Newt Gingrich on Hillary's Health Care Plan

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," September 17, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated



SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES: Well-off Americans should be able to deduct the cost of the same quality health plan that middle income families can deduct. If they want to received extra benefits beyond what most middle income families get, they should pay for it themselves, not have taxpayers foot the bill for them.


SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: All right. Here we go again. That was Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton earlier today in Iowa, unveiling her latest proposal for universal health coverage right here in America.

Now, this marks the first time since 1994 that the former first lady has attempted to achieve sweeping coverage for the nation.

Joining us now is the author of "Pearl Harbor", former Speaker of the House, FOX News contributor — we welcome back Newt Gingrich to the show.

All right, before I get to that, all the buzz, everybody that I've spoken to goes to your comments over the weekend. Quote: "...and so you just look at the dynamics and you have to say the odds are probably 80-20 that the Democratic candidate" — which you say is going to be Hillary —"will win in 2008."

Do you know how many people you have upset with that statement?

NEWT GINGRICH, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I hope I've upset 'em. I mean, if they think we're going to run a 2004-style anti-Clinton campaign and win, they're just wrong.

I mean, I'm trying to awaken the Republican base and awaken conservatives and get people to understand that, if we don't stand for a very clean break with the mess in Katrina, with the mess at the border, with the mess in our visa system and if we don't stand for a much better way of doing business than pork-barrel spending in Congress, we're not going to win next year.

And so we need to have our candidates be decisively in favor of fundamental change in Washington or we're going to lose. I can't — I can't say it any plainer than that.

HANNITY: Well, I agree with you. I have six issues: taxes, winning the war, controlling the borders, energy independence, health care and education. Because there are such distinct differences here.

I agree. You're not gonna win with a negative campaign.

You said this weekend, as well, that you were sort of in awe of the Clinton machine. Bill Clinton was on "Oprah". Hillary was on Ellen DeGeneres. As a professional, you said, "I'm very impressed."

What— what is it? Is it politically that they impress you?

GINGRICH: I think their ability to calmly and methodically dominate, raise money, win elections. I mean, we're talking about the practical part of this business. It's their ability to sustain an organization, to win a seat in New York State for a Chicago born, Arkansas first lady, this is not a small thing.

And if you look at the numbers right now, she is ahead of Obama and pulling away. She's way ahead of Edwards. And at some point — all I'm saying, Sean, is I have an obligation, as an adult, to talk facts to my party and not to be a cheerleader encouraging people to delude themselves.

HANNITY: And I agree with you. And I think I have been — as a conservative, I have been — disappointed in their spending, disappointed they're not controlling the borders, disappointed at the lack of ideas, which you're going to be addressing in "American Solutions".

So does it help Hillary today? We just played her sound bite. She wants universal coverage. Here we are once again. Does that help her? Does that hurt her?

GINGRICH: I have to tell you, I thought, as I watched the TV news all day, that I was in "The Twilight Zone". Here we were, you turn on the TV. You have O.J. Simpson being arrested and "Hillary Care" with big government, big tax increases, more regulation.

HANNITY: They're back.

GINGRICH: I thought, "My God, this is 1994 all over again." I was — I was amazed.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Before we get to that, Mr. Speaker — and by the way, just to go back to your first comment to Sean, bringing up Katrina and all the messes, messes being your word. Are you saying Republicans can't run on George Bush's record and win?

GINGRICH: Yes. I am saying Republicans can't run on George Bush's record.

COLMES: So, that would mean this is a failed presidency?

GINGRICH: It means it's a presidency which has not achieved the things the American people want. And that's why the poll numbers are where they are.

And you can have great respect for the president. You can have great sympathy for what he's tried to do. You can have a deep sense that he believes deeply in what he's trying to accomplish in the middle East, but the objective fact is that we have not controlled spending, we have not controlled the border, we have not solved the problems in New Orleans. We do not have a government in Washington that runs effectively, and therefore, we need real change.

I happen to think that real change ought to be conservative, free market, less bureaucracy, lower taxes, but we need real change.

COLMES: All right. Getting to Hillary Clinton's health care plan, this is not a government-run plan. In fact, you can keep the plan you have now.

GINGRICH: Alan, Alan...

COLMES: You can buy a new plan for profit. You can pick a plan from the menu of quality private insurance options. You can get the plan that Congress has. You can choose a public plan similar to Medicare.

So you've got a bunch of options here. It's not like it was, as you called "Hillary Care", back in 1994.

GINGRICH: Alan, it has a huge tax increase. It costs $110 billion a year more. It has government intruding all over the place. It cripples the insurance companies. It takes money away from executives. It has government interfering at all sorts of levels.

If you add up the total amount of red tape this is going to cause, I agree with you. This is not Hillary Care. So let's call this "Daughter of Hillary Care". OK? This is way beyond Hillary Care.

