This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," November 12, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: And welcome to "Hannity & Colmes". We get right to our "Top Story" tonight.
'Republican governors, they met today in Miami for a conference being billed by some as the first step towards rebuilding the Republican Party.
'Joining us now is the author of the best-selling book, "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less," former speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, and don't forget, by the way, check out his DVD, "We Have the Power." It's hosted by Newt and his wife, Calista.
'Mr. Speaker, good to see you.
'NEWT GINGRICH, "DRILL HERE, DRILL NOW, PAY LESS" AUTHOR: Good to be with you.
• Video: Watch Part 1 of the 'H&C' interview with Newt Gingrich | Watch part 2
HANNITY: You've been hiding out a little bit. You haven't been around, you haven't commented on the election, and I know you well enough, there's always a rationale behind what you do, so I want to know why.
GINGRICH: Well, I wanted to, frankly, think for a while. I thought this was a very historic event both in the positive sense of Senator Obama's remarkable achievement over the last year and in the sense that Republicans have to come to grips with the fact that we had failed in both the Congress and the executive branch, and we've been rewarded by the American voters first in 2006 and now in 2008 by being defeated, and I think it's important for Republicans to slow down.
'I think, by the way, you focused on exactly one of the key places to start rebuilding, and that's the governors. You look at people like Governor Bobby Jindal or Mark Sanford from South Carolina who is becoming the new leader of the Republican Governor's Association, Tim Pawlenty up in Minnesota, Governor Purdue in my home state of Georgia, Governor Crist in Florida.
'There's an awful lot of talent in the Republican Party. Governor Mitch Daniels who won by 20 points while Senator McCain was losing Indiana. Governor Daniels, by the way, got over 25 percent of the African-American vote in Indianapolis in the year of Obama, just as Senator Lamar Alexander got over 25 percent of the African-American vote in Memphis and Nashville. So.
GINGRICH: There's some good signs for the future that we can build on.
HANNITY: You were the first person to point out Governor Palin, and I'm -- sure you weren't excluding her purposely because you were one of her early advocates. But.
GINGRICH: Well, she's now become, in many ways, a national figure. I'm curious to see what she'll decide to do. She has -- I think she has two very powerful options right now. Either of which positions her to be a major national player for a long time.
'She's very young, and she could be around, you know, a long, long time. Both she and Bobby Jindal have very, very long trajectories where they can play an impact in America. She made a big impact on conservatives despite the most dishonest efforts of the elite media.
'And I think that she has a very strong following around the country. So she's automatically a major player. She could either get reelected as governor which, I think, she would do handily, or it's very likely Senator Stevens' seat is going to become vacant early next year, and she might do all decide to run for the Senate and become the senator from Alaska.
GINGRICH: I think she can decide either of those roles will lead her towards, I think, a continuing national presence.
HANNITY: Well, and -- all right, now there's been a lot of reports this week about you potentially running the RNC. Now I've spoken to you privately about it and on my radio show. You're not interested in it, but there's somebody that I am interested in running it, somebody who's very reform minded, like the governors you've mentioned, a guy by the name of Michael Steele.
'Do you think the Republican Party needs to change, and what are your thoughts on Michael?
GINGRICH: Well, I think Michael Steele is a great, great talent. He certainly would offer the kind of vivid, strong voice that we could use, and I think that the party would do very well if he ends up being chairman.
'There are a number of other strong people who are running. The chairman of South Carolina is very effective, good friend of mine, Saul Anuzis. The chairman from Michigan is running. But Michael Steele certainly is going to be in the front ranks...
HANNITY: Well, let me ask you this.
GINGRICH: . as one of the two or three leading contenders.
HANNITY: But you're not going to run, but now I did notice that you're talking about, you did -- a lot of people were interested because you led the Republican revolution in '94, and now the question is, are you thinking about -- I know you're running American Solutions and health care reform, but a lot of people have brought your name up as somebody who might run for president in 2012, so I figured probably today would be a good day to announce.
GINGRICH: Look, I'm going to spend the next two years doing everything I can to develop new solutions.
HANNITY: You're ducking my -- you're ducking my question.
GINGRICH: No, no. I want to give you a straight answer.
HANNITY: All right.
GINGRICH: I'm going to do everything I can for the next two years to develop at American Solutions a new wave of reforms. The next thing we're going to do, we're launching a YouTube video on repealing Sarbanes-Oxley to create American jobs, we're going to continue to build ideas as we did with Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less.
