Rubio, Cruz talk foreign policy, gov't shutdown; McCarthy on how he differs from Boehner

On 'Hannity,' presidential candidate discusses the geopolitical consequences of Obama's foreign policy, Trump jabs and the 2016 GOP field


This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," September 29, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Welcome to "Hannity." Tonight, we have a jam- packed show. Senator Ted Cruz, Newt Gingrich, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, who wants to be the new Speaker of the House, are all here tonight. Plus, in a moment, Senator Marco Rubio will join us.

But first, tonight, President Obama continues to meet with America's adversaries at the United Nations. Earlier today, Obama sat down with Cuba's communist president Raul Castro to discuss normalizing diplomatic relations. Now, it is the first time leaders from both countries have met on U.S. soil in almost 60 years.

And yesterday, President Obama also held talks with Russian president Vladimir Putin to figure out ways to end the crisis in Syria and combat ISIS.

Now, President Obama also shook hands with the Iranian foreign minister, making it the first handshake between a U.S. president and Iran's top diplomat in more than 30 years.

Here with reaction, 2016 GOP presidential candidate -- Senator Marco Rubio is with us. Let me start with Vladimir Putin. I thought you had one of the best moments in the last debate...


HANNITY: ... when you called him a gangster, and then you went on to make a prediction that is absolutely now coming true. Explain.

RUBIO: Well, we know that Russia -- a couple things are happening with Russia under Putin. One is this knee-jerk reaction. They're going to be against whatever America wants. But the second is he wants to reposition Russia as a geopolitical force equal to the United States.

And so this thing that's going on in the Middle East is an example of it. What is going on now is he's going across to the counties in the Middle East and he's saying, Look, the Americans broke the Middle East, and now they're leaving. And they're unreliable. So we're going to step in and we're actually going to fight ISIS. We're really going to do it.

But his real goal here is to protect Assad, keep Assad in power and increase his leverage in the region. And that's exactly what he's achieving by what he's done now over the last 48 hours, not just repositioning military assets within the territory of Syria, but also going to the United Nations and saying to the world that Russia under Vladimir Putin -- they're going to be the ones that lead the anti-ISIS coalition.

It really diminishing America both geopolitically in the region, but ultimately, in the eyes of our allies and others around the world.

HANNITY: You know, Machiavelli once famously said it's better to be feared than loved. Why do I see Vladimir Putin as the one who is feared, not loved, and Obama's not loved or feared?


HANNITY: In other words, is America now on the world stage creating a vacuum, betraying our allies like Israel and others in the Middle East, and opening this -- this -- basically, giving away the table to the Iranians?  Is now Putin coming in and taking advantage of that? And what does it mean for what's going to happen down the road in terms of international safety?

RUBIO: Well, here's what it means. Number one, Vladimir Putin's reputation -- people may not like him in the international stage or some of the things he's done, but he's seen as decisive and reliable, albeit in a way that perhaps is not in the interests of most of the world.

On the other hand, Obama is seen as unreliable, skittish, afraid to engage, and not clear what he wants to do moving forward. And what Barack Obama does not fundamentally understand and has never understood that in the Middle East, in particular, weakness is an invitation for further aggression.

And that's how America under Barack Obama's viewed right now by many of the nations in the Middle East, as an unreliable country, maybe even a country in decline, but most certainly a country run by someone who they view as unreliable and weak. And the consequences are significant geopolitically because it extends not just to the Middle East but in the Asia Pacific region and even into Europe.

HANNITY: Sixty-two percent of Republicans feel betrayed by the Republican Party in D.C. Fifty-two percent of Americans feel that Congress is corrupt. You're in the middle of negotiating a continuing resolution in the Senate and the House, and the issue of Planned Parenthood's coming up.  Executive amnesty -- that ended up getting funded back in February, when the Republicans said they would stop that in the last election cycle. Then you go back to defunding "Obama care," Republicans wouldn't use the power of the purse.

Is the Republican Party fighting hard enough? In other words, do they deserve that poll number? Because I would argue they probably do.

RUBIO: Yes. And here's why, because the first point I would make is -- you know, fighting isn't just saying, Well, we're going to vote -- we're going to take a vote, we're going to prove to people we don't have the votes, and then we'll do what we need to do. That's not what fighting means.

What fighting means is we've decided we're not going to fund this organization. These videos have exposed them for who they truly are. And then you spend weeks and months making the argument to the American people, This is why we're not going to do this. And you win that argument, or at least you do the best you can to try to win it.

They didn't even try to do that. In essence, they put a few press releases out saying, Oh, we're against this. This is an outrage. Then they took a show vote, and then ultimately, nothing happened.

