Mitt Romney talks foreign policy

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 3, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST OF "HANNITY": Tonight, "Hannity" is coming to you live from the Wynn Las Vegas Casino and Resort right here on the Vegas strip. Thanks for being with us.

My guest at this time is the man who is now has the endorsement of Donald Trump who you just heard from and we continue with presidential candidate, former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney.

Governor, thanks for being back with us. All right, we gotta talk foreign policy. I know everyone’s been so focused on the economy and we should put our main focus there because so many people are suffering.

But while this is happening, the Iranians are plotting assassinations on American soil. They’re threatening to shut off the oil supply to the world in the Straits of Hormuz. They are saber rattling. They are aligning with Venezuela and Cuba and also pursuing nuclear weapons.

Now President Obama once said Iran’s a tiny country. They’re not the Soviet Union. They’re not a threat. It turns out they are a pretty big threat.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Weakness always begets adventurism by the world's worst actor and that’s what's happening in Iran. The president has communicated weakness. His policy tends to be appeasement and accommodation.

He was going to meet with Ahmadinejad in his first year in office. Even Ahmadinejad didn't want to do that. We have to show strength. We have to show strength with regards to Iran. I would have an aircraft carrier task force in the Mediterranean.

HANNITY: They threatened to blow it out of the water in the Strait of Hormuz.

ROMNEY: And then I'd also have a task force in the Gulf. We have to make sure that people understand we’re a nation of strength. We're not going to get pushed around by Iran or anyone else.

We don't want to go war with anyone, but we want to be so strong and a military so capable and a president so committed to American strength that no one would ever test our resolve.

HANNITY: I agree. There's something to add to this. They’ve been fighting proxy wars, funding Hezbollah, other terrorist groups; they've been killing American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, that's Iran.

ROMNEY: Absolutely.

HANNITY: Now we have the rise of Islamismzation in the Middle East. You know, the president told us, the Arab spring was going to be democracy movement. We saw radical Islamists have now come to power there.

We look at North Africa and the Middle East, the rising Islamic extremism, if they align with Iran; Iran gets a nuclear weapon, what does that mean for the world?

ROMNEY: It's unacceptable. Obviously, Iran with a nuclear weapon, given the fact that they support not just the Taliban, but also Hamas and Hezbollah and movements of terror across the globe including people in this country and Latin America, as well.

This is unacceptable for this fissile material to fall in the hands of Iranians. We recognize that at some point that could be used against us or against our friends in the world.

We must make it very clear through every means possible that we will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.

HANNITY: How do we stop them? I mean, short of military action I don't think anything will work. I think the only thing they understand is military action.

ROMNEY: You may be right. You may be right. You want to take every action, however. We haven't taken that. We don't have crippling sanctions in place. We have not treated them like the pariah they are around the world.

We have not arrested Ahmadinejad on charges of genocide under the Genocide Convention. These are actions we could take and in addition, you have to put together military options and make it very clear to the Iranians that we will take military actions if those other actions aren't sufficient to keep them from becoming a nuclear nation.

We simply cannot imagine a world where Iran, the worlds -- really the single largest and in some respects the major supporter of terror in the world. Them having a nuclear weapon and having fissile material to give to various terrorists is something we simply cannot abide.

HANNITY: That means military action has to be taken.

ROMNEY: Well, of course, you have to let them know that we are ready to take any action necessary to prevent the unthinkable.

HANNITY: The president predicted that the Arab Spring was a democracy movement. That's what he told the American people. Now we the elections have taken place. The Muslim Brotherhood is now in power, radical Islamists.

The very likely they said at the beginning of this, I never understood this prepare for war with Israel; real concern of mine. Now the administration is talking about speeding up funding and aid to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamists in power in Egypt. Do they deserve to get a dime?

ROMNEY: Well, there's almost not a region in the world where the president has been successful. You look around the world and we have retreated and retreated. And the Arab Spring, which had the potential of being one of the most beneficent developments of the modern times in the Arab world or one of the worst, is becoming one of the worst.

That falls on the back of this president who has failed to in any significant way guide the movement of Egypt, which by the way is a big player in this regard, 80 million population, the center of the Arab world.

We should’ve been all over Egypt working with our closest associations in the military to help move them towards the process of true democracy and freedom as opposed to overseeing now, which appears to be a movement towards Islamism.

HANNITY: Would we have been better off keeping Mubarak? He kept the peace with Israel for 30 years.

ROMNEY: Well, we didn't have that choice. That was not going to happen. So given the developments, what was essential is for America to play whatever role we possibly could along with our friends throughout Europe and allies around the world to try and move Egypt towards a position of modernity and freedom, but that hasn't happened under this president.

And just look around the world. Our relationship with Pakistan has deteriorated. The president's decision with regard to Afghanistan just in the last day or two put our mission there very much in jeopardy. His failure with Iraq, I mean, the list goes on and on. It's just amazing.

HANNITY: Five Taliban leaders currently residing in Gitmo are scheduled to be released from the Obama administration as conditional steps designed to further peace talks with the Afghan Taliban.

ROMNEY: Unthinkable, unimaginable, absolutely extraordinary. One more point of evidence this president is far over his head, naive, incapable of dealing with the affairs of the world.

The idea that we would release to the Taliban, as they are killing American soldiers and our friends in the Afghan security forces, they’re killing them, they are at war, they are our enemy, but as a sign of good faith we will release terrorists to them?

It's simply unimaginable. It's the foreign policy of pretty please. You know, I’m going to be really nice to you won't you pretty please be nice to me? That's not how the world's worst actors behave.

People respond to strength and resolve. Our great presidents in the past have shown that. This president has not. We must take a new direction in foreign policy, a dramatic direction that says America will be strong. We will stand with our friends. There will not be an inch of distance between us and our allies.

We will have a military that is second to none in the world, and we will do our very best to guide the affairs of the world towards freedom, towards human rights. This is the heart of what America's foreign policy has been since Harry Truman.

And for the first time in 50, 60 years, we are seeing a president try a different course and it is not working. We have to fundamentally change Washington's direction in foreign policy.

HANNITY: Governor, thank you so much for being with us. We really appreciate it.

ROMNEY: Thanks, Sean.

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