Can the GOP's 'Pledge' Produce the Same Results as 1994's 'Contract'?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," September 23, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And there are only 40 days remaining until voters head to the polls. And today was without question a day that belonged to the Republican Party. Now looking to restore America's confidence in their government House GOP leaders officially unveiled their Pledge to America earlier today in Virginia.

Now standing shoulder to shoulder with the man who could soon be the next speaker of the House, John Boehner, the party promised to -- among other things -- cut government spending, repeal Obama care, secure the border.

Take a look.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, R-CALIF.: We pledge to you that we will create jobs. End economic uncertainty and make America more competitive. We will cut Washington wasteful spending and reduce the size of government. And we will reform Congress and restore your trust in government.


HANNITY: Now today's event occurred nearly 16 years to the day when Newt Gingrich and his Republican colleagues introduced their Contract with America. And it was that pledge that helped secure the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994.

So will this pledge produce the same results just 40 days from now? Let me bring in one of the authors of "Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders," California congressman, Kevin McCarthy who, with John Boehner -- who today credited with putting the pledge together.

Congressman, welcome back.

MCCARTHY: Hey. Thanks for having me, Sean.

HANNITY: All right. I'm going to admit there's a lot of differences between the Contract and this. But that was by design.

What was your thinking as you helped author this?

MCCARTHY: Well, what we're thinking was, what are items that we can do right now to make the country better? Create jobs. Cut spending. Reform Congress itself.

These are all bills that can be taken up right now before Congress departs that actually moves us forward. And you know National Review came out and said it's actually bolder than the Contract. It can actually make government smaller and the country more prosperous.

HANNITY: All right, but now, because it's more broad, a lot of principles. What I liked especially is in the beginning of this document when your preamble and you -- this to me hit home for a lot of people.

America is more than a country. It's an idea that people can govern themselves. That government powers are derived from the consent of the governed.

You quote the Declaration, you quote the Constitution. You talk about first principles at length here.

I guess the only question I think some people may have is, and you've been addressing this, the idea that the Contract worked, but then some Republicans lost their way. How does this document hold you accountable?

MCCARTHY: Well, see, that's exactly why we did the preamble. You know, what he say in the book of "Young Guns" with Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor, we say Republicans were fired because they did lose their way from the Contract.

That's why we lay out in the preamble what the future holds. What is this new conservative party going to be about? And we instill that trust in the Constitution. That's the things that we're going to fight for. And that's why we lay out that automatically in the Pledge to America that we're going to cut spending.

We do it right now, not next year, but now where we roll them back to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout, save $100 billion right now. That every bill that comes to the floor has to show their constitutional authority on the bill itself.


MCCARTHY: If we help small business where jobs are actually created.

HANNITY: Yes. All right. So you talk about you're going to stop tax hikes. You're are going to have tax cuts which is what you're fighting for. Obviously you want the extension of the Bush tax cuts which is now being debated.

And end needless regulation you talk about. And repeal health care. When you say repeal health care, no option, repeal the entire bill?

MCCARTHY: We say repeal the entire bill. We come back in with things we would replace it with. Tort reform, which it did not have. Insurance across state lines to help drive the cost down and greater choice.

We take care of preexisting conditions. And we instill the patient- doctor relationship and make that stronger instead of the insurance company.

HANNITY: Well, which I think -- these are all things that I agree with. And I think all things -- I don't think the time for half measures is now. I think --


HANNITY: If the country is headed to such a fiscal disaster with such debt and such deficits and reckless spending I think it's got to be a very bold move. How do you get this passed? And what happens, let's say Republicans in 40 days get control of the House of Representatives.

What does that mean when you have a divided government and a very radical, very liberal president of the United States?

MCCARTHY: Well, what that means is you don't sit back. You show leadership and you pass it out of the House. We know the Constitution gives the purse strings to the House. So we can start action right away.

And we can start moving the bills. Remember when Clinton was in power and the Republicans had the majority, they had to send welfare reform to him three times.

We will keep sending the bills to Obama, put them on his desk and challenge him to make this country better.

HANNITY: I just don't -- I don't see the pragmatism that Clinton had in President Obama. He's never shown anything but his adherence to his rigid ideology. Do you really believe that Barack Obama, in any way, shape, matter or form, will deal with any bill that repeals health care? Do you think he'd really support tax cuts across the board?

MCCARTHY: Well, the one thing I've seen he is not like Clinton, he won't move. Otherwise he would have left after the town hall meetings last August, or after Scott Brown won.


MCCARTHY: He just wants the bill on one side. But the difference that's going to happen after the next election he's going to be up for reelection.


MCCARTHY: So he's going to have to answer to the American public. They don't want this unemployment this high anymore. They want to see that shining city on the hill again. They want to recharge that light and we're not going to let it go out on our watch.

HANNITY: You know I used the line on radio today that you recognize that I interviewed Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan. You recognize, number one, that you got fired. Republicans got fired because they abandoned some of the principles that you write out there in the preamble.

In a sense, do you recognize that if in fact you get this election that you may be on probation especially with the mood of the country?

MCCARTHY: Very much so. And we've got to prove it. Now we've been trying to earn our way back. And I would tell you from the start of the stimulus bill where you saw every single Republican vote no, and we stood up to this president.

Because we knew it would not work. And you look time and time again. Just in the L.A. Times this weekend they spent 100 million on 50 jobs. It has failed. More people believe Elvis Presley is still alive than that stimulus created any jobs.

It was a Keynesian view that has failed. That's why we have earned the trust back and we will continue to do it when we put the preamble back. And more important we put the pledge.

We ask the American public to take the pledge. If you go to, print out the card, check it off with us as we go and fight to win this country back.

HANNITY: In that sense, is this not -- this is not a political document. Look, I wrote a book in March, "Conservative Victory." I didn't say Republican victory. Conservatives. I want conservatives, you know, that old Reagan conservative spirit, to come back to Washington.

You are saying that you are recognizing that there is a conservative ascendancy here. This is not a political document for the Republican Party.

MCCARTHY: No, this is not a Republican platform. Go find that. This is about things that can happen right now. And just -- like you did in your book when we wrote "Young Guns" it's about the conservative movement. It's not about the Republican movement.

HANNITY: And you --

MCCARTHY: It's about taking this country back.

HANNITY: And the president can't spend a dime without the approval of Congress. So you guys will have a lot of power if you just have divided government.

MCCARTHY: Could you only imagine with Paul Ryan being chairman of the Budget Committee? Not only would we have the power but Paul would out- smart the president each and every time.

HANNITY: I miss Charlie Rangel already. I don't know.


HANNITY: All right. Kevin McCarthy, thank you for being with us. A bold document. And I think it's going to play a very interesting part in this election. Thanks for being here.

MCCARTHY: Thanks for having me, Sean.

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