US Senator for Georgia
GLENN: Senator Saxby Chambliss. Senator, you have the greatest name given to any man alive.
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: Well, I think so, too, Glenn, but Glenn's a pretty good name.
GLENN: Has anybody ever said Senator sexy Saxby Chambliss?
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: Listen, I've been called lots of names including that.
GLENN: Really? Listen, we wanted to get you on the phone because your race, you may be the stopgap of the 60 votes in the Senate or you may be the seat that causes that to happen for the Democrats. Do you have any comment on the place in history that you find yourself in today?
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: Well, Glenn, we're thinking about it in terms obviously of just being focused on our race and focused on reelection. We came within 8,000 votes out of 4 million of making it happen on November 4 and now we've got to make sure that all of our voters come back out. Obviously we do understand that the number 60 is a very critical number on the Democratic side and we know because of that they are working hard and spending a ton of money down here, Glenn, against us.
GLENN: I can't even imagine what they are spending. Explain the situation just a little bit. In Georgia you have to have at least 50%, otherwise you have to go into a runoff. You had 50% and then, of course, at the very last minute we're finding votes and now it's at, what is it, 49.8% that you have?
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: That's right, 49.8. We were about 8,000 votes shy out of 4 million and the libertarian got about 3 1/2% and that's what threw it into a runoff. We actually beat my Democratic opponent by about 120,000 votes head to head but we didn't quite have enough folks to turn out frankly on election day. We had a 40-day early voting period and the Obama campaign, to their credit, did a good job of turning out Democrats and we didn't quite have enough Republicans to vote early or come on election day.
GLENN: Okay. So I saw a disturbing poll from the American people yesterday that said they don't have a problem with concentrated power in one party. They don't seem to have a problem. Do the voters in Georgia understand how important your race is?
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: Well, we're doing our best to educate them. Obviously that's part of our campaign to make sure that we do maintain the ability to stop bad legislation or shape bad legislation and if you give the Democrats a blank check, which certainly 60 votes would do, then they are going to enact legislation that a majority of Georgians are not in favor of and that certainly is part of our campaign.
GLENN: Give me some of the ideas that you think that they are going to do.
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: Well, there's no question but one of the first things they are going to do is try to reinstate the moratorium on offshore drilling and the only way we can combat that is with legislation, and it's imperative, obviously if we move toward energy independence, we've got to have that. The card check is going to be a major piece of early legislation and taking away the secret ballot, which is a fundamental right. Raising taxes, you know, as I've been around the state, Glenn, which we did obviously on a regular basis leading up to the general election, I heard small business person after small business person say, Saxby, I'm not going to expand my business, I'm going to sit tight if Obama gets elected because we can't afford to grow our business in the face of knowing we're going to have our taxes raised.
GLENN: Oh, I --
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: So I think those are some fundamental issues that people understand.
GLENN: Senator -- well, let me get it from you. Where do you think that we stand in our country's history right now? How critical is this time period in our country's history?
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: You know, we're kind of at a crossroads, Glenn, like we've never been at before. I mean, we're not only facing a serious financial crisis like we haven't seen since the early Thirties but at the same time that we're trying to address that, we're also in an energy crisis and major decisions have to be made there, and we're also, we're still in a war and I don't know of any time in the history of our great country where we have had three major issues like that that an incoming administration, particularly a liberal administration like this is going to have to deal with and it's kind of scary when you think that they may have the opportunity to address those three issues with a filibuster-proof Senate.
GLENN: I had Orrin Hatch on the day of the election and he believes that the Constitution, we are at a place, the Constitution is hanging by a thread. I had Joe Lieberman on just a few minutes after that and he agreed with that sentiment. Would you agree with that?
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: I think you are right. I mean, the framers of the Constitution intended for there to be a balance of power and that balance of power may blow in the winds if we're not careful. And one thing I'm sure Orrin probably talked to you about that I also have a concern about is judicial appointments. If they have the 60 votes, you can imagine the judges that's going to be going to the bench.
