CHARLIE ROSE, CO-HOST: One thing about Governor Romney is he's using this time now to sort of test out possible running mates. Paul Ryan has been with him. Rubio has been with him. How do we know what this is about in terms of the immigration initiative making the chances of Rubio more likely?
BOB SCHIEFFER, CBS NEWS: Well, I think it puts Rubio on the short list. I don't think there's any question about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Now, speculation continues to run rampant over who Mitt Romney will select as his vice-presidential nominee, and as you just heard, my next guest is among the top contenders. You're laughing.
Joining me now in studio, the author of the brand new book, it's a great book, I just finished last night, an "American Son," it hits book stores in the morning, Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Good to see you, Senator.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA.: Thank you. Tonight, you can get it online, 12:01.
HANNITY: That's right. Congratulations.
RUBIO: Thank you.
HANNITY: You deal with this issue in your book, not the VP, but the issue of immigration a lot, and you say that if the Hispanic community sees Republicans as wanting to kick people out or members of your family out, they're going to have a tough time with the Hispanic vote. But it seemed that you were suggesting that Democrats were portraying Republicans that way.
RUBIO: Absolutely. I mean, look, we have a significant illegal immigration problem in America. And by the way, we have the most generous immigration policies in the world. A million people a year come into the U.S. legally. No other country even comes close to that figure.
But if you even suggest that you have an illegal immigration problem and we need to do something about it, if you're a Republican, often times the left will label you as anti-immigrant. And, you know, this idea that this is a slam dunk issue that is easy, it's just not true. You know, on the one hand we do have a significant illegal immigration problem. It has to be confronted. It has to be solved. We cannot be the only country in the world that does not enforce its immigration laws.
On the other hand, we have some very compelling human stories like the cases of these young people who have been here their whole life, who've grown up here, brought here at a young age through no fault of their own, and it touches your heart to hear these stories. And trying to find a reasonable balance that honors both our legacy as a nation of immigrants and also with the legacy as a nation of laws, is not easy.
HANNITY: Is this more about the constitutionality of what the president did Friday or the debate or the substance of the issue?
RUBIO: Well, both. I mean, the substance is an important debate to have and as I said, we've got to be done right. I mean, if you do something that somehow encourages illegal immigration in the future, it's counterproductive. On the other hand, it feels weird to deport a valedictorian who has been here since they were four years old and have done well in school.
So, trying to find the balance there, that is important. What the president did by ignoring the Constitution, ignoring the Congress, makes it harder to find that balance, not to mention that it's offensive to the constitutional principles of our republic.
HANNITY: Yes. Well, that was the substance of the question, you don't feel what he did with constitutional because he basically said, he's not going to enforce laws on the books.
RUBIO: And just think about what it means in terms of the short-term versus long term. He's basically taking a very significant issue that needs to be solved in the long term way that's measured, reasonable, and balanced and decided by edict, by fiat basically to shovel it in the short-term, which happens to coincide with the November election. That's I think in the long term is going to have some very significant implications on this.
HANNITY: So, do you believe he did it for political reasons?
RUBIO: I don't think there's any doubt about that. Now, if you're one of the kids that's being helped, you know, so what? I mean, that's the way the things supposed to work, right? At least that's how some of those folks would feel. But I would just say to you that I don't think there's anyone watching this that doubts that it was for political reasons.
HANNITY: Do you think political reasons being, getting the Hispanic vote in November?
RUBIO: You know, and I think changing the narrative on this issue, recapturing it. I think he has an intensity problem. Because the thing that's not being reported or talked enough about is that the economy and the economic downturn under Barack Obama has especially hurt Americans of Hispanic descent. Unemployment is higher among Hispanics than the rest of the country. And poll after poll shows that there's not as much intensity for the president as there was in the past. So, they're looking for any kind of issue.
But this is par for the course. I mean, they've done that. Every week, they come out with some other issue like this to try to divide Americans against each other for the purpose of getting him reelected.
HANNITY: George Will said this weekend that Mitt Romney cannot win with about 32 percent, with less than 32 percent of the Hispanic American vote. Is he right?
RUBIO: Yes. Well, I think ultimately he needs to do better among all Americans. You want a president that would unite our country and I think he's going to, especially when we start talking about economics. Because as I said, immigration is an important issue for Americans of Hispanic descent, but it is not the only issue. I mean, just as important, if not more so, is the fact that people are struggling to make ends meet, they're worried about the businesses they run, they worry about their kids' future, they've been hurt badly by unemployment. Their house is worth less than what it was worth that when they bought it. And nothing has gotten better over the last four years.
Like most Americans, Hispanics are not better off than they were four years ago and this president is responsible for that. And we get into that argument, I think you're going to see Mitt Romney's numbers improved dramatically.
HANNITY: Are you better off than you were four years ago and five trillion in debt ago? David Axelrod made a comment about you, if you're selected as VP, and used the term "insult," what was your reaction?
RUBIO: This is the most divisive administration in modern American politics. Divisive by design. They deliberately divide Americans against each other. Men against women, poor against rich, even one group of Hispanics against another groups of Hispanics, and I think you saw some of that in their statement. I think this is their design. They've decided that the only way they can win is to distract people from his horrible economic record and pit Americans against each other.
HANNITY: Hey, let me ask you. You get to asked this question all the time and I know you're not going to answer it but I'm going to try anyway. If you get the call, if one gets the call, let me take it away from you.
HANNITY: You would agree with me that one has to consider a potential president asking him to serve the country. Is that a fair statement?
RUBIO: Well, first of all, let me be clear. I don't want to discuss the vice presidential process out of respect for Governor Romney and the work he's going through.
HANNITY: I tried my best.
RUBIO: No, but look, I'll tell you this, what people should be very confident about. Mitt Romney is a successful person. He's not just a successful political figure or businessman. He's a successful person in everything he's ever done. And you don't get that successful without having a track record of making good decisions. He is going to make a great choice for vice president, I'm confident of that.
HANNITY: And there's a good bench in the conservative moment in the Republican Party. Now, we're going to get a chance to spend a full hour with you with the studio audience on Friday night of this week. And your life story, I finished the book last night, is amazing. "American Son" in book stores, online now.
RUBIO: Comes out tomorrow, "American Son."
HANNITY: All right. Thanks so much for being with us. And we'll talk about the book on Friday night.
RUBIO: Thank you.