This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," April 13, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: My first guest is poised to become the next U.S. senator right here from the great state of Florida. He is a man that has stuck to his conservative principles and believe it or not, well, I've even heard his name being talked about for president in 2012.
He is a former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, a warm welcome, GOP senatorial candidate Marco Rubio is with us.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
SENATE CANDIDATE MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA.: Thank you.
HANNITY: Just before airtime, we're coming on — Rubio. We got a lot of Marco Rubio fans. What is it — I've never witnessed — when I first interviewed you, I don't even think it was a year ago. You were down 30 points. You are now up over 30 points. What happened?
RUBIO: Well, when you first interviewed me, the only people who thought I could win lived in my house. Now we've built upon that.
You know what's happened? We traveled Florida with a very simple message because I'm the only candidate running for U.S. Senate in Florida that will go to Washington, D.C., stand up to the Obama agenda and offer a clear alternative.
This is the greatest country in the history of the world. And if we stay on this road that this president has us on, everything that's made us special and unique was going to get lost.
HANNITY: This is important because I've been around the country now and I've talked to a lot of people throughout the day here at the Villages.
HANNITY: And people are worried about bankruptcy, they're worried about national defense and security, and unemployment, and all the things that so many people have worked their entire lives to create a better future for their children and grandchildren.
What is it that's going on that is — that you think is defining the mood of the country right now, which is one of great urgency?
RUBIO: Well, people are realizing this is the greatest country in the history of the world. And the things that make us exceptional are now being threatened by this agenda. You know this president and this Congress is trying to fundamentally redefine the role of government in America.
And they're trying to fundamentally redefine the role of America in the world. And the American people and people here in Florida, here in the Villages, they're not going to stand for that. And so they want folks that will stand up for that agenda and offer an alternative.
HANNITY: You are running as a — you're not running really — you're running for the Republican nomination, obviously. But as I've watched you give your speeches at CPAC, as I watched you in interviews, and I've had an opportunity to interview you, you are running as a solid conservative.
What is the difference, in your mind?
RUBIO: Well, the difference is, I think the conservative movement, the logical home of the conservative movement, is the Republican Party. And that's when — the Republican Party has been successful when it's been the home of free enterprise, limited government and personal individual liberty.
But we have to be that again. And I'm running as a Republican because I believe that is the rightful place for that movement in American politics. But ultimately, free enterprise, individual liberty, limited government — those things have made us the freest, most prosperous people in the history of the world.
HANNITY: You know it's funny because I've talked a little bit about your roots. We discussed this in one interview. And when you gave your speech at CPAC you went — you talked about your family, your background, your roots, et cetera.
HANNITY: It's one of liberty, freedom, self-reliance, opportunity. Is America now becoming too much of a dependency society? Are too many people looking to the government to take care of every aspect of their lives?
RUBIO: Well, I don't — I think the American people are the greatest as they've ever been. It's government that's headed in the wrong direction. It's our government leaders that are taking America in that direction that you just outlined —
HANNITY: Let me rephrase the question. Is government helping to create a dependency society —
HANNITY: — so that they can have a strong power base?
RUBIO: Yes. And not only that, you see that happening especially with this administration that believes that Western Europe and nations like that got it right and they're trying to redefine the role of American government in our economy, absolutely.
HANNITY: Well, explain in your own words, when people look to the government for security of any kind, maybe it's guaranteed health care, guaranteed housing. Whatever it is, whatever promise is made, what are the dangers? What do we — what do we give up if we get false promises from a —
RUBIO: The first thing you give up is prosperity. The first thing you walk away from is free enterprise which has made entrepreneurship possible. You know the bigger government's involvement in your life or in your economy, the less room there is for the job creator, the entrepreneur.
The person who's working hard every day at a job so that one day their children can have careers. It crowds out the rest of us. That's the way — that's what happened all over the world. It's the reason why America has prosperity because we embraced individual liberty and free enterprise, not more government involvement.
HANNITY: What do you think of this?
RUBIO: It's great.
HANNITY: Thousands and thousands of people here, you know, in support of your candidacy and all around the country — all around the state of the Florida you've been getting this. There are people — you have not even been elected to the Senate yet.
HANNITY: Things are looking very good for you. People already saying Marco Rubio, will you run for president one day?
RUBIO: No, no. I just want to get elected for the Senate, serve for a period of time, do what I can to give back to this country that's made so many things possible for us. And then come home and live under the laws we helped pass or repeal.
HANNITY: Or repeal.
Alright, now, Governor Palin had a message for you. I'm pretty you had heard it. I love Marco Rubio. Call me.
RUBIO: Yes. Well, we need to do that. I'd love to have her support. She's an important voice in the conservative movement in America.
HANNITY: And Mayor Giuliani, I interviewed him recently. He had said to me that what — he was supporting you because of what you believed in. But he was also very clear in saying that Governor Crist, your opponent in this race, in the primary, broke his word to him in terms of an endorsement that he had promised when Rudy Giuliani was running for president.
That speak — what does that say to you?
RUBIO: Well, ultimately, this campaign is about trust. Who do you trust to go to Washington and stand up to the Obama agenda and offer a clear alternative? And it's the reason why I got in this race because I know I'm the only one running that will do that. I'm the only one running in Florida that will do that.
HANNITY: Is it — is a big part of this the fact that Governor Crist supported the stimulus plan and Barack Obama's bailout plan?
RUBIO: Sure. It is a big part of it because how can you stand up to the Obama agenda? How can Charlie Crist stand up to the Obama agenda when just a year ago he was campaigning for the Obama agenda?
HANNITY: April 15th is this Thursday.
HANNITY: Sixty-six percent of Americans think they are overtaxed. Another poll came out today, 58 percent of Americans want to repeal the health care bill.
HANNITY: What does that tell you about where the mood of the American electorate is?
RUBIO: It tells you that they realize that between the anti-growth policies of our tax code, between health care bill, the American people are increasingly realizing that this administration is taking us in a wrong direction. A direction that will redefine our country to look more like Western Europe and less like the America we inherited from our parents.
They're not in favor of that. People want voices against that.
HANNITY: It's very interesting. What do you make of the — is this more a referendum on Obama? Is this a referendum on the procedures that they've used? Is this a referendum on all of the above?
RUBIO: It's actually a referendum on the identity of our country. Do we want to America to continue to be exceptional or do we want to become just like everybody else? That's ultimately the choice in this election.
HANNITY: But the president was asked this question about American exceptionalism. And I voiced — I was brought up to believe that America is that shining city on a hill. We have a rendezvous with destiny. The last great hope for man on earth. Words that Reagan and Lincoln have used.
And it seems when the president said, well, I think all these other countries think they're exceptional as well. What do you —
RUBIO: Yes. Well, they can think that but the truth is, there's only been one place on earth like this. And that's the United States of America. Other people can have the luxury of thinking that way. I don't have that choice.
I'm a generation removed from a very different life. My parents were born in Cuba. I've had opportunities they never had because I've been blessed with the honor of being a citizen of the greatest society.
HANNITY: What do you think when Castro put his seal of approval on Obamacare?
RUBIO: Isn't that something? That tells you all that you need to know. I mean it certainly tells you everything you need to know about what kind of government involvement that creates in our economy.
HANNITY: Marco Rubio, good luck.
RUBIO: Thank you.
HANNITY: We'll see you again soon.
RUBIO: Just want to say hi to my dad. He wasn't feeling good the last few days, so I want to say hi to him.
HANNITY: I want to say hi to your dad and I hope he feels better. OK?
RUBIO: Thank you.
HANNITY: All right, now, thank you, Marco Rubio, ladies and gentlemen.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
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