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Exclusive: Chris Christie explains why he is running for president on 'Hannity'

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," June 30, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Welcome to "Hannity." And we are broadcasting tonight from New Hampshire, where the newest 2016 Republican candidate, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, just finished up a town hall meeting.

Now, earlier today, Governor Christie announced he was running for president at his old high school in New Jersey. Here is how that all went down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Only in America, where someone like me could have the opportunity to seek the highest office the world has to offer. Not only can all of us achieve whatever dream we want to achieve because of the place where we live and the opportunities it gives us, but that we not only can do it together, but we have to do it together!

I believe in my heart that I am ready to work with you to restore America to its rightful place in the world. We need a government in Washington, D.C., that remembers you went there to work for us, not the other way around!

We need to fix a broken entitlement system that is bankrupting our country. We need to get our economy growing again. We need to get the government off the back of our people and our businesses with regulation!

We need to have strength and decision making and authority back in the Oval Office, and that is why today I am proud to announce my candidacy for the Republican nomination for president of the United States of America!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: And joining me now for one-on-one cable exclusive is the 2016 GOP presidential candidate, the great governor of the state of New Jersey, Chris Christie. Governor, good to see you. Thank you for being here.

CHRISTIE: (INAUDIBLE) Sean. Thanks for coming.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

HANNITY: Thank you. Here's -- here's the first question. It's a tough one.

CHRISTIE: Yes.

HANNITY: You are now the 14th person in.

CHRISTIE: Yes.

HANNITY: A lot of people running.

CHRISTIE: Fourteen's a really lucky number, Sean.

(LAUGHTER)

CHRISTIE: Really lucky.

HANNITY: Not 13. That's a good point.

CHRISTIE: Exactly right.

HANNITY: Why do you want -- this is the biggest job in the world.  Why do you want to be president?

CHRISTIE: Because I believe our country needs to have strong, decisive leadership, that we have to set the tone again not only inside our country, but around the world. And I believe I have the skills, the abilities and the desire to make it happen.

HANNITY: You are known -- you just completed a town hall that went on way past its deadline. You're known for lively town halls. Let me quote you. "Get the hell off the beach." "Can you just shut up a second?"  "You're an idiot."

Here's a question I'm serious about.

CHRISTIE: Yeah.

HANNITY: If elected president, do you remain the same person?

CHRISTIE: I am the same person. I've always been, and I won't change. I mean, listen, you know as we all grow and we get older, there are always little changes about our personality that happen. And if you're a living, breathing human being, you make some changes.

But the core of who I am will not change. This is who I am, and I think -- I think the country needs that, Sean. I think we need somebody who's going to look them in the eye and tell them the truth, even if they don't want to hear it.

HANNITY: Yes. Do you all agree? Do you want somebody blunt? Just curious.

(APPLAUSE)

HANNITY: All right. Let me -- let me take you back to 2013. You looked after the -- after Romney lost the election to President Obama, you were far and away the leading choice in the polls to be president. You were urged by billionaires to run in 2012. Why didn't you run then?

CHRISTIE: I wasn't ready to be president of the United States. I mean, let's remember something, Sean. When I made this decision not to run in the fall of 2011, I had been governor of New Jersey for 18 months. Now, the fact of the matter is that I just was not ready to be president, and I knew that in my heart. So even though I understood the politics and saw that it was an opportunity, I think the presidency is much too serious a thing to just play politics with. I knew in my heart I wasn't ready, and that's why I didn't run.

HANNITY: You won in 2013 in a landslide. You won a majority of women. You won a majority of Hispanics in your state. Recent polls, though, Monmouth University, 26 percent favorability. Fairleigh-Dickinson, I think it was what, 30 percent. Wall Street Journal says 55 percent of Republicans won't consider voting for you.

Between 2013 and 2015, what happened? And what do you need to change in the minds of people right now as you begin this race?

CHRISTIE: Well, a few things. First of all, after you're done with a campaign, you're never at a higher level than you will be. There are always inevitably, in a Democratic state like mine -- let's remember my state, Sean. We haven't elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate in 42 years. It's the longest streak of any state in America. It is as blue a state as any state probably other than California in America.

So the fact that I'm a conservative Republican in my second term is a miracle to begin with. But let's face it, too, you know, the "bridge-gate" situation happened, a relentless pounding from the media about something that I didn't have anything to do with and wasn't responsible for. That hurts you.

And then also, I collect political capital to spend it. So I'm fighting with the unions again to try to get pension -- greater pension reform. I'm fighting to continue to cut spending in my state. Our spending is $2.3 billion less today than it was in fiscal year 08.

HANNITY: In real dollars.

CHRISTIE: Real dollars -- than in fiscal year 08.

HANNITY: And the state's still struggling.

HANNITY: Well, you know, why, Sean? Because we still have some of the highest taxes in America. I mean, I just passed a tax cut, a 50 percent increase in the EITC for our working families. But that's one of the only personal tax cuts I've been able to get passed. I have vetoed five income tax increases and three corporate business tax increases from a Democratic legislature. So we're struggling because we're more expensive.

And you know, I've made our government less expensive, but only the legislature can cut taxes, and they just have refused to do it.

