This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," April 30, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Now we often hear just how calm, cool, and collected the president is. But according to one Obama aide, loyalty isn't among the president's strong suits. Now TIME magazine reported that according to the unnamed aide, quote, "He is not very sentimental. If you're no longer useful, he will cut you loose."
Here to discuss the president's notion of political loyalty is former Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts, star quarterback, all-around great guy.
Congressman, how are you?
J.C. WATTS, FORMER OKLAHOMA CONGRESSMAN: I'm doing well, Sean. How are you tonight?
• Video: Watch Sean's interview
HANNITY: I'm good. Well, I read that report. We'll get to the president's press conference last night in the first 100 days. But I'm thinking I can no longer disown Jeremiah Wright than I can the black community. That is until it became politically expedient to dump Reverend Wright.
Does that speak about somebody's character?
WATTS: Well, I — I can't say that it necessarily speaks to his character. You have to look at the circumstances in which he — someone might diss or dismiss someone like that, but I can tell you, Sean, a pastor of mine that had been my pastor for 20 years. I mean, I have served for, you know, two years under pastor to 10 years under pastor.
I have pretty good relationships. I cannot see myself doing that to my pastor. That was pretty strong.
HANNITY: Yes. Well, after 20 years. But you've got to remember being president is the most important thing.
All right, so I'm watching this press conference last night. And you know, I'm thinking, you know, what is the job of the press corps? The job of the press corps is to what? Ask tough questions, you know, force him to answer issues of the day. He's answering questions about what he finds enchanting about the White House, what he finds humbling about the White House.
And I'm thinking how about why did you sit through Daniel Ortega's rant? You know why did you hug Hugo Chavez? Why do you apologize for America? Why do you — how do you think $10 trillion in new debt that the CBO says you're giving us is fiscally responsible?
Doesn't the press — you know haven't they just abandoned any form of journalistic ethics?
WATTS: Well, I do think the press — they have got a responsibility to ask tough questions, questions to get to the bottom of $10 trillion debt. Do we think that it's — that we're getting dangerously close to making our country unsafe or insecure? With all the borrowing that we're doing?
Asking questions about what's in the budget, what's going on, where you give us ideas about where you're taking the country. I do think the press has a responsibility to ask those questions. And when you don't ask those questions, I think you see the kind of credibility happen in America that the press has.
The press doesn't have a whole lot of accountability and you've got a lot more vehicles and a lot more venues that you can call on and rely on to get information. And so it's not a good standard, in my opinion, but, you know, the press is the press.
HANNITY: All right. And here we are with day 101. Now America's moving from free market economy to a socialist economy. I don't think anybody that understands economic systems can deny that. And now the debate is going to be about nationalized health care. And I also believe that he's weakening our homeland security and national defense.
Do you agree with my assessment and how would you grade him as president up to this point?
WATTS: Well, Sean, I always in my grading system, it would always be difficult for me to give anyone an A or an A-plus because I think you always have room to grow, but when you look at where we're talking about or where he's taking the country, I think, in nationalized health care, I don't think it's good for us to abandon 90 percent of people that have health care and make their costs go up, trying to insure the other 10.
Let's find a way that we can do that responsibly and rationally. And the least costly way. I don't think that we're going to get away without paying more taxes. When you look at the energy bill, I think utility costs will go up, energy costs will go up. We will pay more in terms of our energy. That's not good for us.
So, you know, based on what I would do and what the president would do, what our two philosophies are, I would say probably a D-plus at best simply because I don't agree with more taxes. I don't agree with a nationalized health care system. I don't agree with, you know, energy that says let's make the cost of energy go up instead of making it go down and be more reliable — more reliant on domestic sources.
HANNITY: Do you think or agree as I believe that it seems the public is subject to the bumper stickers and the slogans. If he tell them, I'm going to cut $100 billion from wasteful spending. But yet he's got a $4 trillion budget. He gave us 9,000 earmarks. Increases last year's budget 8 percent. They seem to want to believe him.
That would be the equivalent of somebody making $40,000 a year and literally cutting back a dollar. You know — out of their spending. So do you think that he has somehow been able to convince people that he is conservative on economic issues when he's not and that he's strong on national security, that it's an actual strength to — you know, reach out to the world's dictators?
Do you think he's been good at the politics of it, in other words?
WATTS: Well, Sean, I think — I do, and I think he's done some things in terms of foreign policy that I agree with. I think he's done some things that I adamantly disagree with.
I think, Sean, people — as I said to you yesterday on your radio show, people really do want to like President Barack Obama. I think — and I think Republicans — you know, I think we have to fight the fight and take the policy battles to the American people and win the hearts and minds of the American people on a policy basis.
I don't think we win the battle going after Barack Obama personally, because I — I think people want to like him, just like in George Bush's first — in his first four years. You know, the Democrats kept trying to go after him. He got re-elected because people wanted to like George Bush.
So I do think we've got some standing to go after him on policy issues, but the personal things I think people want to like him and they do like him.
HANNITY: Well, a lot of people do. I don't dislike him. I just wish he wasn't elected and I wish he wasn't, you know, turning our economy into a socialist utopia and weakening our defenses. Just a few little minor differences, J.C. Not that much.
WATTS: Well, I don't like the direction that we're going in health care and taxes and spending and borrowing. That's not good for us. I don't care who is in the White House.
HANNITY: I agree. Good to see you. By the way, we're going to get an announcement from J.C., one of these days he's running for governor of Oklahoma.
Good to see you. Thanks for being with us.
WATTS: I knew you'd bring that up.
HANNITY: Of course I would. What do you — that's my job. I'm not like — what do you think? I'm like a potted plant like the Washington press corps?
WATTS: You press guys.
HANNITY: You press guys. Don't call me — don't accuse me of that. That's the end of my career. All right. J.C. Watts, good to see you.
WATTS: Yes. Don't kick you like that. All right.
HANNITY: All right, appreciate it.
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