Bill Maher's new target

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 12, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST OF "HANNITY": And the race for the Republican presidential nomination heads south tomorrow for Alabama and Mississippi primaries. And the polls in these two important states show a very close race between the candidates.

Joining me now from the campaign trail on the eve of tomorrow's big vote, presidential candidate Rick Santorum, from Montgomery, Alabama. You know my wife's -- my mother-in-law lived there. I used to go there all the time. Say hi to everybody from Alabama. Roll Tide!


RICK SANTORUM (R-PA), FMR. SEN., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: How about if I let everybody -- how about if I let everybody from Montgomery say hi to you? Here you go (INAUDIBLE)


HANNITY: No enthusiasm there, Senator. It's very quiet.

SANTORUM: We got a lot of energy.

HANNITY: The polls...

SANTORUM: There's a lot of energy here. We're doing good.

HANNITY: All right, the polls show it's very close between you and Speaker Gingrich in these two states. What do you predict for tomorrow?

SANTORUM: Well, you know, we're feeling really good about Alabama and Mississippi. We feel like we've -- you know, we've been picking up the moment here. We're making a lot of phone calls. We've picked up some key endorsements coming down the stretch here.

And you know, it's going to be close, but I think the people of Alabama and Mississippi are figuring out that if they want a conservative challenger in the general election, we got to get this race to a one-on- one. And since Nevada, since the first four primaries are over, we've either finished first or second in every single state. Congressman Gingrich -- the speaker's only finished first in his home state, hasn't finished above third anywhere else.

And I think it's -- you know, with a big win in Kansas on Saturday -- we got over 50 percent of the vote in one of the most conservative states in the country. I'm hopeful that that little wind at our back will give us the victories here in Alabama and Mississippi.

HANNITY: Yes. And by the way, when I was down in Alabama broadcasting -- at an earlier point, I was in Huntsville, Alabama -- I had a tough time with grits, too. I -- you know, I didn't grow...


HANNITY: As a kid from Long Island...

SANTORUM: They're good. Oh, no, they're good.

HANNITY: Well, you got to make them...

SANTORUM: We had them this morning and...

HANNITY: You got to make them -- you got to add a lot of cheese and butter. I found the key.

SANTORUM: We had -- we had -- I had some grits this morning down in Biloxi at Appleroy's (ph) on the bayou, and it was awesome.

HANNITY: Yes. And by the way, and you can't be like John Kerry ordering a cheese steak when -- or him...

SANTORUM: No. And I didn't order -- I didn't order arugula when I was there.


HANNITY: Let me ask you about -- and I -- I don't even like asking you, but this has right now become a really important part of the campaign. And the president's been lecturing this country repeatedly about the tone and civility, et cetera, and he lectures everybody, but he takes a million dollars from Bill Maher.

The president -- we played it earlier in the program -- says you can't attack children of presidential candidates or people in politics, which I agree with. But yet Bill Maher, the guy he took a million dollars from, attacked you. And I want to air this tape and get your reaction.


BILL MAHER, HOST OF "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER": It's no coincidence that the type of tree which God forbade Adam and Eve eating from was the tree of knowledge. Rick Santorum home schools his children because he does not want them eating that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) apple.


MAHER: He wants them locked up in the Christian madrassa that is the family living room, not out in public, where they could be infected by the virus of reason.


HANNITY: All right, and it got worse than that -- Christian madrassa, all of this -- what do you think about the president taking a million dollars, his PAC taking a million dollars from Bill Maher? They have said they will not return the money, but yet they're lecturing the rest of the country on -- on discourse and civility?

SANTORUM: It's an absolute double standard. I mean, there isn't a -- there isn't an interview that went by over the last week where I wasn't asked a question about Rush Limbaugh. And yet repeatedly, these -- these folks on the left, whether it's Maher or Letterman or you name it, they're out there trashing anybody who stands up for Christian conservative values, anybody who dares to actually teach their children faith in their home.

All of a sudden, if you're instilling faith and teaching them about God in your home, you're a madrassa, according to these folks, and as if reason doesn't take place in the home. Our -- our children will out-reason him -- my 12-year-old will out-reason Bill Maher when it comes to understanding, you know, what -- you know, how the logic works (ph) because he is completely illogical.

They have abandoned not just faith in Bill Maher but they've abandoned reason, too! They are pure emotion! They have absolutely nothing to offer this country. And yet they are -- they just spew vitriol toward anybody who stands up and argues both faith and reason, which I've done throughout the course of my public career.

I looked forward to debating when I was in the Senate all of those folks on the left. You saw them, Sean! I remember Barbara Boxer. We would be debating bills, and by the end of that debate, she'd be out the door! She wouldn't want to debate with us. Why? Because he were the party of reason!

HANNITY: All right...

SANTORUM: They're -- they -- the left is just a bunch -- spewing a bunch of emotion and trying to incite people and try to cast them down! And we're going stand up for the things that made this country great, and that's science, reason and faith. All of those have a role in the public square.

HANNITY: All right, are you prepared to take this nomination to the convention?

SANTORUM: Absolutely. Look, we need to nominate a conservative, Sean. If we don't nominate a conservative -- you've seen it. We nominated John McCain. We nominated Bob Dole, nominated Jerry Ford, when Bush ran for reelection back in '92 after having raised taxes.

We lost every one of those races. I understand why the media wants Romney because they know that Obama can beat Romney. We need to nominate a Reagan conservative, someone who can create the clear contrast. We do that. That's why we're going to stick this out and we're going to win it!

HANNITY: All right. Senator Santorum, all the best to our friends in Alabama. Appreciate you being with us.

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