And that's the point. It's come now to the point where the leadership, unfortunately, in both parties, but there's those who now believe that we can't win an argument. We can't win going out there and advocating for these positions with the American people. We can't win this public debate, so let's not even try.

If you from the very beginning say, We're going to do the best we can, but there's no way we're going to win, in essence, you've already given up and you've created...


HANNITY: But how do we solve this?

RUBIO: That's my problem. We should have said early on we're not going to do it.

HANNITY: All right, but -- but...

RUBIO: Go ahead. I'm sorry.

HANNITY: But Republicans ended up funding "Obama care." They have the power of the purse. That's how I read the Constitution. I believe you'll probably end up funding Planned Parenthood, just like you funded illegal, unconstitutional executive amnesty.

Boehner has now pretty much been pushed out, as far as I'm concerned.  He's leaving. We'll check in with Kevin McCarthy tonight. But is Mitch McConnell fighting? Does he need to go?

RUBIO: Well, look, I'm not calling for that right now, but I am saying this. We need to do a better job up front of saying, This is what we're doing. And this is what we're not going to do and here's why, and in a sustained way, over a consistent period of time, make the argument in the court of public opinion. And we're not doing that.

But Sean, you know, that's not going to change, by the way, in my opinion, until we have a nominee and ultimately, hopefully, a president that will do that. And right now, we're not -- that's not happening. It's not happening in either house. I think that's one of the things that's leading to this incredible amount of discomfort...

HANNITY: But Senator, wasn't...

RUBIO: ... that now exists among the base of the party and America at large.

HANNITY: Wasn't 2014 the election was...

RUBIO: Go ahead. I'm sorry.

HANNITY: ... Give us the Senate, we'll stop the illegal, unconstitutional executive amnesty?


HANNITY: That was the whole campaign was about that...

RUBIO: That's exactly right. And that's why people are so angry.

HANNITY: Yes. All right, let me ask you this...

RUBIO: So that's why people are so angry because the said, We gave you the House, we gave you the Senate, and Obama keeps winning.

HANNITY: This -- in many ways, this presidential campaign is the year, I would argue, of the insurgent candidate. You do the best among, I would argue, the non-insurgent candidates. Is that a fair characterization?

RUBIO: Well, the -- yes, I worked in the Senate for four years, but I'm not a product -- I'm not of the Senate. I work in the Senate. I'm proud to represent Florida in the Senate.

But let's remember why I went there to begin with. I went to the U.S. Senate because I didn't like the direction of this county and I didn't think either party was doing a good job in that regard. And that's the same reason why I'm not running for reelection, and instead I'm running for president because I'm convinced, now more than ever, that we're not going to get this country on the right track until we put someone in the White House that is going to do what needs to be done. It takes presidential leadership to achieve these things.

HANNITY: Well, you've had a significant increase this polls, especially after the last debate. I'm sure that makes you happy. With that comes added scrutiny. There's been a back and forth between you and Donald Trump. He's attacked you, you've responded. And at the Value Voters summit, by the way, when he attacked you, he didn't get a great response. Let's roll the tape.


DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Rubio's a lightweight. We understand that. He wouldn't be able to do this. He wouldn't know a trade deal from any other deal.

Marco Rubio is a lightweight. I can't imagine that he goes anywhere - - who, by the way, has the worst voting record in the United States Senate.

You have this clown, Marco Rubio. I've been so nice to him.


TRUMP: I've been so nice. I've been so nice!

Marco Rubio, he's like a kid. He shouldn't even be running in this race, as far as I'm concerned. He's a kid.

Marco Rubio, who has the worst voting record in the United States Senate, and a young guy, although he sweats more than any young person I've ever seen in my life.


HANNITY: Now, you responded, and let's play a little bit of what you said in your response.


RUBIO: Look, I'm not interested in a back and forth to be a member or part of his freak show. I would just say this. He is a very sensitive person. He doesn't like to be criticized. He responds to criticism very poorly.

But this election is not going to be about Donald Trump. He thinks it is and -- but it's not about him. It has to be about the issues confronting our country. And my sense of it is that every time issues become prominent, he will say something outrageous or do something outrageous so that he doesn't have to talk about the issues.


HANNITY: What's your reaction to all of this? Is this just part and parcel of presidential politics? We should expect this?

RUBIO: Yes. No, no, it isn't. It shouldn't be, and it normally isn't. But like I said earlier before, it's very clear he's a very insecure person. He doesn't like to be criticized. You know, the presidency is a tough job. You're going to be criticized, and you can't flip out every time somebody says something about you. He does. And that's his problem.

