Hastert on Impact of McCain Celebrity Ad

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This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," August 7, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: We are just 89 days away from Election Day and the race continues to heat up. John McCain has been criticized by members of the left for his ad comparing Barack Obama to Paris Hilton. However former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle told the "Financial Times" that the ad looks like it's working and McCain was seeing a, quote, "short-term blip as a result."

Joining us now to respond is former speaker of the house Dennis Hastert. Mr. Speaker, welcome back to "Hannity & Colmes".

DENNIS HASTERT, FORMER SPEAKER: Great to be here, thanks.

Video: Watch Sean and Alan's interview with Dennis Hastert

COLMES: Have you seen the Paris Hilton ad?

HASTERT: No. I haven't heard about it. I didn't see it.

COLMES: It's interesting. I think it was very effective. I'm not sure that it was effective on behalf of John McCain because Paris Hilton's parents, who are McCain donors, were quite upset with John McCain for, and there is a little piece of it right there invoking Paris Hilton in an ad that bothered the Hilton family. They weren't very happy with John McCain about that.

HASTERT: Well, that may be but I will tell you what I think the American people want. They want somebody who is not a novice. Somebody who is willing not to be a celebrity, somebody who is willing to roll up their sleeves, go to work and make this country better. And I think that's what the issue is and if Barack Obama has kind of been dancing with the stars all the way through this process, really hasn't shown that he has done anything.

COLMES: I don't think he has been on with "Dancing with the Stars" quite yet. But you know, John McCain took the word celebrity off his Web site when he did an ad calling Barack Obama a celebrity. It sounds like is he jealous of Barack Obama because Obama draws all these crowds and is getting all this attention. To call him a celebrity is not going to win John McCain the presidency. Do you think so?

HASTERT: Again, I go back to my premise. American people want somebody who is ready to go to work and to fix the problems that they perceive that happens here in this country. I think that's the problem that Obama is going to have even with this whole Hillary issue. He is not really capturing those people, the blue collar workers of Pennsylvania and Ohio and Illinois and Indiana. They wanted somebody who was going to get the job done. And I think that's where the problem is.

COLMES: Isn't John McCain's problem is he's a member of the same political party and on the same positions of many of the issues as the Bush administration who is responsible for many of the problems that we now have that Americans are disgusted about.

HASTERT: Well, look it, John McCain is talking about trying to find ways to fix the energy problem. You have to find new sources of energy. You have to go and do the conservation issues. You have to save energy. You have to be able to blow up your tires. I think that's probably one thing that Obama talked about. You have to be do that too. But there is a lot of things you have to do. McCain is ready to do it. McCain is ready to debate it. And all that our Obama has done is say no, no, no.

COLMES: John McCain has been in Congress for 26, 28 years. He has been part of the establishment. He has had many opportunities and continued to vote against renewable energy sources. He's missed key votes on energy. So why should we believe all of a sudden his record is at variance with some of the things he is saying now on the campaign trail?

HASTERT: Well, I think you'll find out that John McCain is ready to move on a real energy policy that can do these things. He knows that we have to do a wide range of things. You can't just do one silver shot and have this thing come about. It's going to take a lot of work to get this energy process on track.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Mr. Speaker, welcome back, it's Sean Hannity.

HASTERT: Hi, Sean.

HANNITY: Remind my good friend Alan to my left here that ANWR wood have been open but for Bill Clinton's veto in 1995.

COLMES: John McCain was against it.

HANNITY: Excuse me. When a barrel of oil was only $19.

HASTERT: Absolutely.

HANNITY: We would have had access to that. Your seat was lost in a special election. Another seat was lost in Louisiana. Another seat was lost in Mississippi. There seems to be, in the Republican Party, that they have been reenergize, especially we have got, I'm calling them the rebel Republicans for five days and running now have been demanding that Nancy Pelosi bring the House back in session to deal with the issue of energy independence. Do you think things have shifted from this down cycle that they have had?

HASTERT: Well, I think it really has. And I have watched what's going on and these people who are energetic and think they can bring up, come up with solutions. The trouble is, the Congress hasn't been able to talk about real energy solutions. All they have said that well, you know, we can't do anything that has a carbon footprint. We can't bring on new nuclear plants. We can't drill. We can't find natural gas. There are some solutions that I think our members want to do that.

HANNITY: You are from the state of Illinois, congressman. We talk about the Chicago political machine. You know, we hear about Tony Rezko. For example, Barack Obama knocked on the door of Bill Ayers who we have talked at length about. What do we mean? What is the Chicago political machine?

HASTERT: Well, the political machine is somebody who has delivered votes in the city of Chicago, an organization for years and years and years. Now, it's changed a little bit. But, you know, what has been coming and plagued the current government, Governor Blagojevich are the same people who have enabled and helped Barack Obama in this city. So it's not necessarily the machine, but it's the ancillary people who are out there feeding the machine.

HANNITY: What do you think of Senator Barack Obama's chances at this point? As you stand back, you are out of the political scene right now. You have a little more objectivity, discernment. Do you think he has got a good chance of winning? And what would you advise Senator McCain?

HASTERT: Well look it, I think this is going to be a close race. I think what you see is the rift between the Clintons and Obama camps is indicative of what could happen. People aren't completely sold on the Obama idea. And I think McCain has a good chance of picking up a lot of support, especially in blue collar areas in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. And I think part of it on Obama's side is who he has as V.P. But I think on McCain's side is going to make a difference, too.

COLMES: Mr. Speaker, thank you very much for being with us tonight. Nice to see you on "Hannity & Colmes".

HASTERT: My pleasure.

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