This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," January 6, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: So with the writing on the wall in 2010 prominent Democrats all around the country are running scared. Now in a span of only 24 hours two surprising and devastating blows were delivered to the Democrats' super majority in the United States Senate.
Now first the news came from North Dakota that longtime Senator Byron Dorgan would not seek reelection. And then word began circulating late last night that Senator Chris Dodd, the powerful chair of the Senate's banking committee, would also be announcing his decision to call it quits after more than 30 years in Congress.
And here's what Countrywide Mortgage's favorite senator told reporters earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR CHRISTOPHER DODD, D-CONN.: Out of the long sweep of American history there are moments for each elected public official to step aside and let someone else step up. This is my moment to step aside.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: All right, now, veteran senators like Dodd and Dorgan aren't the only ones to fall victims to this backlash against President Obama's failures during his first year in office. Some are the Democratic Party's rising stars, they are also throwing in the towel, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, confirmed today that he is ending his bid for reelection.
And the left is now also scrambling in Michigan after Lt. Governor John Cherry informed the party that he would be dropping out of the race for governor in that state.
And here to tell us what all these Democrats and how they are running scared is the former speaker of the House, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich. And by the way, Newt has a free online newsletter. That's right, free. You can sign up at Newt.org.
Mr. Speaker, happy New Year.
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Good to be with you, happy New Year.
HANNITY: All right, let me start with Dorgan, Dodd, Ritter, Cherry. Are they abandoning ship? Did they see a seismic change shift in the election coming? Are they scared they're going to lose?
GINGRICH: You know, Dorgan is the one that doesn't quite fit that because I think most people believed he'd get reelected in North Dakota. Dodd clearly was very, very badly damaged. Ritter had become pretty much in trouble.
In Michigan I think Pete Hoekstra is putting the other — such a good campaign and has gotten such a boost out of the intelligence committee chairman now with the attempted attack on Detroit that Pete really is becoming a dominant figure in the state.
I think that was part of why Lt. Governor Cherry probably dropped out. He's faced with a president who clearly couldn't have defended Detroit. We were lucky that the terrorist didn't know how to set off the bomb or we would have had a huge disaster.
So I think you're seeing a general decay when you take Michigan, North Dakota, Connecticut, Colorado. Then you had, of course, over the Christmas break an Alabama Democrat became Republican.
You see a growing pattern developing that has to mean that John Boehner, for example, feels pretty encouraged that he might become the speaker of the House after this election.
• Great American Blog: Do you think Democrats are running scared?
HANNITY: Do you think that's possible?
GINGRICH: Well, I think you have to go down state by state. But yes, I would say that Mitch McConnell has a slightly higher mountain to climb although it's getting better every week in the Senate. And I would say that in the House, the odds are at worst, one in three.
I was swapping notes today with Governor Haley Barbour who you remember, Sean, was the Republican National Committee chairman back in 1994. He said to me that he thought that the environment today was substantially better for Republicans than it was in January of 1994. And that he believes we have a very real chance of electing John Boehner speaker of the House.
So, yes, I think there's a — it's not done yet, it's a long way from here to November. But I would say that the cost of the various left-wing policies starting with the grotesque health bills in the House and Senate.
The giant energy tax passed by the House. The terribly weak policies on terrorism. The huge deficits. All those things are coming together in a way combined with 10 percent unemployment. That I think the Democrats have got to carry a pretty big burden going into the election.
HANNITY: Is it arrogance or is it they are tone deaf? I mean, because, you know, even with every poll showing, by double digits — Americans don't want this national health care plan — they force it through. They use a system of taxpayer dollars to bribe senators for their votes because they can't get them otherwise.
Their poll numbers are in the tank. The president's, Nancy Pelosi's, Harry Reid's, none of them are doing well.
And so I guess the question I have is, you know, why aren't they getting the message from the public or are they just ignoring it?
GINGRICH: Well, look, I think there are at least two things going on here. One is, you have a secular social list ideology which understands that this may be its best chance for a generation to impose on America a big government, big bureaucracy high tax Washington solution.
