Who stood out during the first Republican debate?

Analysis of the presidential candidates' performances on 'Hannity'


This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 7, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


SEAN HANNITY, HOST (voice-over): Tonight...

DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our country is in serious trouble. We don't win anymore.

HANNITY: Reaction to the big GOP debate.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator, you know, when you're sitting in a subcommittee, just blowing hot air about this, you can say things like that.

HANNITY: Who stood out, and who could have done more? Mark Steyn -- he's here tonight with reaction.

CARLY FIORINA, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 2016 is going to be a fight. I'm a conservative. I can win this job. I can do this job.

HANNITY: Then, Carly Fiorina had a strong showing in the early debate.  Will this push her into the top 10?

GOV. SCOTT WALKER, R-WIS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe we need to secure the border.

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They don't want to enforce the immigration laws.

HANNITY: Plus, immigration was front and center last night. Will it continue to be a big campaign topic? Ann Coulter will debate with reaction tonight.

"Hannity" starts right here, right now.


HANNITY: And welcome to "Hannity." It was the most watched cable news program ever. And last night's first 2016 Republican presidential debate in Cleveland -- it did not disappoint. Here are some of the major highlights.


TRUMP: If it weren't for me, you wouldn't even be talking about illegal immigration, Chris. You wouldn't even be talking about it.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If I'm our nominee, how is Hillary Clinton going to lecture me about living paycheck to paycheck?  I was raised paycheck to paycheck.

DR. BEN CARSON, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We've gotten into this -- this mindset of fighting politically correct wars. There is no such thing as a politically correct war.

JEB BUSH, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I'm going to run hard, run with heart and run to win. I'm going to have to earn this. Maybe the barrier, the bar is even higher for me. That's fine.

CRUZ: If you're looking for someone to go to Washington to go along to get along, to agree with the career politicians in both parties who get in bed with the lobbyists and special interests, then I ain't your guy.

MIKE HUCKABEE, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ronald Reagan said trust but verify. President Obama is trust but vilify. He trusts our enemies and vilifies everyone who disagrees with him!

WALKER: People like Hillary Clinton think you grow the economy by growing Washington. One report last year showed that six of the top 10 wealthiest counties were in or around Washington, D.C.

JOHN KASICH, R-OHIO, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  You know, look, I balanced the federal budget as one of the chief architects when I was in Washington. Hasn't been done since!


HANNITY: All right, here with reaction, the co-author of the best-selling book, "Climate Change: The Facts," our good friend, Mark Steyn is back with us. Sir, how are you?

MARK STEYN, "CLIMATE CHANGE: THE FACTS" AUTHOR: I'm great, Sean. Good to be with you.

HANNITY: My initial observation -- I have two of them. One, when is Hillary going to answer tough questions? When is that day ever going to occur, if ever? And number two, as I watched these candidates, I saw a vibrancy, a vitality. I saw passion. I heard a lot of good ideas. I thought it was healthy. What are your initial -- was your initial reaction to it.

STEYN: Yes, I agree with that. And evidently, so do 24 million people who watched that debate a year-and-a-half from whoever wins taking the oath of office.

And that's Hillary's problem. Hillary's candidacy is dying through this insulated, overprotected boredom factor, which is why on -- according to some rumors, Bernie Sanders is going to need a venue that holds 20,000 people for one of his upcoming events.

I mean, that's why Bernie Sanders is neck and neck with Hillary in New Hampshire, simply because she's too boring to be able to sit on her lead for another year-and-a-quarter.

And I think that's the difference between the Democrat side and what we saw on the Republican side last night.

HANNITY: You know, it's funny, who would ever have -- who would have thunk it, a 73-year-old curmudgeonly socialist with zero, you know, name recognition is giving her a statistical dead heat in New Hampshire. Nobody would have thought of that.

STEYN: Right.

HANNITY: Is it because her ideas are old and stale and she's old and stale and at best a mediocre politician and this is basically a third Obama term?

STEYN: Yes. I don't think she's actually any good at it. I think you could have -- I mean, the country is a 50/50 nation, and I think you could have a third Obama term, if they had somebody with Obama's touch or with Hillary's husband's touch.

But Hillary is essentially running as the Ava Peron of the Democratic Party, and she hasn't got anything like the same charisma or flair. I would be surprised, unless -- I would be very surprised if Hillary's campaign actually survives until election day next year.

HANNITY: I share the same sentiment as you do. I think you've got Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and maybe even Comrade de Blasio on the sidelines thinking they might be able to come in at the last minute and steal this.

all right, let's go through the Republicans. Who do you thought -- who stood out in your mind? Who had a good night in your view?

