This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," January 11, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Last night, Governor Mitt Romney scored an impressive victory in New Hampshire in their primary. But tonight, the campaign rages on as the candidates now head to the next battleground. Now, this time in South Carolina.
Aand as the rest of the field tries to catch up with the frontrunner, well some candidates are targeting Governor Romney's business background and his time as the head of Bain Capital, and that includes Texas Governor Rick Perry who had this to stay last night on our special edition of "Hannity."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's a real difference between venture capitalism and vulture capitalism. Venture capitalism, we like. Vulture capitalism, no. And the fact of the matter is that he's going to have to face up to this sometime or another and South Carolina is as good a a place to draw that line in the sand as any.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: And meanwhile, today, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich backed off his criticism of Romney's time in Bain and blamed President Obama's class warfare rhetoric for blurring the lines of this debate. However, the Speaker did call into question the government's conservative credentials. Here is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe it is having somebody trying to debate Obama who isn't sure what they believe, isn't sure what the record is and isn't sure how to articulate it -- it's just going to be what we've done in the past. You've seen when we nominate moderates, they can't debate. They can't explain it because they're standing there trying to figure out, what is it I believe now?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: And as for Governor Romney, well, he doesn't seem at all surprised that he's the focus of the field. Watch this?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe in free enterprise and freedom and opportunity. And I frankly think members of my own party who may be desperate in their campaigns trying to attack free enterprise, are making an enormous mistake for themselves and for the country.
We have differences on policy, why, you know, that's valid for us to discuss, but these attacks from the Speaker and from Rick Perry, you know, I expect that to come.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: And joining me with analysis of last night's results and a preview of the battle for South Carolina, the former governor of the great state of Alaska, Fox News contributor, Sarah Palin. Governor, welcome back.
SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Thank you so much, Sean.
HANNITY: All right. Let's start -- before we get into the specifics of what's going on now, is there too much infighting, too much attacking or is it healthy and the end is the vetting of the candidates make them stronger and prepare them for a billion dollar Obama barrage?
PALIN: They need to vet one another. We're not going to get the lamestream media to help vetting on the other side of the ticket, so, we'll vet within our own party and we'll allow that, that most prepared candidates to rise to the top. So, it's tough, it's rough and tumble but this is the way that you, hear claims, absolutely, that are being made today. You hear backup and facts, and information supporting the claims, say, for job creation, that's been the talk the last couple of days, claims made in these campaigns. And sometimes it gets rough and tumble as you try to hold these candidates accountable for what they're claiming.
HANNITY: All right. Newt has backed off his criticism of Bain, but I had Governor Perry on the program last night. He doubled down, the term vulture capitalist, taking advantage of these companies in their hour of need. You know, just to turn a quick profit, et cetera. What do you think of those attacks in particular? Is that where, if you were running a campaign, would that be your line against Governor Romney? Are they making a mistake? Are they attacking the fundamentals of conservativism, which is we support capitalism?
PALIN: I don't agree with the attacks on free market capitalism at all. But I don't believe that that's really what is at the heart of Governor Perry's criticism of Romney and his time at Bain. This isn't about a politician making huge profits in the private sector, I think what Governor Perry is getting at is that Governor Romney has claimed to have created 100,000 jobs at Bain and you know, people are wanting to know, is there proof of that claim? And was it U.S. jobs created for United States citizens?
You know, the 100,000 jobs, and I believe that that's what Governor Perry is getting at is, you know, own up to the claims that are being made. And that's fair. That's not negative campaigning, that's fair to get a candidate to be held accountable to what's being claimed, especially when it comes to job creation because so many of us are so concerned about what's going on, on Main Street, as well as Wall Street.
HANNITY: Well, let me see if I might have some general disagreement, his terms were that they are taking advantage, meaning Bain Capital, of companies going through tough times. He says, he compared Bain and companies like Bain, to vultures who leave carcasses behind.
Now, venture capitalists, we know what they do. They go in and help either new business, they help re-structurefor business that are going bankrupt or businesses that want to expand and they get private equity money, people that want to investigate, yes, make a profit in the process of helping distressed companies in many of the cases, is that vulture capitalism in your view?
PALIN: You know, I won't speak for Governor Perry and what his point was as he used those particular words, but he-- the governor of Texas, having been so passionate about creating U.S. jobs there in his state and being successful in allowing the private sector to come in and knowing what government can do to incentivize these private businesses to hire more Americans -- he knows what he's talking about when it comes to some of these job creation antics that gosh, we wish that our own president would listen to and then learn from. But I would hope that Governor Perry and the other candidates would shift gears a little bit and start talking about how important it is that we do embrace free market capitalism and, yes, fight against the crony capitalism and that's a problem in Washington D.C., kind of focus along those lines.
Because, Sean, the difference that we're facing in the two parties, and as we approach a general election, is that clenched fist of Barack Obama's that is forcing the socialist type field policies that kill jobs, we're facing that as opposed to that invisible hand in a free market that Adam Smith and more recently Thomas Sole and others speak of, as they explain what America's foundation is, how it grew to be such a prosperous, and safe and healthy and voluntarily generous nation based on free market enterprise.
HANNITY: You know, and I said this to Governor Perry last night, I mean, there are certainly areas of disagreement that are very legitimate, questions you can ask about Governor Romney, distinctions you can make with his record versus your record. He has a good record as you point out in Texas of job creation here. And I guess as, you know, as time goes on, I'm just not sure if this is the -- it sounded to me, let me be more -- it sounded like the attacks, if Governor Romney gets the nomination that they would make against him or frankly any Republican who gets the nomination. It sounded like that to me, did you not hear that at all?
PALIN: Well, you know, what I heard was a little bit what's going on today, is some inoculation of the candidate himself, the frontrunner, and what it is that he's going to face when he comes up against Barack Obama. Nobody should be surprised that things about Bain Capital and maybe tax returns, not being released yet and maybe some, you know, records not being as transparently provided to the public as voters deserve to see right now. Don't be surprised that that's all coming out today because it would come out as an October surprise had these GOP candidates not, not brought those out today.
Barack Obama and his machine and the billion dollars that he's got behind him, will bring all of this stuff out anyway. So, let's get it out there, let's hear the defense of the candidates who are being charged with some of this. It's kind of like some come to Jesus moments for some of these candidates and that's healthy and that's good. And, you know, as I say, Sean, it is rough and tumble, it's not bean bag as Romney and others have called it and this guy have got to be prepared for this.
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