Pawlenty Calls Putting Imam Behind N.Y. Mosque on U.S. Payroll 'Disgusting'

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 16, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Democrats are facing a major problem going into the midterm elections. Independent voters are abandoning their party in droves.

Now, the combined results of recent AP and GFK polls indicate that a mere 32 percent of independents want the Democrats to retain control of Congress in November. Ouch.

Now, that figure is especially startling, given that 52 percent of independents voted for Barack Obama back in the 2008 election, while just 44 percent went with John McCain. So it just goes to show that "The Anointed One" does great things for the Democratic Party. He makes people flee it.

And joining me now with reaction to this exodus is the governor of the state of Minnesota who recently made a visit to Iowa sparking some interest about his plans for 2012. Tim Pawlenty is with us.

Governor, welcome back.

GOV. TIM PAWLENTY, R-MINN.: Good to be with you, Sean.

HANNITY: All right. What do you make of these poll numbers? And by the way, Senator Schumer says the voters are sour. And Barbara Boxer said they're grumpy. Is it that we're grumpy or sour, or is there something else in play here?

PAWLENTY: I think there's something else in play, and that is it's not surprising. The American people, including independents don't like to be played for suckers. They don't like to be sold one thing and have something else delivered.

That's what happened with the election of President Obama. He ran as somebody who was going to be reasonable, perhaps even pragmatic. And now his true liberal ideology is coming out, as he's governing as a misguided liberal.

And the independents don't like it. The country doesn't like it. And to make matters worse, instead of focusing on one of the key issues facing the nation and key concern, which is jobs and the economy. He's giving us the government takeover of health care and promoting mosques near Ground Zero and other misguided initiatives. So, of course they don't like him.

HANNITY: I don't even think it's liberal. I think it's radical. I think he's taken a very radical agenda. He showed no willingness to compromise, and he has this uncanny ability to go against the will of the American people. Do you think he's tone-deaf? What do you think it is?

PAWLENTY: Well, I think first of all he's clueless on a number of key issues of our time, including the economy. We need to be growing this economy. We need to be lightening the burden for our entrepreneurs, our dreamers, our designers, our inventors, our risk takers, the people who can get the private economy going. Instead he's layering on burdens.

And then, No. 2, Sean, I don't think has the depth of experience to run a large, complex organization, particularly in crisis. And it's getting away from him.

HANNITY: What is your take on his statements on Friday about the Ground Zero mosque?

PAWLENTY: Well, I think it's another example of him playing the role of law professor. As you've noted and others have noted, this is not about the technical, hyper-technical legal issues.

This is about decency, judgment, respect and appropriate recognition of the tragedy and the crisis that was 9/11. And to suggest that this somehow is going to be, you know, lawyered up, and we're going to hide behind, you know, his legal arguments.

We can have a great debate about the legal arguments. But it's not about that. It's about being sensitive, being respectful and having good judgment about not putting a mosque within two blocks of Ground Zero. Anybody with common sense can see that.

HANNITY: Is it all -- is it just about the location? Is it also about the imam?

PAWLENTY: Well, Imam Rauf is somebody who has gone around the world, and including in the United States, and made statements that are derogatory, negative, dangerous towards us, towards our national security interests.

And to have him on the United States' payroll is disgusting. He should not be being paid by the United States or any of his allies. And to have him be the leader of not just of this movement, of this mosque, but to hire him through the State Department and send him around the world on our behalf, is ridiculous. I mean, it is -- it is quite, quite dangerous and quite concerning.

HANNITY: All right. Let's talk a little bit, if you don't mind, about your future. It seems there's a lot of -- lot of prominent Republicans have been making trips to, let's say, Iowa. Was it for the fried Twinkies? Was it for the funnel cake? Is it for the fairs? New Hampshire seems --

PAWLENTY: Sean, if you had the deep-fried cheese curds and those pork chops on the grill, you'd know why we go there.

HANNITY: No, no, I've had the pork chops, and I've had the deep-fried Twinkies, as is probably obvious by my 30 chins that I have. I love the Iowa fair. I've been there. But the question is, why are you going to the fair?

PAWLENTY: I'll tell you, when I was going there, I asked an Iowan that morning. I said, "I'm going to the state fair. You got any advice for me in terms of eating or what to do at the fair?"

And he looked at me. He said, "I'll tell you what my favorite thing to do is."

I said, "What is it?"

He said, "Drink Bud Light."

It's a little early in the morning for Bud Light.

HANNITY: Well, wait a minute. Iowa, I'm watching you on the screen eating here. You're eating there. I don't know what you were eating there, but it looked either like a fried Twinkie or a funnel cake, governor.

PAWLENTY: Well, we ate just everything, the first lady, Mary, and I did. But you know, we were down trying to help candidates, Sean. If you want to see some of the video from the trip, it's at

But I'm running around the country, trying to help candidates for 2010. But obviously, I've got a PAC, and we're trying to influence the debate for 2010 and maybe beyond. We'll see. We'll decide that early next year.

HANNITY: All right, Governor, always appreciate you being with us. Appreciate it.

PAWLENTY: Thank you, Sean.

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