HANNITY: Let me...

CHRISTIE: Let me say one other thing about our economy?

HANNITY: Sure.

CHRISTIE: From 2001 to 2009, when the Democrats were fully in charge, we had zero net private sector job growth -- zero net private sector job growth in eight years. In 2010 to 2015, we have now grown 198,000 new private sector jobs. So we took a basket case, and we've made it better.

HANNITY: You also lost about 27,000 government jobs.

CHRISTIE: Yes, sir.

HANNITY: That's a lot of jobs...

CHRISTIE: And -- and...

HANNITY: By attrition, I...

CHRISTIE: Sure. And just state government alone, we're down over 9,000 jobs since I've been governor.

HANNITY: You mentioned "bridge-gate." I want to ask you about this because I do believe that it probably did impact your polls. There's no evidence that ties you to this at all. Everybody in the media's looked at it. Everybody was going after you. They thought they had you.

CHRISTIE: Yes.

HANNITY: Fifty percent recently polled still think you might have had something to do with it. What is your answer to them, to the doubters that -- in spite of the fact there's been no evidence that I have found -- I looked -- I just read 300 pages on you last night. There was zero evidence.

CHRISTIE: Yes.

HANNITY: What do you say to those people in those polls that think you're still involved?

CHRISTIE: What I say to them is two things. First of all, there's been three independent investigations, an independent investigator we hired, a Democratic legislature -- and you know they would love to nail me -- and the U.S. attorney's office, by the way, under control of the Democrats and President Obama. And I've been cleared all three times.

So you know, you need to listen to the facts at some point. It's my job to put those facts out there. But secondly, too, it shows you the power of the liberal media, Sean, because you know the folks at MSNBC and The New York Times, like you said, thought they had me. And they can't live with the fact that I'm innocent, that I didn't do anything wrong.

And so it's a powerful thing to be under the scrutiny of the media.  And especially, remember, when this all happened, as you mentioned earlier, I was the prohibitive front-runner for the Republican nomination for president. They wanted to take me down.

HANNITY: I think -- I think this went on on some cable networks night after night for at least four months.

CHRISTIE: Yes.

HANNITY: If I'm not mistaken.

CHRISTIE: It did.

HANNITY: All right, let me ask you -- you mentioned you're a conservative Republican. I want to ask you about this. Forth-six percent of Iowa caucus voters think you are too moderate. Are you moderate? Are you a conservative?

CHRISTIE: I'm a conservative.

HANNITY: How do you describe yourself?

CHRISTIE: I'm a conservative, and I've always described myself as conservative. And let's talk about the facts, rather than impressions.  The only (ph) part (ph) of that impression is built (ph) is because I'm from New Jersey. I'm from the Northeast, like you are, right? And so there's an impression...

HANNITY: Oh, why did you tell that about me?

CHRISTIE: Well, I'm sorry. You know, I had to out you.

HANNITY: By the way, they pay no state income tax.

CHRISTIE: I know.

HANNITY: No sales tax here in New Hampshire.

CHRISTIE: Live free or die.

HANNITY: Live free or die.

CHRISTIE: That's it.

HANNITY: Right?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

HANNITY: Right? Amazing.

CHRISTIE: Yes, it is. Here's the thing. I'm the first pro-life governor since Roe versus Wade in the history of New Jersey, vetoed Planned Parenthood funding just this past week for the sixth time out of the budget in New Jersey, and stood proudly as a pro-life governor, which we've never had before.

Second, as I said before, spending is down $2.5 billion over where it was in fiscal year 08. We have cut $2.3 billion in business taxes and helped to create 198,000 new jobs. We have the first 10-year reform in 105 years, where now in New Jersey, if a teacher get a failing evaluation one year, but below average for two, they can be fired -- fighting against the unions to do that -- pension and benefit reform, which has led to $120 billion in savings over the next 30 years.

Sounds to me like a pretty conservative record. And that's the record that I've had in New Jersey and the record that I'm proud of it.

HANNITY: This is probably the toughest question I have to ask you.  It's about New Jersey and the economy. New Jersey, since you've been governor, has had nine downgrades by financial services like Moody's.

CHRISTIE: Yes.

HANNITY: I -- if you're the nominee, you can see the ad coming.

CHRISTIE: Sure.

HANNITY: What would your answer be?

CHRISTIE: My answer would be I have inherited a basket case. And what we have now is the state's debt is under better control than it was before I was governor. And with these ratings agencies, I've come in and said, All of this is about the pension situation. And I've said, We've got to fix the pension situation. We have one round of pension reform ,and now we're going to have the second one. I'm working at it. But the fact is, the unions don't want to do it and the Democrats in the legislature don't.

HANNITY: Paul Volcker's group said there's no government lasting solution to the problems in New Jersey. Now, you do have a Democratic legislature.

CHRISTIE: Yes. Very.

HANNITY: So if they don't go along -- we just watched Greece go bankrupt. People can't take money out of their ATM machines. I think everybody in this room is probably -- you mentioned in your speech today that they have anxiety about the economy.

Everybody have that? Everybody worried?

I think people feel that. So I guess the question then becomes, you know, how do you solve it if you can't get them to go along with you?

