Carson’s remarks spark debate over faith and politics; Gingrich, Steyn weigh in on shrinking GOP field

Why the controversy should finally be put to rest; Columnist Mark Steyn reacts on 'Hannity'


This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," September 22, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


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

DR. BEN CARSON R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Anybody, regardless of their religion or affiliation, if they embrace American values and they place the Constitution at the top level, then I'm supportive of them.

HANNITY: Dr. Benjamin Carson clarifies his comments about a Muslim being president. Mark Steyn is here tonight with reaction.

CARLY FIORINA R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The world is a more dangerous place.

HANNITY: Then Carly Fiorina unveils her foreign policy plans amid a surge in the polls.

FIORINA: Terrorism is not waning as a threat, as our president tried to reassure us.

HANNITY: Newt Gingrich will weigh in on the shrinking GOP field.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The scale of this crisis is outstanding.

HANNITY: And a special report from the front lines of the refugee crisis. All of that plus Frank Luntz reveals which candidate is connecting best with you, the voters.

"Hannity" starts right here, right now.


HANNITY: Welcome to "Hannity." Tonight, Dr. Ben Carson continues to be attacked by the media and politicians or his comments about a Muslim being president, while Hillary Clinton gets a free pass for what she and her campaign did back in 2008. We'll have more on that in just a moment.

But first, Dr. Carson -- he clarified his remarks that caused such an uproar last night right here on this program. Take a look.


CARSON: If someone has a Muslim background and they're willing to reject those tenets and to accept the way of life that we have and clearly will swear to place our Constitution above their religion, then, of course, they will be considered infidels and heretics, but at least I would then be quite willing to support them.


HANNITY: Now, Hillary Clinton was quick to attack Dr. Carson for his original remark. She wrote on Twitter, quote, "Can a Muslim be president of the United States of America? In a word, yes. Now let's move on."

Now, we've got to remind you, our viewers, that back during the 2008 campaign, Hillary Clinton and her staffers -- they were trying to raise questions about then-Senator Obama's faith. You may remember this.


STEVE KROFT, CBS NEWS: You don't believe that Senator Obama's a Muslim.

HILLARY CLINTON, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Of course not. I mean, that's -- you know, there is no basis for that. You know, I take him on the basis of what he says. And you know, there isn't any reason to doubt that.

KROFT: You said you take Senator Obama at his word that he's not a Muslim. You don't believe that he's a Muslim, and you're implying...

CLINTON: No. No, I'm not. There's -- no, there is nothing to base that on, as far as I know.


HANNITY: "As far as I know."

Joining me for reaction, the author of "A Disgrace to the Profession," Mark Steyn is with us. Mark, it goes deeper than that. The Politico reported, the Telegraph reported, Mediaite reported, all these outlets reminded us that it was the Clinton campaign that circulated an e-mail questioning Obama's citizenship.

Quote, "Barack Obama's mother was living in Kenya with his Arab- African father late in her pregnancy. She was not allowed to travel at the time. So Barack Obama was born there, and his mother took him to Hawaii to register his birth," according to the e-mail chain that they sent out, the Clintons sent out!


HANNITY: So she's the original birther, if you will!

STEYN: Yes, that's a good way of putting it, Sean. A lot of the sinister, exotic, mysterious foreigner stuff about Obama was actually started by the Clinton campaign. He, to a certain extent, has done his best to vindicate some of it. But the fact is that this was an intra- Democratic Party dispute started by Hillary Clinton trying to paint Barack Obama as the exotic other. She started it, the original birther.

HANNITY: Yes. And David Plouffe at the time said it's the most shameful, offensive fear-mongering we've ever seen. And people seem to forget they had to fire two Iowa staffers for circulating the e-mail! So you know, it's kind of funny Ben Carson says it, she's lecturing Ben Carson.

Is this the highlight of hypocrisy on her part?

STEYN: Well, I think it's actually worse than that. Ben Carson was asked a theoretical question. I mean, Muslims seem to be -- the Muslim question seems to be the equivalent to the contraception question four years ago. Nobody was talking about it. But suddenly, we've all go to have a view on whether there should be a Muslim president.

Unless Donald Trump is planning on coming out as a Muslim, Bernie Sanders, maybe he's Muslim -- but there isn't actually a declared Muslim candidate.

