Gingrich: Nominating a moderate won't beat Obama

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," January 30, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And in just a few short hours, the polls will open in the Great State of Florida and those voters will select the Republican presidential candidate that they would like to see take on Barack Obama in the general election.

Joining me now from Florida is presidential candidate, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. It looks like you are going to get Governor Palin's endorsement, maybe state by state, as you just said, as she was voting in Florida, you got to have to keep earning that vote every state by the looks of it.

But you did get Todd Palin's --


What is that?

NEWT GINGRICH, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was going to say, she is an enormous help, she's a big help in the South Carolina victory. Todd Palin is doing calls for us. Governor Perry is helping us. Herman Cain has been in today. Mike Reagan is with me all day today, going around the state reassuring people I really am the Reagan candidate in this kind of situation. Bob Livingston's been down here. Bob Walker is here. Bill McCollum, the attorney general has done a great job as our statewide chairman.

So, we feel like we have a very vibrant organization everywhere. We have Jose Mallea who ran Marco Rubio's campaign for the U.S. Senate, running our operation here and that's been helpful. And as you know, my one daughter Kathy Lubbers lives in Key Biscayne so, she has been doing Spanish language interviews all day and that's been kind of fun for her. And Jackie Cushman, my other daughter has been here wondering all over the state giving speeches.

HANNITY: Wherever I go, whoever I talk to, almost every e-mail, I'm on @SeanHannity on Twitter. Everything is about this campaign. A lot of the questions I'm getting and what a lot of people are talking about is the tone. I'm of two minds, one I think it's made all of you stronger. Whoever goes up against Barack Obama is going to get a billion dollars worth of smears, because, you know, you want dirty air and water. But then on the other hand, people are complaining about it. And I want to get your take on the tone.

GINGRICH: Well, look, I wish it was all positive. And, you know, Callista and I when we were out campaigning in the fall and it was all positive, we were doing terrific. And we were very happy just talking about big ideas, how to create jobs, how to balance the budget, how to create a new Social Security opportunity for younger Americans with a savings account. Lots of positive ideas. Unfortunately that is not how politics in America is played at one level. And so, you are sort of in a slugging match for a while. But that is all right, too.

I think by the time we're done, by the time we get to the convention in Tampa, we'll have a lot better understanding of who can take on Obama and what this is all about. The thing that striking to me is that there is a vibrant conservative movement in this country that really wants a conservative nominee and that really believes that nominating a moderate -- we did it in 1996, and it failed, we did it in 2008 and it failed. A lot of folks who think nominating a moderate will not work if you are trying to beat Barack Obama.

HANNITY: You've found yourself in a position though, I never thought you'd find yourself in, and that was defending your Reagan credentials and the contract. Well, Elliot Abrams wrote a pretty hard hitting piece, taking part of your speech as Jeffrey Lord in the American Spectator out of context. As I'm watching this back and forth, this is another question that people are asking me. If you get the nomination, how hard will you be on Barack Obama? You said it was either unilaterally disarm or you're going to fight back with Governor Romney. Fair. You guys are going back and forth. Is there anything off the table when it comes to Obama if you get the nomination? In other words, his past, Ayers, Wright and his policies.

GINGRICH: Both with Governor Romney and with Barack Obama who are sort of George Soros' two favorite choices, nothing is off the table that's honest and legitimate and authentic. President Obama has enough weaknesses I say all the time in every audience. He is the best food stamp president in American history. I want to run a campaign on behalf of paychecks and jobs contrasted with unemployment and food stamps. I think in every precinct, every community in America, every ethnic group, the paycheck and job candidate is going to beat the food stamp and unemployment candidates.

So, I have announced today for example that I would immediately on the very first day issue an executive order that repeals all of the anti- religious bigotry that Obama is putting into place which the Catholic Church for example did a bishop's letter in every single church in the country because they feel that the Obama administration is at war with Christianity and his recent decisions on coercion of what kind of insurance church organizations have to offer.