CHRISTIE: You do everything that you possibly can. And we've done a lot by capping property taxes in New Jersey. Remember about property taxes in New Jersey, Sean, some of the worst in the country. They were up 70 percent in the 10 years before I became governor. In the five years I've been governor, they've gone up 10 percent because we capped property taxes.  We're keeping costs lower in New Jersey...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: ... raised income taxes.

CHRISTIE: No, I vetoed five income tax increases. It's the first time in a decade that New Jersey hasn't had their income tax or their sales tax increased.

HANNITY: All right, we got to take a break. We're just getting started, and we are with 2016 GOP presidential candidate Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey. He is with us for the entire hour. We're going to ask him how he plans turn the country around, if, in fact, he's elected president.

And then later, we'll turn it over to you, and if you want to ask a question of Governor Christie, it's very simple. Just go to Facebook or Twitter @Seanhannity as we continue straight ahead from New Hampshire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: In New Jersey as governor, I've stood up against economic calamity and unprecedented natural disaster. We have brought ourselves together! We have pushed back that economic calamity, and we are recovering from that natural disaster, and that's because we've led and we've worked together to do it!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: When I became governor six years ago, we had a state that was in economic calamity, an $11 billion deficit on a $29 billion budget, a state that had taxes and fees raised on it 115 times in the eight years before I became governor, a state that no longer believed that any one person could make a difference in the lives of the people of this state.

And so we rolled up our sleeves and we went to work and we balanced six budgets in a row. We've refused to raise taxes on the people of this state for six years!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: And back with us for a cable exclusive, we're in Sandown, New Hampshire, 2016 GOP presidential candidate New Jersey governor Chris Christie.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

HANNITY: All right, Governor, yes, it's very interesting. I talked about the economy, the downgrades. You're dealing with a Democratic legislature. You've got 47 percent of the country that I would confidently say would vote Democratic. You still would probably have to deal with Democrats in Congress.

CHRISTIE: Sure.

HANNITY: How do you get to that 4 percent growth rate, if you're the president, considering 93 million Americans are off the labor force, nearly 50 million in poverty and 46 million Americans on food stamps for 40 months or longer? How do you solve that?

CHRISTIE: Well, the way you solve it is create opportunity in the country, Sean. We don't have an income inequality problem, we have a opportunity inequality problem in the country. And that's what we need to solve.

So the first thing is we've got to simplify this tax system. And we've laid out specifics. We got to get rid of all these special interest deductions and everything else except for the mortgage interest deduction and the charitable contribution, brings rates down to 28 percent top rate, where Reagan was in 1986, bring the lowest rate down to single digits.  You'll get people revitalized.

Secondly, you got to bring the business tax rate down. Bring it down to 25 percent and let's repatriate that $2 trillion. And let's tax it at 8.75 percent because you know what? Eight and three quarter percent of $2 trillion is a lot more than 35 percent of zero, and they're keeping it offshore. That's the way you create opportunity and create jobs in the country first, by fixing the tax system.

And last point real quickly -- regulatory system, 81,000 pages of new regulation by the Obama administration in 2014 alone, the most ever by an administration in one year. We should do what I did in New Jersey, freeze all new regulation when we get in and then go to cutting the regulation that's there. We got rid of a third of the Corzine-era regulation in my first year as governor. Talk to business in New Jersey. It helped them significantly.

HANNITY: And $2.8 billion in cuts, real money...

CHRISTIE: $2.3 billion in business cuts.

HANNITY: Here's the thing. Here we're in New Hampshire, no state income tax...

CHRISTIE: Yes.

HANNITY: ... no sales tax, low property taxes. Then you go to a state, New Jersey. You're battling a Democratic legislature...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (OFF-MIKE)

HANNITY: What's that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (OFF-MIKE)

HANNITY: Not low property tax. I stand corrected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (OFF-MIKE)

HANNITY: Compared to New York, it's low. OK.

(LAUGHTER)

HANNITY: Nearly two out of three interstate moves from New Jersey are people moving out.

CHRISTIE: Yes.

HANNITY: You yourself pointed out between 2004 and 2008, $70 billion left the state!

CHRISTIE: Yes.

HANNITY: Is New Jersey the microcosm of America?

CHRISTIE: New Jersey is the canary in the coal mine. If they would have listened and watched when we had liberal Democratic leadership from '01 to '09 -- Jim McGreevey, Dick Codey and Jon Corzine, that's when all this happened.

And I've been pushing back against it to not make it worse than it is already! But we just had Mercedes-Benz USA, who's been a corporate citizen of New Jersey for 40 years, had their national headquarters, just announced they're leaving to go to Georgia.

And I gave my state of the state address right after that, and the president of Mercedes-Benz, who's a graduate of a Bergen County high school, said, I have to leave because it's too expensive.

I looked at the legislature, and I said, are you going to continue to be deaf and blind to what your policies are doing to our state?

HANNITY: There's only so much as governor you can do because you also lost Hertz, Roche Pharmaceuticals.

HANNITY: Yes.

HANNITY: You lost Bubble Wrap to North Carolina.

CHRISTIE: Yes.