But Hillary is being particularly ridiculous because she specifically attacked a specific person for his faith and his background, whereas Ben Carson is just entirely legitimately answering a hypothetical.

And there were plenty -- there are of reasons to look at the conflict between Islam and free societies and discuss that hypothetical.

I mean, Hillary Clinton is resting on the Constitution. She says the Constitution doesn't impose a religious test. No, but it imposes -- the Constitution imposes a constitutional test. And for many observant Muslims, the paramountcy of the U.S. Constitution would be a significant problem if you were to become the chief executive.

HANNITY: We can start with freedom of speech.

STEYN: Right.

HANNITY: I mean, those that are critical of Islam or the prophet, the punishment can be death. Or we can look at the application of sharia in Muslim countries today. And I went through this with Dr. Carson last night. In other words, in Saudi Arabia, women can't drive. They can't be seen in public without a male relative. There are other Muslim countries where women need four male eyewitnesses for rape.

If you leave the faith, you are viewed as an apostate, the penalty of which is death.

STEYN: Right.

HANNITY: So I think it is legitimate and it is fair to say sharia, the application of Islam in Muslim countries, every one of them to some extent or another, is the antithesis of what our Constitution offers. So doesn't that make that argument more legitimate?

STEYN: Yes, I think so. And what's ridiculous is that the same liberals who are saying, Oh, wouldn't it be lovely to have a Muslim president and make us even more delightfully diverse and multicultural, are the same people who a few months back were demonstrating outside the Beverly Hills Hotel, which is owned by the sultan of Brunei, and they say he's a big homophobe because the penalty for homosexuality in Brunei is stoning to death.

Now, the sultan of Brunei is an urbane, civilized, charming man, and when his country was a British colony, it lived under English common law. And since it ceased to be a colony, it's been getting less and less common law and more and more sharia.

Seventy years ago, Pakistan lived under common law, now it lives under Islamic law. Fifty years ago, Nigeria lived under English common law. Now half of it's under sharia.

So clearly, the coming to power of observant, devout Muslims has driven a stake through the legal tradition and inheritance that...


HANNITY: That also raises another question. The president, even though James Clapper and our State Department have told us, the highest levels in our intelligence community have told us that ISIS and al Qaeda will infiltrate the refugee population, that they want to take as many as 200,000. And I assume that number will go higher over time.

You know, I happen to be of the belief that if we risk taking one radical Islamist into the country in the refugee population, that we have made a big mistake and put the entire country at risk. Are the Republicans going to fight back on that?

STEYN: Well, I would certainly hope so. The fact is, several Republican candidates seem to think we should take these refugees and seem to think that we have the capacity to check their bona fides. I happened to go through U.S. immigration...

HANNITY: And how do you do that?

STEYN: ... and I was all concerned in case...


HANNITY: How do you determine if someone's a genuine refugee or somebody is a terrorist that has been trained to lie to you and say that he's here for humanitarian reasons, for a better life for his family? He'll lie!

STEYN: Well, they won't. They won't because it'll be a straight -- my lawyer told me that my application, they spent six minutes on it. I would think that, if anything, it's maybe down to three minutes by now. So I would imagine that most of these refugees, it will, in effect, be no more different than what's happening at the Hungarian border, where every so often, a bunch of them scramble across the fence and you don't know who the hell they are.

And here they'll just be filling in the paper, but it'll still be exactly the same as scrambling over the fence. You'll have no clue who they are, what their real name is, where they came from.

HANNITY: So sharia and the Constitution are at odds with each other. And that's what the American people need to know as we continue this debate.

But stay right there. More Mark Steyn coming up right after the break.

And now that Governor Scott Walker has suspended his campaign, what does that mean for the rest of the GOP field?

Also, Carly Fiorina continues to rise in the polls after her very strong debate performance. We'll get reaction tonight from former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

We'll also have more on this refugee crisis. Do you want migrants pouring out of the Middle East into America? Should we be taking them in? Geraldo Rivera and I go one on one on that issue and much more.




GOV. SCOTT WALKER, R-WIS., FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Today, I believe that I'm being called to lead by helping to clear the field in this race so that a positive conservative message can rise to the top of the field. With this in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately.

