Boehner's Closing Argument in GOP's Final Push to Take Back Congress
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," October 4, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: We are in the final stretch before the midterm elections. And the polls show Democrats have a lot to lose this November, including Nancy Pelosi's beloved speaker seat.
A new Rasmussen poll shows her approval rating plummeting with only 37 percent approving of her job performance and a staggering 59 percent saying they disapprove. Now maybe this has something to do with the fact that Democrats keep ignoring the will of you, the American people.
In fact, they're packing their bags, they're running home to campaign, pushing a vote on the Bush tax cuts until after the election.
Now meanwhile Republicans are pushing their Pledge to America, offering ideas on how to get the country back on track.
And joining me now with reaction is -- in studio the House minority leader, Ohio Congressman John Boehner.
Congressman, good to see you, welcome aboard.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO, HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Sean, nice to see you.
HANNITY: Appreciate your being -- now one interesting point about you. You never took an earmark. How many years you've been in Congress?
BOEHNER: It's my 20th year.
HANNITY: Why did you make that pledge so long ago?
BOEHNER: I told my constituents in a primary in 1990 that if they thought my job was to come to Washington and rob the public treasury on their behalf, they voted for the wrong guy. I set up, I meant it, it's who I am and I've never taken one.
HANNITY: Well, first of all, what do you make of these polls that we're showing here about Speaker Pelosi and her plummeting poll numbers?
BOEHNER: I've been in 100 cities in America this year. It doesn't make any difference, big towns, small town, the east coast, west coast, the American people are outraged with what Washington is doing.
They are tired of all the spending. They're tired of all the debt. And they keep asking the question, where are the jobs?
HANNITY: Well, the jobs aren't there. All right, so, last week I found it very interesting, because here we are in some states when you look at the real unemployment numbers, upwards of 17, 18 percent, when you include the underemployed, those that have given up looking for jobs. I mean, really, really high unemployment.
The Bush tax cuts are set to expire all the way across the board. The president seemed to lay down the gauntlet a few weeks ago, saying that he was going to play the class warfare card, and that this -- seemingly that was going to be vote that made the difference for them and created a comparison.
What happened? How do you leave town without voting on this?
BOEHNER: We had the votes in the Congress, Democrats and Republicans in a bipartisan way to extend all of the current tax rates. Nancy Pelosi decided, let's just not have the vote because I'm going to lose.
BOEHNER: Sean, I've got two brothers that are unemployed. I've got two brother-in-laws that are unemployed. I understand what's going on out in America. And I used to be a small employer. And with all of the uncertainty that's out there coming from this administration and this Congress and the policies they're advocating, every employer in America is scared to death. They're locked down.
And until the uncertainty begins to clear you're not going to see the economy improve. And one of those big uncertain activities is taxes. What are the tax rates going to be at the end of the year?
HANNITY: I'd like to know.
BOEHNER: People aren't going to -- going to invest until they know what the rates are. They can't calculate on a return on investment until they know what is the tax rate?
HANNITY: What did you make -- I found this on the -- I found it interesting, the president goes to Ohio. I think he mentioned you, what, nine times in his speech.
BOEHNER: Eight. Excuse me.
HANNITY: So eight times. Excuse me. I didn't -- obviously you're paying closer attention than I am.
BOEHNER: I'm not, but somebody else does.
HANNITY: All right. The attacks have continued. I mean they are as ridiculous and inane as you have a great tan and you like the president occasionally smoke cigarettes. I mean that seems to be the overall -- why do you think the president singled you out for these attacks seemingly out of nowhere?
BOEHNER: Sean, they're desperate to make this election about anything other than themselves.
This election is going to be a referendum on their job killing policies, one of which is cap-and-trade, the health care bill, the financial regulatory bill, the failed stimulus bill. And they've got to make the election about something other than themselves. And -- so I'm not surprised that they've picked me out as a target.