STEYN: Well, I think they all did well in their own terms. Realistically, Donald Trump -- you would have to drive a stake through him. So simply because no one did drive a stake through him, he survived, and therefore, he won. So he's still in the game and he's still locking down whatever it is, 25 percent, 32 percent I think it is in South Carolina now. So he's the guy to beat.

I thought most of the others did well within their own terms, although they're actually quite narrow terms. And the disappointment, I think, was with the number two and number three because I think Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, in a sense, were both sitting on their non-leads.

They -- both of them, I think, took a sort of conscious decision to kind of do a low-key, Don't frighten the horses, thing and hope that when Trump implodes, that they're still in the number two or number three slot and they're the ones who take over. And I don't think that'll work, frankly.

HANNITY: You know what? Maybe this is an example of playing it safe or going for the win. In other words, you're suggesting that if they want it, they're going to have to go in and fight and take it. It's not going to be handed to them. That's what I interpret you saying.

STEYN: Yes, absolutely right. I mean, people talk about the ceiling in Trump's vote, although the ceiling keeps going higher. It's -- you know, the ceiling was supposed to be 20 percent, then it became 22, 24, 26, maybe 30 percent.

I mean, you've got a lot of internal arguments in the guys who were on stage last night. I mean, essentially, Rand Paul is an isolationist libertarian, whereas Lindsey Graham is a big security state interventionist. Mike Huckabee is a big government social conservative.  Jeb Bush is an open borders fetishist. John Kasich is hot for Medicare (sic). I mean, those guys have a ceiling, too.

And if people talk about the -- you know, the difficulty Donald Trump would have in uniting the party -- I mean, clearly, some of these other guys, Mike Huckabee or Rand Paul or whoever you talk about, Chris Christie, would have difficulty getting above a certain ceiling, too.

So that's what actually made it a great debate. When Chris Christie and Rand Paul butted up -- I mean, that -- that's -- I would love to see Hillary actually taking that kind of heat from Bernie Sanders.


STEYN: But they basically don't want to start the debate season until 10 days before the November election!


HANNITY: Yes, I'm sorry. But you're basically highlighting that there right now is an ongoing battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party. Is this going to be a watered down-version of the Democratic Party, or a revitalized second party? And I think Ted Cruz probably makes that distinction. Are they going to fight? Are they going to risk shutting down the government? Are they going to defund "Obama care"? Are they going to stop Obama's executive amnesty? Are they going to defund Planned Parenthood?

These -- there's a big schism going on here. Which side of the party's going to win this?

STEYN: Well, and actually, Ted Cruz, I think, puts it in more basic terms when he talks about...

HANNITY: The cartel.

STEYN: ... the Washington cartel, which I think is a great phrase, that basically, to a large number of people on the conservative side in this country, Washington is a two-party conspiracy against the American future and the American dream. And there's a big -- there's a big audience for that, particularly after the failures of the 2010 election and the 2014 election to deliver anything.

You know, Rand Paul used the other day -- used this kind of lame line, "Washington is broken." If you're a liberal, if you're a Democrat, Washington isn't broken. It delivers you big victories on "Obama care" and same-sex marriage. And even -- you know, they're pushing, pushing, pushing. There's some stupid federal transgender bathroom bill...


STEYN: ... waiting to be introduced in the House of Representatives. Even -- they're always pushing to build the land that liberals want to live in.

And on the other side of the ledger, conservatives want a candidate who will -- who wants to build the America they can live in. And simply -- and that's why I think, tonally, the Jeb Bush-Scott Walker thing of just kind of sitting on your non-lead in number two and number three position may not have been enough last night.

HANNITY: Let me ask you about Donald Trump and the opening question about whether he would run third party and get your take on this.


BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Raise your hand now if you won't make that pledge tonight. Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: I cannot say I have to respect the person that if it's not me, the person that wins. If I do win, and I'm leading by quite a bit, that's what I want to do. I can totally make that pledge. If I'm the nominee I will pledge I will not run as an independent, but -- and I am discussing it with everybody. But I'm, you know, talking about a lot of leverage. We want to win and we will win.  But I want to win as the Republican. I want to run as the Republican nominee.


HANNITY: I did a follow up with Mr. Trump right after the debate and asked him a little bit more about this. I have no belief that he'd run independent or third party. But I think what he's saying is -- this is his business background -- I can't give up my leverage. I will insist that I be treated fairly. That was my interpretation. Your thoughts.