I don't have time to kind of analyze why that is, but that's the reality of it. He had a bad week. You know, he got booed on a stage. He had very few people show up to an event he gave. Just today, Tom Brady said he's not endorsing Donald Trump despite these reports that he (INAUDIBLE) even have Tom Brady on his side now. So he's a very sensitive guy, and that's fine. That's his problem.

I'm not going to worry about it.

HANNITY: Why do you think...

RUBIO: Here's what I am going to worry about.

HANNITY: Why do you think he's doing...

RUBIO: I'm going to worry about the future of this country.

HANNITY: What has he tapped into that you think he's doing so well?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, I mean, three quarters -- well, I mean, let's be clear. I mean, three quarters of the Republican Party does not support him. That being said, both him and other candidates have tapped into what you and I just discussed a moment ago, and that is the political class is completely out of touch with this country.

The disconnect between Washington, D.C., both political parties, and our people has never been broader. People are -- you know, you have millions of people in this country living paycheck to paycheck. And this government is making it worse for them, not better for them.

There's this feeling that the only people that win are the people that are connected to government, who can hire a lobbyist and influence the direction of it. And for the first time in 35 years, you have more businesses dying than starting. And nothing is happening. And they've been hearing promises from both political parties for the better part of a decade. Nothing gets...

HANNITY: All right, last question...

RUBIO: ... better, and people are angry and they're frustrated.

HANNITY: How -- you've now come up significantly in the polls. Walk us through the path that you see to the presidency, to the nomination.

RUBIO: Well, I've always believed these campaigns are about going out and telling people who you are and what you will do, in essence, telling people where we can go as a country and showing them what it's going to take to get there.

And look, I don't think there's a federal government answer to every one of our problems. I believe in a limited government. So I want to make America the best place in world to create the best jobs of the 21st century. I want to make it easier and cheaper for people to acquire the skills they need for that job -- for those jobs.

But more importantly, I want a federal government that keeps us safe, that secures our border, that rebuilds our military, that has a foreign policy of moral clarity and strength.

And that's what my campaign is all about. And I've outlined clear ideas about how to achieve it. That's what I'm going to keep doing from now until the votes are cast. And I am very confident, Sean, that if we do that consistently and effectively that we're going to be the nominee. It's going to take a lot of hard work. It's a very competitive field. But I feel very optimistic about it.

HANNITY: Four months is an eternity in politics. There's no doubt about it. Senator, we always appreciate your time. Thanks for being with us.

RUBIO: Four weeks is an eternity.

HANNITY: True, never mind four months. Good point.

Coming up -- John Boehner rips his conservative critics on his way out the door in Washington. Coming up next, Senator Ted Cruz -- he's going to have reaction.

And then later tonight, Newt Gingrich -- he'll weigh in on the GOP leadership shake-up.

Also, Kevin McCarthy -- he wants to be the next speaker of the house.  Will he stand up for conservative principles? He'll answer that question and more tonight right here exclusively.




REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: You know, the Bible says, Beware of false prophets. And there are people out there, you know, spreading noise about how much can get done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Ted Cruz a false prophet?

BOEHNER: Well, listen, you can pick a lot of names out. I'll let you choose them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't debate that assertion?

BOEHNER: I'll refer you to my remark at a fund-raiser I made in August in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.


HANNITY: All right, that was speaker of the House John Boehner over the weekend taking shots at conservatives, including Senator Ted Cruz, just days after announcing he will be resigning from his post at the end of next month.

Here with reaction tonight, GOP -- 2016 GOP contender, presidential contender, Ted Cruz.

He's -- tell me if I'm a false prophet, Senator, because he said false prophet, unrealistic, spreading noise, we never had a chance to defund "Obama care," a fool's errand.

Am I wrong in thinking that Congress could have defunded "Obama care," could have defunded executive amnesty, can defund even Planned Parenthood?  Am I wrong? Am I a false prophet?

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, Sean, you're looking to something as basic as the United States Constitution. Of course, you're right. The problem is, Republican leadership begins from the perspective that they can accomplish nothing and they're not willing to try to accomplish anything for conservatives.

You know, if Speaker Boehner wants to go on national television, as he did this weekend, and direct epithets at me or at conservatives, he's welcome to do so. I have no intention of responding in kind.

HANNITY: Senator, I think it's a good thing he's gone. Sixty percent of Republicans feel betrayed by Congress! Fifty-two percent think most members of Congress are corrupt! Is John Boehner largely responsible for that?

CRUZ: Well, we've got Republican leadership in both houses that are fighting for nothing that they promised the American people they would fight for.

The basic problem, Sean, you've got ostensibly two sides. On one side, the Democrats, Barack Obama and the Democrats -- they are absolutely committed to fighting for liberal principles. Barack Obama will practically crawl over broken glass with a knife between his teeth. He never, ever, ever gives up. He's like the Terminator.

