Obama's campaign strategy: Divide and conquer?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," April 19, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And as we have been reporting on this program, President Obama for obvious reasons is refusing to run on his record this election season. Instead, he is resorting to the politics of division, by using outrageous class warfare rhetoric to attack his opponents. And yesterday, he attempted to paint his chief rival, Mitt Romney, as an out-of-touch member of the one percent with this back headed comment.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Michelle wasn't. But somebody gave us a chance. Just like these folks up here are looking for a chance.


HANNITY: Now, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked about President Obama's cheap shot at today's briefing. Look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Was that in any way in reference to Governor Romney?

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Those of you who have covered President Obama know that he has used that phrase to describe his background many times in the past. And I suppose anybody who thinks it was a reference to them might -- might be a little over sensitive.


HANNITY: Now, anybody in the Obama administration that accuses somebody else of being oversensitive is suffering from, well, a case of Obama-mania because it is very evident that class warfare has been and will continue to be the go-to strategy for the Obama re-election machine.

Now, even members of the president's cabinet have been outselling this narrative that "The Anointed One" is a man of the people. Now, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan spoke at an event last week hosted by the Reverend Al Sharpton. Watch this.


SHAUN DONOVAN, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT SECRETARY: He knows what it's like to walk the halls of public housing because he's worked there.


DONOVAN: He knows what it's like to walk the streets in some of our city's poorest neighborhoods because he's lived there. What it's like to take a subway or a bus just to find a fresh piece of fruit in a grocery store.


HANNITY: Oh, just to find a fresh piece of fruit. And of course, Mitt Romney, that heartless Republican, he wouldn't know anything about all of this.

And with more on the president's strategy to pit American's against one another in order to win a second term and hang on to the White House and Air Force One and his beautiful helicopter is Arizona Senator, Romney campaign supporter, John McCain.

Senator, you know, first of all, help me out with this. The president didn't have a silver spoon in his mouth, but he did go to Harvard, he did go to Columbia, he did go to these Ivy-League schools, seemingly had the best opportunities that America has to offer. So, he wasn't exactly deprived either?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: No, I don't think he was. And you know, this is all so unnecessary. The people in Arizona, Sean, want to know how we are going to get their homes so that they can live in them. They want the economy, they want the unemployment down. They want jobs created. There are so many issues that we could address, that the president could address, rather than this class warfare thing.

And by the way, one of the things that is especially aggravating is you know, he attacks Paul Ryan's budget, continuously, as you know, and the draconian effects. Paul Ryan's budget is the first attempt to get the debt and deficit under control, which under the president's budget is totally unsustainable. We have already amassed a $5 trillion debt under this presidency and there is no end in sight. And Paul Ryan tries to address for example, the issue of Medicare to give people a choice, and that's demagogue 'til the cows come home.

So, it just goes on and on. And I don't think that class warfare is going to work. And we will be making case that the difference is that Barack Obama believes that government creates jobs. Mitt Romney has a record and a belief that the business community creates jobs, and he's gone out and he's created jobs and he's saved jobs, including, by the way, the U.S. Olympics in Salt Lake City.

HANNITY: Now, let me go through the list and I will even show you some of this. The president has said that the GOP budget is an example of social Darwinism. He said that Republicans are members of the flat-Earth society. He says that members of Congress put their party ahead of country -- he said that a number of times. During the last campaign, he said that George Bush was unpatriotic and irresponsible because of $4 trillion in debt. He has $5 trillion in new Obama debt in less than four years in office. His allies are out there talking about a war on women. All of these distractions that he is involved in -- but I think everything, nothing meets this standard, that Republicans want dirty air and dirty water. That's their plan. And then he said this...


OBAMA: Who are these Americans? Many are someone's grandparents, who without Medicaid won't be able to afford nursing home care without Medicaid. Many are poor children. Some are middle class families who have children with autism, or Down's syndrome. Some are kids with disabilities so severe that they require 24-hour care. These are the people who count on Medicaid.