STEYN: Yes. Yes. I think that's absolutely right, that this is his leverage. I mean, basically, the Republican establishment has treated him like a piece of dog excrement stuck to the Republican Party's shoe since he entered this race.

And they've been wrong on everything. They've said everything he says is going to kill him. The Mexican rapist line was going to kill him. It put him in the lead. Then dissing John McCain was going to finish him off. It widened his lead. Now we're expected to believe that dissing Rose O'Donnell...


STEYN: ... is going to cause- cause Donald Trump him to implode.

HANNITY: You got to laugh!

STEYN: They give the impression that their entire strategy with Trump is to help him to self-detonate as soon as possible, that he's a suicide bomber who's got problems with his semtex belt. And he's entitled, given that atmosphere, to push back against it.

I think that's actually -- you know, he is saying, As long as you keep shoving this rubbish at me, insulting my supporters by damning them as crazies, as John McCain said, there's absolutely no reason...


STEYN: ... why I should give you guarantees that I'm going to be a nice little house-trained poodle...


STEYN: ... until you stop -- until you stop insulting me and my supporters. That's entirely valid. That's what a negotiator -- that's how he'd negotiate with the mullahs and the Chinese politburo and all the rest of the gang.

HANNITY: I think that's really well said. By the way, the Rosie line -- I burst out laughing, and so did the entire room that was watching it with me, so -- all right, Mark Steyn, thanks for your insight.


HANNITY: Appreciate it.

And coming up next tonight on this busy news night here on "Hannity"...


CHRISTIE: Listen, senator, you know, when you're sitting in a subcommittee, just blowing hot air about this, you can say things like that!


HANNITY: All right, Governor Chris Christie and Rand Paul went head to head over the Patriot Act and the NSA surveillance program. When we come back, our panel will weigh in.

And then later tonight...


FIORINA: ... the potential of this nation, and too many Americans is being crushed by the weight, the power, the cost, the complexity, the ineptitude, the corruption of the federal government!


HANNITY: Almost universal belief that 2016 Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina shined at yesterday's 5:00 PM debate. We'll have the highlights.

Quick programming note. There will be an encore presentation of the first 2016 Republican primary debate airing tomorrow night on the FOX Business Network at 8:00 PM Eastern.

And we'll continue.



HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." One of the more heated moments from last night's GOP debate came after a question about the Patriot Act.  Here's Governor Chris Christie and Senator Rand Paul going at each other over this issue. Watch this.


CHRISTIE: I want to collect more records from terrorists, but less records from other people. How are you supposed to know, Megyn?

PAUL: Use the 4th Amendment!

CHRISTIE: What are you supposed to -- how are you supposed to...

PAUL: Use the 4th Amendment!

CHRISTIE: No, I'll tell you how you...

PAUL: Get a warrant!

CHRISTIE: Listen, Senator, you know, when you're sitting in a subcommittee, just blowing hot air about this, you can say things like that. When you're responsible for protecting the lives of the American people, then what you need to do is to make sure...

PAUL: Here's the problem...

CHRISTIE: ... is to make sure that...

PAUL: Here's the problem, Governor.

CHRISTIE: ... you use the system the way it's supposed to work.

PAUL: Here's the problem, Governor. You fundamentally misunderstand the Bill of Rights! Every time you did a case, you got a warrant from a judge.  I'm talking about searches without warrants...

CHRISTIE: There is no such...

PAUL: ... indiscriminately, of all Americans' records. And that's what I fought to end. I don't trust President Obama with our records. I know you gave him a big hug. And if you want to give him a big hug again, go right ahead!


HANNITY: All right, here with reaction, from The National Review, Jonah Goldberg, from The Washington Times, Charles Hurt. Fox News contributor Doug Schoen is with us.

Jonah, I love that part of the debate because it's an important debate. We have data mining collection, people's texts, cell phone calls, computer records, e-mails, et cetera. I read the Patriot Act, talked to Jim Sensenbrenner. He said it was -- we were never supposed to do that.

What did you think of that exchange?

JONAH GOLDBERG, NATIONAL REVIEW: I agree. I thought it was a fantastic -- I thought it was a fantastic exchange in large part because it's basically just a fundamental, principled disagreement by two people. And so -- you know, they start from different premises, and so they draw different conclusions.

I think Rand Paul, you know -- for the people who are big fans of Rand Paul, he helped himself. For the people who are big fans of Chris Christie, he helped himself. I'm not sure either of them persuaded anybody on the fence to join one side or the other side.