I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive conservative alternative to the current front-runner.


HANNITY: That was Wisconsin governor Scott Walker last night announcing that he is suspending his presidential campaign. During the speech, Walker urged more candidates to consider to do the same, and he seemed to take a shot at Donald Trump there. What happened to the pledge that everyone would support the winner? And what does it mean for the GOP and the race for the White House?

We continue with the author of the brand-new book, "Disgrace to the Profession," columnist Mark Steyn.

No matter what people say, this pledge that will support the eventual nominee doesn't seem to apply to Trump, even though everyone pressured him to sign it. Reaction.

STEYN: No. Yes, people have been quite openly dismissive of it, including Scott Walker, who's basically saying that maybe another 12, 13 guys should bail on this competition and so -- so the anti-Trump figure will emerge, and that'll be the end of him.

But the fact is, he's wrong. I mean, generally, in the last few weeks, there have been a handful of candidates near the top. Unfortunately for Scott Walker, they're not the ones he would have preferred. They're Trump and they're Ben Carson and they're Carly Fiorina.

And just to go back to what we were talking about before the break, Sean, Scott Walker was not a credible candidate on, for example, the issue of the migrants pouring out of the Middle East. He said that was a hypothetical question and he wasn't ready to answer it. It wasn't a hypothetical. It's going on on our TV screens even as we speak.

And so what that means is that he's basically saying he's a performing seal who hasn't been yet given his poll-tested answer by his consultants yet. And that's why Scott Walker pulled out.

The idea that somehow, Scott Walker is now going to lead a sort of coalition of wise men who will unite the Republican Party against the joke candidate -- he -- he -- his campaign failed in part because on serious issues like that and on immigration and other issues, he turned himself into a joke.

HANNITY: Let's talk about the Democrats. Let me just read off some headlines about Hillary just today. You have a charity watchdog group warning people not to donate to the Clinton Foundation. You have United talent agency in Hollywood -- they've turned their back. Now George Clooney reportedly is ready to support Biden in the race.

You've got unions now that have put off their endorsement of Hillary, waiting to see if Biden gets in the race. And Klein has a new book coming out that raises serious issues about her health, that that might hurt her in her race. For the first time in New York, her poll numbers are underwater. And on top of that the Clinton camp is trying to warn Joe Biden about getting into the race.

Add the e-mail scandal to this, how does she get to the finish line at this point?

STEYN: Yes. Basically, Hillary has defeated Hillary. Nobody else -- nobody else can defeat Hillary. Hillary did this to herself.

And if you're the president, it's not a difficult choice. Do you want the Democrat Party to go over the cliff with Hillary Clinton, or would you prefer to back another candidate, such as Joe Biden, who will be a more explicit third Obama term and hasn't -- and doesn't come tainted with all the sleaze?

The sinful (ph) dynamic of the Democrat race has been that Obama loathes the Clintons, and he's the only guy who's ever successfully driven a stake through the heart of the Clinton machine four years -- eight years ago. And every indication is that Hillary is such a weak candidate that he's ready to do it all over again.

HANNITY: All right, so look at it in a Mark Steyn crystal ball. Who'd going to be the Republican nominee, who's going to be the Democratic nominee, if you had to pick today?

STEYN: Well, look, I -- I think going into Iowa and New Hampshire, lots more Republicans are going to fall by the wayside. Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina are not going to be one of them. The question is whether there's an establishment candidate, a senator or a governor -- I mean, all the governors left in the race are ancient history now, like George Pataki and Jim Gilmore -- but whether there is one of those figure strong enough to see off the Trump, Carson, Fiorina thing.

And I think at this stage, that's very doubtful. You know, whatever you feel about Lindsey Graham -- I know you always roll your eyes when I mention him -- but he's actually very sincere about his issue, and he's going nowhere.

The leading establishment candidates, like Jeb Bush, don't seem to be able to project any compelling reason as to why they're running for president. That was Scott Walker's problem.

So they got to find a guy -- if they want to knock out Trump, they got to find an establishment guy who can be compelling, who can be passionate, who can be -- if you disagree with Trump on birthright citizenship and the border war and all the other stuff, you got to be able to do it with some passion and hammer him.

Otherwise, right now, he's going to win Iowa and he's going to win New Hampshire, and after that, all bets are off and they'll be the ones wishing they hadn't signed the pledge.

