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Hannity

Voters Question Rep. McCarthy Over Spending Solutions

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," July 15, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And welcome to this special edition of "Hannity." And with the debt limit debate raging on Capitol Hill, Americans are getting more and more frustrated with our elected leaders in Washington. So for the next hour, Frank Luntz, our very own pollster, author of the book "Win" will once again be in Washington, D.C. bringing the voters together with America's leaders.

Frank.

FRANK LUNTZ, POLLSTER: Over the next hour, you're going to learn more about the deficit, the debts, Medicare, spending, all the issues that are affecting Washington today. And you are going to learn it from the American people.

Now, we are going to be using these patented dials. The higher that they react, the more favorable they feel about what they hear but if they dial it down, you know that they don't agree with their elected official. What is unique about this is, not only you are going to hear from the people making the policy, but you are going to hear from the American people who have to live with that policy.

And I'm proud to begin with one of the leaders with the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy. You are the whip, you're the one responsible for getting this legislation through. My question to you is, you know how divided we are. You know that there are challenges between the House and the Senate, the White House, and Congress. And even between politicians and the American people. How do we get it done? Everybody react, please?

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, R-CALIF., HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP: The only way we get it done, this is an opportunity. It's no more budget tricks, no more accounting gimmicks. No more broken promises. I think the American people deserve the right to know the truth. I believe when you give them the truth, they will make the right answer. No more of this negative that you demonize the other person. Let's go for the solution.

You know, Winston Churchill -- there's a painting of him in the back -- he once said that you could always count on Americans to do what is right after they've exhausted every other option. This is our opportunity. And we need to rise to the occasion just as we've done every time before.

My wife and I Judy have two kids, Connor 17 and Meghan who is 14. My wife and I no longer worry about what we become, we are worried about what our children become. And this is the moment that America grows back.

LUNTZ: Is that the right approach? Yes or no?

FOCUS GROUP: Yes!

Is that an approach that you can identify with?

FELICIA: As a parents who's concerned about the budget, the future even college education costs and taxes. I can definitely agree with that.

LUNTZ: You are one of the youngest people here, your reaction?

MATTHEW: As a young person, you know, I can see down-the- road, Social Security and Medicare and spending is out of control. We have to take control of it now or there won't be any of that for me.

LUNTZ: Your reaction.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: My reaction of the issue is, what are we doing about it? What is your idea of the solution?

LUNTZ: OK. Let's do that. Everybody at 50, please, specific solution.

MCCARTHY: Specific solution. Take away all the partisanship. Sit down and work directly with the numbers. Don't play the games that everything is negative with it. Show what the numbers are. I will tell you, we have a $3.5 trillion budget, 1.5 of it is borrowed. You can't continue to live that way.

LUNTZ: You guys agree with that?

FOCUS GROUP: Yes!

MCCARTHY: So, this is what you do. If you just thought you could get out of this mess just by cutting -- I mean, government is growing too large, 82 percent in the last three years in discretionary spending.

LUNTZ: Do you guys agree with that?

FOCUS GROUP: Yes.

MCCARTHY: No household has done that. So, let's look at this just like a normal household. First, what we have to do, curb our spending where we can. Do we have some assets we can sell? And grow this economy. Let's make this economy with more jobs. What happens, you get more taxes.

JOHN: Specifically Congressman, what techniques are you using to eliminate the partisanship? Because most people are quite upset with it in America.

LUNTZ: Great question.

MCCARTHY: You know, when I came in, in 2006.

LUNTZ: React please.

MCCARTHY: Democrats became the majority. I sat down with this other congressman who came with me, Ed Perlmutter, he's a Democrat. We were here for about seven months. And I said Ed, why don't we put a dinner together? Let's not have anybody that is not a freshman. And let's do this.

So, we both paid for it. We go to a restaurant. And I start out saying, nobody can talk politics. Why? No one talk politics. We went around the room. You know, what we talked about? Our challenges because we're away from our family. Our families. At the end of the night what we found out, we have a lot of in common. A lot of the same challenges as an American. Then our next dinner, the next month, then let's talk politics. Because what happens, you start talking solutions. Because you take the demonizing of one another away. And you realize, we are in the same country where Americans first.

LUNTZ: Is this the right approach?

FOCUS GROUP: Yes.

LUNTZ: You are one of the toughest people on politicians, what is your reaction so far?

BOBBY: Well, my reaction so far is that there's a lot of words that are there. And the action from D.C. doesn't seem to be there. I mean.

LUNTZ: So, what do you want from D.C.?

BOBBY: I want them to stop!

LUNTZ: Stop what?

BOBBY: I want them to stop abusing us.

LUNTZ: Do you guys feel abused?

FOCUS GROUP: Yes.

