Steele: Obama's Mosque Support Shows Administration Is Tone-Deaf to American People

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: Guests on the Sunday talk show circuit weighed in on the president's comments on the Ground Zero mosque. And let's just say they did not approve.

Now take a look at the beating the anointed one received just yesterday.


ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST ON ABC'S "THIS WEEK": Probably the dumbest thing that any president has said or candidate has said since Michael Dukakis said it was OK to burn the flag.

ED GILLESPIE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN ON ABC'S "THIS WEEK": He basically said that the 70 percent of Americans who are opposed to this controversial imam building this controversial mosque at Ground Zero are seeking to deny the religious freedom of Muslims in this country. That's how he cast it.

REP. PETER KING, R.N.Y. ON CNN'S "SOTU": And I think the president, by the way, is trying to have it both ways. Because I don't know of anyone who is saying that Muslims do not have the right to practice their religion. But with rights go responsibilities. And that's the part that the president didn't comment on.

SEN. JACK REED, D-R.I. ON "FOX NEWS SUNDAY": I don't think it should be allowed to be there if it's going to be some type of way to undercut the truth and reality of 9/11.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN, R-TEXAS ON "FOX NEWS SUNDAY": Washington, the White House, the administration, the president himself seems to be disconnected from the mainstream of America. And I think that's one of the reasons people are so frustrated.


HANNITY: Yikes! So just how badly will the president's comments hurt him and the Democrats? Joining me now with reaction is the chairman of the Republican Party, Michael Steele is back with us.

Michael, welcome back.

MICHAEL STEELE, RNC CHAIRMAN: It's good to be back, Sean.

HANNITY: All right, your -- first of all, your reaction to the president's comments Friday night and then him trying to pull back or attempting to pull back Saturday?

STEELE: Sure. Let me start by saying that no one can come close to the eloquence of Miss Burlingame who I think expressed the frustration and the fears of a lot of the families from 9/11. And so that is at the heart of this whole thing.

And I'll put it this way. You know, the right to do something, Sean, doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. And I think that that was the consensus among the talking heads, if you will, right and left over the past weekend. That the administration is again tone-deaf to what the American people are saying.

This is not just a local issue. You can cast this as something that's going to be a part of the zoning program of the New York City planners. This is something larger than that. And it speaks to how we as Americans will honor the memory of those who were killed, murdered, by terrorists on September 11th.

And the fact that the president again is showing a deafness, if you will, to what those feelings are, what that sentiment is, is just quite frankly frustrating.

HANNITY: You know --

STEELE: And I think it's part of a broader agenda that will come back to bite this November.

HANNITY: You know, you talk about tone-deafness. It's not just the mosque.

STEELE: Right.

HANNITY: He's at odds with the American people on the Arizona immigration law. He's at odds with the American people on health care, on debt, whether we could use the term war on terror or whether or not it's a man-caused disaster.

It seems every single issue, it's government of, by and for Obama and the hell with what the American people think.

STEELE: Well, Sean, you just summed up the last 18 months of the Obama administration. It is very much one that is in every instance from health care to Wall Street to Main Street to jobs to now this, a certain arrogance of power and authority that allows him to say the things that you hear him say and push the policies that are quite frankly turned off the American people.

HANNITY: OK. Let me --

STEELE: So when the president comes back on Saturday and goes, well, you know, I wasn't speaking to this, I was really speaking to that, it's not believable.

HANNITY: All right. By 2-1 margin Americans think that the country is on the wrong track. You have literally less than a third of independents want the Democrats to retain control of Congress. Charlie Cook is saying 73 seats in the House are now up for grabs.

People not only talking about the House, but they're saying the Senate may be up for grabs.

You are taking a message starting this week, a message to the American people to fire Nancy Pelosi. Tell us what you have planned.

STEELE: Well, absolutely. At our Kansas City meeting last week we rolled out the bus. And this is a national strategy to travel the 48 contiguous states, to go out and be with the people.

When I became chairman, as you know, Sean, I made it very clear. The party needs to be where the people are, needs to listen to the people. So we're taking the party to the streets. We're going to argue on behalf of the American people to fire Pelosi, retire Reid and move us away from the crazy policies that we now see.

HANNITY: One of the things I have been suggesting, pushing, hoping for is that the Republican Party put down on paper their conservative principles.

You know, look, the president keeps saying the Republicans are the party of no, the party of no, the party of no. Well, saying no to Obamacare and saying no to reckless deficit spending and saying no to earmarks is not necessarily a bad thing.

You and I have spoke about this.


HANNITY: Spoken about this. Is there going to be commitments on paper by the Republicans that are running for office? Do you anticipate that? You've told me in the past you think you will.

STEELE: I do -- I do anticipate that, and I know my buddy, Congressman McCarthy -- McCarthy from California has been working along with other leaders in the House like Paul Ryan and others to develop this people's voice, this idea of how we shall govern ourselves.

Not by government, but by individuals bringing the ingenuity and experiences that they bring to bear to our economy and job creation, for example. I that's going to be exciting to look for right after Labor Day.

So I really anticipate that I know Newt, our buddy Newt Gingrich has been involved in this, as well. So it is -- it is a global effort, if you will by Republicans across the country and in the Congress to really kind of put down on paper, what we stand for and how we're going to take this fight to the streets to empower Americans and not the federal government.

HANNITY: All right. Michael Steele, thanks for being with us. Look forward to seeing that bus. Appreciate you being with us.

STEELE: All right. You got it, Sean. 

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