And what does Republican leadership do? It begins every negotiation with surrendering at the outset. And you know, it all plays out because Republican leadership says very innocuously, There will never, ever, ever be a shutdown.

Now, to most folks, that sounds like that might be reasonable. The problem is, when you're dealing with a radical on the other side -- Obama's discovered all he has to do is whisper the word "shutdown," and Republican leadership will run for the hills.

So Obama says, If you, Republicans in Congress, don't fund 100 percent of "Obama care," if you don't do (sic) nothing for the millions of people being hurt by that failed law, I, Barack Obama, will veto funding for the entire federal government. And Republican leadership says, We give up, we'll fund "Obama care."

HANNITY: Senator...

CRUZ: He does the same thing on amnesty. He does the same thing on Planned Parenthood. He does the same thing on this catastrophic Iranian deal. And Republican leadership leads the fight to fund every single one of Obama's big government programs!

HANNITY: You're right. This Washington cartel, and especially Republicans, have surrendered. If we go back to 2013 or even this week, where you are going forward with a debate over a continuing resolution to take us to December the 11th -- if every Republican had stood with you or stands with you this week, could -- do you have the authority to defund Planned Parenthood, "Obama care," stop executive amnesty and stop this bad Iranian deal? Do the Republicans have that power?

CRUZ: Of course, we do. We have majorities in both houses of Congress. All funding under the Constitution begins in Congress, the power of the purse. The problem is, leadership won't use it. They surrender at the outset.

You know, it's the reason we have no appropriation bills. Democrats are blocking them, but why are they blocking them? Because they know if Congress passes no appropriations bills, we'll end up at the end of the fiscal year, we'll have a continuing resolution, and Republican leadership will surrender and fund every one of Obama's priorities.

So if you're a Democrat, why would you let Congress operate when you know that Republican leadership will join with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama?

And you know, Sean, as you noted, I'm leading the fight right now in the Senate to stop this. I introduced yesterday an amendment that said we should fund the entire federal government, but number, one don't send $500 million of taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood, a private organization under multiple criminal investigations and caught on tape apparently committing a pattern of felonies, selling the body parts of unborn children.

And number two, don't spend money to implement this catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal. Don't send $100 billion to the Ayatollah Khamenei.  Now, do you know who stopped my amendment?

HANNITY: Mitch McConnell.

CRUZ: Republican leadership. It was our own side...

HANNITY: All right, Senator...


CRUZ: ... convinced, No, we can't fight Obama. We must surrender.

HANNITY: So we really need more new leadership. You're saying that you think McConnell needs to go.

CRUZ: We need leadership that actually leads. Right now, both Senate and House leadership -- they believe that we must surrender to Obama on everything. It's why people are so frustrated.

And you know, I'll note, you know, we've had now two Republican presidential debates. Every candidate talks about how they're standing up to Washington. Every candidate talked about how they didn't want to fund Planned Parenthood.

Well, you know, the fight that's happening right now today, none of those other 10 candidates on that stage are anywhere to be found.

HANNITY: Let me...

CRUZ: I would love to have all 11 candidates on that stage come be part of the fight and come lead.

HANNITY: But Senator...

CRUZ: If you want to take on Washington, do it.

HANNITY: Every one of these Republican senators and congressmen made the same promise you did.

CRUZ: That's exactly right.

HANNITY: Why are they unwilling to use their constitutional authority? And if Mitch McConnell won't use it and won't lead, who would you like to see as leader?

CRUZ: Look, the problem is leadership isn't listening to the people back home. Leadership knows how to fight.

HANNITY: They tell us every election.

CRUZ: Well, but it's what they're fighting for. Leadership listens to the special interests and the lobbyists on K Street and Wall Street. So for example, a couple of months ago, when it came to corporate welfare, the Export-Import bank, leadership fought tooth and nail, used every procedural tool they could, because giving hundreds of billions of dollars of loan guarantees to giant corporations -- that produces campaign checks.

HANNITY: I agreed with you there, too.

CRUZ: That's who they're responsive to.

HANNITY: Let me ask you this. You talk about leadership in the House and Senate. Kevin McCarthy wants to be the next speaker of the House.  He's going to join us coming up later in the program tonight. You are largely credited for leading the effort in part, you and Mark Meadows, to get -- to push Speaker Boehner out. What do you think of Kevin McCarthy?

CRUZ: Listen, I like Kevin personally, and I would encourage Kevin or whoever the new speaker is. What is most important is that Republican leadership honor the commitments we made to the men and women who elected us.

And if Kevin becomes speaker and he's a speaker who will fight to do what we promised the voters, then I'll be happy to work with him or anyone else. That's what we've got to do.

