GOP heavyweights defending the frontrunner?

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: The current GOP front-runner has been under fire in recent days. The latest controversy surrounding presidential candidate Rick Santorum involves a speech he gave back in 2008 in which he said that Satan had his sights set on America. The senator respondent to questions about that comment last night.


RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You guys, these are questions that are not relevant to what's being discussed in America today. What we're talking about America today is trying to get America growing. That's what my speeches are about. That's what we're going to talk about in this campaign. If they want dig up old speeches, talking to a religious group, go right ahead and do so, but I'm going to stay on message. I'm going to talk about things that Americans want to talk about, which is creating jobs, getting our country safer and secure and yes, taking on the forces around this world who want to do harm to America. You bet I will take them on.


CROWLEY: This isn't the first attempt to smear the senator. Just this week, he was accused of questioning the President's faith when he called Barack Obama's radical environmental policies, quote, "phony theology."

Joining me now is author of Culture of Corruption, my friend Michelle Malkin who has endorsed the former senator. Great to see you, Michelle.

MICHELLE MALKIN, AUTHOR, CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: You too, hi, how are you doing, Monica?

CROWLEY: Hi. Well, I want to ask you about this, because it seems to me that right out of the gate in their haste to try to cast Rick Santorum as some kind of religious nut, his critics as well as the entire left wing in America mischaracterized his comment about phony theology. Everybody knows he was not talking about Barack Obama's faith. He was in fact talking, as you pointed out in your most recent column, about the left’s insane environmental policies and he’s absolutely right.

MALKIN: He is so right, Monica. And he doesn't even know the half of it; which is why I penned-- my column today supporting his comments about the anti-science theocrats in the White House and in the Democrat Party. It is a green theocracy, a cult, a religion all of its own, a secular religion that has thrown science to the wind at the expense not only of American liberty but American jobs in the economy as well. And I gave several very concrete examples of scandals that the mainstream media doesn't want to talk about it, why? Because it doesn't fit their narrative of trying to frame Rick Santorum as some sort of religious menace. I think the real religious menaces are those in the White House, in the Department of Interior, at the National Park Service who pretend that they are on the side of rationality and objectivity while they are politicizing and corrupting Science for their own radical ends.

CROWLEY: And, you know, what Michelle, this is why it's so ironic and this is why I'm so glad that you took your column and time with us today, to point this out. The left is trying to paint Rick Santorum and frankly, in any conservative who have the guts to talk about socially conservative issues like faith, and family and marriage and God and yes, in fact forces of evil that do exist. They try to paint them as somebody who is going to import their views to the American people. Oh, my God, if Rick Santorum’s elected president, he is going to create a theocracy. The irony Michelle is that the left when they get the reins of power, they do exactly that. They impose their views, they create this secular religions based on the environment or re-distributionism or you name it, and they impose it on all of us.

MALKIN: That’s right. And they use the force and power and coercion of government to do so while they retain the sense of sanctimony about everyone else in this country. And I think the thing that I admire about Rick Santorum is that he hasn't backed down or apologized one bit for his personal religious views, for standing up for social conservative values. And at the same time, I think he made very clear in the clip that you played and as I've watched him on the campaign trail that he is focusing like a laser beam on these destructive Obama economic policies and the kind of people that he has staffing the White House in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

And I'll give you one very specific example from my column. Not a lot of people have been paying attention to this. But the head of the National Park Service, a man named John Jarvis who was nominated and approved in 2009 despite withheld evidence of massive claims of scientific misconduct on his part when he serve the Pacific West director at the National Park Service. He basically bullied and went after and doctored and manipulated according to a National Academy of Science revered scientist Corey Goodman. All sorts of evidence to go after a private oyster farm that is located in Point Reyes. And this pattern of abusing science to target specific businesses and industries is something that is replete throughout this administration. And particularly with the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar who has been a bane especially to western industries like oil and gas and mining and coal, and these are people who have been caught and reprimanded by judges, federal judges across the country for quote, unquote, "zealotry." Who are these zealots running this country? Look at the White House. Look at those -- green theocrats.

CROWLEY: But Michelle, Rick Santorum is the radical. Don't you know?


MALKIN: That's right. I think it's really very useful thing to play political jujitsu and turn it on these people and make sure that people understand who the real menaces in this country are.

CROWLEY: Yes, and you know, what? I give Senator Santorum a lot of credit for saying, you guys can try to throw me off message, you can dredge up speeches from 2008, this election is about jobs, it's about anemic economic growth, it's about the Obama teams, destructive economic policies and what they have done to this nation. I'm going to stay on message. You guys can go and try to make this election about something else but here is what I'm talking about and here is what the American people want to hear.

MALKIN: That's right. And look, if you look back at the trajectory of the Santorum campaign and candidacy. People were sick of a lot of the mudslinging that was going on between the other front-runners at the time. And Rick Santorum was able to get ahead because while they were focusing on each other, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum was focusing on the issues. He had a terrific debate performance in Florida where he honed in on Obamacare and had a very distinctive position from Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich who both have flirted with and one of whom continues to have a love affair with the individual health care mandate. And then on particularly energy and environmental issues, you have Rick Santorum who was opposed throughout his Senate career to destructive policies like cap and trade. This is somebody who is well-equipped to go after the Obama administration and all of its job killing green policies and this radical green machinery that is working behind the scenes to target all of these industries.

CROWLEY: Yes, Senator Santorum really has been handling the pounding. He's been getting by the left, by some of our fellow conservatives too. He has handled it very well so very tight primaries coming up next Tuesday and then of course, Super Tuesday. So we'll see how he fares. But always great to talk to you, Michelle. Thank you.

MALKIN: You bet. Take care, Monica.

CROWLEY: You too, Michelle.

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