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Fox News "Hannity" - Transcript

Interview

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SEAN HANNITY, HOST: For some it is the 2012 Republican dream ticket, that would be Mitt Romney and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, both of whom will be joining me side by side in just a few short moments.

But first, let's recap the big news this day out of Wisconsin as Congressman Paul Ryan announced that he will support Governor Romney for the GOP nomination. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP/"FOX & FRIENDS")

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WISC.: We vote on Tuesday here in Wisconsin. Lots of my friends, family, and supporters are asking me, you know, who do we think we should vote for? I have two criteria I'm using to make my decision to vote in our primary Tuesday. Who is the best person to be president, who will make the best president? And who has the best chance of defeating Barack Obama? And in my opinion, Mitt Romney is clearly that person.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Now, Paul Ryan's decision comes in the same week that both Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and former President George H.W. Bush also endorsed Governor Romney. Now, take a look at this historic scene yesterday. It was in Houston, Texas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: Time to hold them and time when to fold them. But I think it's time for people to all get behind this good man. Some of them had waged a very good fight. I'd say that about some of his opponents. But we are so convinced mainly because that we have known Mitt for a long time that he's the man to do this job and get on and win the presidency.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: And joining me tonight for the first time together on national television since this morning's big endorsement are Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and the House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
Well, Wisconsin has actually become very important. Did you think, Congressman Ryan that, Wisconsin would be as important as Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida and Nevada?

RYAN: No, actually, Sean, quite frankly, I didn't. We haven't had an important Republican primary since 1980. So, it's kind of a surprise to us here in Wisconsin that we are relevant. We moved it up a little bit. So, we are really excited here in Wisconsin and I am hoping that we deliver Wisconsin for Mitt Romney on Tuesday.

HANNITY: Yes, well, we did change the rules a little bit, proportional distribution of delegates. I know some people like it Governor Romney, some people didn't like it. They wanted to make a winner, winner take all. But this is the process that it's been.
Let me ask you -- this was a big week for you. I mean, you got huge endorsements, the former president, Senator Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan. Now, some would argue that Paul Ryan should be the VP, and some like Marco Rubio. Does Marco Rubio got an edge because he went first in terms of the endorsement, if you win the nomination?

MITT ROMNEY, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think I would take George Herbert Walker Bush if he were just willing to do it but --

RYAN: He has more experience, that's for sure.

ROMNEY: He's got more experience.
Look, I am delighted with the support vote of Senator Marco Rubio and Congressman Paul Ryan and, of course, the former president. This has been an extraordinary week for me. And I am really pleased to have their help. And I think this is all about consolidating our strength and making sure that we take to America a very different vision for the future than that which is presented by President Obama.

HANNITY: You know, one of the biggest challenges I think that a lot of people are concerned about -- and I will ask both of you about it, is this issue of, OK, the nomination process has been hard, if -- and it's not over, Governor. If you get the nomination, how does this party come together? What are the things that you would want to say, for example, Newt Gingrich said, you are getting closer to the magic number, 1,144, but he said, you have to earn it? You had a meeting with the former speaker. How did that meeting go?

ROMNEY: Well, you know, we speak from time to time. I speak with Senator Santorum and Ron Paul from time to time. You know, we get along on a very personal basis. We recognize we are in the middle of a challenging primary. But we are going to come together. There is no question in my mind but that you are going to see these four people come together and support whoever our nominee is, in part that's because we recognize the country is in danger, as just being led by Barack Obama. And we are going to come together and make sure that we get the country back on the right track.

HANNITY: Paul Ryan, you have been criticized because you want to deal with the structural problems of our economy, the record debt, deficit and also take on what is often called the third rail in politics which is entitlement spending. That means Medicate, Medicaid, Social Security. And you are willing to take them on. I'll ask you, they had an ad and I assume it's not going to be the last one, of a Paul Ryan look-alike with grandma in a wheelchair, throwing grandma over the cliff. Tell us, what is at stake here, in your case that you are trying to save it? And if we don't do it, what happens?

RYAN: If we don't deal with these drivers of our debt, then these programs go bankrupt, Sean. And then the promises that were made to current seniors, they become broken promises. Republicans and Democrats for decades have been making empty promises to people. And if we have a debt crisis, those quickly become broken promises.
So, we are saying, you need to reform these programs if you are going to save these programs. And if you are going to get rid of this debt that is plaguing our economy. Our debt is bigger than our economy today and it's getting worse and it's going to crash our economy, if we allowed us to continue on the same glide path that we are on today.
And so, this is why I'm been pushing these issues. This is why we have pushed these issues as House Republicans. And the reason I am excited about Mitt Romney's candidacy is because it's very clear to me from all of our intersections that he understands this threat to our country. And he also understands the kind of courage we need to employ to get this done and to fix these problems before they get out of our control.