But I'd like to see this kind of argument a lot more in the GOP field.  Everyone talks about how the Republicans are closed-minded and don't have debates and disagreements. We have fantastic disagreements!

HANNITY: Well, I think there's actually a battle for the heart and soul and the future of the Republican Party ongoing right now. Doug Schoen, what did you think of that -- that exchange?

DOUG SCHOEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Oh, I think Jonah is exactly right. I think those kind of debates and exchanges are extremely good and important. I'm obviously with Chris Christie, and I am deeply concerned about terror. But I think for those who are concerned about privacy, so much the better that Rand Paul was there.

But I'd say that the big surprise to me was how well, Chris Christie acquitted himself on that question, and others, as well.

HANNITY: By the way, when's your friend, Hillary, going to start answering tough questions? Are we ever going to see that moment arise?

SCHOEN: She's got to do it, Sean. You can't go through what she's gone through and just hope that it'll all go away. It's not. You're right.

HANNITY: Charles, you've been one of the more staunch supporters of Mr. Trump. How did you feel it went last night for him?

CHARLES HURT, WASHINGTON TIMES: I thought that last night was -- you know, he remained himself, which was very important. He got -- I think he got nicked up a little bit, particularly in the exchange with Megyn Kelly about -- talking about the women that he has made disparaging remarks about in the past. I do think that that is something that could become a liability in a general election, and it's something that he's going to have to deal with.

But his -- you know, the argument that he made, that, Look, I'm not here to be PC -- obviously, that's what so many people love about Donald Trump.  And you know, is there a price you pay to be that person? Yes, there is.  That's why most politicians aren't politically incorrect. And it's why we have such a -- the problem that we do have.

But it opens up a pretty wide alley for a guy like Donald Trump to walk up into and do just tremendously well in the polls, like none of us could have predicted.

HANNITY: You know, Jonah, I know you've been a fairly harsh critic against Mr. Trump, but...


HANNITY: ... you know, would we have had 26 million or 24 million people watching last night if he wasn't on that debate stage? In other words, has he added a certain level of intensity and energy to the debate that overall could help Republicans? And is there not something to learn from the Donald Trump model for everybody, which is speak your mind, don't be so politically correct, don't be so guarded and don't be so coached?

GOLDBERG: Yes, no, I agree with all of that. I think, look, he provides an entertaining factor. I agree with Charlie entirely that the, I'm not politically correct, line plays very well. And it should play very well because political correctness is wildly out of hand.

At the same time, I'm not sure that anyone from NASCAR would defend crashes has being good for NASCAR because people tune in to watch them. I think the thing that really hurt Donald Trump last night was his refusal to say that he wouldn't endorse the nominee if it wasn't him. I mean, his only promise was that if he's the nominee, he won't run as an independent.

I think that hurts him a lot. It makes him seem like a real politician.  It makes him seem like he's in it for himself. And...

HANNITY: You know what's interesting...

GOLDBERG: ... the criticism of FOX News for asking that question is outrageous!

HANNITY: It's kind of interesting, Jonah, because I've now talked to him about it, interviewed him a number of times, asked him that question numerous times. My takeaway is -- and I think I'm interpreting this right -- is that he's saying to the Republican Party, I want to be treated fairly, and I'm holding this as leverage. And that's sort of like his business instinct. Does that make sense?

GOLDBERG: Yes, I think that's entirely accurate. I think that's entirely his strategy. That in no way means that the question is illegitimate. You were right to ask the question. Bret Baier was absolutely right to ask the question.


GOLDBERG: And yet now we're hearing that somehow, this is an unfair question to ask. He answered it. He answered it honestly. He says, I'm blackmailing the Republican Party to be nice to me, or I'm going to take my marbles and go home. And I don't think...

HANNITY: Well, blackmail...


GOLDBERG: If you go by the Frank Luntz focus group, it didn't play very well with those guys.

HANNITY: What do you think, Doug?

GOLDBERG: And the other thing that...


SCHOEN: I think -- I think, frankly, there's a better answer Donald can and should give, which is if there's candidate who takes his positions on the Mexican border and immigration, on national security and making America great, I have no doubt that Trump will support him. On the other hand, if Rand Paul is the nominee, I would hope on national security issues, Trump and many others of all types wouldn't support him. So I think there's a better answer that Donald can give.

HANNITY: All right...

HURT: But candidly, I thought the Donald did pretty well and I think that reports of his demise are grossly exaggerated.

HANNITY: Last word, Charles.

