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Hannity

Rep. Tom Cotton describes Guantanamo Bay tour

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 18, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, ANCHOR: And welcome back to "Hannity." Now, President Obama recently said he was, quote, "embarrassed" for the GOP after 47 Republican senators signed a letter to the leaders of Iran warning them about doing a deal with the administration. But my next guest, Arkansas

Senator Tom Cotton, who wrote the letter, said he has zero regrets. He's here to explain more, Arkansas senator Tom Cotton.

You know what's amazing? Didn't then-senator Obama praise Nancy Pelosi for actually meeting with Syrian president Assad against the wishes of the Bush administration? Didn't he praise her for that?

SEN. TOM COTTON, R - AS: Yes, Sean, I believe he did. But rather than focus on how Republican senators feel, I wish President Obama would share our focus to stopping Iran from getting a nuclear bomb. The offer that he's put on the table right now, according to his own words, is very dangerous. It would put a sunset on any deal, and it would allow Iran to have uranium enrichment capabilities, which means they'd have the first and most important step towards a nuclear bomb.

HANNITY: What -- what part of what the Iranian mullahs are saying, that they want to wipe Israel off the map or what part of when they're burning American flags and taking American hostages and fighting proxy wars against our soldiers in Iraq, or supporting Hezbollah and Hamas and other terror groups -- what part of that doesn't the president understand, in that putting those weapons in their hands could lead to a modern-day Holocaust? It seems like a very basic "one plus one equals two" equation.  What is he missing?

COTTON: It is remarkable, Sean. If you look at what Iran is doing right now without nuclear weapons and with sanctions having frozen tens of billions of dollars that they cannot access, it just sends a chill down your spine to think what they would do if they had a nuclear umbrella and if they had all those billions of dollars freed up to continue supporting Hezbollah, to support Shi'ite militants in Yemen, to continue to support Shi'ite militants in Iraq, to continue their drive for regional hegemony.

HANNITY: All right, but let me ask you this because I mentioned Nancy Pelosi against the wishes of the Bush administration meeting Pelosi (sic), praised by Hillary, praised by Obama. But there was -- even John Kerry, when Reagan was president, he went and met with commandante communist dictator Daniel Ortega! He actually went and met with him.

Yet the president says about your letter he feels sorry for you and the Republicans. What is your reaction? What do you want to say to the president about that?

COTTON: Again, I wish the president would stop worrying about our feelings and start worrying about stopping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Forty-six other Republican senators and I signed that letter because Iran's leaders need to get the message. In our constitutional system, the president can negotiate deals, but if the Congress doesn't approve the deal, the Congress doesn't have to accept it, nor does a future president. And this is a very bad deal that the president is leading us into.

HANNITY: all right, so the president's at a town hall in Cleveland today, and he's asked a question by an audience member, if he could go back to the first day of his term, and the first day of your second term, what advice would you give yourself? I want you to listen to the question and answer, then I have a question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is, if you could go back to the first day of your first term and the first day of your second term, what advice would you give yourself?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I think I would have closed Guantanamo on the first day.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: It's not who we are as a country and it is used by terrorists around the world to help recruit jihadists. So instead, we've had to just chip away at it year after year after year. But I think in that first couple of weeks, we could have done it quicker.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: I'm trying to understand this man! And here's where I'm having a problem. He wants to give constitutional rights to terrorists trying to kill Americans in the battlefield, prayer rugs, give them a copy of the Quran, give them a special diet, give them a soccer field. You know, and then I look at the news today, and I see the Egyptians -- they killed the terrorists that they capture!

What are they doing? Why are they doing that and we give all these amenities to terrorists and then let them go, and constitutional rights on top of it? Why would he want to do that?

COTTON: Sean, the president's commitment to closing Guantanamo in a statement today that he would have closed it on day one just goes to show how ideological he is. He does not recognize the reality. I was just in Guantanamo Bay on Friday. The men and women there who are performing the guard -- performing the task of guarding these terrible, awful detainees well, well known all to be terrorists.

HANNITY: Most of them have been let go by Obama. He has let them go and a majority of them are back out killing people.

COTTON: Guantanamo Bay is a very professional, state-of-the-art facility. We should be proud of the young men and women who are doing a very tough job there.

(CROSSTALK)

COTTON: And we should recognize that almost a third of all detainees have appeared on the administration's own terrorist recidivism reports after they're released. We shouldn't be releasing people from Guantanamo Bay. We should be giving those young men and women there the tools they need to keep it open and we should be sending the world's worst terrorists there when we capture them.

HANNITY: Should they really have soccer fields? Should they have better medical care, as they do, than our own vets, because that's going on?  Isn't there something wrong with that?

COTTON: Well, we want to make sure that the young men and women there are safe and they have all the tools necessary to guard these terrible detainees.

HANNITY: So we give them a soccer field? How about we give them a jail cell?

COTTON: More importantly I can tell you, if you look at the dining hall there at Guantanamo Bay, the doors there at the dining hall are being eaten away by rust, yet this president doesn't want to fund basic facilities for our men and women who are there at Guantanamo Bay.

HANNITY: All right, thank you, senator, appreciate it. Thanks for being with us.

COTTON: Thank you.

HANNITY: Up next tonight on this busy news night.

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