HANNITY: Governor, you have spoken a lot on the campaign trail, interviews that I have had with you about cut, cap and balance and also about supporting Congressman Ryan's plan. How much agreement do we have here? And do you see the willingness within the American people to really deal with the structural problems of entitlements, which we have been told for decades, politicians can't touch for fear of a political reprisal from the voters?

ROMNEY: Well, first of all, I think we have to step back and tell the American people something they may not know, which is President Obama ended Medicare as we know it. President Obama cut $500 billion out of Medicare, killing in some respects, Medicare advantage, which is part of Medicare. He went after Medicare, not to balance it, not to make it permanent and make sure that it stays there for coming generations. He cut it to pay for ObamaCare, which the great majority of Americans don't want.
So, this is the president who cut Medicare. Paul Ryan and I and Senator Wyden, a Democrat, come together to say, how can we save Medicare for future generations? We put forward a proposal and Congressman Ryan and I are in the same position with regards to making sure we save Medicare. For current retirees, there is no change. But for people coming up that are in their 20s, 30s, 40s, early 50s, we want Medicare to be there for them as well.

RYAN: The ObamaCare reforms on Medicare is just part and parcel of the kind of agenda that they have been driving to the country. He wants to put 15 bureaucrats in charge of running Medicare, 15 bureaucrats in charge of price controls, which lead to design care for current seniors. We are getting rid of that. We don't want to put bureaucrats in charge of all of these aspects of our lives, let alone our own health care.

HANNITY: All right. Let me go to Joe Biden and a comment that he made about a global minimum tax the administration's support, let's role that tape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

For years, American manufacturers have faced one of the highest tax rates in the world. We want to reduce that by over 20 percent. We want to drop the rate particularly for high-tech manufacturers like you, Mr. President, even further than the 20 percent. We want to create what's call a global minimum tax because American taxpayers shouldn't be providing a larger subsidy for investing abroad than investing at home.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Governor Romney, as of Sunday, Obama's corporate tax rates will be the highest in the entire world as Japan drops their rates.

ROMNEY: Look, Senator. Well, Vice President Biden, just doesn't understand free enterprise at all, and neither does the president. I mean, you have to have had some experience in the business world to understand that if you are going to say to American companies, if you sell products in foreign countries, we are going to start taxing you, as long as your headquarters is in the U.S.
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Now, figure out what those companies are going to do. They are going to move their headquarters outside the United States. We will lose jobs. They have to understand the best way to create jobs in America is to make America the most attractive place for businesses of all kinds, instead of constantly attacking business. They are killing jobs. And this recovery is evidence. It has been so slow, so timid, so tepid because of the policies of this administration. It's the most anti- business, anti-investment, anti-jobs administration I have seen since Jimmy Carter. And this idea of taxing businesses around the world is just going to mean businesses will leave here to escape that tax. Think of it -- they just don't get it.

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: Sean, I'm familiar with this idea --

HANNITY: $5 trillion in debt. Well, all right. Go ahead, Congressman?

RYAN: Well, I am just saying, this idea is really popular in Europe, they call it tax harmonization and it's the idea that government comes first, taxpayers and businesses come second. So, we need to all agree that we are going to have big governments and so, let's make sure that we don't lower tax rates to put our countries at a competitive advantage with other countries and have higher tax rates for everybody. It's ridiculous. It's basically this presumption that the government must be big and we don't want to let other countries have limited government and economic freedom because they might out-compete with us. It's the wrong dynamic. It's really going to kill jobs in this country. And this just shows you part and parcel the kind of ideas that they're going to give us in the second term if they ever get one.

HANNITY: Well, on top of the $5 trillion of new Obama debt, it's going to be very interesting to see if they're able to sell that one to the American people, sort to like their plan for Russia, just wait until I get re-elected, then we'll take care of that missile defense, tell Vladimir for us.
But guys, thank you both for being with us. And we appreciate it and good luck on Tuesday in Wisconsin Governor and thanks for being here.

ROMNEY: Thanks, Sean. Good to be with you.

RYAN: Thank you, Sean.

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