Thursday, January 31, 2008

Speaker Hastert: Endorsing Governor Romney’s Washington Fix?

In what was an interesting telephone press conference today run by the Romney campaign, Speaker Hastert fielded some prickly questions and, as usual, demonstrated he is a good spokesman for his point of view and in this case, for his support of Governor Romney for President. Moreover, the Speaker, a former high school wrestling coach and history teacher, is a good sport, which has benefited him greatly over his political career and is now benefiting Governor Romney in his run for President.

Kudos to the Romney campaign for allowing the press to jump in with questions as opposed to the usual campaign controlled telephone pressers with the campaign deciding who will ask questions based on title and relationship with the campaign. Today was, “Step right up and ask your question,”—a pleasant surprise.
Berkowitz: Mr. Speaker, Jeff Berkowitz, Illinois Channel [Contributing Correspondent] and ”Public Affairs” host: As you know, Governor Romney is running on the position that he is an outsider coming into Washington to fix it and he talks about Washington insiders. You would be, as Speaker for eight years…the longest—

Former U. S. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert: You trying to say I am an insider (big laugh)?

Jeff Berkowitz: Don’t you view yourself as the ultimate insider. I mean if Washington is broken—

Speaker Hastert: Not anymore. I am on the outside now, but quite frankly you know how the place works…being in Congress for twenty-one years and being Speaker of the House for eight years gives you real insight to people and how they operate and what their motives are and that’s one of the reasons I went with Romney. I just thought his motives are right. He is the right thing for the country. I think he has the ability to bring people to the table and find solutions and make this a better place to live. Not necessarily posturing for personal aggrandizement.

Jeff Berkowitz: But, would you say that Washington was broken in the eight years when you were Speaker?

Speaker Hastert: Well, you know, I have to look at this-- you look at the facts. We had 9/11 and the economy was going downhill. We turned that economy around through our tax policy. We had two of the largest tax cuts in American history. We got people to invest in small businesses and put capital back in the business. We created jobs. For fifty-two months, that’s a record, we had real growth. We moved legislation through to cut down egregious lawsuits and we’ve had real change in welfare policies that gave people the ability to go to work instead of standing in a welfare line. We had a lot of things- real changes. And, you know, senior citizens, who couldn’t afford to have drugs, now they can wake up in the morning and their pharmaceuticals are on their kitchen table and they don’t have to worry about it anymore. And, it has kept them out of the hospital, so in the long run, it has saved money. So you know, we did some things both in keeping this country safe after 9/11-- that we didn’t have another terrorist attack, that we didn’t have another three thousand people killed in forty-five minutes because of some type of security lapses and we changed that. We built the Department of Homeland Security, so we had a pretty busy time. And, I think to say that Washington was broken is just kind of being—I don’t see the reality to that.

Jeff Berkowitz: So, you disagree with Romney on that? [Washington was broken]

Sarah Pompei, Deputy Press Secretary to Governor Romney: We have time for one more question.

Bernie Schoenberg [State Journal-Register]: Mr. Speaker, it’s Bernie. On that insider thing, I think Bob Kjellander and Bill Cellini have both donated to Mr. Romney, if I am correct, and does that speak to anything about Illinois politicians and where they are on this, given that—

Speaker Hastert: You know I think there are thousands of people contributing to both parties and you could find people that you agree with and people that you don’t agree with, but that’s part of the political process…I don’t think that’s a real issue at all.
Partial transcript of a telephone press conference with former Speaker J. Dennis Hastert held at noon on January 31, 2008.
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search
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Go here to watch recent Public Affairs shows on our YouTube page, including this week's suburban edition of Public Affairs with Tony Peraica, last week's show with the 10th CD players: Seals, Footlik and Kirk (this show is the one with the picture of the person (Seals) clasping his hands in front of him), as well as prior "Public Affairs," shows including those featuring Democratic Primary State's Attorney candidates Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, Ald. Howard Brookins, Jr.; Ald. Tom Allen; Bob Milan, First Ass't. to State's Attorney Devine; and Anita Alvarez, Chief Deputy to State's Attorney Devine--and many other shows .

Recently posted shows on the Public Affairs Youtube page include a discussion with Cook County State's Attorney Democratic Primary Candidates Ald. Howard Brookins, Jr. and First Ass't Bob Milan and on p. 2, discussions with Cook County Board Member and State's Attorney Republican candidate Tony Peraica; Illinois 8th CD Republican Primary candidate Kirk Morris; and a combo show with (a) Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn and WLS 890 AM Radio political commentator Dan Proft and (b)Hardball's Chris Matthews on the Clintons and much more [The Matthews-Zorn-Proft show is identified by a picture of show host Jeff Berkowitz].