The New GOP: Minority Candidates Make History in Midterms

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," November 5, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

RICH LOWRY, GUEST HOST: Just two years after the nation elected its first African- American president, voters continue to make history, electing a number of minority Republican candidates this year. In New Mexico, Susana Martinez will not only be the state's female governor but the first Hispanic governor in U.S. history.

South Carolina's Nikki Haley will be the first female governor of her state. Mary Fallin will be the Sooner State's first female governor. Cuban-American Marco Rubio, a rising star won the race for the Florida Senate seat.

In the House we also saw an impressive number of minorities win seats. Perhaps the most historic elections are those of my next two guests.

Tim Scott and Allen West are the first black Republican Congressmen elected from their states, South Carolina and Florida, since reconstruction. They join me now.

And gentlemen, first let me say before I say anything else, congratulations. And we can't wait for both of you to get to Washington.

CONGRESSMAN-ELECT TIM SCOTT, R-S.C.: Thank you very much.

CONGRESSMAN-ELECT ALLEN WEST, R-FLA.: Thank you very much Rich and it's a pleasure to be with you.

LOWRY: Thank you so much.

Colonel, let me start with -- with you. I think all of us around the country feel we already know you through YouTube where so many of your inspiring speeches went viral. But you had a really tough race down there. They trained a lot of heavy artillery on you. Tell us a little bit about your race and why you won?

WEST: Well, I think the most important thing with our race is that we ran on honor, integrity and character. We stayed focused on the issues that are very prevalent down here in South Florida, being a 13 percent unemployment rate, a high foreclosure rate -- some of the highest in the country.

My opponent had nothing to offer as far as a message or ideas or a vision. And all he did was run a character assassination campaign and attacked my family.

But we stayed above that fray and we continued on our focus and we offered viable solutions for the American people so that we can create long term sustainable economic growth and keep the people here in South Florida as well as the American people secure.

LOWRY: Well, the people in South Florida chose well as far as I'm concerned.

Mr. Scott, let me -- let me ask you because you have a truly historic victory down there. Give us a sense of your personal journey. Because my understanding is you were raised by a single mother in very difficult circumstances. How did you become a conservative and how did you -- you end up heading to Congress?

SCOTT: I think part of the -- the challenge of coming up in a single- parent household is really learning about individual responsibility. And the key is that as a child my mother taught me that sometimes love comes at the end of a switch. And sometime love must be tough. And tough love is part of the concept that has brought me to where I am.

And I think it's part of what we need in America today is we need to have an opportunity to experience tough love. And that really means to limit the role of the government. Because what -- when we have more government we really have less individual empowerment.

LOWRY: Colonel West, let me go back -- back to you. And I've got to ask this question just because there's been so much part of our political discourse unfortunately, over the last two years. The charge has been made over and over again that the Tea Party is racist; its ideas in some sense are inherently racist.

WEST: Yes.

LOWRY: What do you think of that charge?

WEST: Well, when you read the book of "Rules for Radicals" by Saul Lewinsky, I think it's the thirteenth rule where it says you pick a target, you freeze it, you polarize it and you attack it.

So I think that the -- the liberal progressives saw the strength of the grassroots movement that we call the Tea Party which stands for "taxed enough already" and they tried to turn against it. And the number one thing that you always try to do to silence an opponent in the United States of America is to call someone a racist. And we see that that did not work whatsoever.

And I've spoken in about seven or eight Tea Party events. And I'm a proud to say that those people who were out there on the ground for me and they stood by me, all because we stand on the principles of Constitutional government. We believe in limited government. And we also believe in our free market and free enterprise, which are the three cornerstone principles of the Tea Party.

LOWRY: Mr. Scott, let me ask you the -- the same question. Obviously you think these conservative free market ideas are the best way to uplift all people?

SCOTT: Absolutely. A good economy makes all things possible. So the real question is what makes a good economy? Limiting the role of the government in our lives, national health care, it is a jobs killer. The whole concept of extending the Bush tax cuts gives us an opportunity to see a legacy created where we are able to pass on businesses assets from generation to generation. If you don't have it, you don't spend it.

These are things that make common sense. And common sense just doesn't seem to be as common any more.

LOWRY: Colonel West, let me get to you if you don't mind to talk a little bit about one of your personal heroes Martin Luther King. From my understanding, you grew up in Atlanta --

WEST: Yes.

LOWRY: -- in the same neighborhood as Martin Luther King. What lessons from King's message can conservatives draw from?

WEST: Well, I think the most important is as Congressman-elect Scott talked about was the individual responsibility and accountability that is very important; that was a very key thing that my parents raised me upon.

But as I grew up in my elementary school which is right across the street from Ebenezer Baptist Church. You know, the content of character and not the color of skin. And I think that if we can restore that -- that sense of character, which means doing what is right when no one is watching, the American people will be able to lay their heads down at night and not have to worry about what their representatives, and what their senators and even what their president is doing in Washington, D.C.

They have to be focused on what is truly going to be best for protecting the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of the American people and not the guarantee of happiness which is not what government can do.

So it is about setting the conditions, for the success of the individual and not aligning themselves with some type of collective mindset and collective ideology which is I think what you see coming out of Washington, D.C. right now.

LOWRY: Yes, Mr. Scott, very briefly, I have about 15 seconds. That idea is so important, individual advancement goes right back to the beginning of the Republican Party and Abraham Lincoln.

SCOTT: Absolutely. When you look at the fact that -- if -- if you look at the greatest minority in our country today, it's the individual. To the extent that we look at our Constitution and we look at the Constitution and say to ourselves that the 10th Amendment was designed to make sure the states had as much opportunity to advance the cause of the individuals, that gets closer to the fact that the individual has the greatest potential, when they are free.

LOWRY: Great. Gentlemen, thanks so much, congratulations again.

WEST: Thank you for having us, too.

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