HURT: And the scene at the beginning of the debate, with Donald Trump the only man standing there with his hand up in the air, saying, yes, I will not take this pledge -- you know, it was another example where he -- it may have sounded rude. It may have been impolite and all that. But he was standing alone on his own and being what could only be honest -- you know, taken as honest -- honesty in that -- in that particular setting.

HANNITY: All right, guys. Thank you all for being with us. Appreciate it.

HURT: Thank you.

HANNITY: And more on this busy night on "Hannity." Here's what's up next.


FIORINA: I think to be commander-in-chief in the 21st century requires someone who understand how the economy works, someone who understands how the world works and who's in it. I know more world leaders on the stage today than anyone running with the possible exception of Hillary Clinton.


HANNITY: 2016 Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina was the buzz on social media after last night's 5:00 PM debate. That's next.

And also later tonight...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to eliminate the sanctuary cities in this country. It is ridiculous and tragic...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... that people are dying.


HANNITY: The candidates sounded off over immigration during the primetime debate. Donald Trump said no one would even be talking about this topic if it wasn't for him. We'll check in with Ann Coulter and much more straight ahead.


HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." So after yesterday's 5:00 PM Republican primary debate, the Internet social media were abuzz about one candidate in particular, and that's former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. Here's why.


FIORINA: I started as a secretary and became ultimately the chief executive of the largest technology company in the world, almost $90 billion in over 150 countries.

I think to be commander-in-chief in the 21st century requires somehow who understands how the economy works. The potential of this nation and too many Americans is being crushed by the weight, the power, the cost, the complexity, the ineptitude, the corruption of the federal government!

Hillary Clinton lies about Benghazi. She lies about e-mails. She is still defending Planned Parenthood, and she is still her party's front-runner.  We need a nominee who is going to throw every punch, not pull punches.

I am not a member of the political class. I am a conservative. I can win this job. I can do this job. I need your help. I need your support. I will with your help and support lead the resurgence of this great nation.


HANNITY: Here with reaction, Fox News contributors Katie Pavlich and Tammy Bruce.

I actually -- the 5:00 PM debate was really good. And I thought she did well. I thought Rick Perry did well. I thought Rick Santorum -- I thought it was a pretty powerful debate. She did stand out and there was a lot of buzz about her. Why?

TAMMY BRUCE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look, everybody there needed to not just hold their own, they needed to really eclipse everyone. They needed to make news on their own without it being bad news. And she did it. It was actually the best case scenario.

I wanted her -- I like her very much. I wanted her in that main debate.  But in fact, now, this is maybe even better in that she's made news because of the nature of what she was able to accomplish there was not distracted by Trump. She was able now to watch that second debate, to get a sense of her new competition. And I think that it was just fabulous.

Clearly, the people -- you know, making the biggest Google searches, right, that...


BRUCE: She did everything right. I think people now understand why she's very good. As a feminist, I like her. As a conservative, I like her. I think she hit a home run.

HANNITY: Katie, you know what I liked? I like that she used -- actually used the word "lie" because I do believe Hillary lied to us...


HANNITY: ... about Benghazi. I believe she lied about the e-mails. She's still supporting Planned Parenthood. She seems to have no fear, especially when it comes to taking on Hillary.

PAVLICH: Well, absolutely. And that's been Carly Fiorina's attitude since the beginning of announcing her presidential campaign. She's been fearless in going after Hillary Clinton, and not only just going after her with the facts and saying that she's lied about very specific issues, but also offering alternatives to the status quo.

She has an outside of Washington, D.C., attitude. I'm here at the Red State gathering, as you can see, where there's hundreds of activists here wanting to know more about Carly Fiorina.

She spoke earlier today and talked about actually doing things about the VA, dismantling bureaucracy and holding people accountable. And that's something that people are certainly hungry for and certainly something that they're looking more of in the future.

HANNITY: Maybe this is not the right question. Maybe it is the right question. Does she have more flexibility, because she's a woman, to hit harder? Is that a fair question?

BRUCE: Well, you know, I think that everybody, because of where they come from and who they are -- everybody's got a special style or some kind of perk that they have.

HANNITY: But does that matter, that factor?

BRUCE: You know, I think it does. I think that there are things that women can say about other women that men can't.

HANNITY: You're saying I don't understand -- come on.

BRUCE: No. I think that in general with life experience we know what women go through and what sisters are doing. And I think that's what -- when it comes to politics what has been missing a little bit. And I think that what Hillary does not want is for a woman to be her opposition.  Someone like Carly Fiorina is actually the best candidate regardless of gender, and she needs to prove that. And I think she's doing so.

