The Left Turns on Obama's Inner Circle
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 10, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Throughout the 2008 campaign and the first year of the Obama administration we have gotten to know these faces very well: David Axelrod, Robert Gibbs, Valerie Jarrett and Rahm Emanuel. Now they comprise the president's inner circle. That's his closest and most trusted advisers.
Now increasingly Democrats seem unhappy about that and they are starting to rebel against the president's inner circle. Now the latest voice to join this chorus is former Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder, the first African-American governor in the nation's history.
In an article that appeared today on Politico.com, Wilder writes, quote, "Obama's West Wing is filled with people who are in their jobs because of their Chicago connections or because they signed on with Obama early during his presidential campaign. Our problem is they do not have sufficient experience at governing at the Executive Branch level. Now the deeper problems is they are not listening to the people."
Now Wilder's sentiments are echoed by congressional Democrats who earlier this week pointed the finger at Rahm "Rahmbo Dead Fish" Emanuel blaming him for the collapse of health care reform.
So with Democrats turning against the president's closest advisers, will President Obama shake things up?
Joining me now with analysis is a man who knows more than a little about the man in the oval office, and that is Arizona Senator John McCain.
Senator, welcome back.
SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ. (via phone): Thanks Sean. And thanks for having me over the phone. I'm snowbound and going crazy.
HANNITY: Hey —
MCCAIN: I think about those old trappers that used to winter over, I don't know how they did it.
HANNITY: I don't know either. Senator, I guess global warming kept you out of the studio tonight. We're glad you can be with us on the phone. We're glad to hear — the "Drudge Report," interesting, as I was coming down, I was just looking at my notes apparently, "The New York Times" tomorrow is going to blame global warming on the record snows in D.C. and Philly.
Do you agree with that analysis?
MCCAIN: Absolutely. I think they made some movie that showed that the Earth was going to freeze over as a result of global warming.
MCCAIN: I never quite understood that but you know I didn't stand real high in my Naval Academy class. By the way, back to the people around the president. I don't know the president picks the people closest to him. But I can tell you Mr. Brennan, in my view, has lost all ability to affect events or to be relevant when he accuses those of us who are critical of the handling of the Christmas bomber of helping Al Qaeda.
That's beyond an outrage and it's an insult. They mishandled and they mishandled it badly. And for them to somehow say that we're — when we carry out our duties, and I'm a member of the Homeland Security Committee, which one that asked the three leaders of the intelligence community if they had been consulted when mister — when the Christmas bomber was given his Miranda rights and they said no.
Well, that's mishandling. Mr. Brennan's response is to accuse us of helping Al Qaeda. That's a new low.
HANNITY: Yes, well, his actual line was politically motivated criticisms is what he said, and unfounded fear mongering only serve the goals of Al Qaeda. Now you tell me if I'm wrong, but I interpret that as, you know, those of us that have been critical of the fact that we didn't interrogate this guy are aiding and abetting.
Is that your interpretation?
MCCAIN: I don't know how you can interpret it any other way. And the fact is that we have our responsibilities as well. And one of mine, besides being on the Armed Services Committee, is on the Homeland Security Committee. They came as witnesses.
They were asked, not Mr. Brennan. See, he'll go on television. He will write columns and editorials in USA Today, but he won't appear before Congress because he's the president's national — counterterrorism adviser.
But the three, the director of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, the head of the Counterterrorism Center, and the director of National Intelligence, all three, when I asked them, were you consulted before the Christmas bomber was given Miranda rights? All three of them have said no. It's inexcusable that they were not consulted.
HANNITY: Hey, Senator, I want to — there's a Quinnipiac poll, I believe, was the poll that shows that a landslide majority of Americans oppose Obama's terrorism policies. And it leads to this question. And I'd like to get you on record on this.
I wonder, you know, what orders President Obama has given Holder as it relates to the capture of the next terrorist?
MCCAIN: I don't know.
HANNITY: What should they be?
MCCAIN: They should be that no one should — anyone captured after careful and quick review by this elite interrogation organization, which by the way, has not been formed up yet.
MCCAIN: The determination — if the determination is made that this is an enemy combatant, that person, that individual, should go to a military tribunal. Should never receive Miranda rights and should not receive the right — the constitutional rights of an American citizen.
It should be automatic and we are working on legislation to try to make that a reality.