HANNITY: These are big companies. Why are they leaving New Jersey?

CHRISTIE: Because it's too expensive, Sean. It's too expensive.

HANNITY: This is your state, Governor!

CHRISTIE: I know. And it's my state, and if I had a Republican legislature (INAUDIBLE) differently. But even with a Democratic legislature, we've cut business taxes $2.3 billion. Even with a Democratic legislature, we've capped property taxes.

You know how you do it? You roll up your sleeves and you get to work and you reach across the aisle, too. And I've been able to do that and I've been able to get Democrats to do some of the things that people thought we'd never get a chance to do.

Think about this. We capped the interest arbitration awards that public sector unions get in New Jersey at 2 percent.

HANNITY: Yes.

CHRISTIE: Did you ever think in a union state like New Jersey, you'd get that done?

HANNITY: You know, I was very interested in your comments that you say we got to have a little truth telling. And here's the bottom line -- $20 trillion in debt, if you become the next president, $128 trillion in unfunded liabilities.

CHRISTIE: Yes.

HANNITY: You know, your kids, my kids, our grandkids are going to inherit all of this. And I'm thinking, OK, if we really want to deal with it, you got to deal with entitlements because that's where all the money is. So Social Security -- what are you going to do?

CHRISTIE: Listen, first off, remember this. We led off our effort here with entitlement reform and very specific. First we got to raise the retirement age two years over the next 25 years. We're living longer. You got to do it. It's great that we're living longer, but we got to make the program (INAUDIBLE)

HANNITY: I want my money. I've been paying money since I'm 12.

CHRISTIE: I understand. I had a guy in Exeter at a town hall we did in a bar say to me, I paid for it. I said, Well, I understand you did, but it's going to go bankrupt. It's going to go bankrupt. The next thing we need to do, means testing.

And here's the really bad news for you, OK?

HANNITY: Right.

CHRISTIE: You make more than $200,000 a year in retirement income...

HANNITY: There it is, take my money. Steal it.

CHRISTIE: You're not going to get a Social Security check in a Christie administration. Here's why. First because you don't need it.

HANNITY: Isn't that government stealing, though?

CHRISTIE: No, they already stole it. I mean, look...

HANNITY: Wait a minute. You said that. You said the ship has sailed.

(CROSSTALK)

CHRISTIE: ... already happened! Al Gore said it was a lockbox!

HANNITY: Do you all agree with that? Do you think that we've been lied to and ripped off by the government? Do you all agree? Hands up. I want to see. Wow!

CHRISTIE: Listen (INAUDIBLE) Remember Al Gore in 2000...

HANNITY: Lockbox.

CHRISTIE: Lockbox, right? You know what's in the lockbox?

HANNITY: Nothing.

CHRISTIE: IOUs, IOUs from the federal government! We're spending the money now! The money that you and I and all these people pay in Social Security tax today, it's going to be spent by the government on something else! And they're going to get an IOU in the Social Security fund. So let's stop pretending...

HANNITY: So you're going to raise the retirement age, means testing...

CHRISTIE: Means test it, and the same thing with Medicare, raise the eligibility age two years over 25. And don't -- listen, if you make over $200,000 in retirement income, we're not going to subsidize your premiums 75 percent anymore like we do now.

HANNITY: What would your alternative to "Obama care" be?

CHRISTIE: We got to go to a state-based system, Sean. Here's what I know. The challenges to provide health care in New Jersey, 8.9 million people, the most densely populated and ethnically diverse state in the country, a lot different than Wyoming. Why do we think that one system can deal with the differences between the states?

HANNITY: How about health care savings accounts?

CHRISTIE: Absolutely should be part of it.

HANNITY: And portability across state lines, guaranteed preexisting conditions...

CHRISTIE: Portability. Portability. There should be sales across -- of insurance across state lines, as well. Everything we can do to increase competition is what we should be doing, and we should let the governors make these decisions. They know what's best to operate in their own state, and they're the ones that can be most directly held responsible, not some bureaucrat in HHS in Washington.

HANNITY: We got to take a break. We'll have more with New Jersey governor Chris Christie as we continue from New Hampshire. We'll ask him about his plan to create jobs and also we'll talk foreign policy and much, much more.

Also, you've been sending your questions via Facebook and Twitter all day. We'll get to that and more as we continue from New Hampshire and Sandown straight ahead.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: We tell each other the truth, everybody. We recognize that truth and hard decisions today will lead to growth and opportunity tomorrow for every American in this country!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: We need to get our economy growing again at four percent or greater. And the reason we do is because we have to make this once again the country my mother and father told me it was, that as hard as you work, that's as hard and high as you'll rise. That's not the case anymore. We can't honestly look at our children and say that to them!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: All right, we're back with 2016 GOP presidential candidate - - Chris Christie is with us for the hour.

All right, I have a bone to pick with you.

CHRISTIE: All right.

HANNITY: I got so mad at you. This isn't personal. It was six days before the 2012 election. Bloomberg said no. Cuomo said no. And you let the president come to New Jersey! I thought -- my own personal opinion was a photo-op. And then there was the hug!

CHRISTIE: Oh, there was no hug.

