Steele Blasts 'Right-Wing Extremist' Label

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," April 17, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Over just the past few days, this country has witnessed a remarkable transformation. Thousands of Americans who love their country and are worried about its future, they have now come forward, while the left-wing party who dismisses their concern, they fall deeper into a very dangerous abyss. And that is our headline this Friday night at the end of an extraordinary week, "The Return of American Outrage."

Now, we saw it this week in the faces of thousands of Americans who took to the streets in big cities and small towns. Now, we saw it in the reaction to these very same people being called extremists by their very own government. So, what does president Obama do after seeing hundreds of thousands of you Americans standing in opposition to his very disastrous agenda for America?

Well, he goes to Mexico, and just like he did on his European vacation, just two weeks ago, well, he blames America. This time for Mexico's drug related violence.

Now, meanwhile his liberal henchmen in Washington, they continue to dismiss this outpouring of American outrage as a sham.

Video: Watch Sean's interview

Now, for eight years we have heard how dissent is an important part of patriotism. Now, the left wrapped themselves in the cloak of an oppressed minority when it came to attacking President Bush with every angry breath that they could muster. Now, look at how they use patriotism to justify their own hatred.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Since when has it been part of American patriotism to keep our mouths shut and not raise questions about what our government is doing? That has always been the tradition of America.


HANNITY: But now that the shoe is on the other foot, liberals no longer see dissent as patriotic. They see it as an inconvenience or even worse.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, the fact is these tax day tea parties are a sham and a fraud.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I smell a rat, frankly. Martha. Look, I've taken part in a lot of protests, I don't see anything genuine or anything real about these protests. Let's be honest, they were organized, they were designed, they're paid for by three conservative organizations.


HANNITY: My oh my, how far we've come in the last 88 days, mortgaging our children's futures, blaming America for the ills of the world, and disparaging the citizens who call them on it.

And joining me tonight is the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele.

Michael, good to see you. Thanks for being with us.

MICHAEL STEELE, RNC CHAIR: Hey Sean, it's great to be with you, man. What a great week. You always acknowledge great Americans, Sean. I want to say you're one this week for really putting a light the over 300,000 people out there who stood up for freedom, who stood up for their families, and stood up for their communities by saying no more, the line has been drawn in the sand, so congratulations for bringing that up to folks, man.

HANNITY: It was a pleasure to me, 20,000 strong in Atlanta where we did our live program. I was inspired.

Let me get right to it, here. Just breaking moments ago — we have a picture. And here it is, Barack Obama shaking hands with Hugo Chavez. And we remember, what, two years ago, you know, this is the same guy going to the United Nations calling the United States evil, how President Bush had spoken the day before and the stench and the sulfur smell still stood there, and I'm thinking, you know, I'm looking at Barack Obama, and there's a lot he obviously doesn't like about this country, he doesn't seem to like our economic system, our superpower status, doesn't seem to like our history, doesn't seem to like our underlying law.

What is — is there anything that he likes about this country that he's going to say and not meet with America's enemies and apologize for this country every day?

STEELE: Sean, that's the question to end the week, and you have to keep in mind that this is the same, you know, dictator of Venezuela who called President Obama, just a few weeks ago, an idiot, so, I mean, I just find that we need to have — to be a little bit more smart in our foreign policy here in dealing with some of these folks and not elevating them to the level of the president of the United States and giving them credence and giving them justification for their rhetoric and their actions.

So I think there's still a steep learning curve here that this administration has not figured out on foreign policy. When you go overseas you do not blame America, you do not call us arrogant.

The arrogance of power that's surrounding this administration right now is overwhelming, and the attack, I mean, you lead off talking about the protests, you know, they were protesting us and the president in 2006 and 2007, protesting the war in Iraq. Well, Americans this week, Sean, were protesting the war on their wallets. They're protesting the war on their businesses, and I think that that is just as legitimate and even more important because it's leading us down a road otherwise that we don't want to go.

HANNITY: Well, one of the things, he's now in Mexico, and he says, you know, apologizing for America again, suggesting that we're responsible for Mexico's problems. We're not responsible for Mexico's problems. Their government is corrupt, they're economic system is corrupt, it's bankrupt, their system, and at what point — you know, the Dixie Chicks did this once, he does this daily now, apologizing for this country, seemingly not to understand America's role in the world, how we have literally paid the price, the blood, the sweat, the tears, the financial burden of freedom all around the world. I'm getting a little sick and tired of it, Michael. Why doesn't he ever...

STEELE: Well, you know, I was going to say, Sean, you know, Ronald Reagan, President Reagan talked about peace through strength, and what I think I've seen here so far from the Obama administration is appeasement through apology, and I just don't think that that's the way we need to go.

We need to continue to stand firm as a nation. Now, you know, you may not like everything that the American — government does in its own self-interest, but you know what, deal with it. You know, we've got to protect the heart and home before we worry about whether someone on foreign shores likes us, so I think that it's beginning to wear a little thin for a lot of Americans now, and I think you've seen it in the polls, I think you've seen it — and certainly the reaction this week to the economic policies.

HANNITY: Well, what do you make of the Department of Homeland Security and man-caused disasters of Janet Napolitano. What do you make of this? What do you make of...

STEELE: This is the height of insult here. I'm sorry, Sean. I just want to jump on this so badly because this is so — talk about arrogance. Talk about insult. I mean to segment out Americans who dissent from this administration, to segment out conservatives in this country who have a different philosophy or view from this administration, and labeling them as terrorists and then to call into question the service of the men and women who are right now standing on that wall defending our freedom and linking them to terrorism while you refuse to call the terrorists — the real terrorists — terrorists, to me it's the height of insult, and you know, you know, the president and Napolitano, with these half-hearted apologies, to American citizens versus these full throated apologies to the rest of the world, to me is embarrassing.

HANNITY: Well, the Wall Street Journal reports that the FBI has been investigating these veterans, and if all ironies here, if you believe we should obey the laws on immigration, if you believe that you can — the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear arms, if you're pro- life, you know, you're viewed as a potential extremist, but you can start your career in the home of an unrepentant terrorist and hang out with Jeremiah Wright and I don't want to beat an old horse here, but I'm telling you, if anybody hung out with radicals that need to be investigated by Homeland Security, are they keeping an eye on Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers because that's who I'd be keeping an eye on?

STEELE: Well and of course they're not, Sean, of course not. But, you know, they've got their eye on the 3,000 Americans who assembled in Indiana last night, in Evansville, Indiana, to profess their continued effort to save the life of the unborn. Sarah Palin and myself and 3,000 other Americans who were concerned about the life issue were gathered there, and I'm sure there was somebody in the room with a notepad and a camera taking snapshots and writing down names.

But that's not the place our government needs to be. Where our government needs to be is on that border securing the border. Where our government needs to be is overseas and in the back halls and rooms of the Middle East to make sure that we're not suffering another terrorist attack here at home.

HANNITY: And how about we stop investigating our veterans? How about we leave them alone? How about we appreciate them for their service and not talk about them paying for their own health care for their service- related injuries? That would be a nice start.

STEELE: Absolutely. That would be a nice start.

HANNITY: Michael good to see you.

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