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Fox News "Hannity" - Transcript

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SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And this a Fox News Alert. Tension reigned in Arizona tonight. President Obama touched down in Phoenix a short time ago and he was greeted by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, but things were far from cordial.

Now, the governor can be seen handing President Obama a handwritten letter inviting him to return to Arizona and to accompany her to the border. But president apparently was not in the mood for pleasantries. Why? President Obama thought that the tarmac meeting was an appropriate time to critique her book, "Scorpions for Breakfast."

Now according to the press pool, the two got into a heated conversation over a passage in the governor's book. Apparently, Obama took issue on how Governor Brewer described their meeting at the White House about the Arizona immigration law back in 2010.

Now the governor was clearly shaken up by the exchange, told the reporters that he walked away before she could finish her sentence and said quote, "I said to him, you know, I have always respected the office of the president and that the book is what the book is. I said that I was sorry that he felt that way. Anyway, we're glad he's here and we'll regroup."

Joining me now as reaction to that and much more, former speaker of the House, presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich.

You know, I'm thinking, you know, if you just look at the Drudge Report and just your -- just one day's worth of attacks and criticisms, you know, leveled by many of your critics in one day, and this one thing has gotten to the president, what does it say about him?

NEWT GINGRICH, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, and the thing that is fascinating when I read the story. You know that Governor Brewer is telling the truth because he acted as arrogantly and as rudely to her on the tarmac as she suggested he had in the Oval Office. That was not the behavior of man who said, gosh, I'm sorry you felt that way.

He's back -- she described him as lecturing her in the Oval Office, and what do we see at the foot of Air Force One. He is lecturing her. So, you know that her version is right and it tells you how thin skinned -- I think how utterly unable to relate to other people that President Obama is. He is terrific in front of a crowd. But at least with Republicans, he seems to have almost no ability to receive incoming information or to listen to the other side.

HANNITY: You know, it's very interesting. Speaking of listening to the other side. First of all, he said last night that America is back. I'm sure you would take issue with that. And then he said we have to follow the example of the military. We all have to work together. Lower the temperature in this town. The same guy who said if they bring a knife to the fight we'd bring a gun. The same guy that said that Republicans want dirty air, dirty water and old people to not have health care. What do you think of the speech overall?

GINGRICH: Well, I thought the speech had a couple of fascinating moments. You know, I don't know if the White House understood then when he calls for 30 percent tax, he was saying he would be doubling the capital gains tax. Now, if you double the capital gains tax you are going to crash the stock market. You are going to affect every pension fund in the country. You are going weaken every 401(k). You are going to drive capital out of the country. You are going to stop investments.

I mean, this is -- if they meant it, I'm not sure he understood it. But, if he met genuinely 30 percent minimum tax that would mean that he is prescribing a decade of unemployment. And I think that is very, very sobering, frankly, when you look at that.

HANNITY: Alright. Let's go to the comments of former of speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. And she basically saying she knows something. This is not the first time she has said this. This is now the second time. "We were locked in the room, four of us, I have information" -- there might be issues I think involving ethics for her, but we will put that aside for minute and we will show your good friend, Nancy Pelosi, what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CNN, JAN. 24)

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What goes through your mind, the possibility that is more real today that it was a week or a month ago, that he would be the Republican nominee and that you could come back here next January or next February with a President Gingrich?

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Let me just say this. That will never happen.

KING: Why?

PELOSI: He is not going to be president of the United States. That is not going to happen. Let me just make my prediction and stand by it, it isn't going to happen.

KING: Why are you so sure?

PELOSI: There is something I know. The Republicans, if they choose to nominate him that is their prerogative.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Second time she said this. Last time she referred to the fact that she was, you know, involved in these ethics investigation -- you are smiling. Why are you laughing?

GINGRICH: Because this morning I said, you know, she ought to put up or shut up. And this afternoon she said -- well, she was just referring to my public record and my policies. She backed down totally. But frankly, Sean, I would much rather be attacked by Nancy Pelosi rather than endorsed by her. So, I was kind a grateful that she took the right position for left-wing Democrat.

HANNITY: Now you are really regretting -- and I asked you about this when you did that ad with her on the green issue.

GINGRICH: I knew you were going to go there.

HANNITY: You did say it was stupid and you said it was a mistake. Alright. So, alright.