GINGRICH: I'm also.
HANNITY: This is a big buildup.
GINGRICH: . Center for Health Transformation.
HANNITY: And that's a big buildup to?
GINGRICH: In January of 2011 you and I can have this conversation about the future but not between now and then.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: You know these people who come on the show, don't answer Hannity's questions.
HANNITY: I know. It's unfair.
COLMES: You know?
HANNITY: It's unbelievable.
COLMES: I'm always.
GINGRICH: No. No. That was a very clear answer, Alan. It may not have been the answer Sean wanted. But it was a very clear answer.
COLMES: All right. Are you eyeing the idea of running for president? Are you thinking about it?
GINGRICH: No, I'm going to think about it in January of 2011. From now until then I'm going to do everything I can to -- frankly, first of all, work with the new president if he's open to working with Republicans.
COLMES: Yes, well.
GINGRICH: I mean, you know, I'm an army brat. We only get one commander in chief at a time.
GINGRICH: And all of us ought to try to help President Obama be successful if we can.
COLMES: In 2011, though, you will seriously consider it?
COLMES: All right. I think we're getting somewhere now.
All right. Now, in terms of the RNC -- look at him shake -- in terms of the RNC, there was a report earlier that you were interested in that job and that you -- did you step aside for the sake of Michael Steele? Did you want that at one point?
GINGRICH: No, I was asked by some friends under what circumstance I'd consider it, and I thought about it for several years, and Calista and I discussed it, and several of my closes friends and advisors, and I realized that I think what I'm doing at American Solutions with a new generation of big ideas and what we're doing at the Center for Health Transformation in fundamentally rethinking our entire health care system, I need to focus on getting those two done, and I think if we do them correctly, we're going to have a big impact not just on the Republican Party, but on building a tri- partisan majority of Democrats, Republicans, and independents.
And I'm happy to work with whoever wins the national Republican chairmanship, and I certainly think that -- I think, look, Michael Steele is a great talent, he's been on this show a lot.
GINGRICH: I've worked with him at GOPAC where he's been the head of it. He ran a great race for the U.S. Senate, he was a great lieutenant governor, so certainly he has to be considered one of the front-runners along with -- there are about three or four people in that same group who are all terrific people.
COLMES: Where do you see those three parties, left, right, and independent, coming together, and what issues can we all agree in terms of a starting point?
GINGRICH: Well, if you go to Americansolutions.com we listed the platform of the American people, and to be in that platform, an issue has to have an absolute majority of Democrats, an absolute majority of Republicans, and an absolute majority of independents.
When we launched Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less that was in the platform because 79 percent of the American people believe we ought to be drilling for American oil and gas rather than buying it from foreign dictators.
Now, I noticed in the "Washington Post" exit poll, 50 percent of the people who voted for Senator Obama believe we should be drilling offshore. So even among Democrats, there's a solid majority -- we had 100,000 people sign the petition as Democrats for more energy at lower costs, and I think that there's a solid base there.
Eighty-seven percent of the people, Alan, believe English ought to be the official language of government. 87 percent. Absolute majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents. If you look at that platform, there are over a hundred issues on which you can get an absolute majority, a red, white, and blue majority, in stead of a red versus blue.
COLMES: We're going to pick it up right now.
COLMES: We continue with former House speaker, Newt Gingrich.
Mr. Speaker, I want to ask you about Paulson, Henry Paulson on what he said today. He said we're not going to go and we're not going to buy these bad mortgages, and a lot of people in Congress voted, I think, under the -- with the understanding about how that $700 billion would be spent.
Are they now changing the game, and is he partly responsible for what happened in the market today?
GINGRICH: I don't understand what Secretary Paulson is doing. As you know, I've said in the past, I thought he should have been fired. I think when they put $150 billion into AIG, my guess is we're actually doing -- we're actually checking on the market cap now, because my guess is they could have bought AIG and dismantled it for dramatically less than the $150 billion they're now putting into it.
I know that they coerced at least one big bank to take $25 billion they didn't want. They are now -- you know, about to give the auto companies money. I think, you know, the airlines may well be next, and you look around.
If you're a small business or if you're self-employed, you don't see the treasury calling you to give you money. You're the one who's going to be ending up as a taxpayer paying for all this stuff. I think this is a bad policy, and I don't understand why they're doing it, and I think that it is not likely to work.