HANNITY: If you watch, Katie, I find at best Hillary Clinton is a mediocre politician. If you watch her, she's old and tired. And her ideas are old and tired and boring and stale. And if there was a comparing and contrasting moment with Carly and Hillary, I think it would be dramatic.  It would not be nuanced. It would be very obvious to people, the distinction here.

KATIE PAVLICH, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, wouldn't that be a great debate? That's something that Carly has pointed out. She pointed that out today. She said, look, I know more world leaders in the GOP primary process than any other person here with maybe the exception of Hillary Clinton. And guess what. I did actual negotiations and meetings with these leaders, not just photo-ops, which Hillary Clinton has done.

She's not afraid to go after her. She's not afraid to get rid of that woman card that Hillary Clinton is trying to play. We saw earlier this week Hillary Clinton attacking Jeb Bush and Scott Walker for wanting to defund Planned Parenthood and take away women's health. What she didn't mention is that Carly Fiorina also wants to defund Planned Parenthood. So it's obvious that the Clinton campaign doesn't want to mention Carly Fiorina because it's another option that women have when it comes to voting for someone who is a female in the race. And when you look at the polling, Hillary Clinton is not doing well with female voters, and Carly can fill that void.

BRUCE: If I just may add that when you introduce a conservative woman into the argument it smashes the liberal meme that all women think the same, that there's only one way to approach all the issues. This smashes that.  It smashes the conformity that the left wants, and it's invigorating, it's inspiring, not just for conservatives, not just for Republicans, but for Americans.

HANNITY: As for the war on women, 56 million American women are out of the labor force.

BRUCE: That's right. That's the war.

HANNITY: That is a war. That is a shame, too. All right, thank you both.  Good to see you. Katie, have fun. My best to the Red State folks out there.

Coming up next tonight here on "Hannity."


TRUMP: If it weren't for me, you wouldn't even be talking about illegal immigration, Chris. You wouldn't even be talking about it.


HANNITY: Immigration a hot topic at last night's debate. Coming up next Ann Coulter will weigh in on the candidate's responses to the big issue of border security. Plus --


WALKER: I think people want someone who listens to them. I made it clear. Secure the border, enforce the laws, no amnesty. And I'm fairly unique in this crowd. I believe we should have a policy about legal immigration with priority to American working families and their wages.


HANNITY: I spoke with most of the candidates after last night's big debate. In case you didn't stay up late, we're going to show you some of the interviews straight ahead.


HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." So at last night's debate immigration was a hot button topic and Donald Trump took credit for making it a big campaign issue. Watch this.


TRUMP: If it weren't for me, you wouldn't even be talking about illegal immigration, Chris. You wouldn't even be talking about it.


BUSH: I believe that the great majority of people coming here illegally have no other option. They want to provide for their family. But we need to control our border.

RUBIO: I also believe we need a fence. The problem is if El Chapo builds a tunnel under the fence we have to be able to deal with that, too.

CRUZ: There's seven billion people across the globe many of whom want to come here. If they come legally, great. But if the come illegally and they get amnesty, that is how we fundamentally change this country.

WALKER: There's international criminal organizations penetrating our southern based borders and we need to do something about it. Secure the border, enforce the law, no amnesty, and go forward with a legal immigration system that gives priority to American working families and wages.


HANNITY: Here with reaction, author of "The New York Times" bestseller "Adios, America, The Left's Plan to Turn our Country into a Third World Hellhole" Ann Coulter, and the chairman of GOPAC David Avila is with us who I ran into at the debate last night and had our own separate debate. Good to see you both.


HANNITY: You actually said to me that you need to have me on because I'm establishment.

AVELLA: I said I was a good conservative.

HANNITY: OK. That's what you said to me last night. So here's my point to you. The anger that conservatives have towards the Republican Party is they promised they would repeal Obamacare. They had symbolic votes but they wouldn't use the power of the purse because they were afraid they'd be blamed for a shutdown. They said in 2014, oh, elect us, we'll stop executive amnesty, unconstitutional, executive amnesty, and they ended up funding it because again they were timid and afraid they'd get blamed.  That to me is almost unforgivable. If you give your word, you promise, you've got to keep your word. That's why conservatives are angry. Your response?

AVELLA: Conservatives have a right to be fired up to want a president who will actually do things to secure the border and defund sanctuary cities and get better at cyber security.

HANNITY: But they didn't do it.

AVELLA: We have legislation in Congress right now that would do that. We have a president that no matter how much funding we give to congress, no how many times we shut down the government, he's not going to build this fence.

