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Fox News "Hannity" - Transcript

Interview

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SEAN HANNITY, HOST: First, we go to great state of Arizona where according to Rasmussen reports, frontrunner Mitt Romney boasts a comfortable 13-point lead over Rick Santorum, and they are trailed at a distance by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Congressman Ron Paul.

But on the ground in the Governor Romney's own home state of Michigan, things are too close to call. In just the last week, Senator Rick Santorum has closed the gap and now trails Romney by only two points, 38 to 36 percent.

Now later tonight, you will hear directly from Senator Santorum, but first I am joined from the Great Lake State by presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Governor, welcome back sir.

FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you so much. Good to be with you, Sean.

HANNITY: I think I see a drum set behind you. Are you going to -- are you playing after this or?

(LAUGHING)

ROMNEY: We just had a rally here in Royal Oak, Michigan, and Kid Rock, who is a native son, was kind enough to put on a bit of a concert here. He sang "Born Free." It was a big night here.

HANNITY: All right. Here, look, things are very close in Michigan. You got about a two-point lead going in. You've got to feel good about Arizona. What about the prospects that Democrats are going to go and vote in the primary as they are being encouraged to do by some of these more extreme liberal web sites? Does that concern you heading into Michigan tomorrow?

ROMNEY: Well, I wasn't too concerned about what the Democrats are putting out there because I figured it wouldn't have much impact. But Senator Santorum did something today which I think is deceptive and a dirty trick which is he's put an ad out there sounding like a labor ad telling labor folks and Democrats to go vote against me and to vote for Rick Santorum and at the very end, there's a little trailer that he paid for this, but it's confusing people. It's a new low in this campaign.

HANNITY: All right. Well, he's coming up immediately after you. I'll ask him about it when we get to that moment. There's a lot happening with the president. And I figured I would give you an opportunity tonight, Governor. Here President Obama apologized to President Karzai over this Koran burning incident. We found out that prisoners and some extremists were sending notes to each other in the Koran and they themselves were writing in the Koran which they were not supposed to do, so they were burned. As a result many people have been injured, a numbers of Americans now, two are shot and killed, and other officers were shot. And I'm wondering, why isn't the president demanding an apology for the actions against our soldiers and why did he give an apology, and I wanted to get your reaction to it.

ROMNEY: Well, I think you hit the nail on the head. I think the president made another error by once again apologizing. This is an occasion where given the extraordinary sacrifice of our men and women, the lives lost, the casualties, the treasure that's been invested, we are there trying to help the Afghans have freedom and apparently some Taliban or Taliban sympathizers are doing outrageous things. This is not a time for the president of the United States to be apologizing to Afghanistan.

HANNITY: He made a mistake? Do you think he should be asking Karzai for an apology for the death of American soldiers?

ROMNEY: Well, certainly if this comes from, if you will, Karzai's people, if this comes from members of the security forces of Afghanistan, of course, Karzai should step forward and offer an apology. If it of course comes from the Taliban, well, that's a different matter. We should defeat them. This president has made so many mistakes in Afghanistan, first of all by announcing the date of our withdrawal, secondly, recently describing the date that we're going to end our combat operations there. Also making, failing to make sure that the elections there were fair and had credibility. He has made it very difficult for our troops there and he's done that yet again.

HANNITY: Governor, one of the big issues that is in the forefront of everybody's mind is gas prices. If you were president today, what would you do to immediately try and offer some relief for people at the pump?

ROMNEY: Well, it's not just today, it's over the last three years. This president has only a love for solar and wind, and we all like solar and wind but they're just not going to get our cars to run and they don't begin to provide the energy America needs. He's held off on deep sea oil drilling. He's held off on gas and resources in this country, natural gas. He's made it very hard to mine for coal or to use coal. It's time to have an energy policy that takes advantage of our energy resources, including by the way bringing in a pipeline from Canada, the Keystone pipeline. He failed about the only no-brainer I can think that anybody could pass but him.

HANNITY: Yes. The president said, drilling is not a plan, it's a bumper sticker. If we started drilling three years ago, would we be the beneficiaries of that drilling by now?

ROMNEY: Well, there's no question but that if we had a real energy policy that took advantage of our energy resources, America would not be subject to the whipsaws of the cartels. We recognize that this is a president who just doesn't care for carbon-based energy and that's the source for our fuel for our vehicles, it heats our homes, it powers our generators. We frankly have to have carbon based energy, as well as our renewable resources. And this president just has not gotten the job done. There's so many places where he hasn't gotten the job done, Sean. On the economy, our level of unemployment remains high, foreclosures are excessive. Look, the deficit is now doubled under his administration or worse. This guy has failed on virtually every front.

HANNITY: Do you want to weigh I -- Rick Santorum, who is now your chief opponent in Michigan, obviously this is an important contest, but Super Tuesday, we got a lot of states on the line, a week from tomorrow. He referred to the president as a snob for suggesting that everybody would want to go to college and get a degree. Do you think that it's in everybody's best interest to get a degree or are people better off going to specialized schools to become a mechanic or an electrician or a plumber? What do you think?

ROMNEY: Not everybody is going to go to college, of course. And people have different courses in their life they want to pursue. College is not right for everybody. Some folks have other ambitions and want to go in different directions. So, we want people to have freedom in this country and opportunity to pursue their happiness and the way they think. Is it appropriate for them? B

ut you know, I don't know, I'm not going to worry about incendiary language. This is a time for us to come together as people, and for us to provide opportunity for all of our citizens.

HANNITY: You know, the last time Governor, I was in Detroit, I know there has been a big issue about your position that you would have allowed the car companies in Detroit to go bankrupt, and they would be allowed to use the law, to restructure and come back. And your argument is that they would have been in just as strong a position as they are now. But the last time I was in Detroit, I was looking around, and you see all these homes boarded up. They are now talking about bulldozing entire neighbors to consolidate services in a city like Detroit. Can Detroit come back? And how would it come back?

ROMNEY: Well, the right way to get Detroit to come back is to get the American economy to come back. Part of that is by changing the entire relationship between government and the private sector. This president has the view that government should dominate what's happening in the private sector. He continues to have General Motors shares in the hands of government. They are directing the course of General Motors in ways they shouldn't. He's also given a big hunk of General Motors and Chrysler to the UAW. That was a mistake. The right course is to have lower corporate taxes and lower marginal taxes for Americans across the board. Secondly, to get regulations to work to encourage free enterprise in this country, not to stifle it. Third is to have energy policies that take advantage of our energy resources. Fourth is to have trade with other nations, open up new trade agreements, this president has stalled on that front. And finally crackdown on China for stealing our jobs in an unfair way. You do those things, Detroit will come back, America will come back, and we will be working again.

HANNITY: All right, Governor. If you want to go play the drums, I think we will make a lot of news. We will wait if you want to go bang away. Just kidding.

Anyway, Governor, we will be watching obviously our coverage right here on the Fox News Channel tomorrow night. Big night tomorrow with Arizona and Michigan. And you are one week away from Super Tuesday. I assume that's a sign of relief for you?

ROMNEY: This is very exciting. You know, I was 15 points down here in Michigan just about 10 days ago, and now to have this within the margin of error, we are pretty excited. Momentum is coming in the right direction.

HANNITY: All right. Governor, always good to see you. Thanks for being with us.


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