HANNITY: All right, Mark Steyn, thank you for being with us.

Coming up -- Carly Fiorina surging in the polls. Can she keep this momentum going? Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich -- he weighs in on why the outsider candidates are connecting so well with you, the American people.

Also, Frank Luntz is here tonight to explain which ads are now resonating best among you, the voters, and which ones are falling flat. That and more on this busy edition of "Hannity."


HANNITY: All right, welcome back to "Hannity" -- a little Deep Purple.

Following a strong performance at last week's GOP debate, 2016 presidential candidate Carly Fiorina saw a pretty big spike in the polls. Earlier today, she sought to capitalize on that momentum at a foreign policy forum in Charleston, South Carolina.

Take a look.


FIORINA: It is interesting to me that the Obama administration has been roused to say something about Syrian refugees and asylum and taking more of them and has said virtually nothing about the persecution or crucifixion or mass exodus of Christians all across the Middle East!


FIORINA: We know that many of the people who come here are coming from terrorist-infested territories. We must ensure that we understand who's coming in and why and are they a threat to this country or not? But John Kerry and President Obama want to make a gesture, so they say 100,000, isn't this great? We don't have to deal with it. The next guy or gal will have to deal with it.



HANNITY: And here with analysis, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Mr. Speaker, it is an honor to have you back. Welcome back, sir.

NEWT GINGRICH, R-FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: Great to be back with you. And that was a pretty compelling speech by Carly that you just had on just now. I mean, look at her -- look at her specifics, look at her delivery, look at how she draws a sharp contrast with the administration. You see why she's done well.

HANNITY: I think she's performed very well in the debates. And I can tell you, having interviewed her, very meticulous in her preparation. She's informed. Her background and experience I think is far more extensive than people really know.

Give me your general state of the GOP field, where it stands and where you think this is going.

GINGRICH: Well, I've felt for a long time that you have to look at it in clusters. The top three people in the race are all non-office holders. You've got -- you've got Trump, now followed pretty closely by Fiorina, followed by Ben Carson. I mean, it's amazing to me over half the Republican voters are picking three people who have never held public office. It's almost like you show up and you say, Hi, I'm a senator or I'm a governor, and they check it off, OK, next, because it almost becomes a disadvantage to have held public office.

And I think that reflects the degree to which the country's alienated from Washington. The remarkable numbers we're seeing in the Gallup poll -- for example, that 75 percent of the country believes there's widespread corruption in government -- that's breathtaking in terms of alienation.

HANNITY: OK, so then let's walk through this together. Where does this end up? I mean, I saw you gave advice, for example, to Donald Trump to focus more on issues, less personal attacks. Is he still going to be the front-runner three months from now? Any advice you'd give him to maintain that position? Could either of those three be the nominee for the Republicans?

GINGRICH: Oh, I think any of the three could be the nominee. I mean, first of all, these are three really smart people. I mean, no one should underestimate how smart Trump is. Fiorina proves every time she gets a chance that she really is an extraordinarily intelligent person with great clarity and great decisiveness. And remember, Ben Carson was the youngest head of a division at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the history of the hospital. He did brilliant world class neurosurgery on Siamese twins in his 30s, leading a 70-person operating team for 22 hours.

These three people are remarkable in their general ability to learn, their general ability to master things, very different, but all three of them are remarkably smart.

HANNITY: All right, then let's look outside of those three. And you've got Ted Cruz and Senator Rubio and John Kasich and Jeb Bush and -- and where do you see them fitting into this?

GINGRICH: Well, I think, you know, there's almost a contest right now between -- and Cruz is kind of, by the way, the one guy who bridges both. He's in the Senate, but he's really not of the Senate. I mean, he's worked extra hard to make sure that he's an outsider in the Senate. So he's almost -- when I count votes, I count him as the fourth outsider, rather than...

HANNITY: I agree, another insurgent candidate. Right.

GINGRICH: So you have four insurgents. Then you have, I think, a competition, and we've seen good friends of ours, both of ours, people like Rick Perry and Scott Walker, drop out who are absolutely talented people. But this is not a year where that by itself is enough.

