This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," April 30, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: The politics of self preservation have claimed yet another victim. Just a short time ago Florida Governor Charlie Crist announced that he will stay in the Florida Senate race but not as a Republican.
No, instead he'll be running as an independent.
Now his decision to drop out of the GOP primary comes as he trails former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio by a wide margin in the polls.
In just a moment Mr. Rubio will join us for an exclusive interview.
But first we went back into our library here at Fox and uncovered some video that may be unsettling to Florida voters.
Now it was just one month ago when Governor Crist made this pledge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY," MARCH 28: Here is your chance to dispel all the rumors. Are you willing to pledge right here, right now that you will run in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate and not run as an independent?
GOVERNOR CHARLIE CRIST, R-FLA.: I'm running as a Republican in November.
WALLACE: Are you ruling out that you will file as an independent by the April 30th deadline?
CRIST: That's right. That's right. I'm running as a Republican.
WALLACE: You will run, not for governor, you'll run for Senate and you will run as a — in the Republican primary?
CRIST: Chris, I'm running for the United States Senate. I know that our country needs help. I'm running as a Republican.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Wow. What a difference a month makes but that is not the only promise that Governor Crist is now ready to break. Let's take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Will you support the winner of the GOP primary whether it's you or Marco Rubio?
CRIST: Of course I will. Of course I will.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Well, if that's the case, let's meet the man that Governor Crist will be supporting in the 2010 midterms. He is Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio. And he joins me now for an exclusive interview.
Mr. Rubio, welcome back.
SENATE CANDIDATE MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA.: Thanks for having me back.
HANNITY: Alright. Let me ask the question, based on the "Fox News Sunday" interview. He said he wouldn't run as an independent and he would endorse the Republican. What do you make of his announcement now?
RUBIO: Yes. Well, he wasn't telling the truth when he said that or obviously he's changed his mind because of self-preservation.
You know, as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't change the race at all. When I got in this race I got in this race because I didn't see anybody else running that would stand up to Barack Obama's agenda and offer a clear alternative. And that's still the case.
So I'm running against two candidates, Kendrick Meek and Charlie Crist, who support the Obama agenda. I didn't realize I'd be running against both of them at the same time. I thought there'd be a primary and then a general. But that's fine, too.
You know, Sean, the things we believe in — limited government, free enterprise, that the world is a better place when America is the strongest country in the world — these are mainstream American positions that are shared by the vast majority of Floridians.
We're going to win this election because we're on the right side of the issues.
HANNITY: Let me ask you, though, has character now emerged as an issue in spite — in light of that "Fox News Sunday" interview with Chris Wallace? Do you think it's an issue?
When we had, for example, former New York City Mayor Giuliani right here on this program, he said that Governor Crist on two occasions looked him in the eye, promised him an endorsement and broke his word.
Is character now an issue in the campaign?
RUBIO: Well, character is always an issue. But I'll tell you why it's really problematic. The one thing that's really missing in American politics today is accountability. The ability to elect somebody who says they're going to do something and then they go to Washington and do it.
And the problem is, as I have said, is that the scourge of modern American politics are folk that will say or do anything to get elected. Their number one interest is climbing up the political ladder. And I saw — I think we saw an example of that today.
I think it's sad. I think it's unfortunate. But the good news is, I believe the voters of Florida are going to take care of this problem in November here in Florida.
HANNITY: What did you make of the Weekly Standard report that came out today that apparently Governor Crist — they're reporting — reached out to Rahm Emanuel at the White House and was seeking contact with them?
HANNITY: Do you make anything of that?
RUBIO: Nothing surprises me anymore, unfortunately, as I said. This is about self-preservation. This is not about principles. This is not about anything other than the easiest way to try to extend their own political career.
I think it's said quite frankly.
But as I said, we're going to have an election in Florida. I'm running because I want to be an alternative to the Obama agenda. My two opponents, Kendrick Meek and Charlie Crist, support the Obama agenda. And I know that we're going to win in November —
RUBIO: — because the folks here in Florida do not support that agenda.
HANNITY: Alright. When I first interviewed you, you were 25, 30, 35 points behind in the polls. You're now up by — depending on which poll you look at, about 25 points. You're up in the polls.