And you know, Sean, I would be remiss if I didn't mention -- if you want a true, proven, consistent conservative fighter, go to TedCruz.org.  And if the grass roots rise up, that's how we can break the Washington cartel, with a strong conservative president, just like Ronald Reagan did in 1980.

HANNITY: Senator, thanks for taking time to be with us. Appreciate it.

CRUZ: Thank you, Sean. God bless.

HANNITY: And coming up, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich -- he's here to weigh in on the Republican field and Speaker Boehner's resignation.

Then later tonight, Congressman Kevin McCarthy -- he wants to take Boehner's spot as the speaker of the House. Tonight, he's here to explain why he thinks he should get that job. That's straight ahead.


HANNITY: And welcome back to "Hannity." Joining us now to weigh in on Speaker Boehner's resignation and the ever-changing 2016 Republican field, former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Mr. Speaker, good to see you.


HANNITY: Sixty percent of Republicans feel betrayed by the Republican Party in Washington. I'm one of them. Are we justified?

GINGRICH: I think people are very justified to be frustrated that there's not more aggressive fighting, that there's not a more effective opposition to Obama and that there's not more effective use of the investigative tool of all the committees to lay out a record of just how bad this administration is.

So yes, I think -- I think there's a lot of justified frustration...

HANNITY: You know...

GINGRICH: ... and I think that it makes life more difficult.

HANNITY: Listen, you laid out a vision for the country. You shut down the government, but you also got us the end of welfare as we know it, the era of big government being over and a balanced budget. And I know you paid a personal price for it.

I don't see John Boehner's vision. I don't see that they're willing to fight and use their constitutional authority on immigration, on Planned Parenthood, on defunding "Obama care." The whole 2014 election was about stopping executive amnesty, they ended up funding it! I don't think there's any excuse for this behavior, myself!

GINGRICH: Look, I think part of it's a very deep disagreement about how history unfolds. Ronald Reagan went through a period where he was quite unpopular. Margaret Thatcher went through a period where she was quite unpopular. We closed the government twice when I was speaker, and initially, people were very upset. But in each of those three cases, we achieved policy breakthroughs that were historic. As you point out, in our case, we got welfare reform, we got balanced budgets, the only time in your lifetime. I mean, a lot of things happened that were very good.

If you're not prepared to stand firm under our constitutional system, you basically make the president an emperor. The president gets to do whatever he wants because he'll threaten to veto and close government, and then the news media will run over and beat up the Republicans.

HANNITY: So let me be clear. Every...

GINGRICH: That's the price of government.

HANNITY: Every time Speaker Boehner and Mitch McConnell say, I'm not shutting down the government, didn't they ostensibly pretty much surrender...


HANNITY: ... to President Pushover, by the way, he worst negotiator that we've ever seen, as evidenced by this Iranian deal? They surrendered!

GINGRICH: Well, no, he -- look, he's only a pushover in foreign policy. In domestic policy, he's gotten an amazing amount of what he wants because he's a bully and he's willing to run over people and he's willing to abuse the Constitution and he's willing to plain lie, as he did...


HANNITY: They are allowing that to happen!

GINGRICH: I think that's right.

HANNITY: All right, let me move on to the 2016 field. When you put the numbers of Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson and Ted Cruz together, four insurgent candidate, you've got nearly 60 percent of the Republican vote in a field of 16. What does that tell you?

GINGRICH: Well, it tells me to look at the American people more than the candidates. The American people -- you know, Gallup reported that 75 percent of the American people believe there is widespread corruption in government. The average American believes the federal government wastes 51 cents out of every dollar. Forty-five percent of the American people are afraid of the federal government.

I mean, these are numbers that tell you that the country wants very bold, very dramatic change. And in a sense, Scott Walker, although he didn't execute it very well -- Scott had the right slogan in, Go bold, go big, because I think the country wants leaders who are prepared to stand up and say...

HANNITY: Well...

GINGRICH: ... we're going to -- we're going to break the nonsense in Washington. We're going to break the bureaucracy. And we're going to get back to a common sense America.

HANNITY: But doesn't Donald Trump have a good slogan, too? People are tired of 50 million Americans on food stamps and 94 million Americans out of the labor force and 46 million on food stamps. And he said, Let's make America great again.

GINGRICH: He does.

HANNITY: Do you see -- do you see Donald Trump -- do you see a path for him? Do you think he could win this thing, go all the way.

GINGRICH: Sure. Sure. And part of my recommendation to Trump would be to pick up on Scott Walker's slogan, Go bold, go big, and come back with -- and he took a step with his tax plan. It's a step. But I would come back with a series of very bold programs.