HANNITY: You know we saw in the last few days, and we're going to show a tape later in the program. We know that in one speech President Obama referred to Navy corpsman as corpseman. And then there was so much made of your running mate, Governor Palin, that she had, you know, seven words on her hand before she gave a speech.
And I just wanted to get your thoughts on the double standard that exists.
MCCAIN: I guess it's OK to use a teleprompter but not OK to write something on your hand.
MCCAIN: But hysteria of the attackers is something that used to kind of surprise me. But now, it's become routine. And now the people who believe in her and support her and admire her, all it does is fire them up. So I say to those people on the left, keep it up, keep it up, we don't care anymore.
It's — but it is really a phenomena to me. And I'm sure that it's — well, it's so unfair and unjust, though.
HANNITY: All right.
MCCAIN: It's hard for me to talk about it. But she is doing what they fear the most and that's having an impact on the American political scene and there's lots of Americans that like her a lot.
HANNITY: All right, Senator, good to see you. And enjoy your big global warming storm.
HANNITY: We're going to have more on this and believe it or not, people actually claiming that the global warming is causing this massive snow. But we turn now to syndicated columnist, Mark Steyn, who joins us.
Mark, good to see you. Thanks for being with us.
MARK STEYN, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Good to be with you, Sean.
HANNITY: Your reaction to Doug Wilder's comments?
STEYN: Yes, I think it's very interesting. He's really — he and other serious Democrats are sort of tiptoeing on the process the rest of us got into two or three years ago.
The king is a failure, so initially you can't blame the king, you blame his courtiers. And these four Chicago guys, in the end, you can't stick them with the blame for what's happened this last year, because the president is the guy who hired them.
And also, it's the president's policies that have been disastrous for his popularity.
HANNITY: So does anyone get fired? Should anybody get fired in your estimation?
• Great American Blog: Do you think Obama needs an adviser overhaul?
STEYN: I think so. I think when you have, you know, Robert Gibbs doing his dismal little hand joke in front of the press corps as he did the other day, this is a man who is a buffoon and he's representing the chief executive of the global super power.
He's not helping the president. And the president is not helping himself by keeping him and these three other Chicago guys, the — well, you know go back to that corpseman thing. They're really the corpsemen. The four corpsemen of the Obamacalypse.
HANNITY: Well, I —
STEYN: And they're the only people that he knew because he didn't know anyone apart from guys from his Chicago machine.
HANNITY: On a day ironically that he's doing this with his hand and attacking Governor Palin is the very same day that the president saying well, it's too contentious in Washington and we got to have a dialogue.
But what I want to know is Democrats are blaming Rahmbo, "Dead Fish."
HANNITY: They're blaming him for the health care debacle. Paul Krugman, of all people, saying that Obama is clueless and America is doomed. Is the left actually turning on the anointed one?
STEYN: Yes, I think so. The reality is, of course, that he had no executive experience. You said that, I said that at the time. People mocked, as they still do, Sarah Palin because she'd only had run a state and she'd town and she's run a commercial fishing operation.
And I said at the time — I reprised the old Jesse Jackson line that Barack Obama hadn't run nothing but his mouth. And the trouble is, for the first time in his life he has to get up in the morning, he's to get into the office at 9:00 in the morning, and make executive decisions.
And he's never had to do that. I mean the only job he ever really had was at Harvard Law Review. And I gather he just sort of breezed in a couple of days a week and glad-handed a couple of people and then breezed out again.
He's never had to do a job and make executive decisions. And he's hopeless at them.
HANNITY: And the point is, Wilder is right. But I don't see anything but arrogance, willingness to admit their faults in this rigid ideology that he adheres to. So —
HANNITY: So one's got to wonder, we've got this billboard in Minnesota that — with the picture of George W. Bush, "Do you miss me yet?"
HANNITY: And Nancy Pelosi earlier today laughed off the idea that she may not be speaker of the House, you know, in a year from now. Are they that out of touch?
STEYN: I think there's a kind of bunker mentality setting in. Incidentally, if you wanted to elect the first black president, a guy like Doug Wilder is the guy you should elect. A guy who has been governor. A guy who has had a job.
And he must recognize that it is patently absurd having an unqualified man who's not up to the job and has let far left people like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid — these aren't fringe people, they are central to the Democratic Party leadership — run away with his agenda. It's been disastrous for him.
HANNITY: All right, Mark Steyn, good to hear from you. Thanks for being with us. We look forward when you fill in for Rush. Thanks for being here. And —
STEYN: Thanks a lot, Sean.
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