Let me go to -- Vice president Biden has weighed in. I got a lot of good quotes for you because you are -- apparently a lot of people, you're a very popular these days and a lot of people talking about you. So, let me say Vice President Biden responds to your food stamp comment meaning Obama is the food stamp president. Here is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "GMA"/ABC)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's hard to respond to Newt with those kinds of ridiculous statements. But, look. The fact is that for 23 months people have been getting, the private sector have been hiring people. The president talked about what we do think is fair. It's fair to give the middle class a fighting shot here.

We have a different priority set than Newt Gingrich and apparently and our Republican colleagues have.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, CO-HOST: You called the former speaker's statements ridiculous. Do you think he is calling racial politics when he calls President Obama a food stamp president?

BIDEN: You know, it's hard to tell what it means. I'm not being facetious, but it's hard to tell what Newt means. He says a lot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: There are 12 million more people since Barack Obama has become president that are on food stamps. That's just factually accurate. Why is it become such an explosive term and issue in your mind?

GINGRICH: I think that the left is terrified that we will begin to communicate effectively how destructive their policies are, how much they deprive people of opportunity. And if you contrast a paycheck candidate, which is what I want to be, with a food stamp president, it becomes very hard for them to win re-election.

Now, the fact is that Barack Obama believes in big government. He believes in high taxes. He has policies that kill jobs. He just killed jobs with his veto of the pipeline in the Midwest. So, you've got a president who is I think in many ways committed to policies that put people on food stands. And they don't want to get into this kind of an argument because they know that they will lose the argument because overwhelmingly, Americans would rather be at work earning a paycheck.

And let me remind you that their policies, the president may go in and say everything is fine. I was campaigning in South Carolina last week, very high unemployment levels. We're in Florida now, very high unemployment levels, very big housing problems. And for the president to suggest that things are OK, is a sign how out of touch everyday Americans the administration now is.

HANNITY: The campaign is getting very heated. South Carolina, I guess it's it really goes back to Iowa. And you had, you know, 10, $14 million whatever thrown at ads at you by a Super PAC. You said I was either going to get out or unilaterally disarm and get our or I was going to fight back.

So now it's going back and forth. In just the last week, Mitt Romney has said you are a Washington insider. That you resigned in disgrace. That you are influence peddler, an inside player. And he was on the program last night. And I asked him about this because it is getting personal. And I wanted to give you a chance to respond tonight and your reaction.

GINGRICH: Well, look. I think he spent six years running for president. He put up $40 million of his own money. Up to last week, he thought he knew exactly what was going to happen. All of the sudden, he loses South Carolina.

We set the all-time record. We carried 43 out of 46 counties. People of South Carolina came together. They said Newt Gingrich can debate Barack Obama and win the presidency. And they said Mitt Romney is by standards of Republicans, a liberal. He was pro-gun control, pro-abortion, pro-tax increases as governor. And so he lost.

I think what we have is a very rattled Romney campaign which is floundering and they don't have any way to build him up because they can't talk about his record as governor. They can't talk about what he did during the Reagan-Bush years because he reputed them. He voted for Paul Tsongas in the Democratic primary in 1992. He gave money to Democrats in 1992.

So, he can't go back and complete with me. So, all he is doing now is piling on as much mud as he can find to see if he can somehow drown the Gingrich campaign. And when you have 6,000 people at Naples as we did last night, I don't think he is going to be very successful stopping the people of Florida from voting for a conservative.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, NBC, JAN. 23)

MITT ROMNEY, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have Congressmen who also said that you came and lobbied them in favor. You have Congressmen who say that you came and lobbied them with regards to Medicare Part D. At the same time your center was taking contributions.

GINGRICH: You jumped a long way over here, friend.

I am proud of the fact that I publicly openly advocated Medicaid Part D. It has saved lives. It's run on a free enterprise model and also included health savings account and include Medicare alternatives, which gave people choices. And I did it publicly and it's not correct, Mitt. Understand this flatly because you've been walking around the state saying things that are not true. It's not correct to describe public citizenship have been publicly advocacy as lobbying. Every citizen has the right to do that. And what I did on behalf of Medicare, I did out in the open publicly. And that is my right as a citizen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Alright, that was part of the back and forth between Governor Mitt Romney and former speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich during the NBC debate earlier this week. And we continue with presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich.

Alright. These are serious charges. Did you ever lobby, because you said no, I gave advice. I consulted --

GINGRICH: No, no.

HANNITY: My group consulted with Freddie. I think this is important. Go ahead.

GINGRICH: They said release the contracts. We went back and got the contracts back all the way to 1999 and guess what they said, no, lobbying. Oh, then that didn't count. We brought in an expert to teach all of our folks what was lobbying and what wasn't because we were determined that no one who worked for us would ever lobby. That doesn't count.

