. And I think probably in February of 2013, they repeal the entire bill. Replace the good parts. Because there are some things — out of 2600 pages, there are probably 200 pages that are pretty good.
So you pass those and you pass the right reforms like litigation reform. But you do it in a series of small bills.
HANNITY: Yes. You called it replace.
GINGRICH: Absolutely. Replace. Not repair, I don't think — this is like Environmental Protection Agency. It's ought to be replaced because you can't repair it. The bureaucracy is too left-wing. It is too hostile to free enterprise, it's too hostile to private property.
And I think you have to recognize how much of the government today is in such bad shape that you need fundamentally new models, not just minor fixes.
HANNITY: Do you think any of these constitutional challenges that are out there about the employer mandate, individual mandate, or any of the other challenges — do you think as they work through their way to the courts, any of that will be effective?
What do you think about the process? The Senate is saying through reconciliation that there's a lot they can stop, although they didn't get one ruling with the Senate parliamentarian today.
GINGRICH: Well, I don't know what will happen at this stage. And I don't know whether they can just force reconciliation through. I suspect, given the style of this administration, they call in the Senate parliamentarian and said there are two futures. Change your position or get fired. And so he decided as a career enhancing move —
HANNITY: Well, Joe Biden could override him as the president of the Senate anyway, so —
GINGRICH: Then you have to appeal the president's ruling and they'd probably lose that fight. But my sense is — first of all, I'm glad to see that some 13 attorneys general around the country —
HANNITY: Are going to sue.
GINGRICH: Have sued. Based on a 1992 Supreme Court decision which said that the federal government cannot punish you for failure to do something. I think that there's an outside chance the suit will hold up. And that that will stop the individual mandate at the federal level.
But I don't think people have fully read the final version of this bill, not to mention the final version of reconciliation. And there may be a number of places where this legislation is open.
Plus, you know the left is going to sue and the executive order on abortion.
HANNITY: Do you want to respond — let me throw up on the screen, this is Joe Biden today, didn't know his mike was up. Here's what he said with the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: The president of the United States of America, Barack Obama.
BIDEN: This is a big (EXPLETIVE DELETED) deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: This is a big deal. Epithet inserted.
GINGRICH: Well, I mean, forgetting the vulgarity for a second, I think it tells you the ego level and the sort of "look at us, look at us" attitude of the administration. He didn't say boy, what a great moment for the country.
You didn't — if you look at his whole body language, his whole attitude, these are guys — these are like guys in a team sport who are glad they won. And I think that tells you — the president's major argument apparently with the Democratic caucus is, I need this victory for my presidency.
HANNITY: All right. We've got to take a break here. We're going to have more with former speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, coming up in mere seconds.
HANNITY: And we continue now with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
One of the things I was amazed, Bret Baier interviewed the president. He asked about the process. The Constitution is based — there's a very specific process on how to pass a bill. Totally seemed lacking in concern.
If there's one headline I have from my e-mails, and I don't know if you're getting the same one. People feel like the Constitution was shredded, thwarted, the rule of law was passed aside, and the process of buying votes, and everything that was involved in this.
You've been away a couple of weeks what is your —
GINGRICH: Congressman Alcee Hastings who is the only convicted federal judge ever to serve in Congress — impeached. Ever —
HANNITY: Impeached. He was impeached.
GINGRICH: He was impeached. Ever to serve in Congress. OK? Said — I thought with remarkable candor about a week ago when he said the rules don't matter.
HANNITY: We make them up.
GINGRICH: We make them up. We do what we want to. Now the reason that matters is, when you go back — as you know, I've written novels about George Washington and the American Revolution.
When you go back to the founding fathers, they had lived under a British government which consistently broke the law. And part of their passion in the Declaration of Independence and in the Constitution was to — and in the federalist papers that explain the Constitution — was to establish this principle that the rule of law matters.
That is particularly important for the weak. The strong can afford to live in a corrupt society because they can bribe the power holders. But the average person and the weak person and the poor person needs the shelter of the law.
