This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," June 10, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Joining me now on the phone is the man of the hour, Virginia GOP primary winner Dave Brat. Dave, welcome to the program.
DAVE BRAT, R-VA., CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): Hey, Sean. Thanks for having me on, and great to be with you.
HANNITY: Appreciate you being her. What do you attribute this big win tonight to?
BRAT: Well, it's pretty much been in my stump speech, and it basically just lays out -- I mean, every -- if you go door-to-door knocking, the American people know the country is heading in the wrong direction, right, I mean, the debt and the deficits. The economic growth is terrible. The regulatory burden is terrible. And the representation in D.C. won't address those major issues. And so I think the people are just ready for some major changes in this country.
And I was blessed. I mean, it's a miracle. What do I attribute it to? First of all, I attribute it to God. And I'm utterly humbled and thankful. I'm a believer and so I'm humbled that God gave us this win. But right with that, God acts through people, and God acted through the people on my behalf.
I had volunteers working just tirelessly across the counties. I tried to communicate that to the news media, what was going on, and it's hard to communicate that. But it was real and it turned out -- we were just celebrating like crazy tonight, just an unbelievable miracle.
HANNITY: You know, I've been listening a lot to the analysis all night, Dave, and I think you touched on something that I was thinking about that I think a lot of people have missed, and that is I think this is maybe a little bit bigger than Tea Party versus conservative. I think the country is fed up with the fact that we have record debt, record deficits. We have 50 million people in poverty, 50 million people on food stamps. We have a VA that's not working. We have "Obama care" that is an absolute mess.
To what extent do you think these national issues have impacted this race in particular?
BRAT: Well, yes, tremendously. I mean, I agree with that. And just so you know, I mean, the press in my own region, in the introduction tonight -- I mean, I'm not holding anybody's feet to the fire, but you know, it wasn't a contest between the Tea Party and the Republicans and all this. Although I had tremendous Tea Party support and just wonderful people in the Tea Party grass roots helping me out, and they're clearly responsible for the win, but I ran on the Republican principles.
And we have this Republican creed in Virginia in that the only problem with the Republican principles is no one's following them. First one is a commitment to free markets. We don't have any free markets in this country anymore, right? And then equal treatment under the law, and fiscal responsibility, constitutional adherence, peace through strong defense, and then faith in God, and strong moral fiber. That's what I ran on, the Republican creed.
But the press is just always out to have these exciting stories to sell papers. And the people actually do care about policy. When you're serious -- I give 30-minute stump speeches on policy, and the press made fun of me.
BRAT: They said, These aren't good stump speeches. You're talking serious issues. Well, the American people are ready for serious issues.
HANNITY: You know, it's interesting you say all that. I have been making a point as a conservative commentator both on radio and TV -- I make a very clear distinction between conservative governors like Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal and Kasich and Walker and Nikki Haley and Rick Scott, and I've been comparing them and I've been using words like "timid" and "afraid" and "lacking of vision" when talking about Washington Republicans.
Is that a factor in all of this?
BRAT: Yes. Right. I mean, yes, the vision thing -- and I'd expand on that, even. You know, some of this is -- you know, goes back to constitutional principles. And everybody wants the federal government to solve every problem in their life. And so part of the issue is, some of these issues we got to look in the mirror, right? The cultural issues, that's not, you know, due to politicians. Our educational system -- everyone thinks it can be solved with spending infinite money on it. It -- it -- a lot of it just comes down to personal responsibility and discipline.
And our test scores -- you know, we're at the bottom of the OECD countries on math and science scores right now, and we're competing with the rest of the world. And so we have to do better. And our kids' test scores right now, that's going to be our future economy in 20 years.
And so fundamentals matter, and everybody knows we're off track, and so this country's got to turn around. And you know, I'm -- with Reagan, I'm optimistic always about what the American people can do. But we got to take the shackles off, the regulatory burden, something like $2 trillion out of the $17 trillion economy, and if you get rid of that, we can unleash the American people, and they're ready to roll.
HANNITY: You know, I brought up -- and I've been a little bit frustrated because I feel like there are five specific issues that the alternative governing party ought to be offering, and that would be -- and these were on your list -- fiscal responsibility, I like the penny plan, I think we should balance the budget. I think we need choice in education. There's no consensus -- four years into the "Obama care," passing of "Obama care," there's no Republican consensus plan. Secure the borders. That was a big issue in this race I'll ask you about in a minute. And -- and you know, simple things. And we haven't gotten that.
