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Fox News "Hannity" - Transcript

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SEAN HANNITY, HOST: More than 400 delegates are at stake tomorrow on Super Tuesday, which is without a doubt the most important day of the Republican primary calendar to date. And ahead of that vote, both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum were both in the ground in Ohio today where according to the latest polls, the race there is virtually tied.

Now, the battle for the Buckeye State is one that we will be watching very closely as the results pour in tomorrow night. But as they both try and win the support of voters in the Midwest, Newt Gingrich is in Tennessee as he looks he have a very strong showing in Southern states on Tuesday.

And in just a moment, the former speaker will be my guest live from the campaign trail. But before he does, an exchange between Gingrich and David Gregory of NBC News has created a lot of buzz over the past 24 hours.

Now it all happened when Gingrich was asked about Georgetown Law School student Sandra Fluke's Capitol Hill testimony. But rather than take the bait, the former speaker used this opportunity to remind voters about the radical record of President Obama. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MEET THE PRESS"/NBC)

NEWT GINGRICH, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, David, I am astonished at the desperation of the elite media to avoid rising gas prices, to avoid the President's apology to religious fanatics in Afghanistan. To avoid the trillion dollar deficit. To avoid the longest period of unemployment since the Great Depression, and to suddenly decide that Rush Limbaugh is the great national crisis of this week. There is no debate about access to contraception.

You have an issue here of whether the government can coerce the Catholic Church not just into contraception but into sterilization and abortion -- something I don't find any reporter wants to talk about. You have a president who voted for infanticide as a state senator who represents the most extreme pre-abortion position in America.

So, if you want to have a dialogue about this, David, let's set the record straight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: All right. Joining me now live from the campaign trail, former speaker of the House, presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. I watched that exchange. That was a fascinating exchange to me because they are asking about Rush and his comments and the controversy of which he had apologized by that point. And your answer is, why are you asking me this? Explain.

GINGRICH: Well, look, I decided after watching for months that the elite media was clearly going to defend Barack Obama every way they could. My job on behalf of most Americans was to communicate the facts about our values, our concerns, what we care about. And I was just going to frankly cut past the elite media and talk about the things that matter to most Americans. And I've had overwhelmingly positive response from yesterday that people who felt it was about time, for example, that somebody talked about the Obama administration's pro high-priced gas policy or the Obama administration's amazing apology to religious fanatics in Afghanistan at the very time that they are attacking the Catholic Church in United States.

So, I think putting it together that way and insisting on talking about the issues on my terms, not on the media's terms, is the only way conservatives can get across what we believe despite the opposition of much of the elite media.

HANNITY: Is this then, therefore, the challenge, that if you're the nominee, whoever the nominee is that they are going to face, and that is that the media is going to set the agenda and it's going to be one that will favor the Democratic Party and the president's narrative? Is that their biggest challenge in the campaign?

GINGRICH: Well, you have three challenges. You have an incumbent president with all the power of the presidency and the prestige of being the president. You have a billion dollar Obama fund which guarantees for example that the Romney approach of trying to outspend your opponent is hopeless because Obama is going to have more money than anybody. And you're going to have the elite media backing up Obama rather than covering up the story accurately.

So, whoever we nominate -- I think this is probably the best case for Newt Gingrich nomination -- we have to be able to debate Obama so decisively and to frame the issues so decisively that we can overcome those three disadvantages. I think it could be done. Ronald Reagan did it in 1980, but it takes great discipline and it takes an understanding of how to communicate and how to establish conservative principles at a practical level.

HANNITY: You know, we have a new segment, we're actually starting on the program tonight, doing the mainstream media's job, we're going to vet Barack Obama. And there is obviously a lot of material, a cascade, I would argue, waterfall, an avalanche, that he is going to have to deal with. And if the media does their job, they should ask him some of these questions.

The next issue we expect that we're going to hear from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in this hour. He met with the president. President saying publicly both that AIPAC and I assume to the Prime Minister, that he has his back. Do you believe that?

GINGRICH: I have no idea because there is no way to know what Obama is really thinking or what he's really doing until he does it. I do think that this administration has been much more critical of Israel than of its opponents. It's been much more one to put public pressure on Israel. And frankly, their efforts at diplomacy with Iran have been pathetic. There is no evidence that they have slowed down the Iranian nuclear weapons program by one day.

And so I think, you can understand why the Israelis are very worried, and no Israeli Prime Minister is going to turn over the question of survival of their country to any non-Israeli. I mean, because of the history of the Holocaust, the 7 million Jews that were killed by Hitler in World War II, it is inconceivable that a prime minister of Israel would run a significant risk of a second Holocaust by allowing a country like Iran to get nuclear weapons.

HANNITY: I am told that the administration has been pressuring that they want 24 hours notice, that the Israelis said no. That if they were to go after Iran. And we see how the president has treated the prime minister. His comments when he was with, you know, President Sarkozy asking Israel to return to '67 borders, being left in the White House, you know, let me know if you come up with something new. So, I don't think we have seen tension like this in our life time.

GINGRICH: If I were the Israelis, I wouldn't give this administration one minute's notice because somebody will leak it. When you have an operational secret, you want to keep it as close hold as possible. The fewest possible people should know about it. It is an absurdity to suggest that they are going to get 24 hours notice. The only purpose of 24 hours notice frankly would be to try to pressure them into standing down and not doing it.

HANNITY: Let me ask you this.

GINGRICH: I would be very surprised. I have known Netanyahu for a long time. He is very tough. I doubt very much if he'll give him that notice.

HANNITY: If you were president and you were meeting with Netanyahu today knowing what we know including the IAEA, that it looks like Iran is in fact building a nuclear bomb, would you be telling Netanyahu today that the U.S. will partner with you in this military effort if you deem it's in your national security interests?

GINGRICH: I would say to him that we will give you all the intelligence we have. We'll give you daily communications capability through our satellites, and we will give you whatever equipment you need. But I would try to see if the Israelis could in fact pull it off on their own without American direct involvement. If necessary, I would provide support.

But they have a different challenge than we do. We can afford a lot bigger risk than Israel can. We are huge country, they're a tiny country. We're a long way from Iran. They are close to Iran. So, there is a difference standard there.

HANNITY: Yes.

GINGRICH: Certainly in 1981 when they took out the Iraqi nuclear reactor, had we known about it we would have tried to stop them.

HANNITY: All right. Last question. Super Tuesday, you've got 10 states in play. You got home state of Georgia which you have said that is defining for you. How would you define success for Newt Gingrich and the Gingrich campaign for presidency tomorrow?

GINGRICH: Well, first of all. I think we're clearly going to carry Georgia by a margin four or five times the size of Mitt Romney's margin in Michigan.

We're surging here in Tennessee, we're surging with J.C. Watts' leadership in Oklahoma, we have a good chance to pick up some delegates in Ohio. We see some opportunities in North Dakota, Idaho, even in Massachusetts where a conservative Republicans regard Romney as a liberal governor and there is a faction that would like to split. Not a majority, but a faction, because there's so many proportional representation, we have to pick up a number of delegates around the country.

HANNITY: All right. Mr. Speaker, we'll be watching tomorrow night and thanks for being with us. I appreciate your time.

GINGRICH: Thanks.


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