This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," January 29, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: As Republicans begin their march towards the 2010 midterm elections. Believe or not, there are already rumors about who may step up in 2012 and attempt to unseat the anointed one.
We've been following movements of several GOP heavyweights over the past few months and one thing that is always grabbing our attention is when one of these possible contenders steps foot in a key primary state. And wouldn't you know it, my next guest is headed to the great state of New Hampshire this weekend for a major event. He's here to tell us about it, former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. By the way, he has a free online newsletter at Newt.org.
Whenever I see that smile, I know that I'm not going to get the answer, but it just so happens you more than anybody right now are heading to let's see, New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina. So, you are thinking — you can come clean now. You are thinking about maybe running?
• Watch Sean's interview
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, I'm thinking about being helpful to the citizens who are concerned. Stuart, New Hampshire is going to have a tremendous training program on Saturday looking at new media. Looking for example at Scott Brown's great victory. Looking at what we can learn from Obama's campaign. And they asked me to come up for American Solutions and share a set of ideas about the things we are doing to try to expand the ability of citizens to be involved — how could I turn them down, Sean.
HANNITY: The Iowa affair, they are going to have fried Twinkies and corn on the cob. I mean — you know.
GINGRICH: Well, you know that Callista loves going back to Iowa so I can't turn her down.
HANNITY: All right, so I'm going to move on because I know I'm not going to get that answer. You've got that smile on your face and it just melts my ability to grill you on it. But certainly, I suspect that you are probably going to give this serious consideration and you said —
GINGRICH: Of course.
HANNITY: OK, first of all, let me move on to the issue. I think of Homeland Security, national security. Now this big news that broke as we were on the program late last night is that, in fact they are now they reconsidered this issue of KSM and the trial in New York.
Here's my question though, instinctively, they didn't think it was a bad idea. Instinctively they thought it was OK to give Miranda Rights to the Christmas Day bomber. Instinctively they say there is not a War on Terror. Instinctively, the president thinks he can negotiate with Iran without preconditions. I'm worried about their first instincts rather than where they eventually end because of public pressure. Do you have that issue?
GINGRICH: Well, first of all, you don't know where they are going to end up because they keep equivocating and maneuvering. I think if Mayor Bloomberg had not come out so aggressively against what he estimated to be a billion dollar waste of money, they might still be going to New York.
I don't think they are doing this because they are rethinking it. The obvious answer with KSM and the other terrorist is to try them in a military tribunal and try them in Cuba. We have a facility at Guantanamo and go ahead and use it.
Now, they are going to maneuver, dance, bob and weave and do all sorts of things. It is a terrible idea to take terrorists into a civilian criminal court under procedures which allow them to try to get American secrets out in the open. It is a terrible waste of money for the American taxpayer to fund that kind of effort. I agree entirely with Scott Brown who's one of his campaign promises kept telling people let's spend the money on equipment for American troops, not on lawyers for terrorists who are trying to kill Americans.
HANNITY: Well, I wouldn't — listen, I am hopeful, this is such a bad idea. It is going to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Frankly, I think put people's lives in jeopardy and at risk in New York. It is going to become a worldwide circus.
I would like them to reconsider maybe almost immediately in the 50 minutes we interviewed the Christmas Day bomber, he said more attacks are coming. He trained with people who are planning these attacks. Can we immediately begin interrogating that person? Is that something for reconsideration?
GINGRICH: Look, the first big threshold for President Obama to cross is to recognize we are at war. If you're at war, none of the criminal defense rules apply. When you're at war you are allowed to take an enemy combatant, the Christmas Day bomber is certainly an enemy combatant as is KSM, and you are allowed to have them interrogated professionally within the rules, but nonetheless interrogated by both the intelligence community and the military community. There is zero reason, zero reason, to give them Miranda Rights. They don't have Miranda Rights. They are not American citizens. Even American citizens would not have Miranda Rights if they were engaged in combat against the United States. Totally different set of rules.
