This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 18, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And the summer of town halls continues across America tonight. Now, for weeks, we've seen concerned citizens from coast to coast go face-to- face with their elected representatives and they have been speaking out against the prospect of government-run health care.
And tonight Congressman Barney Frank, a man who's no stranger to shouting matches, he jumped into this health care debate. He held a town hall in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. That just finished a few moments ago. And our own Griff Jenkins was there to witness all of this. And he joins us now live with an update. Griff?
GRIFF JENKINS: Sean, leave it to Barney Frank to take a different tack with town hall meetings. He met them head on. He was as contentious and cantankerous with the audience as anyone I've seen. There was about 300 people in this room. It ended just minutes ago. Going nearly 2 1/2 hours.
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In the early part of the meeting, Sean, the Democrat Dartmouth party chair here had to try to escort someone out. Take a look at what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out.
HOUSE FINANCIAL SERVICES CHAIRMAN BARNEY FRANK, D-MASS.: Wait. Wait, I think — let him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't worry about it?
FRANK: No. I've just asked the chairman — I've asked the chairman to ignore the disruptions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JENKINS: And that chairman trying to offer both sides to be heard. Sean, we heard more of folks giving a referendum on Washington. They're upset with the deficit spending. They're upset with this being — with the speed at which things are being done. Here's a sampling of some of the questions we heard from the audience tonight. Have a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANK: I'm just curious, do you really think that's thoughtful conversation? Do you really think that advances your argument? I mean I thought you were thoughtful people here to have a conversation. I guess I — is it because you don't like what I'm saying that you don't want me to say it? What's the matter with you all?
I don't understand your mentality. What do you think you accomplish by yelling? What, what.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JENKINS: And he talked down to the audience as you saw. In fact, the discussion evolved into a discussion about whether or not Congressman Frank was putting people down. One audience member literally said, "Why are you putting us down?" Take a look.
OK. We don't have that but it colors it.
Now, Sean, you opened up by talking about the public option. I was able to talk with Barney Frank just moments ago about the public auction. He said, look, would you sign a bill that does not include a public option and he said that's in discussion. He is negotiating that. And I'm not negotiating with you, talking about me, because I don't have a vote.
So that was a dodge answer. He came here to provoke, as much as he didn't answer question. And it got very, very hot in here. We can expect, Sean, one more town hall meeting that Barney Frank alluded to and likely we'll be there. Back to you.
HANNITY: All right. And thank, Griff. And joining me now to discuss all of this is Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. And I call her the second most hated Republican woman in the country. Second to Governor Palin, which is a good position.
Congresswoman, welcome back to the show.
CONGRESSWOMAN MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN.: Sean, always a thrill to be with you. Thank you.
HANNITY: What do you make — I'm watching Barney Frank and it doesn't really surprise me. And he's got a very safe district. But the arrogance, the condescension, you know, the battling with the voters. Something's changed and I can't quite pinpoint what it is. I've never seen voters attack this way. Have you?
BACHMANN: Well, the great thing is that members of Congress are at home this August and they are having an opportunity to be able to actually hear from normal Americans about how they feel about this health care proposal rather than the lobbyists that have been swirling through the halls of Congress.
This is a wonderful thing, we're actually seeing democracy in action. And it'll be very difficult for members of Congress to go back to Washington, D.C., in September and clearly vote against their constituents' interests. None of them can say now that they didn't realize where the heartbeat of the American public is. And we'll soon see if the liberals in Congress are listening to regular Americans.
HANNITY: Well, we're going to see but we have — we'll show this later in the program tonight. We have a congressman literally on tape saying that he will vote against the best interests of his district because of his ideology. Now that does not seem — I always thought that it was the job of the representatives to represent their districts, their constituents. Has something changed?
BACHMANN: No, that's exactly what it is. That's what the Constitution requires. And it's interesting, a lot of members of Congress may have forgotten what their Constitution says but again, it is not within our power as members of Congress, it's not within the enumerated powers of the Constitution for us to design and create a national takeover of health care.
Nor is it within our ability to be able to delegate that responsibility to the executive. We need to listen to our constituents. And they're telling us from Alaska, to Hawaii to Florida, to Maine, to Minnesota, to Texas, do not have the federal government take over health care. And members of Congress will vote against their constituents at their peril.