Trump's got to get in. He's now proven he can be the front-runner.  Now he's got to consolidate and prove he can be a leader on policy ideas, not just on attacking his fellow candidates.

HANNITY: I liked his plan yesterday. Did you like it? I thought...

GINGRICH: I thought it was a very good step in the right direction.  And let me offer you a suggesting that's very important that I'll be writing about. Quit trying to pay for tax cuts with tax policy. Pay for tax cuts by cutting spending and say to people, would you rather have the money thrown away by a federal bureaucrat or would you rather have that money in your pocketbook? That's a much better way to pitch how we shrink government so we fatten your wallet.

HANNITY: What about Ted Cruz, what about Marco Rubio, what about Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, where do you see them ending up? None of us have a crystal ball, but you've been around this a long time.

GINGRICH: Look, I love -- Bill Kristol today wrote this great piece that said none of us last Sunday would have predicted Scott Walker dropping out and none of us would have predicted John Boehner retiring. So when we tell you this Sunday our predictions, just remember that. So let's start there. Any of the people you mentioned, I would throw in Kasich, I would say any of the people we're talking about here, certainly Kasich, Rubio, Cruz, Fiorina, Carson and --


GINGRICH: -- obviously Trump, those six are all in my mind positioned to be the nominee and have a real shot at it. Huckabee has a longer shot, I think. Rand Paul has an even longer shot. And Christie I think has a longer shot. But in a world that's this topsy-turvy, and remember, we have no idea how foreign policy's going to affect us. You have the Chinese being very aggressive in the South China Sea --


GINGRICH: -- as well as with cyber-attacks. You have Putin projecting Russian power into Syria in a way we've never seen since the cold war.

HANNITY: It's scary. I'm running out of time, though. I've got to ask you one last question. Does Hillary survive?


HANNITY: Does she get the nomination?


HANNITY: No way. I agree with you. Joe Biden gets it, right?

GINGRICH: Somebody, but not her.


HANNITY: You mean the guy that says you have to have a slight Indian accent to work in a Dunkin' Donuts or a 7-Eleven, the same guy that said Obama is clean and articulate, that guy?

GINGRICH: No. I think you could get your first openly socialist nominee.

HANNITY: Oh, my gosh.

GINGRICH: Why not? You already had a covertly socialist nominee.

HANNITY: That's true.

GINGRICH: Why not go for an openly socialist nominee.

HANNITY: All right, Newt Gingrich, always good to see you. Thank you.

GINGRICH: Good to see you.

HANNITY: And coming up, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, he wants to replace John Boehner as speaker of the House, but how would his leadership be different? He's here to join us next.


HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." In just one month John Boehner will step down as speaker of the House. So with Boehner's imminent departure, who is going to fill the void at the top of what appears to be an ever-divided House of Representatives? Joining us now, a man who just threw his hat in the ring, he is the House majority leader, Congressman Kevin McCarthy of California. Congressman, good to see you. Thanks for being with us.


HANNITY: Congressman, 60 percent of Republicans polled this week feel betrayed by the Republican Party in Washington. Are they justified? I'm one of them.

MCCARTHY: Yes, they are justified. I'm one of them, too. Sean, think of this. Fifty times this House has repealed ObamaCare. It goes to the Senate and it sits there. But you know what's a little different that started today? We've got reconciliation, and what that means is --

HANNITY: But congressman, wait a minute. You never defunded ObamaCare. You have the constitutional power of the purse in the House.  You guys never defunded it. It never had any teeth.

MCCARTHY: Sean, wait one second. Reconciliation, by getting a budget in the House and the Senate allows you to take it through with 51 votes.  Watch what happened in the Ways and Means today and watched what's happened in the next two weeks. The leading Democrat in Ways and Means said you just gutted ObamaCare because that's the best thing I heard today in Congress. And that's going to pass and get to the Senate.

But I'm frustrated, too. Look what happened with Iran. When the Senate can't change a nuclear option to protect a nuclear-free world?

HANNITY: Let me ask you some specific questions.


HANNITY: Give me a grade for John Boehner. Let me put up on the screen, since he's been the speaker of the House, the debt has gone up -- since he's speaker, he's a Republican, limited government -- $4.1 trillion.  Look at the amount of money Republicans funded for Obamacare since he's been speaker under his leadership -- $209 billion. I mean, you were there as majority leader. Do you bear any responsibility?

MCCARTHY: I bear responsibility. But Sean, I came here one year ago and let's see what we've been able to do. When I came into office our deficit was running at $1.4 trillion. Now it's about $400 billion. That's the fastest decline almost ever in American history.

HANNITY: That's still almost as high as Bush's highest year, though.  Let's be honest.

