This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," January 2, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST OF "HANNITY": And welcome back to "Hannity." And we are coming to you live from Iowa. Ahead of tomorrow's caucuses. Now, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is now leading in the poll in all several polls here in the Hawkeye State. And many are predicting he will pull away with a win tomorrow. But yesterday, Newt Gingrich who will be my guest later in the program made headlines when he told reporters that Governor Romney would quote, "Buy the election if he could." Our cameras caught up with him later and asked him to clarify what he said. Here’s his answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Do you think that Mitt Romney’s buying the election (INAUDIBLE)
GINGRICH: Did you pick that up? No, I didn't say he was. I said he would if he could.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: He would want to try?
GINGRICH: If he could.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (INAUDIBLE)
GINGRICH: Well, I don't know, $3.5 million in negative ads, you tell me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: All right. Joining me now with reaction is GOP Presidential hopeful, he is leading in the polls here in Iowa. Mitt Romney. I bet you’re pretty glad you're at least at this point.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, it feels pretty good at this stage. It’s fun to get started now. We’ve all been working very hard. And now the people in Iowa will get us started. I think there will be a few people that come out of Iowa with a real boost. And we go on to New Hampshire, and of course South Carolina, Florida. We got a lot of fun ahead of us.
HANNITY: All right. Let me ask about Newt Gingrich. And I also interviewed Newt on radio today. He is calling on you to tell these outside groups, one I guess is run by a former staffer of yours to stop running the ads against him. And not run a negative campaign. What is your reaction to him about some of the ads that are being run by those groups?
ROMNEY: Well, there have been a lot of ads out there run against me, as you know, from different campaigns. And the first one that started off was the one run by the Democratic National Committee. They ran an ad attacking me.
HANNITY: By the way, attacking you and following you.
ROMNEY: Oh, yes. They are going after me. They're following me. I wish we could all play by some kind of rules like playing game of Monopoly. But this is a campaign. I expect the Obama people to come after me very aggressively if I’m the nominee. I hope to be. And I'm ready to fight back. I'm not going to sit back and say, we're not going to have a campaign that describes the differences between myself and Barack Obama. And in this early process, look, I wish we didn't have PACs, I wish campaigns could raise all the money they needed without having these independent entities but that’s the way the law has been set up. And we’re going to play by the rules.
HANNITY: His argument is that if you told this PAC to stop with the ads that you would have the authority and the power just by saying don't run them, that they wouldn't run them. What is your answer to them?
ROMNEY: But they’re all sorts of PACs.
HANNITY: The ones that running the ads against Him.
ROMNEY: So, he only wants one against him to be stopped. I mean, obviously, the Speaker doesn't want to have that. I understand. But look, this is a campaign. We've got to have broad shoulders. You can't spend your time whining about the fact that people are drawing attention to your record in the past. I’ve been attacked. It's fine. Get used to it. It is going to get a lot of worse. If you can't stand this…
HANNITY: He said he’s been ‘Romney boated.’
ROMNEY: Let me tell you, it hasn't been gone yet. Wait until President Obama gets in with our nominee with a $1 billion to spend. You have to have somebody who can take his message to Obama and fight back. And I'll fight back hard.
HANNITY: All right. The one thing, Newt will be on after. We’ll give him a chance to respond. He wants the challenge to a debate. Would you do a one-on-one debate with him? He likes the Lincoln-Douglas style debates.
ROMNEY: Well, that’s nice for him. We had what? 10 or 12 debates so far. We have had a chance to debate. I have done well in some. He has done well in some. If we end up as the two finalists, then we'll probably end up debating one-on-one. But right now, we are not the two finalists.
HANNITY: If you debate, you want all the other candidates involved?
ROMNEY: Well, sure. When Ronald Reagan said, hey, I paid for this microphone, he was saying look, the other people who are credible candidates, they have every right to be here. And right now, at least according to the polls here in Iowa, the other leaders would be Santorum and Paul. Not Gingrich. So, why would I do a one-on-one with Gingrich?
HANNITY: I think you had a funny line. You compared Obama's promises to Kim Kardashian's wedding vows.
ROMNEY: Yes, she said, until death do us part.
HANNITY: Seventy four days.
ROMNEY: Yes. So, I mean, the promises he made and the performance of his administration could not be further apart. And people recognize this. He was going to repair the nation he said. He was going to repair the world.
HANNITY: Heal the planet.
ROMNEY: I mean, the things he was going to do, just extraordinary. And what he's done has made things worse for people that are out of work. He's made it harder for our economy to turn around. We have now Iran, which is on the verge of having nuclear weaponry. It just announced nuclear fuel rods that they built. First one built, medium range surface- to-air missile being tested.
HANNITY: Strait of Hormuz.
ROMNEY: Strait of Hormuz.
HANNITY: Do you agree with what Rick Santorum has been saying the last couple of days and that he would take out their nuclear site if he’s president?
ROMNEY: Look, I want to talk about what I would do if I were President today. And if I'm elected what I’d do immediately which is put in place the crippling sanctions against Iran. Stand with the people in Iran who are dissident voices. And prepare military options. I don't want to threaten specific action right now. But we, of course, have to have military options. And we have to be prepared to take those options to make sure that Iran does not become nuclear.
HANNITY: But it’s unacceptable for Iran to become nuclear?
ROMNEY: It is unacceptable to America and it should be unacceptable to the world for Iran to become a nuclear nation.
HANNITY: Your closest challenger in the Des Moines poll right now is Ron Paul. There's this controversy over these newsletters that he's had with his name on it goes back quite a bit of time. He says that he didn't know what was in his newsletters. Do you think he has gotten the same scrutiny as you and Newt and Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry? Or in many ways, do you think he's gotten pass on those, and do you think they're legitimate questions.
ROMNEY: You know, I think he's repudiated those letters and has said, look, I don't agree with them and his distanced himself from them in every way he could. I take him at his word. I don't worry so much about what things the press focused on and which they don't. You know, you just take this process as it comes. And, you know, I know people have talked about it. But look, I take him on his words on this, and let's talk about the issues that really separate us. We have some very different issues with regards to each of the candidates, and I think that's probably the place where best place to focus.
HANNITY: How would you define success tomorrow in the caucus? You’re leading in the polls but it's very close. First, second, third going into a strong state for you in New Hampshire where you’re leading by a pretty significant amount? How would you define success here in Iowa?
ROMNEY: Well, if the polls turned out to be close to being true which is we are all clamped together. The three people were at the top. I'd love to be number one. Anyone would be. But coming in second or third is fine. If we are close together, it would give all three of us a real boost as we go into New Hampshire and as we go into South Carolina, and Florida. So, my guess is if the polls are right, three folks are going to have some supercharged coming out of Iowa.
HANNITY: All right. Governor, it's always good to see you. Thank you so much.
ROMNEY: Thanks, Sean.
HANNITY: I bet you're happy to be here at this point. Finally, the moment has arrived. The voting begins, the caucusing begins.
ROMNEY: Right. It's great fun. I got a lot of friends here. I can't wait to see them.
HANNITY: How many counties have you been to?
ROMNEY: You know I can't give you the number. My son has been to all 99 counties. So, I'll give him credit for that.
HANNITY: All right. Well, it's a good thing you have sons out doing the work, too.
ROMNEY: Exactly right.
HANNITY: All right. Governor, thanks for being with us.
Content and Programming Copyright 2012 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2012 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.