Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed TN (R) U.S. Senate candidate Bill Hagerty to the newsmakers line.
During the third hour, Hagerty explained what he’d been seeing throughout Tennessee on the campaign trail and outlined the major concerns of Tennesseans. He added that it was imperative that everyone get out and vote and emphasizing how Tennessee can help President Trump win the Democrat talking point of the popular vote.
Leahy: We are joined now on our newsmaker line by our good friend Republican candidate for the United States Senate Bill Haggerty. Former ambassador to Japan. Good morning, Bill.
Hagerty: Good morning, Michael. Good to be with you. I tell you my prayers go out for Senator Kerry Roberts. I hope that he is recovering well now.
Leahy: Our good friend Kerry Roberts had an aneurysm. He is in the hospital and he is resting well and recovering. Crom Carmichael’s in-studio here with us today Bill.
Hagerty: Hello Crom.
Carmichael: Hey, Bill, how are you, sir?
Hagerty: I’m very good. Thank you.
Leahy: The big news today Bill is the Senate Judiciary Committee holding confirmation hearings on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney-Barrett. What do you expect to happen today Bill?
Hagerty: Well, I think we’re very fortunate to have our own Marsha Blackburn there serving on the Judiciary Committee. I know she will represent us well. I’m also going to be very interested to see what Senator Harris does. If you saw the debate performance, she just oozes with ambition. But what you see is condescension and meanness. I suspect that that will be on full display with Judge Amy Coney-Barrett’s confirmation hearing. We will wait and see. My family and I are keeping the judge in our prayers. She’ll make a great constitutionalist jurist, and we’ll see how the Democrats behave on this. But given what they’ve done in the past it’s anybody’s call.
Carmichael: Bill is that hearing live or is it virtual?
Hagerty: I’m not sure whether it’s live or virtual. I think it’s both.
Leahy: Yeah, I think it’s a combination Bill I think that’s right. It’s going to be very very interesting.
Carmichael: Well, I hope that Senator Harris is there live and perhaps brings up the story about Honest Abe (Leahy chuckles) which turned out to be false.
Hagerty: Yes. (Laughs) She schooled Vice President Pence. He is a great guy. He was my boss during the 2016 transition. He came over and shared that effort. A great person to work with. As steady as they come. I think that was evident during the course of the debate. Solid, steady, and a good leader.
Carmichael: Frank Luntz had a panel of 15 undecided voters who watched it and when it was over and he polled them and said raise your hand if you think Senator Harris won. One person raised their hand 14 people said they thought Pence won. That’s about as big a drubbing is you’re going to get. Tell us a little bit about where you think we are with the China policy within senatorial races?
Hagerty: One of the main reasons that President Trump encouraged me to run for the United States Senate is the fact that I’ve had experience dealing with China. you think about where I was supposed to. I was the U.S. Ambassador to Japan. That’s the third-largest economy in the world after the United States and China. And it’s the cornerstone of all of our defense and security in the entire Asia Pacific region. So I dealt with China militarily, diplomatically, and economically. They are a predator at every level.
And we need more people in the United States Senate who are willing to stand up to China. I tell you, as I go across the state of Tennessee, Tennesseans want to see us be strong with China. They know that China delivered this pandemic not only to America but to the rest of the world. And I think that what we’ve seen is something I’ve been concerned about for four years. The President has been too, and that’s our dependence on China.
I was worried about it for our high technology. For our military technology, but now you ask any American and they would tell you we should not be reliant on China to manufacture our antibiotics in our medical supplies. This has made it clear I think to voters all across this nation and that we need to stand up to China. And if I’m elected to the United States Senate, I’m going to make Made in America the theme of our nation.
Leahy: Joe Biden has said publicly that we are not to be worried about China. What do you make of that?
Hagerty: I think we all know Joe Biden’s family’s close financial ties to China. And it’s folks like Joe Biden and Republican administrations as well. You know both looking the other way while China’s continued to mount its aggression. And it’s gotten to a point that it had to stop. Thank goodness President Trump stepped in and has stood his ground and basically let China know that we’re not going to take it anymore.
Carmichael: Bill, what are the other issues that at that Tennesseans care about?
Hagerty: The primary issue in this, setting aside the immediacy of the Supreme Court, the primary issue is jobs and the economy. And people are very concerned. We’ve been through an inordinate and enormous economic shutdown with this pandemic. We’ve got to get our economy going again. There are a lot of businesses that are still hurting tremendously. Many people lost their jobs and lost their businesses or had their wages and hours cut back through all this. They want to see our economy going again.