So I think then you got a race between Jeb, who has enormous assets still, between Rubio, who is extraordinarily talented and gets very good remarks in every debate, and John Kasich who I think is probably the most innovative governor in the country.

Those three guys really are in a contest over here for traditional candidate, if you will, somebody who's held office, operates within the traditional system, would manage it much better than Obama but is not a radical.

HANNITY: Of all of those...

GINGRICH: And over here, you have the four radicals.

HANNITY: Of all of those, who do you see having the best chance at this moment to break through that other class of candidates?

GINGRICH: Listen, if you had said to me a week ago, we'd be talking with Scott Walker no longer in the race...

HANNITY: I would have been shocked. Yes. And he was a great governor, I agree with you. All right, let me ask this question.

GINGRICH: All right.

HANNITY: Republicans now are going to battle over a CR, the funding of Planned Parenthood. There's a group of Republicans that want to revisit the issue of the president's illegal, unconstitutional executive order on immigration, and some that even want to defund "Obama care."

Why do I believe -- and even the refugee issue. Why do I believe that on every one of those issues, once President Obama says, I'll shut down the government, the Republican leadership will cave? Am I wrong?

GINGRICH: Look, I think the Republican leadership has no faith in their ability to win a public relations fight with Barack Obama. I think they believe that the news media is so biased that they can't get their message through and they'll just lose the fight.

HANNITY: So basically, surrender...


HANNITY: We can expect another surrender. Isn't that fueling the insurgency rise?

GINGRICH: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, I did notice that Mitch McConnell wrote an article I think was in the Cincinnati newspaper in which he said there was going to be a way to defund Planned Parenthood. I want to see how he gets it done. I think there's an enormous burden -- McConnell has a harder job than Boehner because the Senate is a much harder institution to manage.

HANNITY: What's so hard about this? You've done this! You actually -- you said no. And you stood strong! You paid a little price for it. Your approval rating went down a little bit. But they've never done this. They didn't do it on "Obama care." They didn't do it on immigration. Now they're going to do it on Planned Parenthood. And the base, conservatives like myself, sit back and say, Oh, they tell us it's a difference in tactics. Yes, I don't support the tactic of continually surrendering to Obama!

GINGRICH: Well, look, I think this is a big problem. And I think it absolutely is part of why traditional candidates have a hard time right now because the Republican base is I think the angriest I've seen it since the Goldwater period.

I mean, you now have -- when I go out and I talk to people who are major donors, they're just fed up. And so they're looking for candidates who ventilate in very aggressive language, people who talk about changing Washington, not managing Washington. There's a huge difference in those two.

HANNITY: I got to ask you one question about the pope. You may not like it, but I'm going to ask it. The pope goes to Cuba. He meets the murdering dictator with all the political prisoners, the Castro brothers. He comes to the United States, and everything we hear, he's going to lecture America on the failures of capitalism. He's going to try and encourage us to open our borders on immigration, open our borders for refugees from Syria and Iraq, which I think is a bad idea. And he's going to talk about a nuclear ban.

That is frustrating to me. What's your reaction as a Catholic?

GINGRICH: Well, first of all, you've been spoiled by Pope John Paul II...

HANNITY: That's correct.

GINGRICH: ... who was a great, heroic figure who understood the modern world brilliantly and was intellectually decisive.

Second, I'm an optimist. I think that Pope Francis is, in fact, attracting people to the church, starting dialogues, doing things that are useful. In Cuba, for example, he did exactly what John Paul II did and what Benedict did. They have a very clear sense -- if you can force a Castro dictatorship to allow a mass on the size that they were having, the number of people who are reconnected to the church today in Cuba is dramatically greater than it was two weeks ago.

And I think it is a move in the direction of freedom. And I wrote a piece today for The Washington Times where I outlined -- you know, the pope talked very clearly about religious liberty in Cuba. I hope that the president and the Supreme Court and the Congress will listen to the Pope as closely when he talks about religious liberty, which they have been coercing. I mean, we're drifting towards an anti-religious secularism imposed by the state, enforced by putting people in jail, that I think is very dangerous. And I hope that that part of the Pope's message will also come through.

HANNITY: All right, I suspect I'll have disagreements with him, but Mr. Speaker, thank you for being with us.

GINGRICH: Good to be with you.

