GLENN: All righty then. We go to Senator John Thune who is, it's crazy, an actual conservative in the Republican party. Senator, how are you, sir?
SENATOR THUNE: Doing well, Glenn, how are you this morning?
GLENN: I'm good. You know, I'm concerned about our country, quite frankly. I'm concerned where we're headed. I see the treasury and the Fed completely out of control. We've taken on now another $5 trillion of responsibility in debt. And Senator, when is this madness going to end?
SENATOR THUNE: Well, I tell you, I think there's a lot of anxiety across the country including among members of congress who supported what the Treasury was trying to do now and they shift gears and go to yet another permutation of various proposals that they put out to try and provide stability in the economy. It is a little troubling to see the apparent lack of clarity that they have about how to accomplish this. I mean, the thing continues to evolve and, you know, we got a new proposal yesterday from the treasury department. I think at the end of the day what's going to solve the challenges that we face in our economy, it's going to be the American people and their hard work and entrepreneurs and keeping tax policies low so that they can invest, and I don't think that government's going to be, in the end, going to be the solution to this thing.
GLENN: Then why are we -- I mean, what are we doing? What are we doing? Tell me where you stand on GM, Senator. What's going to happen with the Big Three automakers? How can we continue to just pour money into American Express and to GM and just open up our vaults and our treasury and our printing presses for everybody?
SENATOR THUNE: Well, it's really hard, Glenn, and the question is where does that end because if you selectively start choosing industries that you support and others are blind, then you've got government in the position of picking winners and losers and that's not a place for government to be. You know, I think that the -- what you're seeing right now as you mentioned is more and more pressure from more and more industries to step in and once you establish the President doing that, it becomes harder to say no. Then it becomes a question of the federal government, the congress, whomever The Treasury Department determining which ones are important in the economy and which ones aren't. So it is a dangerous precedent, and I say that as somebody who held my nose and voted for the rescue plan simply because I thought we had to bring some stability to the credit market but now seeing how they are attempting to implement that raises a lot of questions and concerns about whether or not we should be giving those types of authorities to the federal government in the first place.
GLENN: Do you regret it or are you just considering that maybe we shouldn't have done it? Or are you saying now just way too much authority?
SENATOR THUNE: Well, you do -- you know, you do what you think is right at the time and there was a sense of urgency and emergency and we had credit markets that were freezing up and we assumed at the time that they had a fairly thought out plan that they were going to use to restore some stability to the credit market to make sure that more people didn't get sucked into this spiral but, you know, now all of a sudden they said, okay, we're not going to buy nonperforming loans, we're going to make equity investments to try and capitalize some of these sectors of our economy. It just seems like they are very much, almost --
GLENN: They are grasping at --
SENATOR THUNE: Trying to see how to fix it and that's a real worry.
GLENN: They are grasping at straws.
SENATOR THUNE: Yeah.
GLENN: The Senate, what do you think's going to happen? I mean, it looks like now that Alaska, the Senate seat may go away. Al Franken may be joining you in the Senate, and Georgia's up for grabs. What is --
SENATOR THUNE: Well, I think we're going to hang on in Minnesota. As much as the Democrats are going to try and snatch that one through the recount process, Norm Coleman ended up on top, it's very hard to reverse those types of outcomes and I think he is going to be the next senator for Minnesota. Alaska as you said is not looking good. I think in a runoff Saxby Chambliss will do fine because I think when it comes to a runoff, the Republicans will turn out, particularly if they are convinced -- and they should be now -- that that vote has made the difference between the Democrats having the total keys and run of the place in Washington. If they get a 60 vote majority in the United States Senate, it makes it virtually impossible for us as Republicans to stop bad things from happening or in any way to shape legislation as it moves through there consistent with our principle. It's a very, it's a process that I think most Americans would be very uncomfortable with and I think that's going to help the Saxby prospects in Georgia.
GLENN: I don't know, Senator. I just saw a poll that said most Americans are happy and comfortable now with one-party rule.