HANNITY: What do you make of this internal battle within the Democratic Party? And we'll get into this in some detail later, but you know, Congressman Anthony Weiner says, hey, you threw us under the bus, and that there's going to be a hundred Democrats in the House that if you don't have that government option, we're bailing on this bill.
What do you make of the internal strike and the trial balloon that was floated this weekend?
BACHMANN: Well, I think you're exactly right. I think that there is an effort made to call the public option a co-op or something other than public option in order to maybe fool the public and to buy support from both Blue Dogs and the liberals.
It's not going to work. What we know now, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have both said, it does not matter what you call it, it's a public auction. The American people need to realize they've been extremely effective with Congress. Now is not the time to give up.
Now is not the time to take the pressure off because they will move forward with some level of a public option. It may not be the full option they wanted but it will be incrementally in that direction. And if they have to wait a couple of years to get the public option, they'll do it. If they can lay the ground works. So the American people need to rise up with one voice and say no to going down that road.
HANNITY: Yes. All right. You see, I think they're playing word games here. And as much as.
BACHMANN: Sure. That's it.
HANNITY: I think this is all part of a strategy. All right, so now we'll it something else. We'll call it a co-op.
HANNITY: But if the government ultimately decides who's covered, if the government decides, you know, what people can charge, if the government decides what care you ultimately get, it still destroys the public free market system, the private insurance system. Doesn't it?
BACHMANN: Yes, because it's government control and it's government mandate. The government either will mandate that you do something, that's the hidden tax. Or they'll do it to themselves. Clearly they're not going in the direction people want to go.
I hail from Minnesota, we are known for innovation in health care. We have great medical schools. We created the Mayo Clinic. We have a gentleman who in his garage invented the pacemaker and turned it into a world class company Medtronic. We are the leader of innovation. That's what we won't have under the government taking over health care. We will under free market.
HANNITY: One of the things the White House and the president, particularly the message he's trying to send, is that these town halls aren't real, this is manufactured and the only thing the American people don't quite get it yet.
Just as I was coming down on air here, I saw a headline, a preview on the Drudge Report that it's going to be a New York Times article this morning that the Democrats are willing to go it alone. If they go it alone, what does that mean politically for them?
BACHMANN: Well, if they go it alone, I think they'll really be alone in November, 2010, because the American people are very intelligent people. Members of Congress may not read these bills, the American people do read these bills and they won't let their representatives in Congress alone come November of 2010.
The House Republicans have taken this very seriously. We are listening to our constituents, we're holding town hall meetings. And we're hearing exactly what the Democrats are hearing and it's going to be a very tough time for them in November of 2010.
HANNITY: It's interesting. In all 50 states, more people identify themselves as conservatives.
BACHMANN: Yes. That's right.
HANNITY: Nationwide, 40 percent of the American people identify themselves as conservative. Only 20 percent identify themselves as liberal.
So let me ask you this. If the government option is now been dropped, if they dropped the death panels, if they dropped the provision to rat on your neighbor, provision on the government Web site, and now they're not going to mass e-mail people, isn't that evidence that those grandmothers that are showing up, and those veterans that are showing up, and those stay-at-homes, those angry mobsters, that they've had a real profound effect this August?
I have not witnessed this in my lifetime such as a strong impact by the public. Have you?
BACHMANN: No, you're exactly right. And what it says — again how effective real Americans can be in this forum, and that's why, like Winston Churchill said this is not the end, this is not the beginning of the end, this may not even be the end of the beginning.
We need to keep this up because President Obama told the House Republicans in a private meeting, even if he's a one- term president, he intends to go forward with his agenda. So the American people are forewarned. We need to keep our antenna up.
BACHMANN: And hold them accountable.
HANNITY: All right, Congresswoman. Still haven't figured out why liberals don't like you so much. I think it's because you actually believe in the Constitution. But we're honored to have you here. Welcome back.
BACHMANN: Hey, thank you. And come visit us in the House sometime. We'd love to hear you.
HANNITY: I would love — I will take you up on that offer. Thank you, Congresswoman. Appreciate it.
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