COLMES: Much, much different.

HANNITY: We call it "Hillary 9.0" on this program.

When we come back, by your own deadline, you're about three weeks away from deciding whether you're going to run for president. We've got to ask you about that when we come back. More with Newt Gingrich right after the break.


HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity & Colmes". We now continue with former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.

What was your reaction to the claim in Alan Greenspan's book that the Iraq war was about oil, even though we were not told that by the administration?

GINGRICH: Well, I think that that's, frankly, hyperbole. I think the ability of the United States to protect the Persian Gulf, in a broad way, clearly relates to oil, whether you're talking about Saudi Arabia or Iraq or Kuwait or the Emirates.

And clearly, the center of the world's oil supply matters a great deal to us historically, and we spent a lot of time and energy over the last 30 years defending it.

But the actual Iraq war itself, I think, had nothing to do with oil. You could have cut a deal with Saddam and had oil pumped out of Iraq for the next 30 years. And he'd have been happy to pump it. And if it was only about oil, there was an easy way to get it: just buy it.

COLMES: So Alan Greenspan doesn't know what he's talking about when he says, "I've said that it's politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows — the Iraq war largely about oil."

GINGRICH: Yes, I think he's wrong. I think he's wrong about the nature of what people were afraid of. I think he's wrong about the threats we're faced with. And, as I said, if it's only about oil, I think it was fairly easy to get oil out of Iraq under Saddam Hussein if you were willing to buy it.

COLMES: Getting to the ad, rather than talk about the strategy, rather than talk about how well things are going in Iraq, rather than debating whether what Petraeus is saying, what Bush wants to do is the right future for the country, we're being sidetracked by talking about an ad put out by an organization.

Doesn't that really help conservatives? Because if we were really talking about the strategy and how poorly things were really going you'd have a harder fight.

GINGRICH: Alan, doesn't — doesn't it bother you when an American soldier who has spent his entire life in defense of his country is viciously smeared and dishonored by a left-wing political group in a way that ought to be despicable?

And I'm frankly saddened that none of the Democratic presidential candidates repudiated the ad. If you'd had a comparable ad from the right, you would have demanded that every Republican candidate disown the group, and the pressure to do so would have been overwhelming.

Somehow — explain to me, Alan, why is it all right to smear and dishonor an American soldier and not have that be a significant...

COLMES: You're getting sidetracked from the real debate here.

HANNITY: But you know, on a political front, Hillary Clinton speaks before this group. And they've had a history of these kinds of controversies. And that goes back to the 80 percent prediction on your part, Mr. Speaker.

Eighty percent is a high likelihood, probability that she'd win. Why won't this come back and hurt her? Why wouldn't her vacillating opinions on Iraq impact the race?

GINGRICH: Look, I believe if the Republican Party decides to stand for dramatic change, if we decide to stand for English as the official language of government, if we decide to stand for controlling the border, if we decide to stand for effective enforcement of immigration law, if we decide to stand for a genuine energy policy that would liberate us from dependence on the dictatorships, I think there are a lot of things we can do to be effective.

But I think — I don't see yet much evidence of that level of change in the Republican Party.

HANNITY: Rudy has...

GINGRICH: And in the absence of that...

HANNITY: Go ahead.

GINGRICH: I think we have a real problem.

HANNITY: Rudy has — has his 12 commitments. I'm listening to the agenda of Romney and Fred Thompson. You're saying that what you hear from these other candidates, that none of them is impressing you with a strong enough agenda that could really defeat Hillary.

GINGRICH: I think that they need to be prepared right now to draw a sharp contrast with Senator Clinton and to draw an equally sharp contrast with business as usual in Washington and to demand fundamental change in a way...


GINGRICH: ... that the American people see them as the most effective change agent in the campaign.

HANNITY: I will be doing this program one week from this Thursday. I'll be with you. You're having "American Solutions" day in Atlanta, Georgia. And you have told us on a number of occasions that you will make your decision about whether or not you're going to get into this race right after this conference. So that means we could expect a decision from you in two weeks.

GINGRICH: I think...

HANNITY: Are you any closer to deciding?

GINGRICH: No, I've told you again and again. We are focused totally on "American Solutions". We think these workshops are extraordinarily important. And after they're over, starting next — that Sunday, I'll start looking at the decisions we have to make.

HANNITY: How long will that take, do you think?

GINGRICH: A couple of weeks.

COLMES: Hey, is Hannity gonna be your running mate?

GINGRICH: It will be a lot of fun, Alan. And you can be...

HANNITY: He can — You can do a lot better.

GINGRICH: You could be our press secretary.

HANNITY: Oh, great.

COLMES: I don't think you want me representing your views. Thank you very much for being with us.

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