And so they're willing to gamble virtually anything. This is their best chance since Lyndon Johnson with the great society in 1965. Second, you have — never before have you seen a Chicago machine in the White House. The ruthlessness, the willingness to bribe senators, the fundamental dishonesty of the system.
You know the number one item on Drudge today was eight different videos of candidate Obama, pledging to have C-SPAN in the room for negotiations. Eight different times.
HANNITY: By the way —
GINGRICH: And people look at that level of dishonesty. And I think it's — it tells us this is a ruthless machine that doesn't care what it says. It cares what it can get away with.
HANNITY: Well, look, first of all, we're going to show that video in our very next segment so great minds think alike. And when I saw that today, I said — I only found four of them. Eight of them, it's entertaining if it weren't so serious.
For the president to, you know, break that promise, it seems like he risks all his credibility because it seems like — it seems meaningless, his words, you know, ring hollow.
GINGRICH: Well, at HealthTransformation.net we're just posting a YouTube video to launch a letter where we're asking people to come to HealthTransformation.net and sign asking the president to keep his word and to allow Brian Lamb and C-SPAN to cover the entire negotiation as they've offered to.
But second, you know, what I'm struck with, this reminds me a little bit of 1990, when I think the people around President George H.W. Bush had no idea the damage that breaking his read-my-lips, no-new-taxes pledge would have when he signed the tax increase.
And I think the Obama people don't appreciate that a great deal of President Obama's attractiveness was the sense that he was a young, outsider, idealistic, almost romantic figure. A charismatic leader.
And I believe if they don't impose on Pelosi and Reid, and Pelosi was contemptuous today in her comments when she — she said well, the president made many promises. I mean it was almost contemptible. And I think that it's important for us to recognize and I hope that the president will recognize, that this is a simple, straightforward promise that he made.
Nobody else made it. He's on tape eight different times, promising that these negotiations would be on C-SPAN.
HANNITY: All right. We're going to.
GINGRICH: And I think he will fundamentally break his word with the American people and suffer permanent damage.
HANNITY: I agree.
GINGRICH: If he doesn't insist them —
HANNITY: I don't see how you can't suffer permanent damage. We're going to show that tape. And we'll show the tape that you referred to with Nancy Pelosi.
Look at the seats that are available. Who would have thought that New Jersey would go Republican by four percentage points, the massive win by Bob McDonnell. I would have thought that that could have been a wake-up call, but here's Blanche Lincoln, you've got Evan Bayh, you've got Delaware, New York's Senate seat, Barbara Boxer is in a little bit of trouble.
If you were to advise the Republicans not only to be against what is obviously an agenda that they oppose what do they also need to do to recreate perhaps what happened in 1994 when you became speaker of the House?
GINGRICH: You know, the key to this, and I have an article that'll come out in NewsMax in February on this calling for a new contract with America. The key to this is to be the alternative party, not the opposition party. To explain how you would replace the failed policies. Not just to oppose the failed policies.
And if you look at Bob McDonnell's campaign which got 59 percent of the vote in a state where Obama got 53 percent or you look at Chris Christie's campaign, which is a very Democratic state, and he got four times the margin that Christy Whitman got back in 1993.
I called the Governor-elect Christie and asked him about it. He said to me the combination of opposition to taxes and being for school choice gave him a range — he was for charter schools. He worked with inner city groups. He carried counties no Republican had carried in a generation.
When you talk to Bob McDonnell he'll tell you his positive jobs and energy plan, his willingness to look for oil and gas offshore, his commitment to a no-tax increase.
GINGRICH: Jobs oriented, economic program. They made the difference and moved the Republicans into a winning majority. That's the key to 2010. Be the alternative party, not the opposition party.
HANNITY: This will be, I predict, one of the most consequential midterm elections in our lifetime.
Mr. Speaker, we'll see you hopefully often throughout the course of the year. Thanks for being with us.
GINGRICH: I'll be back.
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