What we're -- you know, one of the reasons we're doing this new video on repealing Sarbanes-Oxley, is everywhere I go to talk to business people, they tell me there are practical things that wouldn't cost the taxpayers a penny that we could do to make America a better place to create jobs.
And one of them you've heard me talk about before is repealing the mark-to-market accounting provision which still continues to cripple American business. Another would be repealing Sarbanes-Oxley which is crippling small business and new startups and is weakening every company in the U.S.
There are things we could do that are real reform. They're not just throwing money down a rattle.
COLMES: The $700 billion, though, has been approved. The question now is how does it get spent? Is there a good way for the government to spend that money that will stimulate the economy and help the markets and everybody else?
GINGRICH: Well, first of all, they -- they have to go back to Congress for approval to spend, I think, the last $400 billion. I think there are going to be a lot of questions about why you'd give these guys more money, given the way they've been doing and so far.
And I think they'd be much better off to find a way to increase the liquidity across the whole system. This idea of somehow pouring the money into these huge institutions without having changed the underlying fundamentals, I think, slows down the rate of decay, but it doesn't turn it around.
And when they run out of money, and I said this at the time that they started this process, if they don't change some of the basic rules to get the economy growing again, we're going to be back here again next year for another bailout.
COLMES: He blamed Congress today. He said Congress took two weeks to approve it the first time. He's pointing fingers at them. You know, it seems like the -- I don't understand -- you know we're frustrated.
GINGRICH: But wait a second.
COLMES: We don't know where to point our fingers.
GINGRICH: Well, look, let me say, first of all, he was secretary of the treasury for two years. So if he knew so much, how come after two years' time, he was surprised. And furthermore, the Congress ought to go slowly. If the Congress is going to give away $700 billion of your money , I am for them asking tough questions before somebody in the Treasury Department starts writing big checks.
HANNITY: Hey, Mr. Speaker, let me ask you that. How -- to what extent could people interpret that maybe there's a fear of punitive tax policies about to be implemented by Barack Obama? Number one, that he's going to raise corporate taxes, raise capital gains taxes, spend a trillion new dollars, spread the wealth around, create a new welfare program.
What impact, do you think, that may have on the markets?
GINGRICH: Look, I think that has a negative impact on the market. I think if you raise taxes enough, people who have real money are going to move it out of the United States. I also think you have to confront the fact that when Henry Waxman starts sending off letters to every bank demanding to know all of their executive compensation policy, you know what people don't put together is -- if you have an anti-business attitude, you shouldn't be shocked that you don't have any businesses.
I was in two states recently that are outstanding examples of creating jobs. I was with Governor John Huntsman, whose state of Utah has the lowest unemployment rate in the west. I was with Governor Mitch Daniels in Indiana whose state has the lowest unemployment rate in the Midwest.
Both of them went out actively as governors to tell businesses we want you to come here. We like the idea of your creating jobs. We want to help you. We're going to lower taxes, so it's desirable.
Now you have a bunch of left-wing politicians starting with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd and Henry Waxman who are basically beating up on business every day. You have the president basically -- the president- elect basically threatening to raise taxes on everybody who's successful. You have a level of micromanagement of AIG and others.
You can't apply Washington bureaucratic rules to a free market company without ultimately destroying the company.
HANNITY: So no.
GINGRICH: And this is going to be -- just take my word, you can replay this five years from now. This is going to be a mess.
HANNITY: Well, I agree with you, but do you think -- Camille Pagly raised the question. What Barack Obama's going to lead? My suspicion is that the more radical, the more extreme Obama emerges, not the one that was using, you know, tax cutting Reaganesque like language, you know, hiding his true spread the wealth value system.
So if that emerges, what does that do to the economy, Mr. Speaker?
GINGRICH: Well, I think it makes it much harder for the economy to recover. I think if he appoints a very heavy regulatory people I think that makes it harder for the economy to recover.
I think if he proposed programs that punish the businesses that create jobs, that makes it harder, and that's why I think all of us are waiting to see which way he goes. Right now he could go either way. Right now he could be the conciliatory Obama we saw in Grant Park who wants to bring us together.
GINGRICH: That would be one presidency, or he could go with the left, that would be a very different presidency.
HANNITY: I agree. I suspect the latter, but for the sake of the country, I hope the former.
Good to see you, Mr. Speaker, and.
GINGRICH: Thank you. Good to be with you.
HANNITY: I expect that first interview, 2011 you said?
HANNITY: All right. We'll be looking forward to it
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