This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 22, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And tonight in Your America, new video could help prove that Barack Obama's ties to ACORN may have been more extensive than he previously disclosed. First, take a look at what the president had to say about ACORN at the height of the scandal last year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, SEPT. 20, 2009: Frankly it's not really something I followed closely. I didn't even know that ACORN was getting a whole slot of federal money.
George, this is not the biggest issue facing the country. It's not something I'm paying a lot of attention to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: But the president hasn't always had this passive attitude towards ACORN. This next video uncovered by Congressman Darrell Issa shows how Senator Barack Obama once characterized his ties to that group.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: And I definitely welcome ACORN's input. You don't have to ask me about that. I'm going to call you even if you didn't ask me.
When I ran Project Vote, voter registration drive in Illinois, you know, ACORN was smack-dab in the middle of it.
Once I was elected, there wasn't a campaign that ACORN worked on down in Springfield that I wasn't right there with you.
Since I've been in the United States Senate I've been always a partner with ACORN as well.
I've been fighting with ACORN, alongside ACORN, on issues you care about, my entire career.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: All right, that does not sound like the same person we heard from back in September, now does it? But even with an ally in the White House, ACORN is falling on hard times. According to officials close to that group, ACORN has now, in fact, dissolved themselves as a, quote, "national structure."
Joining me now with more on ACORN and this controversial video is the president — of the president is the man who uncovered it, Congressman Darrell Issa of California.
Congressman, good to see you.
REP. DARRELL ISSA, R-CALIF.: Thanks for having me on, Sean. And thanks for noting that they're in consolidation but not gone.
HANNITY: Well, I think the president has a credibility problem. When.
ISSA: You think?
HANNITY: All right, laugh on — all right, laugh on national TV. I'm stating the obvious. But even Jay Rockefeller of all people — you know, he said, I'm having a hard time believing this guy. As a Democrat saying that.
With every change, in other words, obviously, there's a flip and flop here. You know same thing, everything is going to be on C-SPAN, no earmarks, no lobbyists. With every broken promise what does it do to his credibility?
ISSA: Well, you notice those polls of approve/disapprove. People don't really disapprove of a president when the economy is no worse than it was, perhaps better than it was when he came into office.
They disapprove when they've lost confidence. And things like his support of the Service Employee International, the number one person to visit the White House is the head of a labor union closely connected to ACORN. That makes him look disingenuous when he says, I hardly know about it, it's not my main issue, when in fact it is a big part of his win at the Senate level and of course at president's level.
HANNITY: When you watch that new video from when he was Senator Obama, what do you take from that?
ISSA: Well, what I take from it that he understands the importance of a very corrupt organization that took federal money, state money, private money, charity money and government hand-outs, and did political campaigning for certain Democrats.
And it's very important to remember, they pick which Democrats they liked in the case of Al Win they actually helped defeat him because he wasn't their kind of Democrat.
HANNITY: All right, there was original talk that ACORN had been defunded and then there was a pushback and people are saying no, that's not legal, et cetera, et cetera, although Congress determines how money is spent so I'm not really sure where that came from.
So the next question is, I read last week that they're getting $3 billion of taxpayer money. Did I read that wrong?
ISSA: You read right that they were eligible for and they were in the queue for several billion dollars worth of money. A court in New York basically put a stay on Congress for the time being. It's been a back and forth ping-pong. But what it boils down to is, as soon as we take the pressure off of their past and continued criminal activities, they will get funded again as long as the Democrats are in charge. And this is an important tool of theirs.
HANNITY: All right, Congressman, let's look forward to Thursday in this health care summit. I'm suspicious. I think is a PR stunt. What do you think about it? And do you think that they — the Republicans should follow Newt Gingrich's advice? Guarantee they get half the time or they walk out of meeting. What do you think?
ISSA: Well, I certainly think the Republicans have to speak. That bipartisan is not simply we go to hear you lecture us and then we either sign or don't sign on to a done deal.
And I think Dick Morris said it very well. We have a great many doctors who understand the problems from their own years in practice who have never been asked, never been listened to, and for whom this health care reform bill does nothing to help them practice good medicine at an affordable price.
HANNITY: You know I thought we just elected or the people of Massachusetts elected this one senator that was campaigning on the idea that he was the 41st vote against this bill. So I think like a lot of other Americans, I thought OK, now the health care debate is over.
If they use reconciliation and they don't go with the super majority, they go with 51, what do you think the political consequence of that choice will be?
ISSA: Well, you know, everyone gets to break the rules once before they're held accountable. In the House they've been breaking the rules for three years and have not been held accountable. But I think the Senate is such a collegial body that there really is an ongoing pushback even among Democrats who find it incredibly hard to support decades — centuries of tradition being overturned in the name of one piece of legislation.
You have to understand. We didn't use these kind of techniques when we were fighting over civil rights. When we were trying to overturn one after another, bad ideas or good ideas.
This is wrong to do. And Democrats in many cases are going to vote against.
HANNITY: All right. Last question, the president keeps saying that he's open to any new ideas, anybody has ideas, I have an open door. I'm willing to hear anything.
Are Republicans — have they been a part of the process? Have they been allowed to be in these meetings? Have they been in the oval office with the president?
ISSA: Well, Sean, as you know we've been locked out. We've locked out by Pelosi, by Reid and by the president. But most importantly, when the president came on that Thursday to our retreat and Jason Chaffetz said, what if you broke these down into the things you say you agree with? The 80 percent kind of issues?
Why can't we just pass the things, at least initially, that we agree with on a bipartisan basis including on health care? And the president acted as though it might be a good idea. But now we haven't heard a word about the idea. There are things in health care reform that both sides could come together and vote for that the American people want and need.
HANNITY: All right, Congressman, good to see you. Thanks for being —
ISSA: Thanks, Sean.
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