(LAUGHTER)

CHRISTIE: Stop. You know, first of all, Bloomberg and Cuomo didn't say no.

HANNITY: That's what the reports said.

CHRISTIE: No. No. The president didn't ask to go to New York.

HANNITY: Yes.

CHRISTIE: He asked to come to New Jersey. And you know what else it was? Not only six days before the election, it was two days after the worst natural disaster that ever hit my state...

HANNITY: And New York.

CHRISTIE: ... was there -- yes. And when you're governor of New Jersey, you take an oath. And the oath is not an oath to party, it's an oath of office. And my job was to make sure that when the president came there, I was courteous, I was respectful, and I asked him for the federal government's help.

And if I had to do it all over again, Sean...

HANNITY: You'd do it.

CHRISTIE: ... I wouldn't do anything differently because I owed that to the people who elected me governor of New Jersey.

HANNITY: What do you say to people that maybe still believe that it hurt Governor Romney?

CHRISTIE: First of all, I'll say that none of the polling information that's come out afterwards indicated that at all. Secondly, talk to Mitt Romney. Talk to Mitt Romney because Mitt Romney will tell you it didn't hurt him. He said the storm hurt him. I didn't hurt him.

(CROSSTALK)

CHRISTIE: ... fact is, it gave the president an opportunity to look presidential. But the storm did that, not me.

Let me say one last thing. You know, if people in this country want someone who's going to play politics 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, don't vote for me. What I'm going to do is do the job that people elected me to do. That's what I'll always do, and I'll do it unapologetically.

HANNITY: That's fair. I think that's a fair answer. I was really impressed -- I didn't know your family story until today. Your dad worked at Breyer's Ice Cream, first person to get a degree, went to school at night six years. And there you are, six months in your mom's belly...

CHRISTIE: (INAUDIBLE) six months (INAUDIBLE)

HANNITY: ... in your mom's womb and...

CHRISTIE: First family picture.

HANNITY: That's pretty cool. That's the American dream.

CHRISTIE: It is. Listen, my father lost his father when he was 16 years old. He was admitted to Columbia University, Sean, and he couldn't go.

HANNITY: Because they didn't have the money.

CHRISTIE: Didn't have the money. His father died. He had to go to work, help to support the family. Then he got drafted into the Army during Korea. He went and served his country, came home and worked on the plant, at the Breyer's ice cream plant, on the floor of the plant.

HANNITY: I love Breyer's.

CHRISTIE: As I said, my father does, too. It's the only ice cream he buys from that day forward. And he told the guy on the floor of the plant.  This guy said, What are you going to do with your life? He says, smart young man. He goes, Hey, listen, it's a good job. The wages are good. I walk to work. And I get free ice cream.

And this guy said to him, You need to go to college. You're smart.  You got the GI Bill. You got to go. He did, and it changed our family's life. And it gave me an opportunity.

One generation removed from that guy, and I'm running for president of the United States. This is the greatest country in the world.

(APPLAUSE)

HANNITY: Great story. Let me ask you about immigration. You once supported a pathway to citizenship. You don't any longer. You are against building a wall. And you signed a law in the state that allowed in-state tuition breaks for the children of illegal immigrants.

CHRISTIE: Yes.

HANNITY: I want you to explain.

CHRISTIE: Sure. First of all, I'm not against building a wall entirely. I'm against building a wall across the entire border. I think it's too expensive and it won't work. I said there are sections of there where you could and should build a wall or a fence, where it makes sense.  But we should use drones, we should use electronic surveillance and human surveillance to make sure we secure the border. So I'm not against a wall anywhere, I'm against a wall everywhere.

Secondly, on Dream Act, here's what I believe, Sean. In New Jersey, we're paying for those kids to go to school from K to 12 nearly $18,000 a year is the average tuition.

HANNITY: That's per student per year.

CHRISTIE: Per student per year. Once we invest that much in those young men and women, why do I want to make it harder for them to be able to get a college education? We made that decision to invest in them, so let's make it easier for them to get a public education at one of our colleges or universities. I don't think that's the wrong thing to do. I think that's smart economics for our state. And that's why I did it.

And I believe, honestly believe that we've got to have a real conversation about what we do about this country on immigration. And I think...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: ... secure our border?

CHRISTIE: You have to -- I think you have to do them simultaneously, Sean. I think you have to secure the border, but you need a president who people believe will actually enforce the law. We don't have that now, and we haven't had it.

HANNITY: But you said we'll never get rid of the 11 million people here illegally. The country would never do it, so...

CHRISTIE: We won't.

HANNITY: If you give them citizenship, doesn't that reward illegal...

(CROSSTALK)

CHRISTIE: I didn't say I would give them citizenship. In fact, I said that I wouldn't.

HANNITY: Well, you first said you did, and then you changed.

CHRISTIE: Yes because I came to the conclusion that there's no way that we're going to be able to remove people. Either -- self-deportation's not going to work, right? They're not going to leave voluntarily.

And secondly, we got to know that there's not enough law enforcement officers local, county, state and federal combined -- and I know this from my law enforcement experience -- to be able to forcibly deport 11 million people. So we got to have an honest conversation of how we do it. But I don't believe -- I don't believe that giving some kind of special pathway to citizenship is the way to go.