The only I time was ever cited by a newspaper for talking at members of Congress about Freddie Mac was in New York Times in July of 2008 when I told the House Republicans vote no. Now, at some point this becomes an absurdity.

On the other hand, we discovered Mitt Romney owns stock in both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Mitt Romney put a Freddie Mac lobbyist in a commercial attacking me. Mitt Romney's campaign manager worked for a company that got $2 million from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to stop the regulations. You know, he's surrounded by senior advisers who are lobbyists for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The absolute gall of Mitt Romney surrounding himself with all these lobbyists, owning stock in the companies, and then fabricate ago charge which is factually false, I think demeans the entire process of running for president.

HANNITY: I asked Governor Romney this last night and the ethics charges -- I know it took three years but you were exonerated of every charge, correct?

GINGRICH: Right. This is why you have the facts, OK? The senior counselor to the ethics committee has said flatly what Romney is saying isn't true. If you go back and read the record. By the way, all 1,300 pages are available online.

So, if you go back and read the record, you will find out I never paid a fine. I paid the expense of the investigation because my lawyer made a mistake. Every one of the 84 charges filed by the Democrats was thrown out. A U.S. judge said I was right. The Federal Election Commission said I was right. The Internal Revenue Service said I was right. Romney's staff knows that. They just decided that telling truth they would mean they would lose the election. So they gave up telling the truth in order to try to win.

HANNITY: I know this is -- these are unprecedented times. There never has been a time when a different candidate won the Iowa caucuses, New Hampshire and South Carolina primary. Usually one of the winners of either Iowa and New Hampshire would go on and win South Carolina and become the nominee.

So, this is -- historically speaking from the 1980s, this is really new terrain and new territory. And we've seen the up and down in the polls here. It seems though with all of these charges now going back and forth. And you are now hitting back hard with your ads against Governor Romney. You know, I know a lot of people are writing me and they are concerned that at the end of this process, one of you is going to be facing Barack Obama and is this going to be united party in the end. Will differences -- is this just part of the process, maybe we're getting in the silly season a little bit. People just need understand this is how it's going to be from now until whenever the nominee is picked?

GINGRICH: Well, I think when you get down to a nominee. And our choices, whichever Republican, I hope will be me, but whichever Republican's nominated and Barack Obama, that choice will be so gigantic. That everybody will rally to the Republican candidate. And I think that is probably what will happen.

But in the interim, as you point out, this is unprecedented. And if you add together the conservative candidates, it's clear that governor Romney can't get anywhere close to a majority. So, part of what's happening is -- I was delighted and very grateful to Governor Perry when he dropped out and he endorsed me. I was very grateful when Governor Palin said the other night that if she went to South Carolina, she would vote for me. I'm delighted that Michael Reagan has endorsed me.

Gradually, as the conservatives come together, I think that the fact that Romney is a Massachusetts moderate, which means in the Republican caucus or Republican primary, he a liberal. And I think that was a huge weight. When people learn about his pro-abortion, pro-tax increase, pro-gun control record in Massachusetts, real record now, not speeches, not commercials, I think that he has a very hard time winning Republican primaries.

HANNITY: Latest charge is that you insulted Ronald Reagan.

(LAUGHTER)

GINGRICH: You know, let's look at that period. Governor Romney was against Ronald Reagan. Governor Romney said in 1994 Senate race, he was opposed going back to Reagan-Bush policies. Governor Romney was giving money to Democrats and voting for the most liberal Democrat in 1992 presidential race.

For them to come back and try to fabricate, I mean, ask Michael Reagan who was there. Ask Tony Dolan who for eight years was Ronald Reagan's chief speech writer. Ask people who where, for example, the national security adviser, Bud McFarland, for five years who worked with me.

This is the kind of fundamentally dishonest campaign. Governor Romney cannot defend his record, he can't defend his past. He can't defend what he has done. And so, his goal is to somehow throw enough mud at me. And I think it's all going wash off because American people are smart enough.

I first met with Reagan in 1974 and campaigned with him in 1980. I helped him for eight years while he was president. I made a movie about him. I have written a book about him. To suggest that Governor Romney is more Reagan-like than I am, is an act of total fantasy.

HANNITY: Alright. It's going to go on. Mr. Speaker, thank you for being with us tonight. I have a funny feeling this may go on for a few more states. I'm just guessing. Thanks for being with us.

GINGRICH: Thank you.


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