Do you think that this is frustration more towards Washington in general or the Republican Party as an alternative governing party?
BRAT: Well, in Virginia, the Republican Party has been kind of taking it to the grass roots. And the grass roots is rightly upset because the grass roots is mocked routinely in the press, you know? And I don't understand that. The outpouring alone from these folks that have supported me and worked tirelessly for me -- and so in Virginia, we've had some problem with this technical issue called "slating." The Republicans have actually been taking conservatives out of their own district democratic processes. And so there is some animosity and bad blood. But we got to -- we got to get better.
But the -- I think you're right, the issue is the Republican Party has been paying way too much attention to Wall Street and not enough attention to Main Street. And so the American people want to take the country back.
And you know, what motivated the race for me was after the financial crisis, right, we had Fannie and Freddie collapse, the housing market, then the financial sector tanks. And I thought surely our political leaders now -- you know, we're on our knees economically. We'll learn some lessons and get it right, and they didn't. We're still in roughly the same mess. And so...
BRAT: ... I think you're on target.
HANNITY: You know, a lot of people -- Reagan is beloved within Republican ranks. A lot of people forget that Reagan challenged a sitting president in 1976, Gerald Ford, and he nearly won. So Dave, I ask you this. You took on, you know, in this particular case, a job that nobody thought -- the House Majority leader -- I can't remember a time in history where this has happened before, and I've been looking all night.
And what you said is while he's got an eye on the speaker's job, he turned his back on his constituents. And a big issue here was the issue of immigration, especially in the final days of this campaign. And you said the amnesty issue is symbolic, a powerful expression about the difference between Eric Cantor and I on jobs. Cantor is saying that we should bring more folks to the country, increase the labor supply, and by doing so, lower wage rates for the working person. His policies make no sense.
How big an issue do you think the immigration issue was in this campaign?
BRAT: Well, I think it's big. I mean, it's the most symbolic issue that captured the differences between myself and Eric Cantor in this race, but it also captures that fissure between Main Street and Wall Street, right? So you look at people's intention, right, and political intention. So you ask yourself, Why are the Republicans doing this, right? Why are they so intent on this immigration reform? And there's no answer that really makes logical sense, right? I mean, it's clear they're doing it for the Chamber of Commerce, and they want cheap labor and expanded workforce, and whatever. And that's going to lower wages for everybody else.
And you know, I teach third world economic development, and you know, my intent -- I mean, if you really want to help these folks -- everyone wants to come to this country because we're rich, and the reason we're rich is because we have a very firm rule of law and protection of property rights. So if you really want to help the rest of the world, what you've got to do is encourage free markets, private property rights and the strong rule of law and get rid of the dictators in a lot of these countries.
And if we do that -- you know, those are just fundamental, simple ideas, and you know, we did that after World War II with Japan and Germany. We built them up. Now we trade together and everyone's rich, and it works out well. It's a win-win. And so that's what we need to do with the rest of the world. We clearly cannot import 7 billion people on the planet into the United States of America. It's just a non-starter.
HANNITY: You know, Dave, I've been watching the reaction and the analysis of, you know, people like Steve Israel and Debbie Wasserman Schultz and others tonight. Chuck Schumer I know was quoted as making his statement. And it's interesting because -- and Democratic commentators -- they try to make this or paint this as the party moving right. And as I have gone over your platform and followed this particular race -- can you think of one issue where you are against the Republican platform and what the Republican Party has historically stood for?
BRAT: No. No. That's exactly -- if that's what they're saying -- and I haven't seen any comments yet -- that's just pure politics and it's bad ethics, right? It's unethical because it's not true. And so it's not about right or left, right? Free markets are indisputably the cause of our wealth.
China right now is the perfect case in point. They're feeding 1.2 billion people for the first time in world history due to only one thing. Answer, free markets, right? So we as Republicans -- that's the number one issue in our creed, and that is a compassionate position. We're feeding 1.2 billion people and India's 1.2 billion people now also, right?
And so, no, I'm running 100 percent on just mainstream Republican issues, and the Republicans need to do a better job of following these, and then we'll get the country out of the ditch.