LUNTZ: Nothing compared to what I will do to you.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Well, I don't necessarily feel abused. But, you know, I think there's stuff hidden behind rhetoric, that you are going to cut or sell the assets. What assets are you talking about?

LUNTZ: I'm going to have you answer but first, Patrick, your reaction?

PATRICK: How are you going to really take this seriously and stop playing games? The games are like, OK, what percentage of the time are you working on reelection? What percentage of the time that your stuff really working at the solution?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Exactly.

BOBBY: Here's the dangerous thing. You've got our attention now. So you're in trouble. I'm talking about D.C. in general. We are awake and we are paying attention. And we want the details.

LUNTZ: Go ahead.

MCCARTHY: That is exactly what has to take place. You start here and you hold people's feet to the fire. There's a window of opportunity. If this country sits back and says, OK, we are at a debt limit. I'm only been here, I'm in my third term. I did nothing to create this. I voted against most everything you saw coming through. OK. I didn't create it. But I just inherited a company that has been mismanaged. That has to get put on to the right track.

LUNTZ: Do you blame both parties?

MCCARTHY: I blame both parties by far.

LUNTZ: Do you guys agree with it?

FOCUS GROUP: Yes.

MCCARTHY: Look, there's enough blame to go around for everyone. All right. So, let's start with that premise. Second thing is, what are you going to sell? Do you even know what is the audit of how many buildings we own? Do you know how many cell phones we own or whether they are even being used? No business would run this way. Your household would not run this way.

LUNTZ: Do you guys agree with that?

FOCUS GROUP: Yes.

MCCARTHY: I look at my own cable. I look at my own cable bill on what we are spending and if the kids are buying a movie or not. So, first thing I would do is itemize what we have. Sell what excess we don't have. Then I would look for another perspective.

LUNTZ: Dan?

DAN: We are in crises mode. Why do we always have to wait until one minute to midnight to solve our problems?

LUNTZ: Michael.

MICHAEL: We don't even know what we are spending. We had the big stimulus. We don't know where the money went overseas.

MARTIN: We're looking for specifics and you're not given any that I'm hearing.

LUNTZ: One more.

MILINDA: And we definitely don't want to cut anything dealing with our military.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That's a good question. Why not?

MCCARTHY: Fundamental point. Most of America doesn't want to cut anything, we are not going to be able to do that. We're going to have to be honest, you agree?

LUNTZ: Everybody is in the vote together.

FOCUS GROUP: Yes!

MCCARTHY: Look, I'm a very big supporter of the military. But you are going to tell me, we spend more than $500 billion, you can't find waste?

MILINDA: I'm sorry. My brother was killed, he was a Special Forces soldier. Look, are you telling me that we just killed the most evil person in the world, OK? He was sent there in 2005, in Afghanistan. And I found out later that he's hiding in Pakistan. We need to support our military, our families and don't forget our gold star, honor and remember us.

MCCARTHY: I agree with you 100 percent. You'll find each and every way. But you know how we can support them even more? Is there any money wasted? I will tell you, you walk down this building. I believe in education. You know my background, what I came. I don't come from wealth. I came from a small school, put my own way through. I went and started a company, my own job at 19. I took the risk.

MILINDA: Are you saying the military is wealthy?

MCCARTHY: No. Listen to my point of what I'm saying. The way you're going to be able to do. You go down here to the Department of Education building, the average salary there is over $100,000. What if that money was sent to the classroom instead of down the street? You agree?

FOCUS GROUP: Yes.

MCCARTHY: All right? So, how much money is spent in that Pentagon and not on the frontline?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Exactly.

MCCARTHY: That is what I'm talking about. Eliminate that. But more importantly, let's think of this. I live in California, OK. I see companies everyday leave my state because of my taxes. There's 37 million people in my state, that's 12 percent of the nation. But 32 percent of the nation's welfare lives in my state. There's 25 percent of the entire budget from 144,000 out of 37 million. But we never think as Americans that we compete with other countries. So, this is what I say, let's give ourselves a level playing field not an advantage. Let's look at countries that we compete with. If it is only three years in Europe to bring a new drug to test, why is it seven in America? It should be three.

LUNTZ: You agree?

FOCUS GROUP: Yes!

MCCARTHY: If it is three pieces of paper to open a business in another country, why is it 10 here?

BARBARA: The problem is entitlements, two thirds of the budget, what do we do with that?

MCCARTHY: You have 10,000 people a day getting on entitlements.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yes.

MCCARTHY: We need to have a direct correlation because this is a broken promise I talk about. You are going to hear politicians sit there and say, there is nothing wrong with Social Security, there's nothing wrong with Medicare. It is going broke.

LUNTZ: I got to cut you off. How many of you say that this is a good leader for Congress? How many of you feel better about the situation because of what you heard from him?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Absolutely.

LUNTZ: I want to thank you very much for participating. Mr. Whip.

(APPLAUSE)

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