MCCARTHY: It is honest, but let's be honest who is in the White House. Think of this. My first day on the job as majority leader, I got booed when I went to the microphone by the Democrats. Why? Because I told them they weren't going home until we passed a border security bill. You knew what was going along that border. And you know what's more important?  We're going to hold this president accountable for his lack of dealing with it.

HANNITY: Let me ask you this. Give me a great for John Boehner, speaker of the House, give me a grade.

MCCARTHY: I think he deserves a B-minus. You disagree with me?


MCCARTHY: He won a majority. We've got the highest margin we ever had before. We lowered the deficit with him there. But you know what, we passed 300 bills this year, but you look into the Senate. They haven't moved.

HANNITY: I agree with you on the Senate, and Mitch McConnell deserves his share of responsibility as do Republican senators, but I'm not talking about the Senate. Let me ask you this. You voted 50 times to repeal Obamacare, but there's a constitutional power you guys have that you don't use. And it seems all Obama has to do is mention we're going to shut down the government and blame Republicans, you fund Obamacare. You fund executive amnesty, which you told us -- the whole Republican caucus told us they would stop if we would elect the Senate last year. They funded it.


HANNITY: And you're about to fund Planned Parenthood.

MCCARTHY: No, Sean, amnesty is not going on. The courts have stopped that. There's no funding there. And there should not be as we go forward.

HANNITY: But if February didn't you guys end up funding it, you passed the "crum-nibus", you gave up your leverage.

MCCARTHY: No, no. Sean, no, because the courts had put a stay on that. So there was no funding going towards that. The question I think you really want to ask me is, how am I going to be different?

HANNITY: I love how you asked my questions. But go ahead, that is one of my questions. Go right ahead.

MCCARTHY: I knew you'd want to ask it. What you're going to see is a conservative speaker that takes a conservative congress that puts a strategy to fight and win.

And let me give you one example. Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.  Why? Because she's un-trustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened --

HANNITY: I agree. I give you credit for sequestration, I'll give you credit where credit is due. But here's what every conservative wants to know.


HANNITY: Are you willing to defund ObamaCare and use your constitutional authority? Are you willing to use the power of the purse to defund Planned Parenthood? Will you use the power of the purse to stop the power grab of this president through the use of executive amnesty, ignoring our laws and our constitution? If you're speaker, will you go into your conference and say, this is what we should do, we need to unite together?

MCCARTHY: I will unite them and, yes, we'll do it. But you know what.

HANNITY: You will do those?

MCCARTHY: We're not going to do it when we have one day. This is what we're going to do, Sean, and we're not going to be able to do it alone. We're going to put a strategy today just as we do a select committee on Planned Parenthood. So we go out across the country and they see, the president won't even watch those videos. The Democrats won't watch those videos. We need America to watch those videos. And you know what, we need your help as well. We need to come together --

HANNITY: Listen, if you guys fight for that -- Ted Cruz was on earlier. Last night we had the House Freedom Caucus members on. And I asked Ted and I asked the members, I said, wait a minute. Tell me if I'm wrong, because John Boehner actually said, let's see, it's unrealistic.  I'm a false prophet. We never had a chance to defund Obamacare. We're spreading noise. It's a fool's errand. He's attacking conservatives for saying use the constitutional authority you have. All of these members say that you have the ability to do that. Do you agree with them? It's just a matter of uniting together and engaging in that fight. Do you agree with that?

MCCARTHY: We have the ability to do it, but we have to have a strategy to be able to win it.

HANNITY: Here's the next question. You'll do that?

MCCARTHY: I'm not in for a fight for the sake of it. Yes.

HANNITY: You'll do that.

MCCARTHY: You have watched me. Sean, I came here in '06 when we were in the minority. Who traveled the country recruiting people to defeat the Democrats? Who created young guns? Who wrote "Pledge to America"? Sean, that was me.

HANNITY: I agree with all that. And there hasn't been a vision. I suggested one in 2014.

Let me ask you this. When Boehner said these are false prophets, those were promises Republicans made. I find those comments despicable he made over the weekend. Am I right?

MCCARTHY: Look, I am the Ronald Reagan 11th commandment -- I don't speak ill of any Republican, because, you know what, every Republican should have a voice here. And that's going to be the fundamental difference. I believe in the bottom-up strategy. Look, we need to change this country. Too many people in Washington care about power and institutions --

HANNITY: All right, stay there, congressman.

MCCARTHY: -- and not changing the lives of everyday.

HANNITY: I have got more questions for congressman. He wants to be the speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, right after the break. Please stay with us.


HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity" as we continue with House Majority Leader, he'd like to be the speaker of the House, Congressman Kevin McCarthy.

