Sean Hannity 'On the Record' on the Anti-Tax Tea Party Protests

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," April 14, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Sean Hannity goes "On the Record."


VAN SUSTEREN: Hi, Sean. I know you're going to Atlanta. Why Atlanta? Why that tea party?

SEAN HANNITY, HOST, "HANNITY": You know, I -- well, first of all, I lived in Atlanta, Greta, for four years, so that might have a little something to do with it. But you know, look, it's just one of a lot that are happening around the country. What's interesting to me is that these have been happening organically. It's really a grass-roots type of effort, and the mainstream media hasn't covered it.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you expect to happen tomorrow night? I know that you're going to air, you know, the tea party during the course of your show, but I mean, what's -- what's -- what do you expect? What's the program?

HANNITY: You know, I -- if I had a crystal ball, I guess I'd be a genius. I would have pulled out of the stock market a long time ago. But you know, I think this -- I'm going to tell you what this is, Greta. You know what? We -- people are seeing spending on an unprecedented level in this country. And by that, I mean, you know, we're now projecting, the Congressional Budget Office, that we're going to have, you know, $10 trillion in debt. We're literally taking a baseball bat, smashing open our kids' and grandkids' piggy banks, and I know that I am angry about it. I'm concerned about it. I know a lot of our viewers are concerned about it. A lot of my radio listeners are concerned about it.

But more importantly, I think this has gotten bigger in this sense, that -- that -- when our -- when my grandparents came to this country, they didn't have any nationalized health care. They didn't have any money. They barely had a place to live. They came from Ireland at the turn of the last century, and their dream was one of hope and freedom and opportunity. My parents -- my father fought in World War II. He grew up in the Great Depression. He didn't have the government coming in with bail-outs.

You know, the average American taxpayer knows that at the end of the day, they're going to be on the hook for the trillions and trillions of dollars that we're using to bail out these companies, some of whom have been irresponsible, and they are expressing their frustration, which I think is quintessentially American.

VAN SUSTEREN: So I take it that you're going there -- that if you weren't on television, you'd be going to this anyway. You're going to sort of as part of it, rather than simply to cover it.

HANNITY: Well, no. I'm not speaking at the event. I just think that this is the type of thing that hasn't gotten enough coverage, so I personally think that it deserves coverage. You know, if you have 5,000 people showing up in Cincinnati and 5,000 in Orlando, I mean, you got 300 of them are going around the country, you know, something is happening. This is a grass roots movement. It's organic. And I think people are pretty outraged about what they see in terms of government that is out of control.

Look, Greta, in your daily life and in my life -- and at one point in my life when I didn't have a lot of money and I was struggling, and I had to drop out of school three times because I couldn't afford to go anymore, I wasn't expecting the government to step in and bail me out. I never expected the government to pay for my college. I never expected the government to provide day care. I never expected free health care. I've gone for periods in my life without health care.

And I think most Americans believe in the concepts of our framers and out founders, and that is limited government, greater freedom. America is the land of opportunity, not the land of equal results. And under the Obama plan, we literally have gotten away from this debate, which is limited government versus, you know, bigger government. And it's now literally, I think, in the minds of many people, including myself, about capitalism and socialism.

VAN SUSTEREN: Tell me what happens with the two extremes. The one extreme is, is that thousands and thousands and thousands of people across the country come out to this event, these tea parties tomorrow, and the other is that virtually nobody shows up. What's the impact of either one of those?

HANNITY: You know, I don't really know. We know that thousands of people already have showed up at a lot of these events, Greta. I don't have that crystal ball. I'm not predicting, you know, how many people are going to show up or not show up, but I know that there's great interest in it. And I would expect that the crowds are going to be pretty significant, especially if you add them up around the country.

Look, we've got to ask ourselves as a country, what do we expect as a country the role of the government to be in our lives? You know, John Kennedy gave his infamous line, Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country. It seems like there are far too many people now lining up, saying, Hey, what do I get out of the government, without any consideration who ultimately pays for it.

Here's -- when I talk to people and I read their e-mails, Greta, this is what they're telling me, is that they feel that they're doing the right thing -- in other words, that they have developed their marketable skills. They've gotten their degrees. They get up every day, and they feed their kids and they go in and they put their 10, 12, 14, 16 hours of working every day. They pay their taxes. They obey the laws. They do the right thing. And they see as they prepare their taxes -- and probably some people are preparing their taxes even now as they're watching your show tonight -- and they're saying, You know what? Why do I have to give up half my income when I'm doing the right thing? And we're now at the point where 50 percent of Americans may not pay any income taxes at all, and we - - you know, right now, 10 percent of Americans pay 72 percent of the bill. And at some point, redistribution doesn't work. And if we want to follow that European socialist model, we're probably going to have the same predictable results, which is, you know, less success.

Even the poorest in America, Greta, they have usually a roof over their head. They have a refrigerator-freezer. They have hot running water. They have microwaves, multiple TVs and a car. And you know, when you look at that standard of living compared to the rest of the world, it's pretty significant.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it's going to be sort of interesting, though. If a lot of people show up, that's a huge message to the members of Congress and to the administration. But if nobody shows up, you know, then, you know, that also sends a huge message. So we'll be watching. You're going to be -- are you going to be outdoors with the whole crowd with...

HANNITY: Should I start begging for people to come?

VAN SUSTEREN: No, no, no, no! Just -- I think it's fascinating to see what happens tomorrow. I have no idea. I mean, I've seen -- we get -- I'm getting flooded with e-mails, so it looks like there's huge enthusiasm, but I simply don't know. I mean, I don't have that crystal ball.

HANNITY: Yes, I -- look, I don't have the crystal ball. I don't know how it's going to be interpreted. I will say this, that I -- I have a feeling, having, you know, now been in talk radio 21 years, been at the FOX News Channel since its launch in October of '96...

VAN SUSTEREN: Quit bragging. Some of us just came eight years ago, or seven.


HANNITY: Yes, but we're -- you're our family, Greta. So that's what -- that's all that matters.


HANNITY: You're part of the FOX family. Well, forget about that mistake you made years ago working for some other network. That's long gone.

But in all honesty, I have seen a lot of political movements. I was in Atlanta in 1994 when Newt Gingrich came to power. I was emceeing the event that night when he heard he became the speaker of the House. Very few times in my political observing life have I seen a movement like this. So I think it's pretty significant.

I think the crowds are going to be great. I hope a lot of people come on out to the Atlanta one to see -- look, we're going to be doing "Hannity" live, if for no other reason, you get to see me, and we've got coverage of all of them across the country. You're doing the same thing. And by the way, John Rich (ph) is performing, and so there's a better reason than seeing me.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, 9:00 o'clock Eastern tomorrow night. I'll be sitting right here watching as you do it live. Sean, thank you.

HANNITY: And I'm going to watch you on the repeat when I get back to my hotel room.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Good. Thank you.

HANNITY: All right, Greta. Thank you.


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