This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 5, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Tonight on "Hannity," we expose the man behind the plan to build a mosque just steps away from Ground Zero right here in New York City. Now for weeks on this program, I've told you that the views and beliefs of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf are not only outside the mainstream of America, they are in fact radical.
And tonight you will hear him in his own words.
Now we begin with shocking audio from "Aaron Klien Investigative Radio." Now in this clip, Rauf is asked whether or not he agrees with the State Department's designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IMAM FEISAL ABDUL RAUF, AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR MUSLIM ADVANCEMENT: I'm not a politician. I try to avoid the issues of -- the issue of terrorism is a very complex question . And I'm a bridge builder.
AARON KLIEN, HOST: But I'm asking you though --
RAUF: My work --
KLIEN: Is Hamas a terrorist organization?
RAUF: Aaron, Aaron. My work, my work -- I defined my work as a bridge builder. Do not -- I do not want to be placed neither will I accept to be placed in a position of being put in a position where I am the target of one side or another.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Now this is a man who has been telling New Yorkers, don't worry, no funding for the mosque will come from terrorist organizations, yet he himself refuses to acknowledge that Hamas is a terrorist organization.
Now, sadly it gets worse. Just days after September 11, Rauf was interviewed by "60 Minutes." He was asked if he believes the United States in any way deserved what happened on 9/11.
He responded by saying, quote, "Well, I wouldn't say the United States deserved what happened. But the United States' policies were an accessory to the crime that happened." And then he went on to say, "In the most direct sense, Usama bin Laden is made in the USA."
Now this is the man, America, that wants to build a mosque in the shadows of where the World Trade Center towers once stood.
And helping to facilitate this project all along has been New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Now from the moment this controversy rose, he came out in support of the plan, and he did so without ever speaking to Rauf.
Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. Mayor, are you satisfied and have you spoken to Imam Rauf that he is indeed a man of peace given his background where he supposedly supported Hamas and blamed the U.S. for 9/11 attacks?
NEW YORK CITY MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: My --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Based on your --
BLOOMBERG: My job is not to vet clergy in the city. That's not what I should do and I don't happen to think that anybody in government should do it. Everybody has a right to the opinions.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Now Mayor Bloomberg may not want to vet this guy but you've heard for yourself tonight exactly what this imam believes in.
Now here with reaction is the author of "To Save America: Stopping Obama's Secular Socialist Machine," by the way is at Newt.org, former speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich is back with us.
Mr. Speaker, welcome back.
NEWT GINGRICH, "TO SAVE AMERICA" AUTHOR: It's good to be with you.
HANNITY: Let's go through the list here. He won't condemn Hamas as the terror organization that it is. He says -- refers to America as being an oppressive nation and accessory to what happened on 9/11. Wants America to be Sharia compliant and bin Laden is made in the USA.
Now most people have not examined his background. What are you -- what is your reaction when you put this together?
GINGRICH: Look, I think all along that has been a very unusual situation. Here you have somebody who is deliberately picking a political site. I mean let's be quite clear about this.
This has nothing to do with religious liberty. There are over 100 mosques in New York City and frankly if he wanted to build his mosque in the south Bronx -- the south Bronx, I'd applaud him. They need the jobs. But to pick a site deliberately near Ground Zero is a political act.
Second, nobody knows where the money is coming from. I was told the other day that in fact currently there is no money. So I don't understand in New York why you can't rebuild the World Trade Center in nine years. The Greek Orthodox Church hasn't been rebuilt in nine years. The West Way Highway was never built after 13 years of infighting.
But along comes a group who have no money but have permission now to build a 13-story mosque and community center a couple of blocks from the World Trade Center.
It just strikes me as kind of amazing that the fix is in as long as you're prepared to blame America and as long as what you're doing is in fact offensive to most of the families who were -- who lost people in 9/11.
HANNITY: If you look at the polls, there are now two of them out. The latest polls Siena poll shows by 2-1 liberal New Yorkers oppose the building of this mosque near Ground Zero.
Now you have been outspoken about this. Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor has been outspoken. Governor Palin has been outspoken. Former New York Governor George Pataki.
I have been trying to highlight the radical opinions and backgrounds of this imam. But you just heard from Mayor Bloomberg, my job is not to vet the clergy, everybody has a right to their opinions, and apparently he broke down the other day and was getting quite emotional in defense of this.
What are you to make of Bloomberg's position here?
GINGRICH: Well, I don't actually understand where the mayor is coming from. I think that what he said publicly is unresponsive to the case. This has nothing to do with religious liberty.