HANNITY: When we come back, Frank Luntz is back to reveal which campaign is putting out the best political ads that resonate with you. And later more on the refugee crisis in the Middle East. We'll have a report from Greece where migrants are coming over by the boatload. And I go one on one with Geraldo Rivera. Should America be taking these people in? My position is no, straight ahead.


HANNITY: Hi, Welcome back to HANNITY. So the road to 2016 is in full swing. And as we saw with Scott Walker exiting the race yesterday, some candidates' messages are resonating better with you, the voters. Pollster Frank Luntz recently dialed political ads with a focus group of voters. He's here to explain results. Mr. Luntz, good to see you, sir.

FRANK LUNTZ, POLLSTER: It's great, Sean. I've got to tell you that already this series of ads are out, and it is significant that we've had some really good ads that have impacted Republican primary voters, but some of them have been awful and they just really haven't resonated.

HANNITY: Let's look at Marco Rubio. He says if he's president our enemies will not test us. Let's see how this did.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The first thing that will change if I'm president is we're not going to have a foreign policy designed to make us popular in the world. We'll have a foreign policy designed to protect our people and make sure we're respected and our interests are respected in the world.

For starters, we will rebuild our military and we will have for now and the foreseeable future the strongest military on this planet, and no one will dare test it. We will have a foreign policy of moral clarity that is clear whose side we're on. We're on the side of freedom and democracy and those who are willing to fight for their own freedom and democracy and liberty.

And number three, we're going to have a foreign policy that makes it very clear that we are good to our allies. They can rely on us. And our enemies and adversaries will not dare test us because they will know that if they do, they will not prevail.


HANNITY: You know what's fascinating is the longer he spoke, it kept going up and up and up. That's not always the case.

LUNTZ: No. And Sean, this is an issue that people don't realize. Republican primary voters prioritize national security even above economic security. Foreign policy matters more to them than jobs and the economy. And Marco Rubio is one of the reasons why in the most recent polling he's now into double digits, that he is the one candidate that's talking about what needs to happen to restore American security.

HANNITY: There's another candidate that says we need to be tougher with ISIS and Islamic terrorists that scored very well as well, and that's Senator Ted Cruz. Let's look at that.


SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will not defeat radical terrorists so long as we have a president unwilling to utter the words "radical Islamic terrorism."


CRUZ: What we need is a commander in chief who makes clear, if you join ISIS, if you wage jihad on America, then you are signing your death warrant.

I introduced the expatriate terrorist act in the Senate that said if any American travels to the Middle East and joins ISIS, that he or she forfeits their citizenship so they don't use a passport to come back and wage jihad on Americans.



HANNITY: Almost the exact same phenomenon. That is not normally the case.

LUNTZ: You're right. These are two of the best ads of the campaign season so far. Notice the different approach, that Ted Cruz is using a very direct -- he's using one of the most powerful sound bites yet spoken in this presidential campaign. Marco Rubio is more thoughtful and more philosophical. Ted Cruz is more passionate and in some ways more powerful, but they both get to the same point. My advice to Republican presidential candidates is that you better have a national security strategy and you better start talking about it now.

HANNITY: All right, well said. Let's look on the other side of this. American Crossroads has an ad out against Hillary that goes after her and the e-mail server scandal. Let's watch this.


CLINTON: I did not send classified material and I did not receive any material that was marked or designated classified. So that's all I can say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you wipe the server?

CLINTON: I have no idea. That's why we turned it over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you wipe the server?

CLINTON: Like with a cloth or something?


CLINTON: I don't know. I don't know how it works digitally at all. I have no idea.


HANNITY: "You mean like with a cloth?" That did not go over well. I would assume we're going to see a lot of that.

LUNTZ: Yes. And in fact you're going to keep seeing Hillary's words -- Secretary of State Clinton's words used against her again and again. Sean, one of the things we found in our testing is that the more Hillary Clinton talks the more agitated people become simply because they don't believe she's telling the truth. And so crack a joke, wipe it with a cloth? That was Ed Henry questioning her. That -- by the way, Ed, of course a reporter at Fox News, that's questioning at its best. And it was very smart to use her own words against her. The public doesn't believe it any more.

HANNITY: All right, Ben Carson, very soft spoken, he might even be described as the anti-Trump in the sense of his demeanor, personality, soft spoken, but he explains why he's running for president. Let's roll this one.