SENATOR THUNE: Well, I think part of it is there's kind of the euphoria and the honeymoon period that you come out of an election with, Glenn, but I tell you what, when they start seeing how these guys govern, and you have to believe that it's one thing if you are talking about Democrats that were sort of in the middle of the political spectrum but Nancy Pelosi is going to represent the far left. The leadership in the Senate's going to be on the far left. They are going to try to be pulling Obama in that direction. This is a government that's going to be very far left of center and I think when people start realizing what that means in terms of policies that affect their lives, you are going to see a reaction against that. But sure, right now everybody feels very good about this historic election but, you know, it's a very different thing I think once they begin to govern and people see the direction they are starting to lead the country.
GLENN: If we have moved this far to the left with Republicans, you know, where we have done this bailout and George Bush has done prescription drugs and everything else, you know and I know that the more fear and the more strife that you, you know, interject into a person's life or into a country, the more they are going to look for a sugar daddy to protect them and bail them out. How do you stop something like universal healthcare at this point when the economy is tanking and everybody's worried about, "well, I can't afford my health insurance, I can't afford to go to the doctor"? How are you going to stop it?
SENATOR THUNE: Well, there's no question we have our work cut out for us but I still think that most Americans, I think Americans, this is a right of center country and I don't think the Republicans were talking to those people in the last election and probably maybe even election before that. But the fact that the outcome is what it is is something we have to deal with. It's a reality. But I don't think -- I think the interpretation of the election by the Democrats is very different than a message the American people were sending. In a lot of ways I think the American people were saying we are tired of corruption in Washington and we are tired of big government solutions. I think it's -- if we get back to our principles in govern, or at least have the opportunity to set the agenda. But if we stand up for those things that we believe in, I think that people will respond to that. And you are correct that sometimes when people -- there's a lot of economic anxiety, they are looking for somebody to protect them. That would seem to suggest that, you know, the Democrats' proposals for more government might find favorable with the American people. But I still think there's a basic mistrust of big government by the American people. I still think that most Americans believe in freedom in this country and I think in the end that's going to win out. I mean, there may be short-term here now, the sentiment that's out there, but I think that's going to change.
GLENN: Do you believe that people should be purchasing guns? I mean, there's a run on guns now. Trying to buy guns or ammunition in this country at least in certain parts of the country, I mean, damn near impossible. I mean, there's a run on guns. Does that amaze you or do you think that -- what do you think of that?
SENATOR THUNE: Well, you know, I think that you -- I know about being in gun stores here in South Dakota and, you know, the sales are up in double digits. It's an amazing time and, you know, you would hope that that reaction isn't overreaction, but you have to look at the record, and I think the policies when the Democrats have been in charge in the congress, particularly the liberal Democrats have been in charge of the congress, they have tried to restrict access to firearms and Second Amendment rights. And I think that the new administration probably, Senator Obama's record suggests that, you know, that is a direction in which they could head. Now, hopefully that won't be the case. With that being said, I think there's a belief by a lot of people around this country, a lot of supporters in the Second Amendment that, you know, they better, before something changes and they move to outlaw gun shows or move to change some of the requirements when it comes to gun ownership or the number, the types of firearms that people currently have access to that might be limited in the future, they are out there buying them up and so it's a reaction to what they perceive as a threat to the Second Amendment right in the future.
GLENN: Joe Biden and Barack Obama are really the kind of guys that only want revolvers available. You won't be able to buy a semiautomatic gun. I mean anything but a revolver.
SENATOR THUNE: Yeah, it's crazy. We went through this ten years ago. Also there was a real concern about it impacting semiautomatic shotguns and that's something, I shoot one of those when I hunt. You know, I think a lot of people in my state do. But that's why you are seeing people moving into these gun stores and it's -- there were a lot of people predicted to me before the election that you were going to see the price of some of these weapons, some of these firearms that were going to double after the election, and I think you are starting to see that.
GLENN: Yeah. Well, Senator, I thank you for all your hard work and we are sincerely counting on a handful of people like you to -- I believe the Constitution is in real, real trouble and if it's not -- if people like you don't stand in the line to block it, we're in deeper trouble than even I think we're in. So we were counting on you, Senator.
SENATOR THUNE: We appreciate the stand you are taking for freedom, too, Glenn. Keep it up.
GLENN: Well, and also I wanted to sincerely thank you for beating Tom Daschle and we'll leave it there. Thank you very much, Senator. Bye-bye.