This has nothing -- somebody who goes out and says United States is an accessory to 9/11, who says that bin Laden is made in the USA, who says that they would like to impose Sharia which is a very radical anti-western legal system that is horrendous and it provides for killing homosexuals. It provides for stoning women who are adulteresses. It provides for a whole range of punishment we would never accept. It is very anti-Christian and anti-Jew. And just look at what Sharia is like.
And this is a guy who wants to set up what he calls an inter-faith center except, by the way, there is no inter-faith. If he'd come in and said, let's open a church, a synagogue and a mosque in the same building, let have people actually worshipping near each other, seeing each other, being involved with each other, maybe he could make a case.
But this is purely and simply, I think, an anti-American act of triumphalism on the part of a radical Islamist who's going to go around the world saying, see, the Americans are so dumb that after we destroyed two of their greatest buildings, they allow us to build a mosque near there, and that tells you how weak and how ignorant America is. That's, in essence, what they're going to say.
HANNITY: And I will tell you, it's more frightening that the politicians failed to examine his background, his record. They don't even want to hear it. I mean you heard just Michael Bloomberg, he doesn't want to hear about it.
You mentioned about Sharia where they would kill gays and lesbian, where women would be stoned to death, where a woman who makes an accusation or if there's any -- accusation of rape she needs four male witnesses. She can't drive. Women can't drive. They can't be seen in public in Saudi Arabia with a male that they're not related to here.
This guy is advocating that America becomes Sharia compliant. Totally completely at odds with our way of life.
I find the fact that people choose to ignore this guy's background frightening to me.
GINGRICH: Look, I don't understand why Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who's quite prepared to sue virtually every American -- I don't understand why he hasn't demanded that --
GINGRICH: Because he has a right as attorney general to demand that they show where their money is coming from. That they show that they have enough money to justify this project. That they explain the background of their funding.
And I'm surprised that in this case, all of the elite politicians are turning a blind eye, but the American people and, as you said, the people of New York City and New York State, are increasingly opposed. And I think the more they learn about this the more deeply and strongly they're going to opposed.
HANNITY: Isn't that where we are, though, in terms of American society? The American people support Arizona's immigration law but it doesn't matter to liberal Democrats. The American people don't want this mosque built. It doesn't matter to liberal Democrats.
We saw what happened in Missouri two days ago. Overwhelmingly rejecting the health care mandate of the Obama administration. Nobody seems to care.
This is government of, by and for the people. Or if so, it does not seem right now in America which again is frightening.
GINGRICH: What you have right now is government of the elites, by the elites, and for the elites, whether it's elitist judges overturning the vote of the people of California or it's elitist politicians in Washington or in city hall or in the Attorney General's Office in New York state.
But the fact is, as you pointed out, when the American people go to vote as they did in Massachusetts for Scott Brown, as they did this week in Missouri by 71 percent to repudiate Obamacare, something big is starting to happen out there.
HANNITY: We're going to talk about that election when we get back. And 89 days from now we have a big midterm election.
Much more with the speaker coming up right after the break.
HANNITY: And this is a Fox News alert. Moments ago the White House announced that Christina Romer, the chair of the president's Council of Economic Advisors, is stepping down.
In a written statement President Obama said that Romer has provided, quote, "Extraordinary service to the country."
Her resignation takes effect on September 3rd at which time Romer plans to return to teaching at the University of California Berkeley.
And meanwhile tonight, there is word that more and more Democrats are refusing to appear on the campaign trail alongside the anointed one President Barack Obama.
It is not exactly surprising considering his approval ratings have sunk to a new low this week. But now even the White House is being forced to acknowledge that the president may be more of a political liability for Democrats.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We never said we're going to all 50 states. Look, Chip, again, it's a -- I think it's a fairly well-worn adage that we will go to places where candidates think that that's helpful. We'll raise money for places -- in places where candidates and committees think that that's helpful.
We'll be in mail. We'll be in --
CHIP REID, CBS NEWS: Will you stay away from places if it is not helpful?
GIBBS: Well, of course. Absolutely. No, we're not going to places where people think it's unhelpful that we go. That would be crazy.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: All right, now meanwhile on the GOP side, the story could not be any more different. For Republicans, the superstars of the party have been out in full force. One of whom continues to join me right from Washington, the author of The New York Times best seller, "To Save America: Stopping Obama's Secular Socialist Machine," former speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.
All right, well, I assume -- apparently Romer is having some problems with access to the president. Or at least that's the back story that we're being fed. But obviously the latest rise in jobless claims, housing starts, consumer confidence, even Treasury secretary admitting this week that unemployment likely to go down before it goes up.