GLENN: We're entering a place where the judges -- and we've been flirting with this, but we're entering a place where these activist judges are -- I mean, no matter what the people say, they can vote and vote and vote and vote and it doesn't matter because the judges will say, "Well, sorry, not going to do it."
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: Yeah. I mean, anytime you have judges who want to legislate from the bench, there are ways that they can do it, and we've been blessed with this current administration of the two appointments to the Supreme Court which I think are two of the finest jurists that we've ever had on the extreme court but just as importantly if not more importantly at the circuit court level and the district court level we've had an awful lot of good judges appointed and unfortunately the Democrats have not lived up to their commitment to have all of the circuit judges confirmed that were confirmed in the Clinton administration and now the Obama administration's going to have the opportunity to fill that large number of vacancies that's out there.
GLENN: Senator Chambliss from Georgia. You know, the problem with the Republican party right now as I see it and I feel from the American people is they don't stand for conservative values anymore. I mean, they just, I don't -- they are old style Democrats, quite honestly in many ways when it comes to spending. Where do you stand on the financial situation and the out-of-control bailout situation?
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: Well, what we found out is that it's much tougher to govern in the majority and maintain all of those principles, Glenn, but you are right. The American people are demanding that we move back toward the basics that Ronald Reagan set out there for us, and as a party we've simply got to do that. You know, we've got this financial crisis with a plan in place that Lord knows whether it's going to work or not. We all hope it does, but we need to give it a chance to work before we even think about coming back with, first of all, another stimulus. The first one didn't work. And now it doesn't make much sense to throw another $100 billion out there.
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: It won't be $100 billion. You know that and I know it. It will be $300 billion.
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: You are probably right. And secondly, with respect to what's being talked about with the automobile industry, there are so many fundamental deep seated problems in the automobile industry that there's got to be a total restructuring of that industry to fix it. Throwing money at it today's not going to work.
GLENN: Senator, hold on just a second. Network break. Back in a flash.
GLENN: When all is said and done, the Democrats may indeed have a 60-seat majority in the Senate. The only two times that that has happened, we got the New Deal and the Great Society. It's only happened twice. Most Americans say that's not a problem to have one -- I don't know what's happened to America but they say that it's not a problem to have one party control everything. This isn't your grandfather's Democratic party anymore. This is full-fledged leftists and Marxists that have control and have the Democratic party by the throat. What does that mean and who's going to stand in the way? There is one race yet to be won. It is a runoff in Georgia between Senator Saxby Chambliss and his opponent in Georgia. The Democrats are funneling money from all over the country into this race. This is probably going to be the most expensive Senate race of all time because things could hinge, the actual course of America may hinge on this one seat. Senator Saxby Chambliss is with us.
Senator, we were talking -- and thank you so much for holding, sir, across the break. We were talking a second ago about General Motors and the big three automakers. Are you for a bailout of the automakers?
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: I'm not, Glenn. Listen, I've always bought American-made automobiles from one of the Big Three. I think it's important that we have domestic automobile makers but, you know, they have created so many internal problems themselves that unless you have a major restructuring of the American automobile industry, then throwing money at it's not going to fix it.
GLENN: They would argue that it's not them, it's the unions supported by congress and it's congress themselves that have said you need to have higher fuel emission standards and they said at the time we can't afford to retool our plants. Congress made them retool it. Isn't it -- this is their argument: Isn't it partially congress' fault for doing this to us?
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: Well, if you are talking about loan guarantees to allow them to retool, I'm much more sympathetic to that because we need more flex engines. We need more battery powered vehicles. But if you are talking about throwing money as they are asking for now, Glenn, just to give them cash flow between now and the end of the year, if they can't get that from their banks, then that's not the function of the federal government to step in and provide that because it will be more money, more money, more money the further it goes.