All right, I want to go back. What I have heard on the issues, the four big issues for me, defunding Planned Parenthood, defunding executive amnesty and immigration, defunding ObamaCare, and this Iranian deal is an unmitigated disaster that will lead to a modern-day holocaust. On those four issues, if Kevin McCarthy is the speaker of the House, will you tell conservative America tonight that you will fight to the end, that you will encourage every member to defund on all of those issues and use that power of the purse. Are you willing to go that far tonight?

MCCARTHY: The answer is yes. But I'm going to do it with a strategy.  And you want to know how the strategy is even playing out? Watch what we're passing that is dealing with Iran just this week. Meehan has a bill.  Do you know there are 80 judgments against Iran for almost $44 billion because of their terrorist action of killing Americans? We're passing a bill that says none of that money of the $150 billion that the president has held here that he's going to send to Iran can go there without paying those judgments. Those were court cases in America that stood up. People who have been murdered from the terrorist acts of Iran, they need to pay up.

HANNITY: Let me ask you this.


HANNITY: John Boehner referred to Louie Gohmert as, I can't even say it on the air, a blank-head. Here we have a Freedom Caucus that has a lot, they could stop you from becoming speaker. Are you going to include them in power sharing? Are you going to bring in solid conservatives around you from the Freedom Caucus to be part of the leadership?

MCCARTHY: I'm going to bring in everybody. And my understanding is that you had them on the air last night. And they came up and told me when you asked them to say one word about me, a lot of them said he is listening.

HANNITY: They did say that.

MCCARTHY: He's inclusive.

HANNITY: I was surprised because you are a part of leadership that they were that nice for you.

MCCARTHY: Wait a minute, Sean. Why are you surprised?

HANNITY: Because you're very closely tied with Boehner. You gave him a B-minus. I give Boehner a D-minus in a lot of ways because I think he has failed on major promises.

MCCARTHY: Sean, let's be fair, though. If you judge him on what he moved out of the House, I think you'd change his grade. But I'm not here to argue about that. But the thing I will tell you is everybody gets elected on their own. And one thing you're going to find is the speaker changes the culture. And the culture I'm going to change here is I'm going to make members closer to who they represent.

HANNITY: All right, last question.

MCCARTHY: Because they believe this is their government.

HANNITY: And if you get elected speaker -- Boehner wouldn't take my calls for the last couple of years.

MCCARTHY: Have I ever not taken your calls?

HANNITY: No, you've taken my calls. Are you going to duck and dodge if it's an uncomfortable issue? You'd come on the program regularly.

MCCARTHY: I'll make this pledge to you -- good, bad, or indifferent, because if I'm fortunate enough to become speaker, the next three months are very difficult. It's a short amount of time to put a strategy in and we have unbelievable things in front of us. But I'll come on every single month if you want, or more, and you hold me accountable because I'm going to hold myself accountable. But more importantly, we cannot solve this alone. We need to join together.

HANNITY: If you guys do these things, I will run up the hill with you. And so will every conservative in the country. They want you guys to fight.

MCCARTHY: We want to fight to win.

HANNITY: I agree. We have got to fight, we've got to win, we've got to change the country. The country is going down the tubes. Thank you for being with us, congressman, appreciate it.

When we come back, "Ask Sean" is coming up next, and the "Question of the Day" straight ahead.


HANNITY: All right, Welcome back to "Hannity." Time for tonight's "Question of the Day." Do you think President Obama, or the person I refer to as "president pushover," is weak compared to Vladimir Putin? I think yes. Anyway, what do you think? Go to Facebook.com/SeanHannity, @SeanHannity on Twitter, let us know what you think.

By the way, it's time for our "Ask Sean" segment. You've been sending in questions via Facebook and Twitter. And by the way, if you send a video, you could be a TV star like this person.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sean, why is it that during this election specifically, most Republicans, with some exceptions, are making it a goal to against Reagan's 11th commandment and attack other candidates? More specifically, why are almost every other Republican candidates going after Donald Trump? Thank you.


HANNITY: All right, that's a simple answer. I'll give you the short answer, which is he's in the lead. It's kind of the thing that happens in politics. It's a blood sport. But in fairness, you've got to admit, Donald Trump is pretty capable of firing right back.

Anyway, if you have a question for me, just go over to Twitter @SeanHannity, use the #AskSean, and even better yet, send in a video and you could be on TV.

Before we go quick programming note. Don't forget, tune in tomorrow night, 7:00 eastern, as Secretary of State John Kerry goes "On The Record" with Greta, tomorrow night, 7:00 p.m.

But that is all the time we have left this evening. We hope you'll set your DVR so you never miss an episode. We take attendance and it really hurts our feelings when you're not here. Thanks for being with us.  See you back here tomorrow night.

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