HANNITY: I was asking you in the last couple of times you have been on the program, very specifically, if you thought that Barack Obama had the ability — and you witnessed this up close and personal, and maybe the tendencies or — for self preservation, the ability to move to the center, to the right, as Bill Clinton did on ending welfare as we know it. The era of big government is over. Was that question answered for you in the president's State of the Union on Wednesday night?
GINGRICH: Well, I thought it was a very weak State of the Union. I thought he was all over the place. He was pandering to every group, a little bit here, a little bit there. It was very disorganized. I thought his style was weak.
Actually, I got Peter Roth in U.S. news had the right analysis. He said he looked so small compared to a previous great speaker. He said no, I'm not referring to George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan, I'm talking about Obama the candidate. And I think if you look at how relatively lacking in authority he was last night, and compare it to what was like back as a candidate, this is sort of an amazing shrinking presidency, at the present time.
HANNITY: Did you think — have the impression I did that he almost, you know was attempting to get the chamber to rise and start chanting, "yes we can" that he sort of missed the old days of the praise and adulation.
GINGRICH: I thought he was floundering around, let me say that the — two of the places I was really truck by. One was the total explicit hypocrisy of speaker Nancy Pelosi, smiling and standing to applaud when he called for the end of earmarks.
I thought it was such a total act of hypocrisy, knowing that Chairman Obey has just asked for members to submit all earmark requests by March. I just — if you look at that particular clip, it is truly astounding the contempt she has for the American people and her belief that we are stupid enough to think that her applauding to means it has any meaning.
The other was when he was explicitly wrong about the Citizens United Supreme Court decision and my impression is that Justice Alito was saying that's wrong. If you watched his face at that moment, he sort of reacted involuntarily.
HANNITY: What is interesting about the president was wrong. And that is — here's the Supreme Court justice saying, not true. The justice didn't know he was on camera, but the president knew he was on camera.
Fairly unprecedented for a president to attack the Supreme Court that's in front of him with Congress and then get you know — the applause that followed. Orrin Hatch characterized it as rude, but more importantly on substance, the president was wrong when he said that foreign corporations can influence American elections because the ruling specifically said it does not. So what does that say about the constitutional lawyer from Harvard?
GINGRICH: Well, first of all, the Citizens United case and the work there is extraordinary important case and a historic landmark. My take is that the president's lawyers were as wrong about the Supreme Court as they are about trying terrorists. It should worry every American that the president is getting legal advice and he's just as factually out of touch with reality and is factually wrong.
HANNITY: All right, Mr. Speaker, stay right there. When we come back, I want to ask you, do you think the president's tone was angry? And I want you to sort of look into your crystal ball and tell us what you think is going to be happening for 2010.
HANNITY: We continue now with former speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.
I want to go to the tone of the president's speech in the State of the Union. I thought he came off as angry. Now, maybe cool on the surface, but I thought underneath I thought it was somewhat small-minded, whining, sort of self-justifying not exactly honest.
You know, there were certain phrases in there, you know when he said we've got to be more transparent. We've got to work openly. I was screaming C-SPAN. You know, he hired all the lobbyists then complained about lobbyists. You mentioned earmarks earlier.
Do you think the president — this is the first time that he's experiencing disapproval and he's having a hard time handling it? That's the impression that I'm getting.
GINGRICH: I think there were two different characteristics. One, emotional and the other intellectual. The emotional characteristic was petulance. This was kind like a teenager who is upset, stamping his foot and he was saying, how dare you to not give me what I want.
And I really thought and I sense the tone was very un-presidential and very unlike the Obama candidacy which was positive, and which really was uplifting and optimistic.
I thought the intellectual thing, it's just unbelievable. I mean, how can he talk about transparency, when everything they've tried to do on healthcare is secret? How can he talk about eliminating earmarks when they are in the process of writing earmarks? The degree to which intellectually, this speech was profoundly dishonest, not only factually wrong as we just discussed about the Supreme Court case, but in area after area, fundamentally, misleading. I think it's kind of an amazing, probably not a record for presidential speeches. But it certainly in the league with those that are truly fundamentally misleading.