HANNITY: You vetoed the same-sex marriage bill. We had a court ruling this week. You also said -- now, you're a Catholic.

CHRISTIE: Yes.

HANNITY: And this I found pretty interesting -- that you believe people are born gay and that it's not a sin. So that kind of puts you at odds with the Catholic church. How do you reconcile that?

CHRISTIE: It's hard to reconcile it, but Sean, you know, I've seen it in my own family. I believe that people are born with their sexual preference. And so I don't believe that God would allow that to happen and keep someone in a perpetual state of sin that they couldn't change. And so that's why I don't believe (INAUDIBLE)

HANNITY: The why would you veto same-sex marriage if that's what you really believe?

CHRISTIE: Because I believe words matter. And marriage for 2,000 years has been between one man and one woman. And if folks who are in same-sex relationships wanted to have legal rights to be able to pass on inherence and do other things, I'm fine with that. But marriage means something to me. And that's why I vetoed it and why I stand against it.  And now our Supreme Court has ruled. And so if you take an oath of office you got to enforce the law and the constitution.

HANNITY: Recently we had this issue of the Confederate flag, this terrible shooting, these people died. Obviously a racist bigot involved in this. You said the Confederate flag is a divisive symbol of racism. I lived in Alabama during my radio career, I lived in Georgia during my radio career. Do you not believe that there are people on the other side of this issue that are not racist but for other reasons like that flag?

CHRISTIE: Sure. I just said what it's a symbol of, Sean. And unfortunately in our country it has become for many people that type of symbol.

HANNITY: It's been hijacked by some of these lunatic groups.

CHRISTIE: Of course. And I agree with Governor Haley and what she did in South Carolina. She did it in a way that was thoughtful and I think right. I think we need to move past that conversation though, because the flag is just a symbol of the underlying problem.

The underlying problem is that this young man prayed with people for an hour and then stood up and shot them and killed them in cold blood because they're African-American. I mean, it's crazy. But you know what, it happens in our country. We need to have a discussion about race different than what we've had before.

HANNITY: What the untold story is, tell me if you agree, the fact that those families within a day said that they forgive him. I'm not that good.

CHRISTIE: Let me tell you, that's the majesty of true faith, though, Sean.

HANNITY: I agree.

CHRISTIE: It's the majesty of true faith. And we held a prayer service in New Jersey with our African-American pastors. I went on Father's Day and spoke at it. And what I said to those folks is we better start telling each other the truth about these problems and not sugarcoat them and get diverted by arguments about flags and other things. We have racist sentiment in some portions of the country. We need to confront it honestly, and our leaders need to talk about it.

HANNITY: We'll take a break. We'll come back. More with Governor Chris Christie and the challenges America faces overseas. We'll ask the governor about his foreign policy plans.

And later, the governor is going to answer some of your questions, those you've been sending on Facebook and Twitter, as we continue from beautiful New Hampshire, straight ahead.

(APPLAUSE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: It is a strong, unequivocal America that will lead the world and not be afraid to tell our friends we'll we be with you no matter what and to tell our adversaries there are limits to your conduct, and America will enforce the limits to that conduct.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: I heard the president of the United States say the other day that the world respects America more because of his leadership. This convinces me, this convinces me, it is the final confirmation that President Obama lives in his own world, not in our world. And the fact is this -- after seven years of a weak and feckless foreign policy run by Barack Obama, we better not turn it over to his second mate, Hillary Clinton.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." We are in Sandown, New Hampshire, and we continue with 2016 GOP presidential candidate, he announced earlier today, Governor Chris Christie. A look at foreign policy, you've been talking a lot about we need a stronger military. How would you deal with ISIS as president?

CHRISTIE: First, we've got to empower our allies in the region, Sean.  And so we've got the Jordanians, the Egyptians, the Saudis, the Emirates, who all see ISIS as an existential threat to their existence. They don't want to live under a theocracy. We need to be training them down to the battalion level. We need more human intelligence on the ground to let them know where to target ISIS. And we need to stand with them, supply them with the arms they need, the sophistication they need, let them fight the fight there. That's what we need to do. We don't want to be occupiers in the Middle East. We want to fight them there so they don't come here.

HANNITY: You're talking about a coalition of the willing in Iraq now, is that what you're talking about?

CHRISTIE: Yes, sir.

HANNITY: Yes. Let me ask about Iran. The deadline has come once again. The Iranian parliament last week voted not to allow inspectors, and this president continues negotiating and extended the deadline today.

CHRISTIE: This president has an absolutely quenchless thirst to have his name in the history books, for some reason, for signing one of the worst deals that this country would ever sign. Here's the bottom line, Sean, you know this. They're the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. They say "Death to America" on a regular basis. They want to blow Israel off the map. And this president wants to give them the ability to get nuclear weapons? It is outrageous. It is immoral what's happening.  He should walk away from that table.

And by the way, if we don't have enough guts to do it, our allies should walk away from the table.

   HANNITY: They're not.        

CHRISTIE: I know.        

HANNITY: They're all staying.        