CARSON: Our children, their future, nothing is more important. I'm Ben Carson. People ask, why run for president? Because our children face a very harsh future. Unsustainable debt future generations will suffer. At $10 million a day for 5,000 year, it still won't be repaid. Washington is broken. The political class broke it. Please join me, for their sake.

I'm Ben Carson, and I approve this message.


HANNITY: Interesting, his tone and demeanor, while different, is still very acceptable to that group.

LUNTZ: And it's more than acceptable. It's embraced. And it's the reason why Ben Carson --

HANNITY: That's a better word. "Embraced" is a better word.

LUNTZ: And -- but he goes into something that again I urge Republican candidates to pay attention to -- 55 percent of Americans believe that their children are going to have a worse quality of life than them. Sean, it's never been a majority in the last 50 years, but it is today, that feel that life is simply going to -- that their kids are going to suffer. And Ben Carson is focused on that in this campaign and it's one of the reasons why he's doing so well.

HANNITY: We're going to have Frank back with Jeb and Trump and Carly in the next round. Appreciate it. Thank you, Frank Luntz.

LUNTZ: Thank you.

HANNITY: And coming up, we're going to go to Greece for an update on the refugee crisis. What happens to the migrants once they arrive in that country? Plus, should we be taking these migrants into America even though our intelligence agencies are warning us that in fact ISIS and Al Qaeda will infiltrate the refugee community? Geraldo and I go one on one next.


HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." The staggering Middle East refugee crisis continues. Fox News foreign affairs correspondent Benjamin Hall is following a group of migrants as they arrive on the shores of Greece. Benjamin, What's it like on the ground?

BENJAMIN HALL, FOX NEWS FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Sean, the island of Lesbos where we are now has become a symbol for the plight of refugees fleeing Middle Eastern conflict. This is the closest point between Turkey and Europe and it's the one land they so desperately want to reach. It may be the closest but it is also the most dangerous. And waters around this island have become a graveyard. Over the last week alone around 80 have died.

But that danger doesn't stop refugees coming, and up to four-and-a- half thousand a day brave the choppy seas. We watched as boat after boat arrived at the shoreline fleeing the horrors behind them, the gas attacks and barrel bombs of Assad and the beheadings of ISIS. Ahead of them, though, lies a continent which is struggling to cope and which in some cases doesn't want them.

This tragic journey is only possible due to a massive underground railroad, and human traffickers charge $1,500 for the one-hour journey, giving the desperate refugees a life jacket, putting them in a boat with a small motor and simply pointing them across the six-mile sea and letting them steer for themselves.

But even here when they arrive their journey is just beginning. And once on the island the thousands sleep rough, before being fingerprinted, their I.D.'s checked, and they're given permission to leave. After that they're huddled into ferries and pushed from country to country until one will take them.

That process is about to change, though, with European ministers voting today to set up a quota system which would redistribute refugees around the continent. Many Eastern European countries, though, are unhappy with this arrangement.

The U.S. may also start to do more about this. Secretary of State John Kerry just announcing that the U.S. will raise its number from 70,000 immigrants to 85,000 this year, and then in 2017 it will take 100,000.

Sean, all this ignores the fact that until the conflict in Syria is dealt with, the mass exodus of people, the largest since the Second World War, will continue to keep coming. And that is the problem, Sean.

HANNITY: All right, Benjamin, thank you.

Joining us now with reaction, Fox News senior correspondent Geraldo Rivera. You commented accurately so during Benjamin's report, we keep seeing in the media women and children, but the vast majority of the refugees are men.

GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: That graphic, haunting picture of the three-year-old dead on the Turkish beach is what generated the international compassion and concern for this crisis. But the vast majority I would submit, and I think the statistics bear it out, of people fleeing -- just look at that lifeboat in the camera right, the vast majority of the people onboard that boat are young men. If they're Shiite they're fleeing being drafted into Bashar Assad's army, and if they're Sunni they're fearful that ISIS will get their hands on them.

