This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," June 2, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: The president is off for the Middle East tonight and it's not hard to think that one of the first things on his agenda is to apologize once again on our behalf. And that is our headlines this Tuesday night, "No More Apologies."
On his last foreign trip the president apologized to the French for our arrogance and dismissiveness as the rest of us wondered whether he had lost all sense of irony. Then he hit Latin American where he sat through Nicaraguan President Danielle Ortega's 50-minute diatribe against the United States and issued even more meek apologies.
And that was right before he enjoyed some quality time with Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and even took home some good anti-American reading.
As the president prepares to address the Muslim world from Cairo, Egypt on Thursday and to commemorate D-Day on Saturday, it might do him good to remember that apologizing didn't get the allied forces anywhere in World War II.
If President Obama really wants to apologize to people, perhaps he should think about you, the U.S. taxpayers, who have just become the owners of General Motors. That's a company that is currently undergoing the fourth largest bankruptcy, in case you didn't know, in U.S. history.
And joining me now to discuss these issues, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Governor, good to see you, thanks for being with us.
MITT ROMNEY, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks, Sean. Good to join you.
HANNITY: All right. Let's talk about this apology tour. You were at the Heritage Foundation and basically blasted the president for this ongoing apology tour. Is this what we're going to get now in the next four days?
ROMNEY: I sure hope not. I hope he listened to my comments and those that you're making and that other people have made. Actually the Britain's paper, The Guardian, said that this American president has been more critical of his own country while on foreign soil than any American president in history.
That's not a distinction you want at any time. But particularly now with the North Koreans pursuing their weapons of mass destruction, with Iran, belligerently pursuing their nuclear ambition. With all that's happening in the world, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and Somalia and across the world, you want an American president who is confident and determined in our protection of freedom, and in the fact that America is a great nation and that we have sacrificed more than any other nation to help other people reclaim freedom, and given all of that, these constant apologies, I think, are quite troublesome.
HANNITY: Doesn't this weaken America's influence and doesn't it strengthen the resolve of America's enemies and the influence of America's enemies? I mean isn't it really dangerous to do that?
ROMNEY: Sure. You know that there are freedom fighters of all kinds throughout the world whether you're talking about in China or Tibet or in Africa or places throughout the Middle East, where people are listening to every word that comes from the American president and hoping that they'll hear the kind of voice of confidence in the mission of freedom that you'd expect from the American president.
And so when President Obama goes on Arabic TV, as he did right off the bat, and he said look, America has dictated to other nations, he's simply wrong, wrong in history, but also wrong in terms of the effect it's having on the world because America has not dictated other nations. America has sacrificed more to help people in other nations become free from dictators than any nation in history.
HANNITY: And that's the thing. We beat back totalitarianism, and he ought to be reminding people, in my view, those that may think we're arrogant the price we paid for the cause of liberty and freedom.
I was — I found it staggering, Governor, that the president reiterated that Iran has a right to nuclear energy, and I'm thinking tell me he is not that naive to think that the Iranians would only use it for something positive. Tell me — I can't believe he's not that naive and doesn't realize the threat that would pose to Israel.
ROMNEY: Well, you know, when you have a nation that's floating on a lake of oil, it's not very credible to say that they're developing nuclear technology for purposes of energy. The entire world recognizes that, and, frankly, that was one of the reasons we called their bluff by saying look, we and Russia will provide to you the nuclear fuel rods that you need for energy purposes.
This way you won't have to develop this nuclear technology on your own, and they refused that. They don't want nuclear energy virtually free from another nation. They of course want to be able to use it for their own purpose.
I think it's kind of ironic, don't you, Sean, that a president thinks that Iran really needs nuclear power, but he's not willing to let America have nuclear power?
HANNITY: If it wasn't so funny, I'd want to cry. I mean the French gets, what, 75 percent of their power from nuclear power? We don't use it. One of the things, if you look at Kim Jong-Il and North Korea, once you take the idea that you will use force off the table, doesn't that embolden somebody like Kim Jong-Il and — into thinking that he has every right to test whatever nuclear weapons he wants or any missiles that he wants?
