Clinton vs. Obama Battle Boils Over

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This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," January 22, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Sad story tonight. Back to the political world, the big story today is the battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. They savaged each other at a debate in South Carolina last night. Take a look.


HILLARY CLINTON, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You also talked about the Republicans having ideas over the last ten to 15 years.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I didn't say they were good ones.

CLINTON: Well, you can read the context of it.

OBAMA: Well, I didn't say they were good ones.

CLINTON: Well, it certainly came across in the way that it was presented as the Republicans had been standing up against the conventional wisdom with their ideas. I'm just reacting to the fact, yes, they did have ideas, and they were bad ideas. Bad for America and I was fighting against those ideas when you were practicing law and representing your contributor, Rezko, in his slum landlord business in inner-city Chicago.


HANNITY: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich will join us later in the show with more on this big showdown. But joining us now with more, California Attorney General, former presidential candidate Jerry Brown, and also joining — our good friend, former Congressman John Kasich is with us. Guys, welcome back to the program.

Jerry, I know it's a rough and tumble sport, Jerry Brown, what this is all about here. I didn't know that Wal-Mart was an enemy of the American people. I didn't know that Reagan, who gave us the longest period of peacetime economic growth in history and ended the Cold War, was such a demonized figure. Is that the new hard left of your party?

JERRY BROWN, CA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, there are some folks in the Democratic party that are concerned about Wal-Mart, and, of course, there's a lot of people that think that Reagan added to inequality while doing some other things for the economy.

HANNITY: You mean 21 million new jobs that he was creating, doubling the income for the federal government, longest peacetime — period of peacetime economic growth in history. Those were awful moments in history, weren't they?

BROWN: Look, I don't want to go back over history. I think we're looking at the debate and how it is. I think some of those points didn't score that well between Barack and Hillary. They were getting into nits and nats. One is on the board of Wal-Mart. The other supposedly represented a slum lord. I think those are small points. I think they fall flat. I think both of them were at their best, Hillary when she talked about health care, Obama when he responded — the extemporary — he really presented a very human and very intelligent person.

So I think you've got to have clash, that's what you do in primaries. I do think they're going to have to keep it at a higher level, and what I saw that was missing is; what is their conception of America different than President Bush. That's really what they've got to lay out.

HANNITY: I've got to be honest. Congressman Kasich, welcome back. It's always good to see you. I thought this was a depressing debate. I hear contempt for capitalism. I think — just a compulsive belief that the government is the answer to all the problems in our day and in our time. I didn't see that they like capitalism. I didn't see that they have respect for private property rights. I think they believe the government can solve every problem imaginable, and weakness in the compelling issue of our time, the war on terror. Did you see it the same way?

JOHN KASICH, FMR OH CONGRESSMAN: Sean, for them to attack Ronald Reagan is like Republicans attacking Harry Truman. It's just pretty stupid because the American people love Ronald Reagan. And, frankly, those Reagan Democrats, they're the ones that Reagan spoke to who crossed over and voted Republican. They ought to keep them in mind because if they lose those folks, they're in big trouble.


HANNITY: But isn't that evidence that that party's been co-opted by the Daily Cooks and

KASICH: That debate last night was far left. Trashing Wal-Mart, I didn't get the whole thing when so much of the country goes there. But here's another interesting thing, Sean, you've got Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama blasting Republicans for what we did in the last ten or 15 years, which was to reform welfare and balance the budget. And guess who signed the bills? Bill Clinton was the President. He's tried to take credit for it, and now they're trying to trash the Republicans, so I guess in that sense, Hillary's even trashing her own husband.

HANNITY: And you were responsible for that budget plan seven years, Congressional Budget Office numbers, real numbers there.

KASICH: First balanced budget since we were on the moon, Sean, and for them to say we had no new ideas — Barack actually said it. He said Republicans were setting the agenda, that they had changed things in this country. And where his mistake was, was to back off. Give Ronald Reagan his due. Give Franklin Roosevelt his due. He changed the country.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: First of all, Reagan left us with the biggest deficits and debt up until that time. And Jerry Brown, the real issue is that Barack Obama wasn't praising the policies of Ronald Reagan; he wasn't praising his ability to appeal to Democrats and reach across party lines. It was a conceptual praise, not a praise specifically to what Reagan stood for on the issues or ideology.

BROWN: That's a nuance that the political debate doesn't assimilate very well. Look, here's the point I would make — we just heard this praise by the Republicans, everything is good. The fact of the matter is both parties are flawed, and America — this is really the question. We've never been so indebted. The country, with trade deficits, financial — and then we've got the credit cards and the sub prime mortgage. Look, we've got a big problem out there, and what I'd like to hear from the candidates is what is the Democratic view? What is the difference of either Obama or Hillary or John Edwards, how do they see the world differently than what's going on over on the Republican side?

And I think a lot of that little back and forth and it nits and nats; I don't think that takes you very far and it burns up a lot of national energy.


COLMES: People want big government. Republicans have big government, they want to put Democracy every place in the world, bigger military, bigger investment in the military industrial complex; we want to go and solve every problem in every dictatorship in the world. That's bigger government. That's more government involvement. That's big tax payer spending. And that's what the Republicans have wanted to do.


COLMES: John Kasich. John?

KASICH: Alan, how can you say the Republicans didn't have any ideas when we took Bill Clinton kicking and screaming to a balanced budget, paid down the largest amount of debt in the history of the country. What happened last night though...

COLMES: Bill Clinton did that. He triangulated.

KASICH: ...well wait a minute, did they like what happened in the last ten or 15 years or don't they? They said they didn't. Frankly, that was the hallmark of it. Alan, here's what happened last night. There's so much animosity —


KASICH: Let me finish. Let me finish, Jerry. There's so much animosity last night, the Democrats are going to take a chance on blowing this thing. Frankly, the independent voters are looking their way, but that kind of nasty name- calling — and if that party can't heal, I tell you, they've got big problems.

COLMES: I agree with you, but on the issues Democrats win. Jerry Brown, people don't want to see Democrats at each other's throats. I agree with what John just said, in terms of the independent voter, people who want a comfort level with a candidate, which you don't have if they're really going at each other for the jugular.

BROWN: Let me just tell you something. I've been in presidential debates. I debated Clinton several times. And it isn't always so easy to be dignified and thoughtful and measured. So these kind of hyper charges, that happens. So this is just one debate. They'll make some more mistakes. They'll get their footing as they go along.

I think the real question is — you may say everything is wonderful in America. But the American people aren't saying that.

COLMES: Exactly.

BROWN: We have — the world economy is quite shaky. The stock markets in many places were dropping 10 percent over the last two days. I think we do want to hear a different vision.


COLMES: Alright guys. We've got to run.

KASICH: They keep on moving to the hard left. They're going to steal victory —

COLMES: It's not the hard left. That's not wha it's about.

KASICH: ...they're going to steal defeat out of the jaws of victory.

BROWN: It isn't hard left or hard right. We've got a country that's in deep trouble. We're financially over-extended. We're militarily over-extended...

KASICH: Can you stop calling each other names?

BROWN: ...and half the kids dropping out in the innter cities

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