HANNITY: Here's the problem. James Clapper, the U.S. director of national intelligence, the State Department spokesman John Kirby, others in our intelligence community have all said the same thing -- ISIS and Al Qaeda will infiltrate the refugee community. So we're going to take in now upwards of close to 200,000. It's probably just the beginning of a number of people coming from an area we cannot ascertain what their intentions are for this country when they get here. To me, to risk taking in one ISIS fighter is too great a risk.

RIVERA: Let me just give you a quick alternative, and then I'll address Mr. Clapper who I think is spot-on. First of all, why not have Russia and the United States work jointly to establish a safe zone within Syria? This is a zone where we have sufficient military prowess, where we can keep people reasonably. Not in Jordan, not in Lebanon, not anywhere else --

HANNITY: Keep them where they are.

RIVERA: In Syria. Let all the aid come to them. We protect them against ISIS. We protect them against Islamic terrorists.

HANNITY: By the way, Putin and Netanyahu, Netanyahu met with Putin this week. That would be a perfect coalition. That's a great idea.

RIVERA: It is absolutely the way to do it.

Now to the importation of the misery to the United States. I think it is a curious exchange of misery, what the president proposes. Even as he's now suggesting almost a quarter of a million immigrants coming from Syria, we are expelling from this country millions of undocumented, law abiding Mexicans who have been here for decades.

HANNITY: We're not doing that, but OK.

RIVERA: This has happened before. In 2008 they were in the meat packing plant in Iowa where the Mexicans have been working for decades. They got all deported in 2008. Who took their place? We imported tens of thousands of refugees from Somalia, Sunni Muslims from Somalia fleeing the violence there. Those Somalis they took the jobs of the Mexicans in Iowa. Now they've settled in the twin cities. What happened? At least 40 of the Somali refugees have returned to Africa to fight for al-Shabaab, the Al Qaeda affiliate in Africa. It is fraught with peril. You import a young man from the war zones and you are almost guaranteeing that some percentage, maybe a small percentage, but Clapper is right some percentage will turn bad.

HANNITY: Even if it's two or three percent, we can't risk it. But the president is willing to risk it.

RIVERA: But this is the way. Why not this safe zone? It would be cheaper.

HANNITY: I never thought I'd say these words -- Geraldo, you're 1,000 percent correct. We can get Putin, we can get Netanyahu. We can get Egypt, we can get Jordan, we can get the Saudis --

RIVERA: Everyone.

HANNITY: Everyone should unite to keep them there.

RIVERA: Now this is true free Syria, not in Damascus, not in Aleppo, not in Raqqa where ISIS is.

HANNITY: Not take them here, we should not take one.

RIVERA: Well, babies, mothers, children.

HANNITY: Don't you remember what you said to me during hurricane Katrina, "Sean, the babies." You have a soft spot for kids.


HANNITY: I can't fault you on that front. Geraldo, you're right. Great point.

RIVERA: Thank you.

HANNITY: Coming up next, we need your help. Our "Question of the Day." And we're bringing back our segment video edition of "Ask Sean." That's straight ahead.


HANNITY: Welcome back to HANNITY. Time for tonight's "Question of the Day." Who do you think benefits from Scott Walker exiting the race? We want to hear from you. Go to Facebook.com/SeanHannity, and on Twitter @SeanHannity, let us know what you think.

Now, we told you last night we're bringing back the segment "Ask Sean", me. You've been sending in questions on Facebook and Twitter that you'd like to ask me. Here is tonight's question. Apparently it's coming from Estonia. Let's listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sean, I'm a big fan of yours. And my question comes from Europe, from Estonia. And I was wondering, have you ever thought about running for president, perhaps in the future? Thank you. Bless you.


HANNITY: First, I'm honored that you're watching in Estonia. Thank you very much. We really appreciate it. I have not given much thought to running for political office. I'd like to at least facilitate. I view conservatives as we're all spokes of the wheel. And I do radio and TV every day to try to and out a good, strong, solid conservative message with conservative solutions. And my hope is that we all together as spokes in a wheel that we can get this country on the right track. Running for president, I don't think my own family would vote for me. But thank you for your vote of confidence.

If you have a question for me, go over to Twitter and use the #AskSean, or, even better, send in a video and we might put your face on TV and you'll be a big star in your family.

That's all the time we have. Don't forget, set your DVR so you never miss an episode. We take attendance. We're angry when you're not here. We'll see you back here tomorrow night.

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