This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 22, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MONICA CROWLEY, GUEST HOST: Tonight, four presidential hopefuls remain in the race for the White House but that all could change in the very near future. Hi, everybody. I'm Monica Crowley in tonight for Sean. In less than one week, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul will compete in two very important primaries, Arizona and Michigan. And a lot of attention is being paid to Michigan because that happens to be Governor Romney's home state. At that moment, polls show him slightly trailing Senator Santorum there. And at least one of his other rivals is suggesting that if Romney can't win in his own backyard, it's time for him to leave the race. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If he can't carry his home state, I think the rationale for why is there a Romney candidacy; he’s not a candidate of ideas. He’s not a candidate of ideology. He was the candidate because he was the inevitable winner. If he loses his home state, and I assume that they are going to throw the kitchen sink at Santorum because that’s the Romney style, they lose his home state, I don't know what he says the next morning to his donors if he stay in the race.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: Joining me now with analysis of where things currently stand, is a supporter of the Gingrich campaign, former presidential candidate Herman Cain. Great to see you, sir.
HERMAN CAIN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Monica, it is delightful to be with you. I love seeing Monica.
CROWLEY: And I love hearing it Mr. Cain. All right. Let's talk about the upcoming primaries, Arizona, Michigan, very tight races. I know you’re a Gingrich guy. What do you think Newt Gingrich needs to do between now and Tuesday to regain some momentum?
CAIN: Here's what Speaker Gingrich needs to do, number one, be specific on message relative to three issues. How we are going to create jobs? How he’s going to create jobs, national security and energy independence. All you have to do is look at the news today about the rising gasoline costs and it is a function of this administration not having an effective energy strategy, which is why at the mere sign of trouble in the Middle East or at the mere sign of anything going on the world market, prices start to speak. So, my advice to Speaker Gingrich which I gave to him on Saturday when I was campaigning with him in Georgia, be specific and just focus maybe focus on some of the other international issues but make sure that he's specific on those big issues.
CROWLEY: And stay on message which I think he is doing tonight.
CROWLEY: In the last presidential debate. It's interesting because Newt Gingrich has had two separate surges. And he's gone up and he has gone down and he's come back up. And he's lost some of his real traction. So, I think you may be right that if he stays on message on those critical issues that relate to the American people every day and to the broader economy, he could actually enjoy a third surge now when it really counts.
CAIN: You’re absolutely right. And the fact that gasoline is starting to get volatile and the price of gallon of gas on average is here to back up to $4. And here’s one other thing that President Obama gave to the Republican candidates a gift. This whole about demanding that contraceptive services be provided free and when the President first said, the employers must provide it and he back-pedaled and then said that insurance companies need to provide it, it was a religious freedom issue. And I think that all three candidates should basically seize upon that because I think that the majority of the American people see that as an infringement of the first amendment. So, stand on the message and stand on those issues that really are the hot buttons with the American people right now today.
CROWLEY: Let's talk about some of the other candidates. Because you stood on those stages, many at times Mr. Cain and debated right alongside them. Mitt Romney as I mentioned, Michigan coming up on Tuesday. It's considered his home turf, if in fact he wins there and/or Arizona, he’ll have serious momentum going into Super Tuesday, right?
CAIN: He will have some serious momentum. But here's where -- with all due respect, I disagree with Speaker Gingrich, if Mitt Romney loses Michigan, I don't think that’s necessarily the sign that he should pull out of the race. I mean, Speaker Gingrich has got to win Georgia, that’s his home state. Let's look at what has happened in the first nine primaries and caucuses. It's been a yo-yo; it's been up and down. And so I think that saying is that the voters are still undecided. And if on Super Tuesday, we got nearly 200 delegate votes up for grabs, if the three major candidates, Romney, Gingrich as well as Santorum, if they sort of split those 200 delegates, sort of equally plus or minus five or ten, I think that means that this process is going to go on for a long, long, long time. So, I think it is way too early to start predicting or anticipating or even suggesting that somebody gets out of the race because of one primary. We still have 42 more to go. So, we still have a long way before anything is going to be decided.
CROWLEY: Oh, Lord, 42 more to go. You had to remind us. Right, Herman?
CROWLEY: Let me ask you about Rick Santorum, because when you were in this race, you were subjected to some pretty withering criticism. And Rick Santorum over the last two weeks or so or even more has been just pounded by the left, by the media, by some others in the race. I think he's handled it pretty well but I wanted to get your sense of the criticism level that him and how he's managed it.
CAIN: I think he's managed it fine. Because what he did which I think was the right thing to do, is that he didn't back peddle. He didn't flip-flop. He didn't back-off. Whether you agree with him or not, he stayed on what he said and he came out and he defended it. But you know with Rick Santorum surge, this is another indication of how this whole presidential Republican primary race has been so up and down and the pendulum has swung left to right, right to left, et cetera. And that is, as soon as you get in first place, you have this big bull's-eye on your back. I experienced it. You have this bull's eye on your back. And what happens is especially the mainstream liberal media, they flashback(ph) everything that you say.
The people want to know, Mr. Santorum, how are you going to create jobs and boost this economy? Mr. Santorum, what are you going to do about energy independence? But no, the media chooses to flashback(ph) a social issue of something that he said and they try to make that the focus of attention. And I got to tell you, the American people are tired of the prospecting (ph). They want to hear about solutions and I think that's what's going to make the difference, but any of the incidents who are able to stay on specific solutions from this point forward.
CROWLEY: Absolutely. And I agree with you. I also think though that all of the pounding that these guys are getting is actually very good in terms of preparing them for what team Obama and his re-election efforts is going to have prepared for them. Because they better be able to take incoming from their own side as well as incoming from left media because what Obama and Axelrod and Jarrett and Plouffe have ready for them, I mean, what they're experiencing now will pale in comparison?
CAIN: Yes. You are absolutely right. I agree with you. Unfortunately, for the American people, when we get into the general election, regardless of who gets the nomination, it is going to be negative attack against negative attack against negative attack. Now, since we know that that’s the way it's going to be, I'm going to recommend strongly to whoever gets the nomination of the Republican Party, you've got to find a way to rise above that. This administration does not have a positive record to run on. They've got to make sure that they continue to highlight that with the American people, because a lot of the American people, they don't have a clue how bad this president has been. But at the same time, I think that you deflect some of those negative attacks but I don't think that you try and deflect all of those negative attacks but make sure that you allow message and solutions to rise above all of the political rhetoric.
CROWLEY: Well, amen to that. Herman Cain, always great to see you, sir. Thank you.
CROWLEY: I love it.
CAIN: Happy to be with you, dear.
CROWLEY: I was hoping you do that again. Thank you, Herman.
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