Certainly I've got to imagine that's a contributing factor here, no?
GINGRICH: Well, remember that Dr. Romer in her academic days co-authored with her husband a paper which said that raising taxes kills jobs. Now if you look at her academic background, just as Larry Summers once wrote a paper that said extended unemployment compensation is dangerous because people tend to only look for work in the last four weeks of their benefits.
What you have is a real conflict between political liberalism and academic liberalism. And I think that Dr. Romer is probably appalled at 9.5 unemployment and an administration that wants taxes to go up in January, and that has raised taxes on health care this year, and that would like to raise taxes on energy.
And I suspect that academically she knows that this is a path to disaster. That we are -- we are in great danger of sliding in a second and even deeper recession which really would put us on the edge of technically being in a depression.
And I think that Obama's political allies -- because they're such left-wing radicals -- don't realize the danger that they're putting this economy in.
HANNITY: All right, the president even today seems to be getting more and more aggressive on the campaign trail in his attempt to advance either the narrative that everything is George Bush's fault, or advance the narrative that the Republicans are the party of no.
Now I spoke to Michael Steele earlier today and look, I think the "Contract With America" was a great success. You nationalized the elections, you put your promises on paper.
And I said what are the odds that Republicans -- not necessarily a contract -- would put their ideas on paper. You know, simple things like they'll read the bill. Simple things like they'd eliminate earmarks. And he told me the odds, he thinks, are 100 percent .
Is that a good idea and when would you launch it?
GINGRICH: Well, I do know that John Boehner, the Republican leader, has asked Kevin McCarthy from California, a great congressman from Bakersfield, to develop an approach.
I know that the Republicans went home from the House, all of them armed with a whole set of ideas in key areas like job creation. I believe that by mid-September they're going to have a pretty solid proposal whether you call it a contract or some other term --a covenant -- some kind of approach that will clearly I think people see as positive.
But I also want to say there is a great column. And I apologize I don't remember the guy's name. But there -- by a fairly liberal columnist, used to be the editor of The Denver Post, now wrote a column in Colorado last week, in which he went through all the things that Obama legitimately could blame George Bush for like the mishandling of the Gulf -- the BP thing which clearly was George Bush's fault because he'd only been out of office for a year and a half.
The failure to close Guantanamo which is clearly George W. Bush's fault because after all he didn't do it before Obama got elected.
The failure of the stimulus package to stop unemployment from going up to almost 10 percent. Clearly George Bush's fault because he should have done earlier.
And it's a very funny column. He takes every single thing that's gone wrong in the last year and a half.
HANNITY: It's all George Bush's fault. If the dog bites, if the bee stings --
GINGRICH: As you point out during the break, how could it be President Obama's fault?
HANNITY: No, no, no.
GINGRICH: I mean it would be really unfair to suggest that having been president --
GINGRICH: Or to put in the worst case, Pelosi and Reid have been in charge of Congress four years.
HANNITY: If you drink too much and you have a hangover it's not your fault, it's George Bush's fault.
GINGRICH: That's right.
HANNITY: If you get pregnant it's George Bush's fault. Well, maybe Clinton's. I don't know. I mean -- who knows? All right. I'm kidding. That's a joke I use on the --
All right, let me ask you this. There's a Democratic strategist that actually -- I'm glad I can amuse you -- that says that Waters and Rangel, that this is going to good for the Democratic Party.
Now President Obama said look, he's somebody who's at the end of his career. He's 80 years old. I'm sure he's going to want to -- end his career with dignity.
How could anybody suggest as this strategist that it would be a good thing to have ethics trials for Maxine Waters and Charlie Rangel? And by the way the same Maxine Waters who had very harsh words for you on issue that you were exonerated from.
GINGRICH: Well, look -- I mean let's be clear. If you have 9.5 percent unemployment and if you have the largest deficit in American history, and if you're about to raise taxes massively on the American people -- excuse me -- maybe it's actually to your advantage to have an ethics scandal involving Congressman Rangel and Congressman Waters because it's less damaging that reminding people they have a job-killing party which has led to the deepest recession since the Great Depression.
So maybe it's a very clever technique to take jobs off the table and replace them with Rangel and Waters.
HANNITY: All right. And by the way, Mr. Gingrich, Mr. Speaker, we're going to see you tomorrow at the Freedom Concert in New Jersey.
GINGRICH: Looking forward to it.
HANNITY: Which we have not announced until right now. So we'll see you tomorrow?
GINGRICH: Calista and I are going to be there with you. It'll be a lot of fun.
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