Hannity debates Charlie Rangel on the Obama economy

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," June 12, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Tonight with the White House in damage control mode, we continue to monitor the many scandals that are now plaguing the administration. The relentless stream of bad news facing team Obama in recent days has led to new reports that indicate that the president's message is not only falling flat with independents, his base is beginning to express doubts about his re-election chances as well.

Joining me now in studio to discuss that and much more, somebody who ultimately endorsed Barack Obama back in 2008, New York Congressman Charles Rangel. Why --

REP. CHARLES RANGEL, D-N.Y.: It's good to be back.

HANNITY: You have been dodging me because you were afraid I was going to beat you up on all the scandals you have been involved in. Why have you not been on the show?

RANGEL: The record is clear, I haven't been invited.

HANNITY: You are absolutely false. You were invited.

RANGEL: One of the first questions I was about to ask to you thinking I was going to throw you off guard is, why haven't you invited me, because I thought that there were a lot of things going on and changes here.

HANNITY: We always got along. I think you made some bad decisions. You admitted it. And they are over. I have nothing to ask you about it because you've already dealt with it.

RANGEL: You've never seen me run away from any show, Sean. So, I don't know why you're bringing this up. I am telling you, my records are clear that your popular show has not been requested, because I enjoy being on the show. I mean, I'm not, this isn't -- this is an exchange of ideas.

HANNITY: It's an exchange of ideas.

RANGEL: And it's a well-known show.

HANNITY: Well, I appreciate you being here. Welcome back.

Look, the president's got problems.

RANGEL: You bet your life.

HANNITY: Big problems.


HANNITY: All right. Here's the question I want to ask you. Do you really in your heart of hearts believe we are better off as a country with $5 trillion in new debt, 15 million more Americans on food stamps, more Americans depending on the government than ever before and this article that I pulled up earlier, which is that 40 percent of people's wealth, the American families' wealth, has evaporated in the last three years? Are we better off?

RANGEL: Well, if you take a look at the millions of people who want to get into this country, I would like to believe that we are still the number one objective for people looking for a better way of life. This is the best country in the world. We got the best economy in the world. And it is bad. It is not what we're used to. We shouldn't be there. And the solution to all of this is just like in the family or a company. If you are spending too much, you cut back on spending and you raise your revenues. And that's it.

HANNITY: Yes. Well, you cut back on spending. When you say raise revenues, you mean raise taxes?

RANGEL: Well, you know, that's a very, very carefully worded question because --

HANNITY: No, it's not. It's a simple, basic, you know, yes or no question.

RANGEL: What would you call it if we have a trillion dollars in the tax code now that should not be there? Preferential treatment that maybe at the time the Congress gave it to them and the executive signed it, it was necessary, but they don't show, make record profits, and it shouldn't be there. When there is an attempt to close these loopholes, the majority in the House would say, that's raising taxes. Well, technically, the reason I paused was, it is improving the tax law. And yes, for those people who are getting tax relief that they shouldn't get, yes --

HANNITY: I live in the great state of New York. And when I add my state taxes, my local taxes, my federal taxes, my county taxes, my property taxes and all the other hidden taxes, I pay 55 percent of what I make goes to the government. Am I over taxed?

RANGEL: I just wonder when you were a kid --

HANNITY: Forget about that.

RANGEL: Whether or not you just prayed that you could possibly be in the position where you are in that tax bracket?

HANNITY: And then the president hits me and other people over the head and says, we are not paying our fair share. I think keeping 45 cents of every dollar, I think I am giving away too much to the government. Do you want more? How much do you want?

RANGEL: Sean, you are much too polite because the questions --

HANNITY: I am too polite.

RANGEL: You are! Because if you don't like a president under this great democracy, you vote no.

HANNITY: I will.

RANGEL: The thing I thought that we were talking about is why can't we get the Congress at least try to cooperate, whether you like the president or not?

HANNITY: Wait a minute. You can't -- President Obama got everything he wanted. He had Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, majority in the House and Senate, he got his budget, his stimulus, his health care bill, everything he wanted in place.

Here's what he said he would do, he said he would cut the deficit in half by the end of its four years in office. He has given us by far -- $5 trillion in debt. He called Bush unpatriotic for $4 trillion in eight years. He never got rid of earmarks, never read line by line, never got rid of lobbyists. Has he failed the American people by not keeping those promises?

RANGEL: Well, I'll tell you this. If you see what he inherited and what he's been able to do in saving the economy.

HANNITY: Saving the economy?

RANGEL: I don't think anyone challenged --

HANNITY: Saving the economy?

RANGEL: Let me ask this. Do you really think he had not got the Congress -- and this was almost done before he was sworn in -- do you think that we would have survived as a country had we not given in --


RANGEL: And we put in that -- were you one of the people, did you actively say that we shouldn't bail out these corporations?

HANNITY: I don't think we should have bailed out the corporations.

RANGEL: But did you say that at the time?

HANNITY: Sure, sure.

RANGEL: Weren't you part of the minority of the business voices saying that? I am asking.

HANNITY: The answer to your question is, Charlie, the answer is not government. You know, Ronald Reagan had a great line. He said, the problem isn't that government is not taking in enough revenues. Government's spending too much. And we have gone now, we are borrowing 40 cents of every dollar. You don't need a calculator, you don't need an accounting degree to realize that we are robbing from our children and grandchildren. I know you care about your kids, you care about our future. We cannot continue this way. Every time a Republican says, we are going to manage spending, Democrats cry that we are throwing granny off the cliff. This has got to stop. We got to stop spending.

RANGEL: Listen, you don't have to raise your voice to impress me. You've got to stop spending and you've got to raise revenue.

HANNITY: You want to raise taxes? And I pay 55 cents every dollar, how much do you want me to pay?

RANGEL: I was asking you whether or not you think that closing tax loopholes, a trillion bucks there -- is that raising taxes -- is it raising tax?

HANNITY: Listen. You would have to give me the specific loophole that you're talking about. I don't have loopholes. I don't have loopholes. I don't even have deductions.

RANGEL: I never said you.

HANNITY: But I was saying, the average New Yorker's in my position.

RANGEL: Well, let's talk about the corporate tax. We got the highest corporate tax in the entire world, maybe China or Japan may beat us out. But the truth of the matter is, they actually pay a lower rate because of the loopholes that are there --

HANNITY: Do you think that GE should pay more in taxes?

RANGEL: Don't pick out GE. I'm talking about are you prepared to say we ought to clean up the code, get rid of the loopholes --

HANNITY: I support a fair tax. Do you support that, national sales tax? Not on top of the income tax.

RANGEL: Well, I know. You are not going to it with the fair tax. The Republicans at the House, they haven't introduced any bill at all to deal with taxes, you know that.

HANNITY: Paul Ryan dealt with the entitlement reform and it was a Paul Ryan look-alike throwing granny over the cliff.

RANGEL: Well sure did throw a lot of Republicans over the cliff with it.

HANNITY: You haven't lost your sense of humor. Congressman, good to see you. I heard you just got out of the hospital. I am glad you are feeling better.

RANGEL: I am. Thank you so much. And keep those invitations coming.

HANNITY: They will come. You may regret it.

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