CHRISTIE: This president hasn't led, that's why. If the president walked away from the table our allies would walk away as well.

HANNITY: Any deal he makes if you become president, null and void?

CHRISTIE: I can't imagine that there's a deal that we would be able to sustain that he would make, certainly not in the discussions now. We're talking about they have more four tons more of enriched uranium ten they said they should have at this time and they say they won't send it out of the country. We're supposed to trust them to keep it and not use it for a bomb. It's crazy.

And by the way, one other thing, no ballistic missile deal.

HANNITY: That's a big part we don't talk about it.

CHRISTIE: Right, we don't talk about it. Those ballistic missiles are not to shoot at Israel or Egypt. Ballistic missiles are to shoot at the United States.

HANNITY: Let me ask you about Vladimir Putin and Russia. We see his geopolitical ambitions, Ukraine, Crimea. How would you do with Putin?

CHRISTIE: First of all, Sean, you know me pretty well. I don't think he would misunderstand me. That's the first thing.

HANNITY: OK.

CHRISTIE: Secondly, I think we've got to show him once again that there are limits to conduct. So what do we need to do? We need to put missiles in Poland. We need to make sure we do regular troop movements in the Baltic States. He needs to understand that America is going to stand up to its NATO obligations if he moves any further.

And we need to make sure we do something different on energy. Why energy? Because we should be exporting energy from the United States, developing and exporting it so our western European allies don't have to rely on Russia.

HANNITY: Right now he can turn off the spigot to western and literally hold him hostage.

CHRISTIE: Exactly right. And we shouldn't allow that to happen. In fact they'll ratchet the sanctions up higher if we say the North American continent, the United States, Canada, and Mexico, if we had a real continental energy policy which I'm advocated, we could say don't worry.  Our three countries backstop you with the energy he cuts off.

HANNITY: Drilling, fracking, all of the above?

CHRISTIE: Yes, yes, yes. And remember, in New Jersey, 53 percent of our electricity comes from nuclear.

HANNITY: That's true.

CHRISTIE: We're the third largest solar producing state in the country behind California and Arizona, and we just authorized three new natural gas plants.

HANNITY: Last summer, I was in Israel during the war. How do we repair that damage that now exists?

CHRISTIE: First of all, we stand up next to Benjamin Netanyahu and we tell everyone we have no better friend in the Middle East or in the world than Netanyahu and Israel. And we have to see that publicly and repeatedly to repair the damage this president has done to the relationship.

Think about this, Sean. This president won't stand up to Assad but he stands up to Netanyahu. It's an embarrassment. And we need an America that does two things, makes our friends know that we'll stand by them no matter what the polls say and makes our allies know there are limits to your conduct and America will enforce those limits.

HANNITY: We'll take a break. We'll come back. We'll continue more with Governor Chris Christie. He'll answer some of your questions you've been sending us on Facebook and Twitter. That and much more as this cable exclusive one-on-one interview continues straight ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: I am not looking to be the most popular guy who looks in your eyes everybody and tries to figure out what you want to hear, say it, and then turn around and do something else. When I stand up on a stage like this in front of all of you, there is one thing you will know for sure -- I mean what I say and I say what I mean. And that's what America needs right now.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: Welcome back to HANNITY as we continue from New Hampshire with 2016 GOP presidential candidate Governor Chris Christie. All right, you know I'm a big Second Amendment guy.

CHRISTIE: Yes, sir.

HANNITY: In the state of New Jersey you have how many people millions of people?

CHRISTIE: We have 8.9 million.

HANNITY: You have 8.9 million. I read that there is only 1,195 pistol carrying permits in New Jersey.

CHRISTIE: Yes. It's a main issue state, not a shallow (ph) issue state.

HANNITY: OK.

CHRISTIE: And so the legislature won't change it. I can't get them to change it. And here's the thing -- I've done the things that we've been able to do to make it better. So first off, they tried to ban .50 caliber rifles. I vetoed it. They tried to reduce the magazine level from 15 to 10. I vetoed it. When they convicted some folks under our gun law, and pardoned both of them. And just yesterday, we issued new regulations to deal with the tragedy that happened in our state of a woman who was being threatened by a boyfriend under restraining order. She couldn't get her permit. It was not done in the right period of time. So I have now said 15 days, no later, and it's got to go to the top of the pile.

HANNITY: Can you through executive orders in New Jersey do anything to allow law-abiding citizens to get a gun permit?

CHRISTIE: Not under our current statutes. Now, we're working with regulations to try to make sure that they're done in a much more efficient and effective way.

But you know, Sean, I'm dealing with a state where they have a smart gun law. Literally we passed a law 14 years ago that said the only guns that can be sold in New Jersey are guns where they read your fingerprints on the trigger. The technology doesn't even exist. We're dealing with some really crazy stuff.

HANNITY: I have a gun safe that actually opens that way, which is amazing.

I want to ask you about Common Core. Two years ago, you were a big supporter of it. You said at the time we're doing Common Core and we're going to do Common Core, but you've now changed your mind on Common Core.  Why? What happened?

CHRISTIE: It didn't work. I gave it four years to work in New Jersey, and it didn't. And here's why it didn't -- parents didn't buy into it and teachers didn't buy into it. And if parents and teachers don't buy into something you're doing in education it's never going to work.

