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Fox News "Hannity" - Transcript


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SEAN HANNITY, HOST: So what is the status of Newt Gingrich in the presidential race? Our own Brit Hume asked the former speaker over the weekend. Watch this.


BRIT HUME, GUEST HOST: You seemed reconciled to the likelihood if not the inevitability of Mitt Romney as your party's nominee.

NEW GINGRICH, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think you have to be realistic. Given the size of his organization, given the number of primaries he's won, he is far and away the most likely republican nominee. And if he does get to 1144 delegates, I'll support him. I'll do everything I can this fall to help him defeat Obama. Because the primary goal of the entire Republican Party has to be to defeat Barack Obama. So, it would make this maybe the most important election of our lifetime.


HANNITY: And joining us now is the former Speaker of the House himself, Newt Gingrich. Mr. Speaker, welcome back. Good to see you.

GINGRICH: Good to see you.

HANNITY: You know, I have to say, Sean. What you just played is exactly right. Most likely, not certain, if he gets there. That got somehow translated almost instantly into something I didn't say. I found it remarkable because yesterday afternoon, I joined millions of Americans in watching the Masters. And the two guys who ended up in the sudden death were neither one in first place when the last round began. Now neither of them dropped out. And yet, I have been since June of last year, the elite media has said over and over and over, you know, I'm dead. I should get out of it. When am I going to quit? When will I recognize reality?
I am in here, I'm thinking about getting it tattooed up here. "All the way to Tampa." OK?



GINGRICH: We're fighting -- you have known me for years. We're fighting for very big issues that matter to the future of our country and the future of our children and grandchildren. And I'm going to continue doing that as long as it is possible to do it, period. Now, I find it confusing why that is such a hard message to drive into the media.

HANNITY: No, it's not for me. And I will be honest. And I've said this to Governor Romney, I've said it to you. I've said it to Rick Santorum, and I know maybe, you know, as an outsider, looking in but also having been out on the campaign trail with all three of you, seeing how hard it is. And you actually, we're talking a little bit about this yesterday and watching. In a very odd, in a very strange way, as difficult and as painful and I'm sure it's been for all of you at times. And maybe, you know, I've also seen, you know, moments of joy for all of you. And there's a lot of reward in this. But, you know, in a very strange way, you all made each other better, stronger, tougher, I mean, don't you feel you are a lot different so far this deep into the process?

GINGRICH: Don't you find usually by this Super Bowl, the teams are better than they were the opening week?

HANNITY: Well said.

GINGRICH: I mean, you know -- and notice that by the way, the Democrats survive with Obama and Clinton fighting each other all the way until late June. This panic-stricken national establishment paranoia is just pure foolishness. The fact is, there are big issues at stake. I'm talking to you tonight from North Carolina. Callista is giving a speech in New York. I'm on the way to Delaware on Wednesday. Stop off in Philadelphia Tuesday night. Then I'm going on to St. Louis. I'll be back here in Raleigh and Greensboro on Saturday. You know, I don't quite know how to get across the reporters covering politics, that is a real campaign schedule. I'm here doing real campaign things. They can come join me tomorrow if they'd like to in Eastern Carolina. I'd be glad to see them. They can come join me on Wednesday in Delaware. Glad to see them.

HANNITY: You did mention, because it got pretty intense at times, between you and Governor Romney in particular during this campaign. And you did say that you were quote, I want to make sure I get this right -- given up this, you know, "You hit as hard as you could. He hit me as hard as he could." So you talked about that. Have you met with, have you spoken with Governor Romney about how personal this has gotten? That you have gotten to this point where there's a little bit -- no, you haven't.

GINGRICH: Well, no. We've talked about it a little over time. But I also talked to him about it publicly in several debates. I was trying yesterday to make a bigger point that I hope every conservative in the country will agree with. Whether it's Gingrich, Santorum or Romney -- and obviously, I'd rather have it be Gingrich -- whoever we nominate, we have to beat Obama. And so when people say, how are you going to get back together? I tell them, pretty simple. You put up a picture of Obama. And I guarantee you that Mitt Romney would support Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich, I believe Rick Santorum would support Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney. I'll support either Rick Santorum or Romney. If the alternative is Barack Obama --


GINGRICH: This is not a hard discussion. That's why people got to be realistic about it.

HANNITY: You also talk a lot in the last couple of times that I've had a chance to speak with you, about how important the party platform is to you. And that is what happens Tampa. Explain what you mean by that.

GINGRICH: Well, first of all, someone who has been very active trying to help build this party since 1960. I think platforms do matter because there are about more than one individual. There are about the thing called the Republican Party. I'm going to argue very strongly for an American energy independence plank that I think will be very, very powerful. I'm going to argue for young people having the right to have a personal Social Security savings account. I think we ought to take all the royalties we get from oil and gas, put them into a special debt reduction fund to start paying off the national debt. There are several other big areas that I'll be talking about in the next few days that I think really matter.
Here is the challenge for Governor Romney. He has said at the CPAC speech, for example, that he is severely conservative. He also had a communications director said, well, the whole campaign is like an Etch-a- Sketch. You can erase it and start over.
I think the platform is an opportunity for Governor Romney and for Senator Santorum and myself to communicate to the country what a Republican team would do and to try frankly to get our Senate and House candidates to sign up for a platform so people understand they are voting for real change.
We don't just want not Obama. We want to move Washington back towards more conservative government, more limited government, implementing the 10th Amendment to return power back home and whole series of steps that we think really matter for America's future.
This is something I've done my whole career, I believe deeply in the importance of the party standing for something real. I will campaign from here to Tampa to see if every delegate, whoever it happens to be for for president, I hope every Republican delegate will agree that they want a solid conservative platform and a platform to give us a signal for where we take America when we win this fall.

HANNITY: I got to be honest. I'm listening to everything that you are saying. You have always been a guy of big ideas. If we don't adopt the things that you just mentioned, if we don't put them in writing and give people that positive reason to support a new administration, we're not going to fix, we're not going to turn this problem around.

GINGRICH: That's right.

HANNITY: We're not going right the ship and get America on the right track. I agree with you. I think that is very key. I hope that is not a battle to be honest with you. I hope it's something we can all agree on because having interviewed all of you, it seems to be the point you are making are the ones that all of you seem to agree on.

GINGRICH: In 1984, a bunch of us led by Jack Kemp developed a no tax increase pledge against the Reagan White House staff. Reagan liked it. His staff hated it. We fought over it for about seven weeks. It was very healthy for the party and it really decisively made us the anti-tax increase party in a way which has lasted all the way up to today.
These kinds of discussions, spending the next five months, first of all, finishing out the nomination, let me remind you, I am not conceding to Governor Romney. He is the frontrunner. He is not currently the nominee. He's got to win those delegates. They're not going to be given to him. I will do everything I can to get a delegate. Every vote I get in North Carolina or in Delaware is a vote for more conservative platform. And because North Carolina is proportional, it's a vote for the delegates to clearly vote for a more conservative platform. So I want to campaign all the way up. We will get to Tampa.
In the process, let's have a national conversation. Not just beat Obama. But what do we do to replace his bad policies, his bad bureaucrats, his bad positions and get America on the right track?

HANNITY: You know, I think that is something that if people want to get the country on track, we better have those ideas, put them in writing, put them in the platform and then we can hold everybody accountable to, which I think is big part of the occasion.
Mr. Speaker, always good to see you and we'll see you out there on the campaign trail again soon. Thanks for being with us.

GINGRICH: All righty. Take care.

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