HANNITY: And I would agree with you that it's in a ditch. Let me ask you this. There's a report this week about Ted Cruz. Every Republican that I know ran on the idea of repealing and replacing "Obama care," and there were many votes, in fairness to Eric Cantor and everybody else, to do as much. But when it came down to a moment where they could have an impact, Ted Cruz angered the establishment in Washington by actually forcing the issue of the promise that they all made. There was a report this week that said that after the mid-terms that the Republican establishment would go after Ted Cruz.
So you know, we have an issue where Eric Cantor went to the seacoast earlier this year and he was going to battle the Tea Party. What is your take on the relationship, and what it needs to be, between the Tea Party and the establishment?
BRAT: Yes, well, the grass roots, the Tea Party and the Republican Party all share almost identical principles. And you know, I went to seminary. I think you did, also.
HANNITY: Yes, I did. They kicked me out, though.
BRAT: Yes. And so...
HANNITY: They wanted to.
BRAT: Yes. I mean, principles matter, right? And so every ethic (ph) before us has had great philosophers that paid attention to first principles, and if you pay attention to those, you can live a better life and your country can do better.
The founders were absolutely people -- you know, political philosophers. And I don't see much of that in the Republican Party. I don't see any of it in the Democratic Party at all, right?
BRAT: And so we need to do -- we need to quit playing politics every day. Everything's about crass politics. The Democrats are making statements about me moving to the right. There's nothing right or left about free markets. There's nothing right or left about the rule of law, right? I mean...
HANNITY: Well said. I agree with you.
BRAT: They're just framing it incorrectly.
HANNITY: Look, what I have been saying is that I think the country right now, with 50 million Americans in poverty and 50 million Americans on food stamps and our veterans being put on fraudulent waiting lists and issue after issue -- national security issues that we're dealing with -- for me, I was there the night that Newt Gingrich became the Speaker of the House. I loved the "Contract With America."
And if I had five items, it would be balance the budget, stop robbing our kids. I happen to like the penny plan. Control our borders would be another one. I think we can duplicate the job success with energy in North Dakota. We need a consensus alternative that the country can rally on for "Obama care." And we got to get kids out of our failing schools, and that's where school choice would come in.
Do you think that maybe this might be a moment where the Republican Party can pivot and kind of unite and say, Hey, we can make the country better. Here's our vision. Elect us, and we'll do those things.
BRAT: Yes, I like all five of those, right? And instead, some of the Republicans are at the federal level putting together policies that the federal government -- I think they call making life work, these catchy little phrases to compete with Democrats for votes. And they're catchy, but I -- the strategy doesn't sound good to me. I don't think the federal government should be involved in making life work, right? I mean, the enumerated powers -- the state level is fine. The local level's fine. But not -- I do not want the federal government trying to make my life work.
And so yes, I think those five you just mentioned, I'm in agreement with all five. And it -- with a caveat that I want to -- you know, everything delegated from the federal level back down to the state level to try and run those kind of programs.
HANNITY: Yes. Let me -- let me ask one thing in terms of technicality here. I mean, you were up against what, a $5.5 million machine and I think I read that you had what, $200,000?
HANNITY: That's a pretty significant disadvantage, wouldn't you say?
BRAT: Yes. Well, and so, I mean, you just do the math with the numbers. The good news is dollars don't vote, and so people do. So I just paid attention to people. And people love to be involved in the political process. They love the ideas. And I just cannot thank the folks who helped me out enough. It was just tremendous support across the entire district.
HANNITY: How would you identify yourself? And this is my last question. By the way, thank you for a lot of your time tonight. Two last questions. What do you want to say to Eric Cantor tonight? And as the Democrats now are going to work very hard, I assume, to position you as some extremist, how would you identify yourself politically, just those two final questions.
BRAT: Yes, to Eric Cantor, throughout the entire race, I've always said I'm not running against Eric Cantor as a person. He's a fine person. But I just ran against him on the principles that I enumerated on my Web page, and I went through them methodically. And I think the Republican leadership were off course on those fundamental principles that I said are in the Republican creed. And they're on my Web pages till, and I encourage people to go to my Web page. I need some funds to compete against the Democrats coming up. It's DaveBratforcongress.com.
And then the second question you said, how do I position myself against the Democrats who want to call me far right or -- I just recommend people like I do the press, that the press never took me up on this, they never reported on the facts. I wish they would do their jobs and report the news. Just look at my biography, right?
I mean, I've been a conservative my whole life. There's nothing hard right or far right about anything. I just believe in ideas and that ideas matter in history. And that's my background and that's the way I would like to be portrayed. I highly doubt the press will take my counsel, but that's the way I would like to be portrayed.
