• HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." Tonight I'm joined by the man who just revealed right here on this program that he plans to form an exploratory committee for a possible 2012 White House run. That announcement will come tomorrow at an event in Iowa. He's Texas Congressman Ron Paul -- I was thinking Rand -- and he has a thing or two to answer for about an incident that occurred during his 2008 presidential bid. After the primary in New Hampshire, the congressman's supporters pelted little old me with snowballs. And here's the scene that ensued.

    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM JANUARY 2008)

    (SHOUTING)

    UNIDENTIFED MALE: We're great Americans and you're not, Sean!

    (SHOUTING)

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You suck, Sean!

    (SHOUTING AND CHEERING)

    (END VIDEO CLIP)

    HANNITY: Joining me with reaction to all of that is the author of this brand new book, "Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect our Freedom," and that's Dr. Ron Paul. What happened was, they had a focus group. So I went over to the focus group, and you were not in the debate that night.

    PAUL: I wonder why?

    HANNITY: I didn't make the decision. But you weren't in the debate, and I was being held accountable for that. And so I saw them all out there, and I said -- they said, no, no, you have to wait for security to take you out. I said, I'm not waiting for security. I walked right out in the middle of them and -- well, are you going to defend that?

    PAUL: Did you hear what Hillary said at one of our committee hearings about those supporters?

    HANNITY: What?

    PAUL: She said they were the most enthusiast, excited supporters I've ever seen in politics.

    (LAUGHTER)

    HANNITY: I agree. I've experienced it firsthand.

    All right, let me ask you this, because you said -- for example -- I'll give you one example. You said about the Ground Zero mosque issue that you thought this was a religious freedom issue. And I have a real problem when the families -- and you said, you know, you were raising the question about who is raising the question, just why and what is driving the people that were opposing it? Now, if we look at Imam Rauf, the guy that wants America to be Sharia compliant, that thinks Usama bin Laden is made in the USA, we are partly responsible for what happened.

    You are not concerned about the families of 9/11 and their reaction after losing loved ones?

    PAUL: Yes, but I'm also concerned about guilt by association and blanket guilt by a group. And if that goes through and you say you can't do it because it is Muslim and there are some bad Muslims over here and they did this, this means that you blame the religion. And you don't want to blame the religion. But in order to do that -- you -- I mean, if something happened that had it been a Catholic or something like did it, would you think, oh, it's a good idea, we don't want -- because he was a Catholic and he did bad things and therefore we can't allow a Catholic church to be built in a certain area?

    HANNITY: But when I listen to you, I hear you talk about first founding principles, which by the way are really important, and I think that's the area that I would find an agreement with you. The difference is, is that the imam, while we believe in free speech, believes in a value system. He says he wants America to be Sharia compliant.

    It is the antithesis -- wait a second, this is important -- it is the antithesis of everything we believe in. Women don't have rights, they don't drive, they get stoned to death, they need four male eyewitness if they are raped, they don't get to go to school. And--

    PAUL: But that is not coming here. We have to stay--

    HANNITY: That's what he said he wants.

    PAUL: That's -- what we have to do is defend our principles. And actually, the principle here is a private property principle. We shouldn't have governments building buildings and telling people where to build. It should be a private property issue. If you own that land over there, you shouldn't be told what you can build on that. If you want to rent it to any type of religion, you should be able to, and you can't have guilt by association.

    HANNITY: It is not guilt by association. The words of this guy on "60 Minutes" that if somebody wants America Sharia compliant, Sharia by its very nature as applied is one that denies women rights.

    PAUL: But that's a different issue entirely. I mean, there is -- that goes on in Saudi Arabia.

    HANNITY: But he wants that in America is what he said.

    PAUL: I know.

    HANNITY: So he's fighting for that.

    PAUL: But then you defend it by a better idea, you defend it by the Constitution. They can't do that--

    HANNITY: By opening the door -- isn't that opening the door for somebody who wants --

    PAUL: No, I--

    HANNITY: -- to overthrow America into a system that we -- that is contrary to our fundamental beliefs?

    PAUL: No, I think you are closing the door on what makes America great, property rights and the fact that you don't have people guilty because they belong to a group.

    HANNITY: Let me ask you--

    PAUL: You don't have everybody guilty because of something horrible that has happened.

    HANNITY: How -- I want to get serious here. If you get -- if you ever got to be president, how would you cut back on the entitlement programs that you talk so much about, and the welfare state, and the nanny state that has been created? How would you tell America that Medicare no longer exists, Social Security no longer exists? How do you -- how would you do that?

    PAUL: The whole thing is, since I believe that a president shouldn't be a king and can't do it, he has to --

    HANNITY: Persuade.