HANNITY: Ted Cruz stood out there by himself and every one of them had made the same promise, and they abandoned him. That's why we're mad.

AVELLA: Sean, I understand that. We have had in place legislation and funding to build the fence. We haven't had a president willing to do that.  And that's why this election in 2016 is so important. The only way we get a secure border is to have a Republican president --

HANNITY: Ann Coulter, let me bring you in here. So why don't they fight?

ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, "ADIOS, AMERICA": Well, amnesty is the big issue.  David is right. Congress has voted for a fence three or four times. It never gets built. And it's not just Obama. It's not just Obama. It's Republican presidents as well. Thus the emergence of Donald Trump.

And that's why when he raised his hand at the beginning, I flatly disagree with your point and his point that the reason he says he won't support the nominee unless it's him, and it's looking like it might be, is just to maintain leverage. That is when he should have said, no, if any of these candidates will not address the most important issue of our time, this invasion of our borders and invasion by illegals, no, I'm sorry, party does not take precedence over that.

HANNITY: Did Cruz not do that last night? I heard him do that.

COULTER: No, but when they were raising their hands -- they. One of them raised their hands saying he wouldn't support the eventual nominee. And I think that was something I would like to see a lot more in the debate.

What I would like to see -- I noticed this watching this -- I liked to see when the Republicans disagree about things. This is why we're talking about Christie and Rand Paul. You can have one general question where they all distinguish themselves from the Democrats. But let's hear what the positions are on the fence. They all say, including Rubio, for Pete's sake, and Kasich who started talked about the Ohio budget rather than whether he'd put a fence up, no, most of them won't put a fence up, and most of them have BS excuses for why they'd wouldn't. Rubio says because El Chapo built a tunnel. Yes, it's a completely corrupt country, which is what our country is becoming. Somehow El Chapo didn't build a tunnel under Israel's fence. That has managed to work.

AVELLA: This is a false argument. There is not a person on either one of those two stages that isn't for securing the border.

COULTER: That's not what I said. It's not a fence, it's a lie.

AVELLA: How does the math get us to electing a Republican president when conservatives have to make a choice, are they going to support a nominee that is for single payer healthcare, that's for higher taxes, that's pro- choice, that's for gun control? What conservatives get fired up about going out and voting in that election? And how do we elect a Republican president that way?

COULTER: I assume you're talking about Donald Trump. And I thought he had a great response last night. Ronald Reagan used to be for abortion. He signed the most liberal abortion law in the country when he was governor of California. You are going back 20 years ago of a businessman.

None of those issues -- you are going to lose every single one of those issues, nobody is ever going to watch a Republican debate again if we don't stop the invasion. The entire country becomes California and Republican debates will be as interesting as Republican debates are in California right now. Nobody cares because no Republican didn't get elected. So FOX can enjoy its 24 or 30 million viewers last night. Any future Republican debates and all the issues you talk about are utterly irrelevant if we continue this surge of foreign voters. Americans are going Republican.  We're being out-voted by non-Americans the Democrats are bringing in to vote for them.

HANNITY: I've got to leave it there. Thank you both for being with us.  And coming up next tonight here on HANNITY.


TRUMP: We don't have time for it anymore. The country is in trouble. We owe $19 trillion, it's going to be $21 trillion, $22 trillion very soon.  And when you get up to the $24 trillion mark we become Greece. We become Greece on steroids I guess you could say.


HANNITY: I sat down with Donald Trump and other 2016 Republican presidential candidates right after the debate was over. In case you missed it we have some of the highlights. That's next.


HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." So after last night's first Republican debate I spoke with several of the candidates right after it was over. In case you didn't stay up late, some of you had to go to bed and get up for work in the morning, here are some highlights.


HANNITY: Governor, how are you?

WALKER: I'm great.

HANNITY: Did you have fun up there?

WALKER: Yes, I did. It was pretty entertaining.

HANNITY: It was pretty entertaining?

WALKER: I'm right next to Donald Trump, so of course it was entertaining.

HANNITY: It couldn't have been that bad, right?


HANNITY: Let's talk about this. One of the things that came up in the debate for you was the issue of abortion and the exemption for whether or not the mother's life is in jeopardy.

WALKER: It's a false choice. There's always a better option out there. I have said for years medically there's always a better choice than choosing between the life of an unborn baby and the life of the mother. So that's just a false choice out there. That was my point. There's always better choices out there. Medically that's just a non-issue.

HANNITY: You defunded Planned Parenthood in the state already.