HANNITY: Well, if you Google me, if it's any consequence (sic), it's not the most flattering things that you'll read oftentimes. But this was a political earthquake tonight, and I think we're going to have you back on, hopefully, tomorrow night, Dave, if you can just stay on the line there.
Thank you so much. Congratulations on what is a huge political earthquake.
HANNITY: And this is a FOX News alert. Welcome back to HANNITY. And joining us once again, this time in person on camera, the man of the hour who defeated Eric Cantor tonight Dave Brat is back with us. Dave, good to see you now.
DAVID BRAT, (R) BEAT ERIC CANTOR IN GOP VIRGINIA PRIMARY: Good to be with you, Sean, thanks.
HANNITY: I want to go back, and this, as you know, is a political earthquake what has happened here tonight and is being viewed as such. What message should this send not only to the GOP, but Democrats as well? Democrats think, oh, this shows the Tea Party controls the Republican Party. Is it that or is it that maybe the country is looking for jobs and websites built by the government correctly not for $700 million, and for a V.A. that actually supports our vets. Which side do you think this is?
BRAT: Yes. That's right. The American people are very interested in real ideas and moving beyond the sound bites, and so right now our political dialogue in the nation is just concerned with this right and left versus debate. And my entire campaign was built along a stump speech that took 20 minutes or so full of serious ideas, and the people resonated with that and they loved that.
And so I had volunteers working endless hours for me and they paid attention. And the American people want to pay attention to serious ideas again. Our founding was built by people who were political philosophers, and we need to get back to that and away from this kind of cheap political rhetoric of right and left. I ran on free markets. I don't know those are right or left. I ran on rule of law, property rights. I ran on immigration. I don't think those are right and left issues. I think those are just free market, constitutional issues.
HANNITY: You now will replace the House majority leader. Walk us through, if you can guide the Republican Party and I think you're going to have a pretty bigamy crow phone and a loud voice when you finally get to Washington, assuming you win the race, and I would think you have a very good chance. Let me ask this, what would you say? What direction do you want this party, your party, to go in that would help solve the country's problems?
BRAT: Right, right. I don't think a lot of folks in D.C. understand what free markets are, so that's the most important piece. Fannie and Freddie made two-thirds of all subprime mortgages. That is not a free market institution. That entity along with the Fed printing too much money back in '03 and '04 caused the housing collapse. So we need to take free markets seriously. That means we have to put an end to all these tax credits and tax deductions and loopholes. Dave Camp had a good bill in which simplified the tax code and had a Reagan-esque 10 and 25 percent rate. That made sense and it was going to be pro-growth. It was going to produce one percent more economic growth. And so that will help us restore jobs.
And closing the border is very important. I ran hard on that issue. First you've got to get your own house in order before you can help others, and we're out of control right now. On fiscal discipline our debt is over $17 trillion. The unfunded liabilities are $127 trillion. And no leader on either side is mentioning the biggest economic problems we have in the country right now, and I based my campaign on those numbers and a pledge to fix them.
HANNITY: You're right, over $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities, $17 trillion in debt. Barack Obama then candidate said it was irresponsible and unpatriotic to have $9 trillion in debt. How would you deal with that issue? What would your alternative to Obamacare be?
BRAT: Right. Well, on health care, it's obviously we've got to first separate the insurance issue from the health care issue. The health care costs are the most fundamental problem. And the reason there's a health care cost problem is just simple economics, is because the consumer has not seeing the full price of health care. Right, if you take your kid in for the sniffles you pay $20, but the full cost is $200. And so we need to get back to the price system where you see the full cost of health care, and then people will make smarter decisions. That will reduce health care costs, and it's a huge part of our economy.
Instead we're centralizing top-down everything in the country right now, and the history of nations is the history of central governments run amuck. And United States exceptionalism has been to stay away from that tendency. It's easy to fall prey to solve everything at the federal level, but most every federal program is insolvent right now and everybody knows it. When I knocked on doors and said are we on the right track, and everybody said absolutely not. And so we need to change course and fix some big problems.
HANNITY: I agree with you. I think in many ways we have huge problems aren't being addressed. I would like to see them addressed. Congratulations once again Dave Brat on what is a huge victory tonight. Appreciate your time.
BRAT: All right, thank you, Sean, great to be with you.
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