GLENN: Well, let me ask you this, tough question on -- the Big Three automakers, if they go down, that's about three million jobs. How do you sell that to the American people?
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: I don't think it's going to be a matter of them going down. I think if worse came to worse, the free market operates, they could take some sort of course of action that would permit restructuring either voluntary or involuntary and that's simply what's got to happen. You look at the legacy costs that have been created with these companies versus the costs of their competitors out there.
GLENN: Do you believe that -- I mean you look at Toyota. They are paying their workers $48 an hour. General Motors and Ford are paying almost $78 an hour and that's because of the unions. Do you believe with this liberal congress and this President that, this coming President, there's any way they don't pay that debt to the unions and save those jobs, if you will, at that kind of a rate?
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: I think you are already hearing Obama say that's a priority of his and if they have the filibuster-proof Senate, then I think we're probably headed in that direction and that would truly be unfortunate.
GLENN: Let me -- may I just go down a few issues because you may be the most important race in America. Well, you certainly are today but I mean, you are in a very unique situation, and Americans, it is their responsibility to seek out those people that will help further and protect the Constitution. So let me go through a couple of things. Will you stand against a steeper climb on the progressive tax system? Will you stand against higher taxes?
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: Glenn, I've never voted for a tax increase and I never will. That's not going to help this economy to raise taxes.
GLENN: Obama and the Democrats want to abolish Guantanamo and bring those cases into civil court. I have had attorneys tell me that if you bring 200 of these cases into federal court, it will shut our system down. Are you for dismantling Guantanamo and bringing these into federal court?
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: Glenn, I've been to Guantanamo three times myself. I've seen the type of prisoner that's down there. Having practiced law for 26 years before I got into politics myself, whoever made that statement about shutting down the American system is absolutely right and I'm not in favor of that. I'm in favor of making sure that prisoners have certain rights but to give these guys who want to kill and harm us the rights that every other prisoner has and even greater rights now in some instances, if you look at the court decisions I think is just, it's wrong and I would not be in support of moving those folks out of Guantanamo.
GLENN: I fear that there is going to be a back door deal between the unions and all these, for instance, the automakers who are desperate for cash and everything else that I fear that there is a -- there is going to be a slippery slope right into, let us remove your burden of healthcare. Will you stand against universal government-controlled healthcare?
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: Absolutely. I campaign hard on the fact that I never want to take the right of an individual, take away the right of an individual to choose their own doctor and with the new administration coming in, that's exactly the direction we're headed in.
GLENN: Did you stand against the prescription drug bill that Bush pushed?
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: I wound up voting for that bill.
GLENN: Why is that?
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: Well, I thought that there were a number of seniors out there that, number one we could save money on instead of them going into a nursing home or having more emergency room expenses if they had drugs available to them. And secondly that there was competition injected into there. I think having access, hasn't cost us as much money as what we thought it might.
GLENN: We had two presidential candidates that both said bring on cap and trade, a carbon tax that will totally transform the economy in America. Are you for cap and trade?
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: I have been opposed to the proposal that's been laid out there by actually a bipartisan proposal and the reason I am is there's simply got to be a balance here between destroying the rest of the manufacturing industry in this country and making sure that we leave this country cleaner than what we inherited. All of us want clean air. All of us want clean water for our children and grandchildren, and we can do it but we've got to strike that right balance of making sure that jobs don't leave America as a result of this. You know, we are the leader of the free world but if we don't have the Indias and the Chinas on board with us, they are going to take every single manufacturing job we have if we're not careful.
GLENN: I have only about 10 seconds. So I need a yes or no answer on this one. Is there any scenario in which you see yourself supporting the Fairness Doctrine?
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: No.
GLENN: Senator Chambliss, where can people donate if they like what your views are?
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: www.saxby.org.
GLENN: Got it. Best of luck, senator, we'll talk again.
SENATOR CHAMBLISS: Thanks, Glenn.
GLENN: You bet. Bye-bye.