Tom DeLay Reacts to President Bush's State of the Union Address

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes ," Feb. 2, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: And thank you for being with us. Welcome to a special edition of "Hannity & Colmes." I'm Sean Hannity.

We have all the angles, all the analysis tonight on the president's State of the Union address. ... We start tonight with House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who joins us from Capitol Hill.


HANNITY: Pretty good night, from your vantage point?

DELAY: Well, I'll tell you what. I've seen 20 State of the Unions, and this has got to be one of the best that I've seen. Both in substance and delivery, the president really hit a homerun tonight.

HANNITY: Yes. Let's talk about the finger for just a second. And I saw you earlier. You had the ink on your finger. Did most members of the House do that, Republicans?

DELAY: Yes, most. The Republican members of the House did this. This is to show the Iraqi people that we are strong solidarity with them, that we understand the emotions that they're going through right now, that they have joined the brotherhood of freedom. And we wanted the American people to know that a stained finger is a very courageous thing, because if the stain doesn't go away for a few days, so the Iraqi people, even though they voted Sunday, they're still under threat today.

HANNITY: Yes. Do we know of any Democrats that went ahead and similarly put the stain on their finger?

DELAY: I don't know, Sean. I don't hang around them.


DELAY: So I didn't see any blue fingers on the Democrats.

HANNITY: They were the ones hissing when the president talked about the Social Security crisis, which we'll get to in just a minute.

I guess the thing that stood out in my mind, Congressman, is, when I listen to the president, this president's not planning on sitting back for four years, expanding liberty around the globe, [but is] taking on the third rail in American politics, that is, Social Security. And we heard some hissing, as I said, from Democrats. Reforming the tax code, immigration, challenging Democrats on an up-or-down vote on judicial nominations, this is...

DELAY: Standing up for families, and protecting families. Yes, I'll tell you what. He's just rejected any notion of being a lame duck. If you show that kind of moral leadership, you'll never be a lame duck, because you'll have people excited, like we are excited, looking forward to the next — especially to the next two years, of all the great things we're going to be able to do. It could be the busiest two years of the Republican majority.

HANNITY: All right. But you've got big issues, big agenda, and, for example, on the president's number one domestic agenda, reforming Social Security, saving it, offering partial privatization for future generations. Harry Reid said earlier today that he has all Democratic senators opposed to this. How do you see this going down?

DELAY: Well, first of all, Sean, Harry Reid can't count votes. I saw Democrat senators, most specifically [Joseph] Lieberman and Blanche Lincoln, stand up during — many times during the Social Security debate. So he doesn't have the 45 votes that he says he has, and I'd be willing to bet that, when the president reaches out, as he has been to the Democrat senators, Harry Reid's 45 votes will diminish even further.

HANNITY: Let me ask you. I was stunned by the statements of Nancy Pelosi in her little rebuttal there tonight when she actually referred to the United States Armed Forces, saying they can't stay in Iraq indefinitely and continue to be viewed as an occupying force. Were you aware [of what] she said? I don't know if you had a chance to hear her.

DELAY: Yes, I watched it. I watched the performance by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. I thought it was pretty sad. You know, they've become the party of "no." No ideas, no solutions, no agenda. You know, "Just say no" is not an agenda. And this whole notion that we've got to bring the troops home and we've got to bring them home quickly. No, we bring the troops home when freedom is firmly established in Iraq.


DELAY: ... and the region is safer.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Hey, Congressman, did I — it's Alan. Welcome to the show. Good to have you with us.

DELAY: Hi, Alan.

COLMES: Did hear you say you don't hang around any Democrats? None?

DELAY: Except for you, Alan.

No, I do hang around Democrats, Alan. But I didn't hang around them tonight. Obviously, we sit on one side of the hall and the Democrats sit on another. So I do — wasn't able to see if any of them had blue fingers.

COLMES: All right. I want to point out, by the way, the president, in a news conference on April 13th of 2004, referred to us as occupiers. He said, "They're not happy in Iraq that they're being occupied. And I wouldn't be happy if I were occupied either." Those are his words. So Nancy Pelosi was saying some of the same things the president has said.

And I don't understand how he said he's going to reduce the deficit in half by the end of his term, when off-budget is Social Security, which could cost $2 trillion to reform, and the war in Iraq, we don't know how much that's costing. How can he make that promise?

DELAY: Well, it is going to make it difficult for us to balance the budget because we are at war. But we can lower the deficit. He's coming out with a budget this Monday that's going to go after programs that we no longer need. He's going to go after entitlement spending.

You say that Social Security will cost $2 trillion. There's other ideas on the table that disagrees with you, Alan. We can do this. We have proven we can do this. We balanced the budget in the '90s. We can do it again.

COLMES: You mean when Bill Clinton was president?

DELAY: Remember, Bill Clinton did not balance the budget. He never signed an initiative that he brought to the Congress. He never had a balanced budget. He never offered one.

COLMES: By the way, the likely new head of the DNC, Howard Dean, balanced a bunch of budgets as governor of Vermont. But he talked about cutting the deficit in half by 2009. Again, doesn't that — that doesn't include the $2 trillion it cost Social Security, and it doesn't include the billions of dollars in Iraq. So that's a phony number to say we're going to cut it in half, isn't it?

DELAY: No, it's not phony at all. The supplemental that's being brought out in a week or so that pays for our troops in Iraq is counted in this deficit. Again, Alan, we have proven we know how to balance the budget. We know how to restrain spending. The Democrats have never done it before in all the years that they were in control...

COLMES: But the deficit has multiplied under this president. He inherited a surplus. And now there's a deficit, a great deficit, of $400-some-odd billion. And this happened with a Republican House, Republican Senate and Republican president.

DELAY: That's correct, Alan. We're at war. We had a recession. And we had 9/11. That created a deficit.

But you're wrong about the deficit going up. It's going down. I remember a year ago, you complaining about how high the deficit was. And they were projecting $450 billion was the deficit. And now we, as we all know, it's under $400 billion and it's going down.

COLMES: Well, the projection for next year is...

DELAY: If we grow the economy, and we slow down spending, and we are prudent in the programs that we have in America, we can bring fiscal responsibility to this country.

COLMES: But the projection for next year is over $400 billion. And he's saying prosperity requires restraining spending. He hasn't restrained spending. Big Medicare bill, huge expenditures, spending is up under this president. So how is he restraining spending?

DELAY: Alan, you just refuse to recognize the facts.

COLMES: I thought I was giving them.

DELAY: A year ago, the CBO [Congressional Budget Office] predicted there would be well over a $450 billion deficit, and just a couple of months — last month, they recognized it's less than $400 billion. Again, the CBO comes back and says it's going to be $412 billion next year. They're probably wrong again, because...


COLMES: It's also the same CBO that says it's going to be 2052...

DELAY: If I could finish — if I could finish — if I could finish...

COLMES: Go ahead.

DELAY: ... they will not count the growth in the economy, the projected growth in the economy. So usually their projections are wrong. We're bringing the deficit down. And this time we're going to have a very austere budget while we're fighting a war and proving that we can bring fiscal responsibility to the government.

HANNITY: All right. Congressman Tom DeLay, thank you for taking time out of your busy day. Thanks for being with us. And, hopefully, we'll talk again soon.

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