And that’s why they’ve responded so well to me because I’ve been a business person all my life. I understand how our economy works. That’s the reason I was called in to serve as our Economic Development Chief here in Tennessee. I stepped in back in July of 2011. We were working our way through the last big economic recession that we had. We got our state turned around. We did it in short order. We’re going to have to do that again here coming out of this pandemic and that’s I think a big reason the President has appointed me to the White House economic recovery task force. I’ve been working with them to turn that around.
Carmichael: Do you think I’ll be a third stimulus plan passed or is there just too much distance between by what Pelosi wants to add to the bill to get it passed?
Hagerty: Crom, I’m not optimistic for exactly the reason you mentioned. I think that Pelosi wants to use this as an excuse to bail out blue states that have been fiscally irresponsible. States like California her own State. Illinois, New York, and New Jersey. She wants to use it as an opportunity to bail them out. And Tennessee has been the most fiscally responsible state in the nation. We had the lowest debt per capita in America.
We have the strongest balance sheet. Why should Tennesseans be paying the debts of spendthrift governors in New Jersey, New York, Illinois, and California? That’s not going to happen. So I’m not optimistic that we’re going to see anything. I don’t think Nancy Pelosi cares in the least about the plight of the businesses that have been shut down. Those people have lost their jobs.
This is nothing more than a big play to try to bail out blue states from her perspective. And you know, she even tried to insert changes to voting laws in some of the legislation earlier. So they are not focused on the economy. But I tell you, Tennesseans are. The other thing I’ve been hearing a lot is law and order even though we’re not having the problems that they’re experiencing in Portland, Seattle, Chicago, and New York.
We have people here really concerned about what they see on TV. And when I talked with sheriffs and chiefs of police, they’re telling me it’s getting harder to recruit young people to step onto the force. I mean when I was a young man growing up here in Middle, Tennessee it was a position of honor to wear that uniform. And we’ve always looked up to and respected law enforcement.
And I’ve been trying to convey that message all across the state that I’ve got the backing of law enforcement 120 percent. I hope all of us do that. When we see a police officer doing their job, pat them on the back. Tell them how much we appreciate what they’re doing.
Leahy: Bill, as you mentioned you’ve been traveling the state extensively and talking to everyday Tennesseans out there. Just overall, we’re three weeks and one day until the election. What would you say the mood is that you’re picking up from the average everyday Tennessean that you talk to on your travels?
Hagerty: If I had to pick one word its concern. And if you think about it, Chuck Schumer has probably encapsulated this as well as anyone. If we were to lose control of the United States Senate Chuck Schumer has said all options are on the table and they will not waste the majority if they get it. They’re going to act swiftly. What are they going to do? Well, they’re going to pack the court. Michael, you understand this as well as anybody.
They’re going to add four new justices to the Supreme Court going from nine to 13 on the bench. They’ll put those justices in place. They’ll fill those positions with partisan liberal activists who will use the bench to legislate rather than judges like Amy Coney-Barrett that if she were to be appointed Justice would be a constitutionalist and interpret the Constitution as it was written by our Founders. These will be activist judges.
They’ll turn the Supreme Court into a super legislative body that’s not accountable to anybody. And they’ll have lifetime appointments. It would be a complete disaster. It would tear our constitution apart. There’s no greater scholar of our constitution than Michael Patrick Leahy. I’m sure you could go on for a long time about this. But that is frightening to people who think about it. They’ll add two new States. They are talking about D.C. and Puerto Rico.
That means for new Democrat Senators diluting our voice. They’ll push on the Green New Deal that will destroy the economy. They’ll insert the government in every aspect of our life. You know, Medicare for all will destroy the healthcare system that we know because it’ll take away the private health insurance that we get through our employment. And if defunding and dismantling the police is your goal we’re going to see chaos and violence rule the streets here in America. Tennesseans do not want that. They’re very concerned.
Leahy: Bill. What’s your plan for the next three weeks in one day? What will you be doing every day?
Hagerty: Travelling every day. I’m in Middle, Tennessee right now. We’re in West Tennessee over the weekend and then we’ll be heading to East Tennessee in just a couple of hours and continuing to move all across the state every day until polls close on election day November the third. And I’m encouraging everybody to get out and vote. Get their friends and their family members. Not only are we in a win the electoral college for President Trump but we can run up the score. Take away the democrat’s favorite talking point that President Trump didn’t win the popular vote. Tennessee can contribute to that.
Leahy: That’s a very good point.
Listen to the full third hour here:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Bill Hagerty” by U.S. Embassy Tokyo. Background Photo “Polling Place” by Sage Ross CC BY-SA 2.0.