Can President Obama keep promises on deficit reduction?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 12, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Nothing I'm proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime. It is not a bigger government we need but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad based growth.


That is what we should be looking for.


SEAN HANNITY, HOST: All right. And that was President Obama talking about deficit reduction, but I'm almost certain we just heard, is a promise he will in no way be able to keep.

Here with reaction, Texas Senator Ted Cruz. You know, Senator, the reason I say that, I predicted he'd say that tonight and just to prepare, just in case I was right, let's take a little trip down memory lane and see if he's made that promise once or twice or 10 times before. Let's take a look.


OBAMA, OCT. 15 2008: What I've done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut.

Every dollar that I've proposed, I propose an additional cut, so that it matches.

I want to go through the federal budget line by line, page by page, programs that don't work, we should cut.

OBAMA, FEB. 23, 2009: Today I'm pledging to cut the deficit we inherited by half by the end of my first term in office.

OBAMA, SEPT. 5, 2012: I will use the money we're no longer spending on war to pay down our debt.

My plan would cut our deficit by $4 trillion.

OBAMA, OCT. 29, 2012: Well, there is no doubt that our first order of business is going to be to get our deficits in debt under control.

I truly believe that if we can get the deficit and debt issues solved, which I believe we can get done in the lame-duck or in the immediate aftermath of the lame-duck.

OBAMA, MAY 24, 2012: But what my opponent didn't tell you was that federal spending since I took office has risen at the slowest pace of any president in almost 60 years.

GRAPHIC: New Obama debt: $6,000,000,000,000.


HANNITY: New Obama debt? Six trillion dollars. I knew he'd make that promise tonight Senator, I knew it. Because he does it every year and it means nothing.

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS: Well, Sean, I'll actually suggest that promise is one of the few true things he said, he said nothing he would propose tonight would increase the debt by one single dime. He's right. What he proposed tonight would increase the debt by over a trillion dollars, which he's done every single year he's been president. When he became president, the national debt was $10 trillion. Today, it's $16.5 trillion. And tonight, he did not propose even a single spending cut in anything.

HANNITY: Not on anything.

As our focus group just showed tonight, Senator, I think the big story tonight is going to be Marco Rubio's response, I thought that was the best response to a State of the Union address that I've ever seen. And it's very different competing visions, and in the focus group, the people liked overwhelmingly Marco Rubio's vision for the future of the country versus Barack Obama. So, I thought that was interesting. What is your reaction?

CRUZ: Well, Marco Rubio is a tremendous communicator and a very bright star of our party. And I think it presented a sharp contrast with President Obama. You know, Sean, President Obama had an opportunity here, he could have tried to reach across the aisle and find some bipartisan cooperation to get our economy growing, to get jobs back. Instead he decided to embrace unabashed liberalism. It seems this president only knows how to grow government, he has no idea how to grow the economy.

HANNITY: Well, he said, you know, "Deficit reduction is not an economic plan." That was a big quote of his for the night. "We're going to get rid of tax deductions and loopholes."Why do I interpret tax reform or getting rid of tax reductions and loopholes -- why do I interpret that as another tax increase which, by the way he's still advocating for tonight, and he just got a big tax increase?

CRUZ: The last four years, the Obama policies have not worked, we've seen economic growth of 0.8 percent. Our historic average is 3.3 percent. And yet, what did he proposed tonight? More and more spending debt, higher taxes and more and more government control of the economy.

And, you know, the saddest thing, Sean, if the policies of the president were adopted, it would make it harder for the 23 million people out of work to find jobs, it would make it harder for young people coming out of school to find their first jobs. It would make it harder for Hispanics and African-Americans trying to climb the economic ladder to work for and achieve the economic dream. These policies don't work and President Obama unfortunately rather than work in a bipartisan way to create job, just wants to keep on growing government.

HANNITY: Yes. A few things that he said tonight really frustrated me Senator, because they're not just true. I mean, more oil, that we're manufacturing and taking out of home in 15 years. That has nothing to do with his policies, that is private lands in North Dakota where that is happening. And then, he said that people's energy bills are lower. Does he ever fill up that big limousine that we pay for? Apparently not because the price of gas is doubled.

CRUZ: It's the nice thing about Air Force One, he doesn't have to pay the fuel bill. I'll tell you, Americans know when he was elected, the cost of gas was about a buck 80 a gallon. It's now $4 a gallon. And this administration has put every barrier they could to energy production to getting us energy self sufficient. And take for example, his proposal on cap-and-trade, what that would do is drive up the energy costs for every family in America, if you flipped on a light switch, if you start a car, it makes your daily experience, your daily life harder, more challenging and it would kill jobs, every policy tonight --

HANNITY: You know --

CRUZ: -- expands government and kills private sector jobs.

HANNITY: I mean that's the thing. I mean everything was about government salvation and government is the answer. It is almost like a drug to him. But, he keeps going back and he uses the same talking points, the same false narrative. You know -- a balanced approach, fair share. We can't cut our way to prosperity, etcetera, etcetera.

Help me out with his math, because he says they've reduced the deficit by $2.5 trillion when he has added $6 trillion to the national debt in four years. How do you come up with that Washington math? My calculator doesn't add that way.

CRUZ: Look, I'm going to confess Sean. I'm not nearly smart enough to understand his math. What I know is spending is out of control. Debt is out of control. And, it is jeopardizing future for our kids.

I have got two little girls who are 4 and 2. And, the idea of handing them a $16 trillion debt, I think is immoral. And unfortunately, this is a man who doesn't seem to know where jobs come from.

Look at his proposals. Government is going to pick 10 sites or 12 sites or 20 sites, and we're going to go create jobs. Centralized planning -- look at the economies that have done that, the Soviet Union, Cuba. Any time you have centralized government saying, "We are going to decide what jobs to support," you know what you get? You get a lot of Solyndra --


CRUZ: You get a lot of failed cronyism and sales cronyism rather than keeping government in check and letting small businesses thrive. That is what made America strong. And, if we don't get growth back, none of these problems get solved. And I wish the president could focus on growth and jobs because that is where our attention needs to be.

HANNITY: All right. Well said, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Senator, always appreciate you being on, thank you.

CRUZ: Thank you.

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