This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 17, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Wisconsin has reached a boiling point. Protests are growing after Governor Scott Walker stepped up and made a very clear to unions that they've had eaten their last free lunch in his state.
Now the controversy began when Governor Walker unveiled his budget which would eliminate collective bargaining rights for most state workers. Now the move is intended to help gain control of Wisconsin's perilous economic situation.
Now today, a vote was scheduled to be held on the governor's budget. However, all Democratic state senators cowardly fled the Capitol building and went into hiding to prevent a vote from taking place. It was only later this afternoon that they were found held up at an Illinois resort.
Now meanwhile today, union members took to the streets yet again in protests, and thousands of teachers who would be affected by the measure refused to show up for work. Now that selfish move even forced a number of schools after shutdown.
But what may shock you is what it is going on inside the protests that you've been seeing. Now take a closer look at the vitriol and the violent rhetoric being spewed by these left-wing unions at these rallies, comparing the government to Hitler and Mussolini and even calling him a dictator and some other names by the way we cannot show you on the air.
Now this is what happens when you disagree with the left-wing in America. And here with more on this developing situation is Brian Schimming, he is the vice chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party. He attended the protest where that video was shot. And also joining us tonight is the Republican Senate Majority Leader in Wisconsin, state Senator Scott Fitzgerald.
Gentlemen, welcome to "Hannity."
STATE SENATOR SCOTT FITZGERALD, R-WIS.: Thank you.
BRIAN SCHIMMING, CHAIRMAN, WISCONSIN REPUBLICAN PARTY: Good evening, Sean.
HANNITY: All right. Senator, let me ask you, I understand you found your colleagues, the Democratic colleagues?
FITZGERALD: Yes. That's right, we did. You know, we had the state troopers out looking for them. And, you know, they located a few of them. But the Republicans were there in the chamber today ready to go. And, you know, tomorrow we'll see if we can round them up and bring them in, so that we can do the people's business.
HANNITY: All right. Brian, you shot a lot of this video. We'll show this again here. And the governor is being called all sorts of names. As with you were out in the crowd, explain what we are watching, what we're seeing here and what else you saw, what you were hearing? And what is their biggest complaint in this?
SCHIMMING: Well, Sean, there's kind of a mob scene mentality down at our state capital this week. It has certainly increased everyday that has gone by. Today, I would say a little bit uglier. The state senate wanted to meet today and pass the governor's budget repair bill. The crowds have gotten ugly. And now, late today we find out that organizing for America, the president's former campaign group has now sent operatives into the state. So, we have thousands and thousands of public employees that have essentially walked off their jobs the last 24 hours to come down and be part of this protest. It happened today. It will very likely happen again tomorrow.
HANNITY: I think this is a big part of the program specially based on the president's remarks about unions today in support of these unions. Now, is the president supporting these -- you know, for all the criticism of the Tea Party movement and all the false accusations, there you have your governor who has a $3.6 billion shortfall, senator, he's being compared to Adolf Hitler, he's being called names I can't even mention on this program. And now we find that the president's own groups organizing for America and the DNC are involved in this?
FITZGERALD: Yes. It is troubling because I think we're at the point now where they're really trying to shutdown government. They're really trying to squelch not only the majority party but I think the governor in just allowing us to make the case that, you know, some of the concessions that the governor is looking for are reasonable. I think many working people, working families in Wisconsin are really on our side on this. It is starting to build on the other side saying, listen, these are not demands that are out of line. This makes a lot of sense.
HANNITY: So, basically what they are saying here Brian, is that the governor is saying, look, we've got a $3.6 billion shortfall in the state. And we've got major problems financially. And just like people in the private sector, you're going to have to contribute a little bit to your pension. You're going to have to contribute a little bit to your health care, the equivalent of what, $200 a month. And, you're going to have to -- we can no longer have business as usual. And as a result, this is the reaction that we get? How do you describe this?
SCHIMMING: How I describe this Sean is, Wisconsin is broke. As you mentioned, Governor Doyle, the outgoing Democrat governor and the Democrat legislature left to our new Republican governor legislator, Governor Scott Walker, this mess. They left it behind for him to cleanup. The voters said in November, they wanted him to clean it up. And this is the reaction we get. It is sad, because we have some of the best health care for our public employees in the country. We have the best retirement plan for our public employees in the country. And so, just to pay a little bit, much, much less, much less than anybody in the private sector. I don't think that's unfair.
HANNITY: Well, I think that's why, I think this is going to back fire. Especially now that we see the president, and organized labor, and, you know, this unholy alliance between the Democratic Party and labor. Now, you know, all these teachers that didn't show up at work today Senator, if they were at these rallies and they called in sick, is there any action you could take? If we remember when President Reagan fired the air traffic controllers and took on that union and he gave them a deadline. The deadline passed, they were all fired. Is this an option that the state could use?
FITZGERALD: Yes, there's obviously talked about transitioning into the classroom with other teachers. But really, what is at stake, Sean, I think is that some of these parents are starting to see that, you know, the teachers' union here in Wisconsin tipped the scales their way, many years ago with the public employee unions. And all we are trying to do is restore some fairness to the discussion. Empower the school boards, empower the county boards and empower the mayors across the state to be able to sit down and negotiate. Eighty percent of the budgets at those levels of government are eaten up by salaries and benefits. And that's why people have said, enough is enough. The private sector can't keep up. And, you know, that's what we are trying to do -- reasonable discussion back.
HANNITY: Brian, last question. What was the most hateful thing that you heard or saw when you were down there today?
SCHIMMING: The governor, Governor Walker being compared to Hitler and Mussolini. The tone was definitely uglier today, Sean, down at the State Capital. Those protesters maybe frustrated, but I'll tell you, Governor Walker, his main aim here is to bring some fairness to taxpayers. As you mention, we are $3.5 billion in the hole because of the mess they left to Scott Walker in the Republican legislature. He ran to clean it up. It's what he is going to do. And they are being ugly about it. And I think that taxpayers will resent it.
HANNITY: I got to tell you something. What we see in your state, I predict you'll going to see in states like New York, maybe even New Jersey, Illinois, California and ultimately the federal government, as they sustain debt and eventually the adults come to clean up the mess. And people, well wait a minute you promised me all of this. This is just the beginning, that's my prediction.
But guys, I appreciate you being with us.
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