SEAN HANNITY, HOST: I am joined in our sky box by last night's keynote speaker, and that is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Governor, how are you?
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J.: Great, Sean. How are you?
HANNITY: Good to see you. It's good to see you. Did you have fun last night?
CHRISTIE: I had a great time last night.
CHRISTIE: Really did. Very exciting. And, you know, got to lay out for our party and for the country, independents that we need to reach out there to win this election, what Republican governance looks like, what we believe and what they believe. And I think that's the key to win this. The key to winning this election is the power of our ideas and that's what we tried to lay out last night.
HANNITY: In many ways, before you even gave the speech, I suspected you were going to be a little counter-intuitive, because maybe some people, they see you in the town halls, and you are very combative, but maybe that's what the left wanted you to do, to be very negative against Barack Obama. But you decided to say, wait a minute, it's working in New Jersey, it's working in South Carolina, Louisiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.
HANNITY: The governors -- Republican governors are doing well.
CHRISTIE: There is no question about that. And that's what they wanted us to do. I mean, how are we going to persuade -- what independent voter's going to be fooled out there to hear Republicans criticize the Democratic president and really tear the hide off of him? Listen, the president of the United States has created the record for us that he has failed. Now, it's our job to get these Republicans, independents and right-thinking Democrats to say, here are our ideas, this is why you should vote for us.
HANNITY: Yes. It was almost like Republican governors last night. And it's interesting because Scott Walker, he had a $3 billion deficit. He turned it around into a surplus. Eight billion dollars for John Kasich in Ohio.
HANNITY: And you really turned things around in New Jersey as well.
CHRISTIE: We did. We had an $11 billion deficit in my first year and now we have a $650 million surplus going into this budget year. And the fact is you just make the hard decisions and you tell the people the truth. That's the other point I was trying to get across last night. We cannot be timid, we can't be guided by polls. We have to change polls. The president is unwilling to do that, he is more concerned about being loved than being respected and --
HANNITY: A lesson you learned from your mother.
CHRISTIE: Exactly right.
HANNITY: All right.
Let me ask you -- we have a little preview of Paul Ryan. First of all, let me get your reaction to the choice of Paul Ryan as VP, your name was mentioned quite a bit.
CHRISTIE: I thought it was a great, and it's a great choice for this reason. Paul Ryan stands for something. It's so great to have a ticket that stands for something. And his whole career is about standing for fiscal responsibility and growth. And it's so great that he's the guy. I thought it was a great choice by Governor Romney.
HANNITY: One of the things that Paul Ryan -- we got some excerpts a little bit on what he's going to say tonight. He says, ObamaCare has come down to 2,000 pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees and fines that have no place in a free country. The president's declared the debate is over. This will come as news to the millions of Americans who want to repeal it. How important is that message to people?
CHRISTIE: Really important. It was in my speech last night, too, that's to put an end to this federal bureaucrats in charge of a health care system, and putting them between people and their doctors. And our party has to be articulate about that and we have to be firm about it. And when we win, we have to do it.
HANNITY: Back to this concept that you discussed last night in your speech, and that is that we've got to tell people the truth. These are tough times. A line from Paul Ryan's speech, "Before the math and momentum overwhelm us all, we are going to solve the nation's economic problems." Do you think we learned something maybe in Wisconsin that people, in spite of maybe prior conventional wisdom thought the best way to get the voters was to offer them more government, maybe they realized that we can't continue to borrow 40 cents of every dollar. Is there been a shift in the mind-set?
CHRISTIE: I think there is no question. And you pointed out the earlier question. The Republican governors are leading the way on this. Walker in Wisconsin. Kasich in Ohio. Susana Martinez in New Mexico. Nikki Haley in South Carolina. Bobby Jindal in Louisiana. They are making tough choices. And they are not only surviving politically, they are thriving politically. And I think what the conventional wisdom folks, the people I call the defenders of the status quo, we are starting to turn them around. It's going to take awhile because they always believe they are right.
HANNITY: Let me ask you this, I guess, when we look at the swing states, the electoral map, Governor Romney's got to win Ohio. He's got to win Florida. When the Democrats start out with California, Washington, Oregon, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, that's a lot of electoral votes there.
CHRISTIE: Yes. Sure.
HANNITY: How tough when you look at the electoral map, where does it get tough with you?
CHRISTIE: Well, it's a real challenge. But you laid it out well. I mean, you know, we've got to win Florida. And I think we are taking the right approach to winning Florida. We can't avoid the Medicare issue, we should embrace the Medicare issue. Let's say, we've got a better plan. We've got -- here's the reason to vote for us. We have to stop playing defense. Whenever we are playing defense, we are losing. We have great ideas. Let's go on offense.
In Ohio, I will tell you this, I think it depends who gets credit for in terms of what's going on in Ohio. If they give the president credit, it becomes tougher.
But if they give John Kasich the credit he deserves, then it shows you Republican governors can turn the state around that was awful if Kasich took it over.
HANNITY: Yes. But how do you deal with -- I mean, I have characterized this as the sleaziest, dirtiest campaign in history. I mean, Romney is being accused of causing a woman's cancer -- you know all the accusations, being a felon.
HANNITY: How do you deal with that distraction, which is almost on a daily basis? And you know, get your message out?
CHRISTIE: I think that there comes a point now, 60-plus days left to go, you have to ignore it.
CHRISTIE: You have to ignore it, Sean.
HANNITY: Yes. Big speech last night. Congratulations.
CHRISTIE: Thanks, Sean.
HANNITY: Thanks for joining us.