   So I'm not going to be stubborn about it. The fact is if it doesn't work we need to change it. So we're now going set up higher New Jersey based standards that are being worked on now by a committee of parents and educators that I put together and it will be announced at the end of December.         But we gave Common Core a try. It was originally written by the nation's governors. It got hijacked by the Obama administration. It didn't work, so we need to get rid of it.

HANNITY: This is our lightning round. I'm going to throw out some names, you give me some answers.

   CHRISTIE: Sure.        

HANNITY: Rand Paul. You've had some fights with him. What's the first thing that comes to your mind?

CHRISTIE: Dangerous for our national security.

HANNITY: Wow. Jeb Bush.

CHRISTIE: Good man.

HANNITY: Ted Cruz.

CHRISTIE: Very bright.

HANNITY: Marco Rubio.

CHRISTIE: Charming.

(LAUGHTER)

   HANNITY: Sean Hannity. No, I'm kidding. Donald Trump.

CHRISTIE: Donald Trump, a friend.

HANNITY: Carly Fiorina.

CHRISTIE: Smart.

HANNITY: Dr. Carson.

CHRISTIE: Tough.

HANNITY: John Kasich.

CHRISTIE: A really good friend and a great guy to have a beer with.

HANNITY: Scott Walker.

CHRISTIE: Scott Walker. Tough, stands up for what he believes in.

HANNITY: Barack Obama.

CHRISTIE: A failed president.

HANNITY: Hillary Clinton.

CHRISTIE: A -- Hillary Clinton does not belong --

HANNITY: You just put the governor on your head.

CHRISTIE: No, no, no. Listen, she doesn't belong being president of the United States.

HANNITY: OK. Bill Clinton.

CHRISTIE: Bill Clinton, charming guy, but just an OK president.

HANNITY: You actually said about marijuana, this is an interesting quote, I never heard anybody say it before, that the recreational use of marijuana is blood money. What do you think of Colorado?

CHRISTIE: I think they're dead wrong. If I was president of the United States, I would enforce the marijuana laws in the state of Colorado.

HANNITY: You would?

CHRISTIE: Yes, sir.

HANNITY: In other words, the national federal law?

CHRISTIE: Yes, sir.

HANNITY: Let me go to a Twitter question. It's from a viewer, Adam.  And he says "What Republican candidate do you consider to be your biggest competition?"

CHRISTIE: Of 14 people who is my biggest competition? You know, I don't know yet. We'll see. We'll see how everybody does.

HANNITY: All right, here's a question from a viewer. Logan Treadway (ph). "Why with a field so strong do you choose this time to run? Do you really think your message, how does it differ from others?"

CHRISTIE: It differs from others because I've worked in the toughest state a conservative Republican cold possibly work in. I am combat tested and battle ready to go to Washington, D.C. And we need somebody who is going to tell the truth, and we need somebody who is willing to stand up and fight an say what he really believes, and I bring that better than everybody else in the race.

HANNITY: Last question, from Don Owens. "What would you do about all the executive orders that Obama has forced on us?"

CHRISTIE: In the period of transition, I would have every lawyer I could find go through every executive order, and what will be on my desk on day one in the Oval Office will be the rescissions of every illegal, overreaching executive order this president has signed. I did it when I was governor and I will do it as president.

(APPLAUSE)

HANNITY: Let's take a break. We'll come back.  More with Chris Christie as we continue from New Hampshire. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." We're going to get to the governor and give him his final pitch in just a second. I didn't ask but the Patriot Act. You had a big battle with Rand Paul and you just said he is dangerous on foreign policy. I talked to Jim Sensenbrenner. And he wrote the original Patriot Act. It specifically said that data mining of American citizens was not allowed. I supported his Patriot Act. I feel that this governor abused it. Do you agree that data mining without the position of the American people is wrong?

CHRISTIE: No. I don't.

HANNITY: Every phone call, text, e-mail? They should just gather all our e-mails?

CHRISTIE: But Sean, they're not looking at the e-mails. What they're doing is they are data mining the phone numbers. And if your phone is talking to these folks here and to your brother and your sister and your wife and your friends, no one is ever going to look at it.

HANNITY: We're running out of time. We've given every candidate the last 60 seconds to explain why you want them to vote for you.

CHRISTIE: Sean, first of all, thank you for letting me be here. And I'll tell you this. America is at a time of great anxiety because no one is willing to tell you the truth. No one is willing to look you in the eye and say that our system is bankrupting us, that our tax system is killing our economy, that our foreign policy is leading to a more dangerous world, and that our education system is going to lead us to be a second rate power. You need to hear those truths and you need to have solutions to those truths. I've worked in the toughest place a Republican can work in America and California. When I go to the White House, we'll change this country and make the world a better and safer place.

HANNITY: All right, governor thank you so much for being with us.

CHRISTIE: Thanks, Sean.

(APPLAUSE)       

HANNITY: Thank you all in Sandown, beautiful Sandown, New Hampshire. As always, thank you for being with us. We hope you have a great night. We'll see you back here tomorrow.

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