And isn't it ironic that he has tested this president more in four months than he did George Bush in eight full years?
ROMNEY: Well, I think Joe Biden was right. Joe Biden indicated that this president would be tested, he has been tested. I think there's been too much apology and too little demonstration of commitment to our principles.
There's no question in my mind that diplomacy is always something that you hope will work, but in the case of Kim Jong-Il, it simply hasn't. All the talk, all the agreements had done nothing besides causing diplomats to slap each other on the back and engage in a lot of self-congratulation.
And the truth is if we're going to exact a real cost on North Korea for their truculence, then we're going to have to put in place some comprehensive regime crippling sanctions, and that should include cutting off their access to international financial markets, seizing their assets, interdicting ships coming to and from the country to make sure nuclear technology is not aboard.
Re-categorize them as a state sponsor of terror. Look, we tried playing nice. It simply hasn't worked.
HANNITY: We don't want a president and the head of the UAW running General Motors. I think those words are familiar to you because you uttered them.
ROMNEY: Yes, I'm afraid the last thing that America needs is to have one of our major car companies, actually two, for that matter, being run by the government and having politicians decide what kind of cars we ought to be driving and where the plants ought to be.
I mean that's just the wrong course, and that's why the president ought to immediately distribute the government shares that the taxpayers are paying for to the taxpayers, and of course taxpayers will buy and sell amongst each other in a public market and ultimately be able to elect a board of directors and management team focused on building the kind of cars Americans want, not the kind of cars that the Sierra Club would like to make us buy.
HANNITY: All right. Let's look at the issue of the economy in a broad, big picture if we can. They've taken over Chrysler, they've taken over GM, they want to dictate the salaries of CEOs, even of companies that aren't even getting any government assistance. Financial institutions and banks.
They're spending literally trillions and trillions of dollars. We're going to quadruple the deficit in a year, we're going to quadruple the debt in 10 years. And we're going to be paying nearly $1 trillion on interests on the debt in 10 years.
Now your background, your experience is in economics and the economy. What does that mean for the long-term of the United States economy with that plan that they're currently implementing?
ROMNEY: Well, you have to start by saying what do you think is the source of the economic vitality and strength of America, and it's pretty clear that President Obama and his administration fundamentally believes that a government-led economy, that a strong government hand whether it's in health care, the auto industry, the banking sector, and insurance, even in guiding states like California as to what to do with their state employees, that a government hand is the right kind of hand to guide the economy and to make America stronger.
And there's a different view. It's the view that I happen to have which is that what makes America strong is the individual American pursuing his or her own dreams, pursuing happiness as they wish to, starting businesses, small businesses, entrepreneurs, That's how we create the vibrant economy we have.
And what they're doing is threatening that economic engine by layering on it a massive burden of debt which is beyond anything the world has ever contemplated.
HANNITY: Well, look, we got unemployment is going up and predicted to go much higher. Revenues to the IRS are down by 34 percent, foreclosures are up, the economy is still shrinking. The stock market is stuck. We got car companies going bankrupt. Many of our largest banks are struggling.
And I'm thinking, you know, if all of this didn't work, then are we — would we have been better off having done nothing and not socialized the economy to the extent that they're doing it?
ROMNEY: Well, you know, I'd rather do something and do it well, and as you know, the — Rahm Emanuel said never let a serious crisis go to waste. They're using this crisis as a way to impose their view of how the nation ought to be run, and frankly that's the wrong course.
And perhaps the worst thing that you could do in a setting like this is project spending and borrowing of such a level that this economy will be burdened potentially with inflation and low growth for a long time to come. So we've got a different plan. It's to get the economy going by getting small entrepreneurs, small business, big business going, adding private sector jobs. That's the right way to have American's future.
HANNITY: Governor, are you thinking about Iowa and New Hampshire?
ROMNEY: Not at all, except for New Hampshire. I'll be at Lake Winnipesauke pretty soon, enjoying myself for the summer.
HANNITY: All right. So that's a good way to get out of that question. But I'm going to be pressing you in the days and weeks to come. Thanks for being with us, Governor.
ROMNEY: Thanks, Sean.
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