I've also said on the very first day, that I would issue an executive order to build the Keystone Pipeline as of that day. And I'm trying to communicate publicly so the people of Canada understand, you don't have to cut a deal with the Chinese. You don't have to build a pipeline across the Rockies. Give us until November, when we beat Obama, you'll have a chance to build that pipeline in January of 2013. These are very clear distinctions with Barack Obama that are very decisive.

HANNITY: Explain your first 30 days. If you've got -- start with the first day, walk me through the first 30 days, through the first hundred days. What can you accomplish legislatively through executive orders?

GINGRICH: Well, first of all let's start with the 3rd of January which is 17 days before I'm sworn in. I will ask the Congress to stay in session on the 3rd of January. I'll ask them to repeal Obamacare, Dodd- Frank, the big banking bill that is killing small banks, killing small business, driving in the price of housing, and to repeal Sarbanes-Oxley. My request will be to have all three repeals ready so that on the day I'm sworn in, I can sign them all three repeals that day. That is a real start. I will then on the very first day, have an entire series of executive orders all of which will be published by 1st of October so everybody will know it's coming. Executive order number one, abolish all of the White House "czars" as of that moment . An executive order reinstating Ronald Reagan's Mexico City policy, no taxpayer funding for abortion overseas, period, none. And an executive order reinstating George W. Bush's conscience clause, no religious group, no doctor, no pharmacist, no nurse, no hospital could be forced to do something against their religion. Executive order number four, the State Department will open the embassy in Jerusalem in recognition of Israel's legitimate right to name its own capital.

So, you go down a series of those things that said -- we've added the Keystone Pipeline. We'll have a series of those things. My goal is not the first 30 days, Sean, my goal is at the end of the first day that I'm in office, we will have repealed about 40 percent of Obama's government and have things rolling towards creating jobs, solving the housing crisis, starting to move towards a balance budget, starting to implement the 10th amendment where Governor Perry has agreed that he will head up a 10th amendment enforcement project. A whole series of these kinds of steps that we want to take immediately.

HANNITY: What will you need the legislature to do? What will you need the Congress and the Senate to do?

GINGRICH: Well, this has to be a team campaign. Because as I did with Ronald Reagan in 1980 when I chaired the Capitol Steps event which brought all the candidates together, and as we did in 1994 as you remember, when we had 350 Congressional candidates come together to all be on the same ticket. I tell every audience in Florida for example, we have to replace Senator Bill Nelson with a conservative. So, my goal is to have a team election with a team contract that brings together a momentum so that all -- this is an American campaign, not just a Republican campaign.

For example, everybody who would rather have a paycheck and food stamps, you are welcome. We want you to come join us. Everybody who believes in the Declaration of Independence rather than Saul Alinsky's radicalism, you're welcome, please come join us. Everybody who wants to have a strong America in a dangerous world rather than weakness and appeasement, you are welcome, come join us.

So, we would like to have a big legislative majority going into January of 2013. The way to do that is to run a campaign based on big ideas that draw people together.

HANNITY: You said, you wouldn't debate Obama if the media moderates, what did you mean by that? And if that is only option that Barack Obama gave you, what would you do?

GINGRICH: Well, I think we can convince Barack Obama that he ought to be open to a different style of debate. I think the way to do that is what Abraham Lincoln did to Steven A. Douglas in 1858, which is to literally follow his speeches by four hours and repudiate his speech day after day until he agrees to debate.

Lincoln and Douglas debated seven times for three hours each with a time keeper, but no moderator. This modern model where some reporter gets to decide what questions matters, they get to decide what topic to bring up. I think that is an absurdity. You have two people you're asking to choose between to be the president of United States. They're both adults. They ought to be able to organize a genuine serious debate and actually have a much higher quality conversation than we get out of this kind of game show approach that we used today.

HANNITY: It will be interesting to see if Obama -- if you get the nomination would take you up on that. That would be -- I'd bet against it. If that goes up in Vegas -- we'll see you in Vegas on Thursday. So we look forward to that.

GINGRICH: That's right. Look forward to it. Have fun.

HANNITY: Mr. Speaker, thanks for being with us.

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