Backlash from Cory Booker's criticism of Obama campaign's Bain attacks

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 21, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: This Monday night, more rank and file Democrats are publicly criticizing President Obama's re-election campaign strategy. Now, in a moment, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will be here to weigh in on this and much more.

But first, yesterday, Newark, New Jersey, Cory Booker who has admittedly an Obama surrogate, he went on NBC News and lambasted the president's team for attacking former Governor Mitt Romney's tenure at Bain Capital. Watch this.


MAYOR CORY BOOKER, NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: I have to say from a very personal level, I'm not about to sit here and indict private equity. It's to me, we're getting to a ridiculous point in America. Especially that I know I live in a state where pension funds, unions and other people are investing in companies like Bain Capital. If you look at the totality of Bain Capital's record, they have done a lot to support businesses to grow businesses and this to me, I'm very comfortable.

The last point I'll make is, this kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides. It's nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough, stop attacking private equity, stop attacking Jeremiah Wright. This stuff has got to stop.


HANNITY: All right. On that point, a Democrat is not afraid to speak the truth. Now, that is apparently until the Obama campaign starts knocking on his door. Now, within hours of his appearance on "Meet the Press," Booker posted a video on online where he said, he was quote, "expanding his answer." Listen to this.


BOOKER: I used the word nauseating on "Meet the Press" because that's really how I feel. When I see people on my city struggling with the real issues, I'm still the challenges of this economy and still looking for hope and opportunity and real specific plans. I get very upset when I see such a level of dialogue, a call to a lowest common denominator and not the kind of things that are going to unify us as a nation, and will move us forward.

Let me be clear. Mitt Romney has made his business record a centerpiece of his campaign. He's talked about himself as a job creator. And therefore, it is reasonable and in fact I encourage it for the Obama campaign to examine that record and to discuss it. I have no problem with that.


HANNITY: Translation, they made me take back my real answer.

Joining me now with reaction, former Alaska Governor, Fox News contributor Sarah Palin. That is so transparent. I mean, he gave an honest answer. They flipped out. Because this is the crux of their campaign, isn't it?

SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Yes, doggone it. It was a shame to see Cory kind of back down from what his answer was which was so candid, Sean, he was the antithesis of the typical politician and he didn't do this before he spewed his answer to David Gregory there. When he, Cory, in the house of pain a along with every other American who understands that Obama doesn't understand the free market system and he will condemn private equity because he doesn't understand the benefits of private equity in job creation. So, it's a shame that Cory backed down a little bit from that. But I think we saw what his true feelings were, he articulated it.

HANNITY: Yes. And you know, it's funny because the president gave a press conference today and almost word for word he gave Cory Booker's second answer, the centerpiece of his campaign. He can fix it. The economy. Watch this with President Obama today.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: And the reason this is relevant to the campaign is because my opponent, Governor Romney, his main calling card for why he thinks he should be president is his business experience. He is not going out there touting his experience in Massachusetts. He's saying, "I'm a business guy and I know how to fix it," and this is his business. And when you are president as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then your job is not simply to maximize profits. Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot.


HANNITY: Cory Booker says the centerpiece of his campaign and then the president says, his main calling card. So, obviously, this is their big campaign strategy, right?

PALIN: Right. Obama admitted as such -- as much. But, Sean, Mitt Romney can't be surprised at these attacks or at these questions about his private sector experience because he does tout that as the criteria to be met in order to lead the country, it needs to be a business background. And that's where Romney comes from. He needs to forcefully and candidly and proudly defend his record. If he does not, then Obama and his surrogates, his lap dogs in the media, will obviously put him in a very poor light. So, Romney and his advisers really need to come out forcefully in defending the free market, defending that record at Bain and standing strong on one's record. That is why we don't want to take that off the table. We don't want anything off the table in terms of discussion and vetting through this campaign.

HANNITY: Well, I want to get to you on that, because it's a very interesting development. But before we do, it's interesting you say that because the Romney campaign has come out with an ad. Now, it wasn't only Cory Booker, it was Harold Ford, Jr., Steve Rattner, another one. And so, the Romney campaign put together an ad and it's called the Big Bain Backfire, and let's play it for you.


ANNOUNCER: Have you had enough of President Obama's attacks in free enterprise? His own key supporters have. Democratic Mayor Cory Booker of New Jersey.

BOOKER: I have to say on a very personal level, I'm not about to sit here and indict private equity.

ANNOUNCER: Former Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., Democrat from Tennessee.

HAROLD FORD, JR.: Private equity is not a bad thing. In fact, private equity is a good thing in many, many instances.

ANNOUNCER: Former Obama economic advisor and auto czar Steven Rattner, a leading Democrat.

STEVEN RATTNER: And I don't think there's anything Bain Capital did they need to be embarrassed about.

BOOKER: If you look at the totality of Bain Capital's record, they've done a lot to support businesses to grow businesses.

ANNOUNCER: Even Obama's own supporters have had enough.

BOOKER: It's nauseating for the American public. Enough is enough.


HANNITY: The big Bain backfire, what do you think of that ad?

PALIN: Well, those were some beautiful messages in there because they are based on time tested truths about what the free market can provide in terms of job creation.

Now, a community organizer like Barack Obama, though, has absolutely no idea, except how to spend other people's money and redistribute other people's money in order to quote, unquote, "create jobs." And yet his surrogates there come from in many respects the private sector and each one of those individuals does have a lot of private sector experience unlike their leader Barack Obama.

So, those surrogates in speaking truth about private equity, about the free market, are a pretty brilliant piece of advertisement there that was put together.

HANNITY: All right. Let me ask you this. You said nothing should be off the table when it comes to the vetting of the president. And the issue of Reverend Wright came out again this week when we discovered that Reverend Wright in fact was offered money he claims for his silence in 2008. And that President Obama had a private meeting with him urging him to be quiet. And then, of course, there was this pac that was going to perhaps run these ads bringing up the Reverend Wright issue. We talked about it on this program. We used President Obama in his own words, from his audio book, "Dreams From My Father," and there have been many people say that should be off-limits, that shouldn't be a part of the campaign.

Now, I argue issue one two and three is the economy, four, five and six is National Security. Seven, eight, nine is the president's failed record, not necessarily in that order. But this is relevant. You thought so in 2008. Do you think it's relevant, these issues, today?

PALIN: I do. And I thought so in 2008. And that is why I went rogue if you will and disagreed with some of John McCain's advisers when they said no, a lot of these issues like past associations and Reverend Wright and Bill Ayers and those that help shaped Obama's world view needed to be off the table and not to be discussed. I disagreed then. I disagree now.

Barack Obama back in 2008 was an empty vessel. The public did not know what or who filled this vessel in order to create what has become a very I think confused and mission envision-less leader for our country.

Well, now, it's not too late to change course. And this next go-around, understand what has filled up this vessel. Who are these people? Who are the radicals, the Marxist professors that he said he would hang out with and friends and associations and even what his past voting record represents, how it filled up that vessel and has led to this very confused country in so many respects.

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