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Hannity

Who Benefits Most From Huckabee Opting Out of Presidential Race?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 16, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Mike Huckabee is not the only big name Republican to opt-out of the 2012 presidential race. As we've mentioned today, billionaire Donald Trump reveal that he has chosen not to challenge "The Anointed One" either.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I've decided that we are going to continue onward with "Celebrity Apprentice." We are going to continue making lots and lots of money for charity. I will not be running for president, as much as I'd like to.

(APPLAUSE)

And I want to thank everybody very much. Thank you, very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Now, even with Huckabee and Trump out, the GOP field is growing. Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Herman Cain all officially launched their campaigns in recent days.

And a lot of attention is being paid to Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels who is said to be mulling a run. Now, according to CBS News that if Daniels is in, it is likely he would have the support of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

And here to help all of us breakdown the latest 2012 news is the one and only Dick Morris. He along with his wife Eileen McGann, the co-author of New York Times best seller "Revolt!," and his website dickmorris.com, how are you?

DICK MORRIS, AUTHOR, "REVOLT!": Good.

HANNITY: You're doing videos now on the website?

MORRIS: Yes, starting tomorrow. I do a video each day on each of the Republican candidates.

HANNITY: That's great.

MORRIS: And I have seven of them in a row. I was going to do nine but somehow it shrunk to seven.

HANNITY: All right. First of all, we got some people entering, some people exiting. I guess, the big news is Trump and Huckabee out. How does this impact the field?

MORRIS: To start with my polling, showed Romney at 22, Huckabee at 20, Trump at 15, and Gingrich at 11. So, the second and the third candidates pulling out is a big deal.

HANNITY: Right.

MORRIS: And obviously, the big winner is Romney. I think that he --

HANNITY: Why do you think Romney?

MORRIS: Well, first of all, my polling shows that about a third of Huckabee's votes go to Romney. Basically because they are the two best known of the field. And that most of Trumps votes go to Romney because he's a businessman and the economy and all that stuff.

HANNITY: Why would Huckabee's votes go to Romney when they were at each other? You know, in 2008.

MORRIS: Well, it is surprising, but the poll shows that --

HANNITY: Yes.

MORRIS: I think, they are the two candidates who have been around the track. And as a result, they have a certain amount of support from Republicans who are used to them and know them.

HANNITY: Is that name recognition?

MORRIS: It's more than name recognition, it's kind of a sense of legitimacy, a sense of having paid their dues. But that doesn't mean that's going to stay that way. I think that the crucial moment for Gingrich is coming up I think on June 7, when the first real Republican debate takes place. And Gingrich, I think can knock it out of the park. And that could be a tremendous asset to his candidacy.

HANNITY: Right.

MORRIS: Daniels could be a very strong contender. But I think the person that really could shake-up this field right now is Michele Bachmann. Because ultimately, the evangelicals and the Tea Party people are 70 percent the same people. And with Huckabee out of the race and Palin perhaps not running, Bachmann really has the capacity to roll up a lot of that vote.

HANNITY: Can she get the independents?

MORRIS: Oh, I think she can. I think that her base -- it is not a left-right base, it is up-down thing. She is the grassroots small businessman individual person. Whereas, the more establishment people Chamber of Commerce types might be for Daniels. Either one would be very good. But you can't count Newt out as long as there are debates. Because he could just absolutely blow it apart in a debate.

HANNITY: I've never seen a field this wide open. And it's interesting how the media spins this as some type of weakness. I don't see it that way at all. Because if you look at 90 percent of the issues between becoming energy independent, lowering taxes, lessening the bureaucracy, dealing with the debt, deficit, entitlements, I think the Republicans are offering a very distinct vision for the country versus what President Obama has offered and would have continued to offer.

MORRIS: I also believe that any of these four candidates could defeat Obama.

HANNITY: I agree with you.

MORRIS: I think that Romney can. He looks presidential. He acts presidential. I think the health care thing will hurt him. But I think that he's seen as the guy who can create jobs and help the economy. I think Daniels' record in Indiana is extraordinary. He's done everything right. And I think that there's a real sense of substance there.

HANNITY: You know what the interesting thing about Daniels?

(CROSSTALK)

MORRIS: The debate is awesome. And I think Bachmann is the charismatic candidate now. And she can just blow the race out.

HANNITY: You think Sarah Palin gets in?

MORRIS: No, I think that with Bachmann likely in, I don't think there is running room for Sarah.

HANNITY: All right.

Let me, let me -- we talked about how the media died in 2008, Dick. And, you know, I've been predicting that all the Republican candidates are going to face a level of scrutiny, that then Senator Barack Obama never faced in 2008. And kind of we tried to fill that void here on this program.

Let me give you an example, this is David Gregory, "Meet the Press" going after Newt Gingrich this weekend. Let's watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "MEET THE PRESS" ON MAY 15)

DAVID GREGORY, HOST: You gave a speech in Georgia, with language a lot of people think could be coded racially-tinged language, calling the president, first black president a food stamp president.

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Oh, come on, David.

GREGORY: What did you mean and what was the point?

GINGRICH: That is bizarre. This kind of automatic reference to racism, this is the president of the United States. The president of the United States has to be held accountable. Now, the idea that, and what I said is factually true. Forty seven million Americans are on food stamps. One out of every six Americans is on food stamps. And to hide behind a charge of racism, I have never said anything about President Obama which is racist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Coded racially tinged language. There are 47 million Americans on food stamps.

MORRIS: And there were 33 of them. Obama has expanded it by 14 million. So, to call him the food stamp president makes great sense.

Gingrich told me once that he saw the emblem of the Republican Party being the paycheck. And the emblem of the Democratic Party being the food stamp book. And I think that makes a whole lot of sense.

HANNITY: What about, he got into a little bit of a controversy as I spoke to him on radio earlier today as it relates to his comment about right wing social engineering. He explained it a way saying, you know, look, I think they should have a conversation on the issues of Medicare, rather than put themselves in a position to be demagogued. And he was asked whether he supports a mandate, he said no. The states can decide. Did he get himself into trouble with these two issues or will it pass?

MORRIS: Oh, I don't think so. I agree with him on both of them. I think, I wrote in "Revolt!" with my Eileen, my wife, that Medicare could be the death of the Republican Party. I said how many tombstones do you need? You have Hillarycare, you have Gingrich of the government shutdown, you have Pelosi this year, and now we may have another tombstone there. I think we are probably going to lose that House race up in Buffalo over this issue. And why the Republican Party wants to vote for a cut in Medicare in 10 years and wants to lose elections for the next 10 years over that is crazy.

HANNITY: It's important, if we really care about the deficit they have to deal with this.

MORRIS: In the next 10 years. You don't have to deal with it now. Medicare did not cause this deficit. Medicare went up by 16 percent in two years and defense spending by 11 percent and Social Security by 12. Medicaid went up by 54. Food stamps by 60.

HANNITY: We've got to go.

MORRIS: That's where the expansion has come. And I think Gingrich is absolutely right at what he said.

HANNITY: All right, Dick Morris.

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