WALKER: I did, almost four-and-a-half years ago right at the beginning of my time. I was a leader on that long before the videotapes, long before all the talk out there.

CRUZ: In my view, speaking the truth is the essence of what political debate is supposed to be about. If you think about it, as conservatives we were told in 2010 if only we get the House of Representatives, then things will be better. We won the House and not a thing changed. We were told in 2014 if we get the Senate and retire Harry Reid. Millions of us rose up and did that. And it's worth asking, what have the Republican majorities done? We came back right after that election.

HANNITY: They predicted when you did your filibuster that it wasn't going to be a good year in 2014.

CRUZ: That is exactly right. All the gray beards said that when I stood 21 hours on the Senate floor filibustering to stop ObamaCare, they said we're going to get destroyed. This is going to reelect Harry Reid as majority leader. That didn't happen.

HANNITY: One question that got a lot of boos, and it came right off the top, running as a third candidate, you wouldn't make the pledge.

TRUMP: Right. I'd make the pledge if I win. But why should I give up that leverage? If they don't treat me well, you're talking about the establishment Republicans, if they don't treat me well, Sean, why should I make that pledge? Now, I may at some point do it because I'm starting to really like the establishment people. Reince and the whole group have really been nice lately. But at this moment it's great leverage and I might as well use it. This country should use leverage in trade deals.  They don't believe in it because they don't know what they're doing.

RUBIO: I actually started in local government in a small city, which is pretty intense. You want to help people, you help them in local government. Small city, 5,000 people in west Miami. Then I joined the state legislature. I was there for eight-and-a-half. The last two years I was the speaker on the floor of the house, the third largest state in the country and the most diverse state. Then I left politics. I was out when I decided to run for Senate against Charlie Crist. And I'm proud of my service the last four-and-a-half years in the Senate. But in my time I have become convinced that we can't turn this country to what it should belong, its full potential, unless we have a president that understands what that means. And that's why I chose to run.

HANNITY: I want to ask you about something that really interests me, and that's the fair tax.


HANNITY: You brought it up. I like the fair tax. Can that happen? Is that politically possible?

HUCKABEE: It's absolutely possible. There's 75 House sponsors for the fair tax bill. The reason it's not in law is because nobody has taken the leadership and explained to the American people to how everybody is bettered by the fair tax. The current tax code punishes people's work, savings, investments, and inheritances. In other words it punishes everything that makes an economy strong.

People don't know that every time they buy something it's made in America, 22 percent of the cost is embedded in the cost of the product in hidden taxes because tax capital and labor.

HANNITY: Do you support full data mining?

CHRISTIE: Listen, what I support, Sean, is to allow us to collect that data and then match it up against whether or not folks are receiving calls from known terrorists. Right now under the law Senator Paul put into effect, now the phone companies maintain that data.  If they don't maintain it, we can't get it. If they maintain it, we may saw to them we need it now because we're looking to do something, and they'll say we'll get back to you in 15 days. It makes America less safe.

HANNITY: You've got to be excited you got in this debate.

KASICH: Well, you know, they said I wouldn't get in to begin with. I did. Then, they said he can't raise the money, and then I did. And then they said he's announcing too late, which we did. And now they say how did he get in? And then they're saying he did well tonight.


HANNITY: You had a great answer I thought on immigration. We all agree we've got to build a fence. That is why Donald Trump is popular. You just dealt with it straight up. I like that. What is the answer about the 11 million people, though?

KASICH: Well, we've got to find out who they are. And, look, the most important thing, Sean, is once we build -- fix the border and build the fence and put all the things in, the new technology, we have to make one clear word, which is if you come in again, you're going home. That is the end of it. You're going home.


HANNITY: And coming up, we need your help. Tonight's question of the day is straight head.


HANNITY: Well, I'll take that hurricane. Welcome back. Time for tonight's "Question of the Day." Who do you think won last night's Republican debate? Real simple. Go to Facebook.com/SeanHannity, Hannity.com, or on Twitter @SeanHannity, let us know what you think.

Before we go, I want to tell you about some friends of mine. The 70th anniversary of V. J. Day and the end of World War II is now fast approaching. If you happen to be in the sunshine state, Fort Myers in the Naples area, well, tomorrow the Collier County Honor Flight is now hosting an event. It's in Naples Florida, and they will be inviting 400 veterans to recreate the iconic kiss between the sailor and the nurse in Times Square, remember that? Anyway, hope you can make it. And just go there.  You'll have a great time.

Thanks for being with us this evening. Hope you have a great weekend.  We'll see you back here on Monday.

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