SEAN HANNITY, HOST: We begin tonight in Tampa with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. How are you, sir? Welcome, Congressman.
REP. ERIC CANTOR, R-VA., HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: It's awesome.
HANNITY: Like a rock concert out there.
CANTOR: It is electric here in this hall. We're really, really excited about the next couple of months so we can reclaim this country.
HANNITY: Well, obviously we have pretty enthusiastic -- big night tonight. Let's start with, you know, all the negativity that's been coming from the Obama campaign. Ann Romney is going to get out there tonight. And then we've got -- Chris Christie is going to get out there tonight. How big an impact will that have on changing the negative perception that Obama and his team have tried to create?
CANTOR: Well, you know, I know that Ann Romney is going to hit it out of the ballpark, and because she is a committed woman, wife to her husband, mother to her kids. She's going to tell America the story of Mitt Romney, and what he's done as a successful family man, successful businessman, somebody this country so desperately needs.
HANNITY: You know, we actually have a little preview of some of the lines that they released. And what she says here, and she talks about, you know, "this man will not fail. He will not let us down. He will lift up America."
CANTOR: I mean, and that's what it's about, Sean. We know this is an election that is a generational election. We know the choices between Americans with big dreams, entrepreneurs who want to go and build on their own success.
HANNITY: You mean, they built it?
CANTOR: They built it.
CANTOR: And the fact that we have a choice between that, which we all know is the backbone of America -- small business people -- or people like the president who believes that frankly Washington builds success, which is something most Americans reject.
HANNITY: Yes. All right. So, we have these two big speeches that are coming up. We're going to carry those. Now, I have a little insight into Governor Christie's speech. I think a lot of people might expect him to come out here and this all be about slamming Barack Obama. It seems he's going to be counterintuitive. And the message is going to be pretty much, we did this in New Jersey, we can do this in the United States of America, but we need the right leadership. Will that exceed expectations, little counterintuitive?
CANTOR: Listen. Chris Christie is an awesome leader in New Jersey, a very blue state as we know, who has taken on the public employee unions and said, listen, the math doesn't lie. We've got to fix the problem. And he is in the line of so many of our other governors who have spoken here tonight. We had our governor from Virginia, Bob McDonnell, who have done --
HANNITY: He got a great reception.
CANTOR: -- an incredible job.
HANNITY: Scott Walker?
CANTOR: Scott Walker in Wisconsin. All of these folks are leaders at the state level who have demonstrated, you know what? We can do this, it's just time for Washington to finally follow suit.
HANNITY: Also part of Christie's message tonight, and I won't give everybody a full preview of everything I know, but he's going to say the American people can handle the truth. It seems like he's going out there under the assumption that the American people understand with one in six Americans in poverty, 25 million un and underemployed, 49 million Americans on food stamps, seems to be going out there, you know, under the assumption that the American people know things are bad and they've not gotten better under Barack Obama.
CANTOR: And as you know, Chris Christie is the first to say he approached the job that he has as governor with two things in mind. Number one, always tell the truth. And number two, try and effect real change and solve problems. It's the same thing that we've done in the U.S. House. It's what Paul Ryan brings to the ticket, because frankly the budget that he designed and drafted is about fixing problems. It's also, Sean, about really telling the American people the math doesn't lie. We can't continue to spend money we don't have. We got to fix the problem.
HANNITY: It's interesting. We'll discuss this with Governor Walker later in the program tonight, and Governor Kasich. Two governors faced massive deficits not unlike what we're facing on the national bases, and they went in told the people of their states the truth. And the people responded. And Governor Walker, as we all know now, after a recall, got more votes than he did two years prior.
So, it seems like people -- this might be the time that the American people are ready for what, balanced budgets, entitlement reform?
CANTOR: And I think it also just demonstrates, Sean, that Barack Obama and his team, they really do not give the American people the credit they deserve. Because it is -- they want to know the truth. They want to have real leadership. That's what Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are going to be all about is, telling the truth and helping solve problems.
HANNITY: All right. Let's go to the tone of the campaign, largely by the president and his surrogates, Mitt Romney is everything from a racist, put you all back in chains, responsible for cancer, wants dirty air and water. Your friend Paul Ryan, you wrote the book "Young Guns" with him, granny is over the cliff. What is the impact do you think that's had on the race? Does that hurt the likability of President Barack Obama, the one thing he seem to -- he was able to hold on to throughout much of his presidency?
CANTOR: I think it is sort of degraded the office of the presidency. It is not becoming of the leader of our country and the free world. And that is where we are in stark contrast, Sean, because what we'll see throughout this week and the American people will begin to see more and more as we make our way towards November, is a Republican Party renewed with a fresh face in Paul Ryan, with Mitt Romney at the helm of the ticket, someone who's demonstrated the ability to build a business, to reclaim businesses who have failed, to put people back to work. And that's really what we're about here. And I'm just very excited about it.
HANNITY: I was very startled, because I went back and I looked at some of the footage of Barack Obama in 2008, Invesco Field, people crying, "Yes we can, Obama!" And when you compare it, it's a war on women, it's dividing men and women, it's you know, dividing people, the race card has been played, rich versus poor, old versus young. The very thing Barack Obama railed against though often in 2008.
CANTOR: Right. Well, he always was about trying to make real change happen in Washington. And you know what, he is been the culprit of the cronyism that is infected the federal government even more so now. He's the reason why, as we know, we have Solyndra, because he wanted to reward his friends. He's the reason why you see more and more special interests trying to gain an edge because Washington is going to grow ever bigger under his watch, and the feeding of the trough will never stop. And that's the difference between us and what the other side is trying to do. We want to stop that.
HANNITY: As you look at numbers, because the one thing I always think about -- all right, we borrow 40 cents of every dollar we spend. When we think of our kids and our grandkids, do you really think America could become Greece? Are we reaching a point of no return? These are numbers you deal with every day.
CANTOR: Well, Sean, you just look at the facts. I mean, over the last three years we've seen a 23 percent decline in small business startups. That's where the jobs are, disproportionately. We continue on that route, you're not going to have a private sector and an engine to go about lifting this economy back up, and you'll have a government that all it does is suck the money out from under the people that earn it. And yes, we could very easily become Greece if the policies of Barack Obama are allowed to continue.
And again, Sean, this is where I believe the electorate is. They're just disappointed. You know, they know that these policies have failed. Barack Obama's economic agenda has been a failure.
HANNITY: What's it been like to deal with personally?
CANTOR: You know, I mean, listen, he is someone who does not take kindly to people who differ with him philosophically or on a policy level. I mean, I've certainly had the experience of confronting that with the president. I know that our next vice president, Paul Ryan, has also been subjected to that -- a good friend of mine, somebody that we are locked arm and arm with together in this fight to reclaim our country.
HANNITY: Good to see you. Congressman Cantor, I appreciate you being with us.