This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 11, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: One of the biggest names in the Republican Party is joining me with details on his 2012 announcement. We're please to be joined by former speaker of the House, the one and only Newt Gingrich.
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It's great to be with you.
HANNITY: Great to be with you.
Well, you know, there's an interesting AP story. I took this sort of nostalgically. When Newt Gingrich last held political office, "Seinfeld" was the top rated TV show. The Spice Girls ruled the pop charts. And pagers, not iPhones, Facebook, Twitter, online, you know, was the big tech rage. And today, you actually announced online, Twitter, Facebook, all these things. A lot has changed.
GINGRICH: A lot has changed. And I think for the country, the fascinating thing is, that there are a lot of principles that haven't changed. And the reason that I came here tonight to announce that I am a candidate for president of the United States is because I think if you apply the right principles to achieve the right results, that we can win the future together. And I don't think that having a president who applies the wrong principles and gets the wrong results is going to lead to winning the future. I think that in fact will lead us to lose the future.
HANNITY: You made this announcement, and it came in sort of a series of steps, stages, if you will. How did you arrive here? And I guess the first obvious question really is, why do you want to be the next president?
GINGRICH: Well, my dad served 27 years in the infantry and really believed in duty, honor, country. I think that this country has an enormous potential to break out and to once again, be at four percent unemployment, to have a surplus of American energy, to be the leading industrial power in the world, to balance the budget as we did for four years when I was speaker to reform entitlements, as we did with welfare, when I was speaker. And that's a great future. But it's not a future we're going to get to until we clear away the liberal policies, the liberal bureaucracies, the Washington-centered system.
And so, you face a choice in your life. And Callista and I really had to sit down and look at citizenship. You know, are you prepared to do what it takes to offer to your fellow citizens a vision of a better healthier, safer, more prosperous America? And are you prepared to spend a year and a half of your life seeking that office?
And we reached a crossroads of saying either I really believe the things I've said my whole life or I would be a fraud. All my life, I've preached citizenship. I've preached the duty to go do things. Back when you and I first met in Huntsville, I was running around the country as a junior congressman recruiting people. Later, when you were a big figure in Atlanta radio, I became speaker with a Contract With America based on recruiting people to do something.
And so, I think my job now is to recruit 310 million Americans to make very clear, this is not about one person in the oval office, this is about millions of Americans deciding that together, we can win the future with the right policies leading to the right outcomes.
And that we have to win the argument that President Obama has the wrong policies and they lead to the wrong outcomes. And that's pretty straight forward. Nine percent unemployment's wrong outcome. Two trillion dollars in deficit is the wrong outcome. Having the largest federal debt in history is the wrong outcome. Telling the Brazilians they should drill while we don't drill is the wrong outcome. You go down item after item, you know, four dollars a gallon gasoline is the wrong outcome.
And so, I think that we are going to have a very clear, very vivid choice. And my job is to try to offer the American people a genuine sense that with the right solutions and the right approaches, this country can take off again and we could have a 20 or 30 year period of extraordinary opportunity.
HANNITY: You are describing a choice election in an environment where you said to me on this program once that, you think don't underestimate President Obama, he will be difficult to beat.
GINGRICH: He will be. Because first of all, he is going to say whatever he needs to, to win. Second, he's going to have all of the advantages of the mainstream media, he's going to have all the advantages of left-wing billionaires like George Soros. He's going to have all the advantages of the Hollywood crowd. And they are going to go out and they're going to have all the advantages of the unions. And so, they are going to try to raise a billion dollars for a very practical reason. He can't afford to run in a fair election.
HANNITY: Fair or?
GINGRICH: If he was on an equal playing field, he would lose.
HANNITY: Just -- you are saying on his record?
GINGRICH: Yes. On his record, on his values, on his beliefs. The American people by 79 to 16 believe we want American energy. He thinks we want Brazilian energy.
HANNITY: Now, we would be their biggest customer, he did say that.
GINGRICH: That's right.
HANNITY: Look, there -- already the media, you actually said in one interview said, if my running is about my past, I can't win.
HANNITY: But already the media, you know, they are going after you. They are going after your personal life. You have been divorced. All of these things that they keep bringing it up. Why do I suspect that the same media that ignored so much of President Obama's background and associations when he was running, that this is going to be never ending. How do you deal with that?
GINGRICH: Well, if you are a conservative, you have to start with the assumption that you are not going to get an even break from the elite media. And that's just reality, I mean, Ronald Reagan didn't get up every morning and say, gee, I wish they liked me. Ronald Reagan had been a movie actor, only had one movie, "King's Road" get a good review from the New York Times, only one. But he had a pretty good career because it turned out that middle class, middle America liked his movies. And so Reagan understood if he did what he believed in and he articulated what he believed in, we could have a remarkably good time and most Americans would look past the elite media, and that's what they did.
HANNITY: How many years have you been out of office now?
GINGRICH: Twelve years.
HANNITY: How are you different today than you were when you are in office, what do you most proud of and maybe, what would you do differently going back to as you were there?
GINGRICH: Well, I think, it is fair to say that I am more mature, that I've had time to reflect on what worked and what didn't work. I've had time to look and see what has happened in the executive branch, which I spent over six years with President Bush and his team.
Excuse me. I have allergies. This time of year it is a real challenge sometimes.
I would also say that I've had a chance to run four small businesses, so I have a pretty good sense of job creation, meeting payrolls, meeting a market. Callista and I have done seven movies together, and several books together. I've had time to slow down and watch our two grandchildren growing. And being with our daughters and our son-in-laws. And so, for me, life actually has been pretty good out of office.
HANNITY: I mean, let me ask you, what do you think -- if you think the president going to be tough to beat, you know, what do you think about him personally? And if you had to grade him on two things, the economy and foreign policy, peace and prosperity drive elections. What do you think about him personally, how grade him?
GINGRICH: Well, this may surprise you, I don't think about him personally. I don't know him. I have no idea.
HANNITY: You don't? Never met him?
GINGRICH: I've met him. But I'm just saying, I'm not, you know, one of the things that happens when you decide to offer to be the president of the United States is, I'm not in the historian analytical business. I don't spend a lot of time sitting around thinking about what makes him tick.
What I think is that his basic background is very far to the left. His world view is far to the left. The people he has appointed the government are very far to the left. And the number one thing we know from the collapse of the Soviet empire to the failure of socialism in Europe is left-wing policies don't work.
I mean, if you look at the collapse of Detroit and the rise of Texas and you say to yourself, which would you like better, the state that had the most job creation in America for the last 10 years or a city which has collapsed? I know, talking with the Governor Rick Perry and others, I know how to get the whole country to resemble Texas. President Obama knows how to get the whole country to resemble Detroit.
HANNITY: We're going to take a break. We're going to come back. More with former speaker of the House, and the 2012 GOP presidential candidate.