HANNITY: And then he went on to say, and they have to fend for themselves. So, you know, if you're willing to say that, Republicans want dirty air and dirty water, he sounds like a host on MSNBC, Senator.

MCCAIN: Well, they -- practically is. But let me just say, you know, there was a famous heavyweight champion of the world named Joe Louis. And he was fighting a guy who was a great boxer, his name was Billy Conn. And he said, well, how can you catch up with him? He said, he can run, but he can't hide.

Now, what Barack Obama is doing right now, President Obama is doing is running from his record by attacking in the ways that you just describe, which are really -- I have never seen quite -- language quite like that in a presidential campaign. And I have been around quite a few of them.

So, attack the Republicans because he cannot defend a record, a record that promised that unemployment would be down at six percent or lower, if we pass the stimulus package. ObamaCare that over 60 percent of the American people believe not only should be replaced but it was one of the sleaziest chapters in the history of the United States Senate, the way that, you know, the corn husker kickback and the Louisiana Purchase and all of that.

So, he can't hide from a record of failure. And one of the most effective ways that we can counter this kind of thing that he is doing is -- is repeating his own words.

HANNITY: I agree with you.

MCCAIN: In the 2008 campaign. Remember? There was going to be no red state, no blue state. Remember that one?

HANNITY: Only one United States. This is interesting what you're saying. And actually, I have come to the same conclusion, I think you are drawing here. As he goes forwards with these, ad hominem attacks, class warfare, negativity, you know, a chronic excuse-making and everything that we pointed out in this program, there is one thing in the back of my mind that I keep remembering, he can't run on his record. And if he can't run on his record, the one thing he had when he was running against you was some degree of likeability. He seems to be trivializing the -- the office of the presidency. And frankly, showing a, you know, a smallness in terms of the agenda. He doesn't seem to have any ideas. He seems like he has run out of ideas.

MCCAIN: You're right. And the other thing we are going to do, and I know that Mitt's going, to do is give the Americans a plan as to how we are going to get this economy back on track and how we are going to keep them in their homes and how we are going to create jobs. And the fact is, that's what he used to do in the private sector.

In all due respect, President Obama never created any jobs when he was not part of the Senate or the presidency. Mitt Romney -- he knows how to create jobs and he knows that sometimes businesses succeed and sometimes they fail. And government is not the answer. The free enterprise system is right. There is over 100,000 pages of regulation associated with ObamaCare that have already been printed. What do you do when you are a small business person? What do you do?

HANNITY: He certainly seems to be --

MCCAIN: You go out and you have to hire an accountant or a tax lawyer.

HANNITY: Yes. He certainly seems to be shrinking the stature of the presidency, and you know, by every measure, he's failing. Maybe he knows it's over. Maybe he is auditioning for a job at MSNBC. Maybe that's a -- you know, that's a thought.

MCCAIN: I think it's going to be very, very close election. And it is going to come down to five or six states, as you know, and a handful of votes. And the independent voter is going to be very vital.

Right now, let's have some straight talk. We are running behind. OK? I think it's about five or six points. But that comes after.

HANNITY: That's not what the polls show.

MCCAIN: Well, there is one coming out tomorrow that --

HANNITY: There are three polls. OK.

MCCAIN: But anyway, let's -- it's always better to run from behind.

HANNITY: I agree with that.

MCCAIN: Or think you are behind. OK? So, let's assume that we are behind. And that is, we have to hone our message and we can do that and I am convinced that the speeches that Mitt Romney has been making lately are laying out that agenda for the future of America.

HANNITY: Last question.

MCCAIN: Yes. Sure.

HANNITY: What do you think of Marco Rubio for VP?

MCCAIN: I think he would be an excellent choice. I think Rob Portman would be a excellent choice, I think Chris Christie would be, I think the governor of New Mexico. We got a lot of them. But Marco is certainly right up there. He is a very outstanding young man.

HANNITY: Yes, he really is. All right, Senator. Good to see you. Thanks for being with us.

MCCAIN: Thanks for having me back.

HANNITY: And if I was Ed Schultz, I would be watching out for my job. Thank you for being with us.

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