HANNITY: Well, because you may be -- very well be the next speaker of the House so obviously. But it seems so close to an election that that's something they really got to build on. They just can't come out and say attack John Boehner.
No offense to you, by the way, a lot of people --
BOEHNER: They don't know who I am.
HANNITY: Probably don't know who you are.
BOEHNER: I'm a regular guy with a big job. But, you know, if you look earlier this summer they trotted out this whole immigration reform effort. It had nothing to do about passing immigration reform. It was all about trying gin up Hispanic voters to show up and vote for them.
And then the White House prods the NAACP to go out and begin to call the Tea Party racist. Why? As an effort to try to gin up African- Americans to vote for Democrats.
Their biggest problem this election is Democrats do not want to show up and are not going to show because they're disappointed and feel betrayed by this administration.
HANNITY: What are the closing arguments? Because you're going around the country saying you've been to 100 cities. There are a lot of guys running for Congress. They need to make their closing arguments. They've got 29 days to do it.
What should the closing argument, besides the Pledge to America, which you did outline and we spent a lot of time talking about and highlighting on the program. What should the closing argument be if you were to advise any of these candidates that are running that would vote for you for speaker?
BOEHNER: It's real clear. Their policies have failed. They've been out there with all of their policies and they've failed. The American people are still asking, where are the jobs?
Republicans have learned our lesson. And we will make this admission. We made our share of mistakes when we had the majority. We've learned our lesson. And if you've watched what we've done over the last 20 months, we stood on principle. We offered what we thought were better solutions and we always went out to communicate with the American people.
And if in fact we're elected to the majority you're going to see us cut spending. You're going to see us revive the economy and reform the way Congress does it job.
HANNITY: And repeal health care?
BOEHNER: And repeal health care.
HANNITY: What is your relationship with the president like?
BOEHNER: We get along fine. You know --
HANNITY: You don't smoke cigarettes together?
BOEHNER: No, we don't. But first thing that happens is, you know, I come in and he'll say Boehner, you're almost as dark as me.
HANNITY: Is that what he says to you?
BOEHNER: You know, I listen. We talk about golf. We'll talk about our skin color. We have a nice relationship. The problem we have is that when we talk to each other, there's no connection.
You know, I've got 11 brothers and sisters. My dad owned a bar. I was a small business guy long before I got into this business. And when I talk about the real world, it doesn't seem to register.
HANNITY: Do you think he has the capacity -- let's assume that you take over the House. Let's say there's an outside shot the Republicans take over the Senate. Do you think he has the capacity to move to the center the way Bill Clinton did and work with the Republicans? Because I don't see that side of him.
BOEHNER: Well --
HANNITY: When you work with him --
BOEHNER: Sean, Sean.
HANNITY: Bill talks to you.
BOEHNER: Sean, Bill Clinton could be for anything on any given day and convince the American people that he has always sincerely from the beginning of his life always been there. He was a really good politician.
President Obama was the most liberal member of the United States Senate for the four years served there. That's really hard to do.
HANNITY: You don't -- so you don't see him learning from the Clinton model? In other words -- at least trying -- look, the era of big government is over, the end of welfare as we know it. You don't hear those words coming out of Barack Obama's mouth?
BOEHNER: No. And I know that Republicans, if we in fact get back in charge, we're going to fight for a smaller, less costly and more accountable government. And to the extent the president wants to work with us on that agenda, we'd welcome his support.
HANNITY: Last question -- how much can you accomplish in a divided government situation? You could -- you could repeal health care, he's not going to sign it. You can cut spending, he's not going to go along. What does that mean?
BOEHNER: There'll be no tax increases, there'll be no cap-and-trade. There'll be no increases in spending. There are a lot of things that we can do, including doing everything we can to stop the health care bill, which in my view will ruin the best health care system in the world and bankrupt our country.
HANNITY: All right. Good to see you.
BOEHNER: Nice to see you.
HANNITY: Minority Leader Boehner, thanks for being here.
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