That's a 50, 55, 60 point shift in the polls. Is this a situation where he lost, he knew he was going to lose, he'd taken his toys and is going home? And does — do you have any fear that he could serve as a spoiler?
In other words, he's known as a Republican, now running as an independent. You're going to get the Republican nomination. Do you worry that he could split that vote?
RUBIO: I don't worry about it because what I'm going to do over the next six months is what I've done over the last 12 months and what's put us in this position. Its a campaign clearly on the issues that I believe in.
The fact that look, I believe in free enterprise, I've seen it with my own eyes how it has made us the freest, the most prosperous people in history. I have opportunities in my life my parents could never dream of because they were born in Cuba. They came here. I was born in this country. And I've had chances to do things my parents couldn't even dream of.
That's because of limited government and free enterprises. I'm going to campaign on those issues. And I know at the end of the day the vast majority of Floridians support that.
RUBIO: I'm the only candidate running on that platform.
HANNITY: What do you make of the Club for Growth and Senator John Cornyn who through the NRSC donated $10,000 to Charlie Crist campaign that they are starting a campaign, that he give back the money that people donated for this race. And then they want to give it to you.
Do you that think that's appropriate and proper?
RUBIO: I do. Because I think that they donated under false pretenses. They were told that he was a candidate for the Republican nomination. They endorsed him early on. It's important to remember that. He was the establishment candidate.
They — people gave money to his campaign because he was running in a Republican primary. And now he's not. He's announced not only is he running as a no-party affiliate he's actually changing his registration to independent and so I do think it's appropriate for people to ask for their money back. And I hope the campaign does the right thing and refunds it.
HANNITY: A lot of — a lot has been made about your recent comments about the Arizona immigration law. And I want to ask you about it. You said you had concerns about this legislation. You said it could also unreasonably single out people who are here legally, including American citizens.
HANNITY: Do you not —
RUBIO: Well, let me —
HANNITY: Go ahead.
RUBIO: Yes. There's two separate issues. Number one is I don't blame the people of Arizona for what they've done. I was there a month and a half ago. I saw the people are afraid of the kidnapping and the horrible crimes that are happening. And this was a matter of time before something like this happened because the federal government has failed.
So Arizona has the right to do this, I understand why they're doing it. I don't blame them for doing it. I just don't think it's the best solution. I think the best solution to this problem is for the federal government to do its job. Is to finally — this is a wake-up call to finally take this issue seriously.
And here's my biggest fear. You're starting to see it happen already. This administration is going to try and use this as an excuse to force an amnesty bill down our throats which I'm not for.
So I don't blame Arizona for what they're doing. It's easy to sit back and criticize them when someone is in an air conditioned studio —
RUBIO: — in New York or somewhere else. They've got to do what they think is right for Arizona. But the best solution to this problem is for the federal government to do its job.
HANNITY: What did you mean when you said it could unreasonably single out people who are here legally including American citizens? When you said that initial statement, because —
HANNITY: As you probably know, there's been a lot of discussion about those comments. And — because in particularly, this bill —
HANNITY: — specifically says you cannot racially profile. So what do you mean by that?
RUBIO: I think as time goes —
HANNITY: Go ahead.
RUBIO: Well, I think as time goes on, you're going to hear stories about people that have been in this country for a long time and they got pulled over and they're going to claim it was because somebody thought they might had been illegal. And they're going to be upset about it.
It's an unintended consequence. It's not why the law was passed. And it's why I don't think it's the ideal way to deal with that. I think the ideal way to deal with it is to have border security so you don't have this violence pouring over the border.
But these are two separate issues. What Arizona did, they have a right to do. And I don't blame them for doing what they did because they have to live with this stuff. I'm saying that as a U.S. Senate candidate I want the federal government to take this seriously, to secure that border so that these crimes no longer cross over from Arizona.
RUBIO: I'm sorry, from Mexico.
HANNITY: Marco Rubio, thanks for being with us. We really appreciate you being on the program. And we're going to follow the race very, very closely. Thanks for being here.
RUBIO: Thank you.
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