When I came to the Congress, and I will never forget, we — the Soviet Union still existed. Late in the Gorbachev period we had a delegation come to visit us. And this one man was a Lithuanian who had been a newspaper editor.
And he said to me, he said, I always loved America and I always believed in America. And I took him on the House floor and I put him up in the speaker's chair. And he started to cry. And he said this is the center of freedom in the world. And you've allowed me to be here.
What these people are doing, is they're saying basically, we can take over General Motors, we can take over AIG. Tonight they're releasing their White House list of top salaries that they have decided on.
They have said basically — Biden said clearly, we're going to run the insurance companies.
The insurance companies are now going to become the public sector. They're going to be run by Health and Human Services. That's why they gave up trying to get to a public option. They just decided they would take over every insurance company in the country.
HANNITY: He said — he said as much.
GINGRICH: And so, I think what you see is literally a — comparison to Springfield in Chicago is very deliberate. This is a group prepared to fundamentally violate the Constitution.
And fundamentally — and by the way, the executive order on abortion is a fundamental violation. The idea that a president of the United States can personally reinterpret the law is just wrong.
HANNITY: First of all, an executive order can never trump a statute anyway, so it wasn't really worth the paper it's printed on, even Bart Stupak admitted that.
GINGRICH: But the president may think it does.
GINGRICH: It's kind of hard to believe.
HANNITY: You got me. Yes, I didn't think about that.
GINGRICH: Well, think about this.
HANNITY: I didn't about it.
GINGRICH: You know, I've been very curious, this is a zone — in all of the stuff you did right, I was one of those, mea culpa, who didn't believe —
HANNITY: Hannity, maybe you're being a little harsh on this Obama guy. I know.
GINGRICH: Right. But it'd be fascinating to know since he taught constitutional law in Chicago.
HANNITY: He knows it.
GINGRICH: Which constitution was he teaching? Venezuelan constitutional law? I mean, you know, I can't imagine how he could have actually taught American constitutional law and be this wrong this often.
HANNITY: Let me ask you this question. I played on the radio today, it was a local television station, had an interview with sort of man on the street. Somebody, what do you think of this bill? This is like Christmas, you know, I'm going to get something for free.
Has there been a fundamental shift empty in the mindset of a large percentage of the American population that actually thinks the government that bankrupted Social Security and Medicare, that has — through corruption they had to use every means necessary to pass this.
Do they have a confidence — do they believe a lie that the government is going to take care of them from the minute they're born to the minute they die? And then —
GINGRICH: No, I think — I think you've always had some —
HANNITY: A percentage.
GINGRICH: Twenty or 30 percent. Arthur Brooks, the head of the American Enterprise Institute, has a very important book coming out in May called "The Battle." And Arthur is probably the best user of Gallup data in the country.
And he says if you look at all the Gallup data, about 70 percent of the country is really pretty healthy. They believe in the work ethic. They believe in responsibility. They believe in balanced budgets. And about 30 percent of the country really is a left-wing secular socialist system.
Right now for a variety of reasons the 30 percent is running the country and the 70 percent is getting madder and madder.
I think when you go out to people and say, all right, here's the real cost of this bill, this is the size of the deficit. This is — your children will pay more in taxes to pay interest on the debt than they'll pay for national security.
Now do you ever think it's smart for you — we used to have a tradition, you paid off the mortgage and you gave your children the farm.
GINGRICH: We're now selling the farm and leaving our kids the mortgage.
HANNITY: It's true.
GINGRICH: I think most Americans, when somebody explains it in a clear way like Reagan or Thatcher, you have an immediate shift back which is why this bill became so unpopular.
HANNITY: We've got to run. But my fear is, is that by the time people figure this out, it may be too late.
GINGRICH: You have two times. This election '10.
HANNITY: And 2012.
GINGRICH: Election '12.
HANNITY: Are you running?
GINGRICH: We'll see.
HANNITY: I'm not going to pressure you tonight because you just got back from vacation.
GINGRICH: I'm confident that at some point in the near future you will —
HANNITY: No, no. I'll pressure you soon.
GINGRICH: Well, we'll have to get Callista on, you can pressure her and I'll watch.
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