Debt and jobs up for debate after Obama's State of the Union

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," January 24, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Now we go to the other side of the aisle to get a Democrat's perspective on tonight's speech. And joining me now is New Jersey Congressman Robert Andrews. Mr. Andrews, sir, welcome back. How are you, congressman?

REP. ROBERT ANDREWS, D-N.J.: Hey, Sean. Thanks for the marathon coverage tonight.

HANNITY: Well, listen, you know what? We're here and you know what? Glad to follow the president. He took my time slot. But that is OK.

In light of -- I want to go back, the Republican National Committee came out with an ad today. It reminds people of something that Barack Obama himself has said. And I think it's legitimate. He has had three years, two years with a House and a Senate of Democrats. Here is what he said about what would happen if he didn't turn things around by now.


PRESIDENT OBAMA: If I don't have this done in three years, then there is going to be a one term opposition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here we are four years later and they can't find a job, why should they support him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We live in an economy with 13 million people out of work, 4million people of work for more than a year.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: Forty nine million Americans living below the poverty line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Undo influence by Obama campaign supporters.

CLINTON: Things ARE not going in the right direction. They're going in the wrong direction.

OBAMA: Well, I don't think they're better off than they were four years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Republican National Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.


HANNITY: If I don't get this done, it is a one term proposition. I don't think people are better off. We've had a downgrade. We've had five trillion dollars in new Obama debt. I assume you're going to blame George Bush for all this?

ANDREWS: Not really, Sean. I'm going to say this, that the economy was in awful shape when the president took over. It got worse for a while. Businesses have added 3.1 million new jobs since the spring of 2010. And I think the question that the electorate will decide is whether the direction the president has put the country is working or not, and whether they want to change to whatever the Republicans offer.

I do think speech was well founded, in that it spent most of the time talking about what he wants to do, which I think is what people want to hear about, rather than whose fault it was we got to where we are.

HANNITY: I -- we've got to examine whether he's been successful as president. He says in July of 2008, early July, 2008, that George Bush was irresponsible and unpatriotic because of a $4 trillion debt. He's accumulated more than that in one term. He promised shovel-ready jobs. He promised unemployment would below eight percent. We've lost 2 million jobs since -- net 2 million jobs since he's been president. No president in modern times has ever lost jobs on -- in the first term. Tell me what he's done that deserves a second term.

ANDREWS: I would argue there's three things, Sean, that the month he took office, the economy lost 700,000 jobs. It's now gained jobs for each of about the last 18 months, 3.1 million since the spring of 2010. Second --

HANNITY: Wait, I've got to call you out on that. That's not true. We're losing -- unemployment numbers, new filings are going up. But the month of December aside, 400,000 each and every week -- or each and every month.


HANNITY: No, that is a fact. We don't even count -- we are no longer counting people that are still unemployed or underemployed if their 99 weeks runs out. That is not accurate.

ANDREWS: Sean, I'm not talking about the unemployment rate. I'm talking about the net number of new jobs in the economy, in the private sector, is 3.1 million jobs higher than it was in March of 2010. Not talking about the rate. I'm talking about the --

HANNITY: March of 2010? He became president in what year -- in January of 2009. We've lost a net two million jobs.

ANDREWS: There had been a meltdown on Wall Street in September and October. And that problem metastasized. The economy was shrinking I think by 15 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009.

Second accomplishment, and I think you have to give credit to the intelligence community, to some of the Bush policies that were in effect. But he made a decisive move and led the effort that got Osama bin Laden. I think that is a pretty important thing to do.

HANNITY: Credit. I appreciate that you also give the Bush intelligence and Gitmo and rendition credit.


HANNITY: I concede that point. But here's my question back at you: $5 trillion in new debt. He said he'd cut the deficit in half. We're not -- I didn't hear him talking about saving Social Security and Medicare tonight. Five trillion in new debt. What did we get for $5 trillion?

ANDREWS: The best way to reverse debt is to have private sector job growth. He's put us on that track. Let me say one thing about the debt and deficit. He did make another proposal tonight. We've done two trillion in deficit reduction with the August 1st law. That's all spending cuts. I heard him tonight reiterate that he would do another trillion dollars in Medicare and Medicaid and some restraint on Social Security -- I'm for that -- if there were a trillion dollars in new revenue coming from the top three or four or five percent. That is an offer he had on the table this summer. I think it's an offer that Speaker Boehner ought to accept. That would get us another $2 trillion in deficit reduction. I think we ought to do it.

HANNITY: All right, congressman, one of the few Democrats that will come near me. The rest or your colleagues are a little bit afraid and wimpy. I think they need to man up and come on and battle back and forth. It wasn't too painful.

ANDREWS: It wasn't painful at all. I've had root canal. This was a lot better. But I think this is -- this is all about the First Amendment, Sean. I'd love to come back.

HANNITY: Good to see you, Congressman. We'll be spending our lifetimes paying off this debt. But we'll get into that next time.

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