This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," October 4, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And as primary season rolls along, Republicans all across the country are grappling with what type of person they want to see as their next president. Now, my next guest argues that our society faces a crisis that will affect their next leader resulting from a collective failure to educate and discipline young men in America. Bill Bennett's new book tackles that problem, it is "The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood." And I sat down earlier with him with to discuss that and his involvement in getting some of the GOP's top stars to jump into this race. Take a look.
HANNITY: It seems likes you were pushing Perry to get in the race.
BILL BENNETT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I was.
HANNITY: And he's had problems. He has this whole immigration issue. I didn't think he had a particularly good debate and I think he would acknowledge it in Orlando and when he said basically you don't have compassion, it got a lot of negative feedback from conservatives. Can he recover?
BENNETT: I think he can. I haven't endorsed Rick, by the way. I encouraged him to get in and I also encouraged Rick Santorum to get in, and Herman Cain. By the way, those two have been substitute radio hosts on my radio show.
HANNITY: Right. "Morning in America," Bill Bennett.
BENNETT: I'm sorry, no, but look, I think it's good to have this good field, he's had a tough series of debates. And this national state, everybody says Texas is a big state, the governor is a big job, it's nothing like running for president. That process is very tough. But you know, there are a lot of critics of this process. I think we are finding out important things about these guys. We will find out Rick Perry, whether he can bounce back and recover.
HANNITY: Do you think Herman Cain, look at the polls, look at Florida straw poll, look at one in Missouri this past weekend, do you think Herman Cain can win the nomination and be the next president?
BENNETT: I think he can and I think several of these people can. Clearly, he's a first tier candidate now, isn't he? And, you know, what he has, what Jefferson (ph) said in Washington, he's got a first class disposition.
HANNITY: He really does.
BENNETT: People love that, it's that very American optimistic.
HANNITY: Infectious, funny, you know, never gets uptight.
BENNETT: You know what happened in that debate I found so interesting, when it was announced that he had beaten cancer, the audience just spontaneously applauded.
HANNITY: That was great.
BENNETT: That's an achievement. People admire that and they take it as a moral strength. But the disposition that comes out of that, you know, when you have looked the grim reaper in the eye, it's...
HANNITY: He had stage four cancer. He's five years now well. But look at the company. It's very interesting. I've actually been probing in getting more details. But he has worked for Coke, he's worked for Pillsbury, he's worked for Burger King and then he was the CEO of Godfather's. Godfather's was a turnaround. They were headed for bankruptcy. Burger King, he got the worst location in the country, and within a couple of years, he made it number one.
BENNETT: It's impressive.
HANNITY: I mean, it's a very impressive business background.
BENNETT: And he speaks to the business guy in a different way than Romney does. Now, Romney, I have to say, is very impressive. I think he's much better this time around and I think he's had a great series of debates. He may be the last man standing. And I think he would do very well against Barack Obama.
HANNITY: Yes. I agree with you. I think in terms of consistent, strong performance, I think Romney has a good performance every debate.
BENNETT: Yes. HANNITY: In this last debate, in particular, our Frank Luntz focus group gave it to him by a long shot.
BENNETT: Yes, you know, and I think it's very interesting because, you know, a lot of conservatives aren't dispositionally inclined toward Romney because they just, they don't know, you know, they're not sure. But I think they are open to it. And what they want to do, you know, what they want to do, they want to beat Barack Obama. What I hear more than anything else is, who can win for the Republican?
HANNITY: Who do you think is the best -- who best meets that definition?
BENNETT: I don't know yet. I think it matches up right now, the numbers, the polls say Mitt Romney does because he gets a good chunk of that middle. But let's see what Herman Cain does, let's see if Perry bounces.
HANNITY: "The Book of Man."
HANNITY: We have a problem in society.
BENNETT: We have a man problem. We have a serious man problem. And there's a lot of evidence. You can talk to the young women and they will tell you that. Talk to them in their 20s, what about the men? The women coming of age now getting out of college, for the first time in history, will come with more ambition, more education, more achievement than the men. We have reversed things, for example, in education, 1970, 60 percent of our college graduates were men. Now 62 percent are women. It's good for the women. We said go, girl, go, and they went and they have done great. But there's been a problem with the men. Fatherlessness, lack of conviction, seriousness. Their story after story of men, you know, living with their Xbox, you know, five, six, seven hours a day, it's crazy, and the whole question about what it means to be a man, and we may have lost sight of in a lot of contexts.
HANNITY: You go back to great men as your source of inspiration.
HANNITY: I thought that was a brilliant idea.
BENNETT: I start with a Marine named Donovan Campbell (ph) you know, I think you the book (INAUDIBLE).
BENNETT: He's a heck of a guy. And I have people like Ronald Reagan. I couldn't write a book about men without him ,and Marco Rubio, he's in this book. Even though that story is not complete, I think it's very important to have hope for the future.
HANNITY: Marco Rubio will be president one day.
BENNETT: I think he will, but also there are people in the book profiled who are listeners to my radio show. Just folks. There's a guy who home schools six kids in Houston, Chris Scott. He's in the book, too, because you have to make it plain that one doesn't have to be famous. Men can live well, pretty regular, ordinary lives and live with distinction. We have to fight the culture on this because the culture is degrading men and telling them they can act like jerks and there are no expectations of them.
HANNITY: Doesn't it all come down to parenting though? I mean, I'm responsible for how I raise my kids. I'm responsible if they get a good education. I can blame the school system, which stinks in a lot of places, but in the end, if they aren't doing their job, it's my job to step up.
BENNETT: Well, you are right. The man who introduced me in my first job in Washington, Daniel Patrick Monehan (ph) wrote once an essay, every culture, every society knows one truth, you can't raise boys to maturity without men.
HANNITY: All right, well, Bill Bennett. The book is called "The Book of Man." And it's about rediscovering the need for men in a society --
BENNETT: And the kind of men they need to be.
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