HANNITY: I think the most misleading thing he's said though is that we've lost four million jobs in a year. We've lost four million. He's creating — well, we saved two million. The math doesn't add up. We've never used that type of standard ever before.
Then trying to act as a fiscal conservative, when they've run up more debt, more deficits in one year and in two years, than, you know almost the entire eight years of George W. Bush in that two year period. It doesn't make sense.
GINGRICH: Well look — since we're coming in the 2010 election, the right benchmark is the Congress. If you measure the time that Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid took over in January of 2007, and you look at how much the Democratic Congress in three years has increased the size of the deficit.
It is a breathtaking example of totally wasteful spending politicians aggrandizing themselves and an amazing scale of earmarks and all of that has been unprecedented. It is ironic that the voters fired the Republicans in 2006 for too much spending and put in power in liberal Democrats who have spent money on a scale no Republican could have dreamed of.
HANNITY: Looking forward, you were there and I was emceeing an event at the Cobb Galeria the very night that you became Speaker of the House and I lost my voice that night and I will never forget it. I remember you being interviewed, seeing you many times that night and getting one of the first interviews with you. As a local radio host, you were very loyal to your local friends, but — and I will never forget it.
But more importantly, you captured 54 seats that night. We saw what happened in Massachusetts, Virginia, New Jersey. We see where independents are moving. Do you think that this could even be a bigger year than people are saying? That Nancy Pelosi could lose her job? That even the Senate if things align the right way the Republicans around the table, they could take back the Senate?
GINGRICH: Well, let me start with Michael Barone made the case recently, that if you look at Scott Brown's vote in Massachusetts, a state where Obama got 26 percent of the vote. There may be as many as 150 Democratic seats that could be in play.
If you look at the number of new candidates that Pete Sessions and others tell us are starting to come out of the woodwork. People saw what happened with Scott Brown suddenly people are saying, I'd like to be in Congress too. I'd be willing to go and serve. So I think you will get a new wave of candidates showing up in the next two months that will expand the universe of Democrats who are in trouble.
If you look at the Senate where for example, the vice president's son declined to run this week. I think Mark Kirk is probably going to win the Senate seat in Illinois. I think Pat Toome is going to win the Senate seat in Pennsylvania. I think that Mike Castle is going to win the seat in Delaware.
All of a sudden you could begin to see the Republicans getting close to 47, 48 Senate seats this year. I think the odds are even money that Boehner is going to become the speaker of the House next year.
HANNITY: So one of the things that you did very effectively, we'll look at past models that worked, the Reagan model, the contract with America. You were able to nationalize the election with a very positive agenda, very specific promises.
If you look forward the strategy of the Democrats is to try and divide. According to what we are hearing, they want to divide the Tea party movement with the Republican Party. They want to isolate, they want to sort of separate. Do you think that strategy would be effective? What do you think the strategy of the Republicans ought to be if they really want to achieve the goal that you say is attainable?
GINGRICH: Well, let me say first of all, that with Adam Waldeck's help with American Solutions, I met with Tea party leaders in Arizona and Dallas, Texas this week. I think the Tea party leaders understand that their goal is to get Congress away from big spending, away from liberalism, away from big government.
I think they are going to be skeptical of cynical efforts by liberal Democrats. I think they are willing to work with Republicans. They are not Republicans. They're clearly independent, but they are willing to work with them to defeat liberals. So I think Republicans ought to offer a positive alternative. I think they could in fact have the Tea party movement help them.
HANNITY: All right now have fun in New Hampshire, enjoy your fried Twinkies and corn on the cob in Iowa and don't give us any answers. I don't expect any answers for a while. The day is coming, I'm going to be pushing hard. I'm going to be out looking for answers.
Mr. Speaker, good to see you. Have fun in New Hampshire.
GINGRICH: Good to see you.
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