This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," December 5, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: But first, we bring you my exclusive interview with billionaire entrepreneur, the one and only Donald Trump. His brand new book is called "Time to Get Tough: Making America Number One Again." I sat down with him earlier today at his offices right here in New York City. Let's take a look.
Mr. Trump, good to see you.
DONALD TRUMP, CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: Thank you.
HANNITY: Congratulations on the book.
TRUMP: Thank you very much.
HANNITY: It's already doing well.
TRUMP: It's doing very well.
HANNITY: People downstairs are lining up getting ready for your Friday book signing.
TRUMP: That's right. I'm signing at 2:00 at Trump Tower, we are signing books, so that will be great.
HANNITY: Everybody is seeking Donald Trump's endorsement. Today is Newt Gingrich's day. He's --you are going to spend time with Newt. What are your thoughts on him prior to him coming in here today?
TRUMP: Well, I spent time with most of them. And we've gone through, I mean, Herman Cain was up, a wonderful guy had a couple of really tough weeks. Bad, bad weeks. Mitt Romney, all of them. Michele Bachmann. Spoke with Santorum. It's you know, a lot of good people. And they are in there trying and they are in there pitching, they want to do something. And Newt is coming up today. I've known Newt through the years and I've always liked Newt. But it's amazing what's happening. I mean, he really shown he's a rocket ship. I've never seen anything like this where he started so negatively. I thought the press was very unfair, what he said where he was doing the show, and all of a sudden they took some words and they made it like a big deal. And nobody would have said he could have recovered. Not so much from that, just generally.
HANNITY: They had written him off.
TRUMP: They had totally written him off and he's a rocket, I mean, what he's done is amazing and I take my hat off to him.
HANNITY: All right. You are going to work with Newsmax and you're going to host a debate.
TRUMP: That's right.
HANNITY: And it's created some controversy here. The media doesn't seem to like it. They are attacking you for this.
TRUMP: I can understand that.
HANNITY: Now, I understand that, too.
TRUMP: Because they're not doing it.
HANNITY: Exactly. That's probably why.
TRUMP: You know I'm a ratings machine according to everybody. I mean, I get great ratings, "The Apprentice" (INAUDIBLE) --
HANNITY: Listen, we will put it on Fox if you want.
TRUMP: You have to be there.
HANNITY: I'll be there for that.
TRUMP: That's good.
HANNITY: And you are doing it with Newsmax. Ron Paul said it's beneath the office of the presidency. He doesn't understand your success. You don't like to be challenged on issues. That was his reaction.
TRUMP: Well, I don't know what he means by that. I am challenged all the time and I respond. I mean, unlike a lot of other people. But look, Ron Paul has zero chance, zero, of getting elected or getting the nomination. He will do OK in Iowa and after Iowa he will fade into oblivion. So, Ron Paul, you know, frankly that some of these people aren't there, Huntsman is another one. He called my office, I don't know if you know this, wanted a meeting. I didn't give it to him. Maybe I should have. I didn't give it to him. But he wanted to come up and see me. And then I see him in a debate saying, unlike you people, I didn't go and see Donald Trump. So, he's a Mormon, so I'm sure he wouldn't lie about it. But the fact is that, all these people, I mean, the two people that we are talking about, I'm glad they aren't going to be there because then I can sort of focus on people that really have a chance of winning. And you have some very good people and people are going to be at that debate. I'll tell you, it will get great ratings.
HANNITY: You are missing one person in your invite list.
TRUMP: Go ahead.
HANNITY: Barack Obama.
TRUMP: Well, look, I wish he were a great president. I'm a Republican but I would love to see a great president, Democrat, Republican, independent, anything. I wish we had a great president. And you know, as I've said to you before, I really thought -- when he got elected, he got elected. So, now you say, OK, we have a man. I thought he was going to be a positive person. I really thought he was going to be a cheerleader, a great cheerleader for the country. That was the one thing I saw. I thought he would be a cheerleader for the country and he's really turned out to be a negative force, a very, very negative force with class warfare and everything else that's going on. And I'm really surprised and disappointed at that.
HANNITY: What do you make of the evolution of the polls? We talked about Newt skyrocketing. Why do you think he's skyrocketing? Why do you think Romney has been fairly steady?
TRUMP: Well, he's been steady, and it's surprising to me that Mitt doesn't pick up something. Because like Herman gets out. And there's a lot of votes out there. They seem to be going to Newt, and Mitt isn't getting the kind of traction. It amazes me -- a couple of things. It amazes me that Newt has done so well so quickly and I have great respect for it. And I have great respect for him. But what he's done is sort of unprecedented. And it amazes me that, frankly, Mitt Romney hasn't sort of gotten that momentum. I mean, he's been steady in a sense, but you have to be more than steady.
HANNITY: What do you think it is? Look, I think both of them have performed well in the debates.
TRUMP: Both are really good at the debates.
HANNITY: But Newt probably did a little better.
TRUMP: Well, I think they were both really good at the debates. I think Romney was great, I think Newt was great. I mean, the two stars, in a sense. Although, you know, Michele Bachmann did very well --