Cruz: Brokered convention would cause revolt across the US; John Kasich offers frustrated voters a positive vision

GOP candidate says D.C. establishment is in a 'fevered frenzy' at a CPAC event on 'Hannity'


This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 4, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Donald, please.  I know it's hard not to interrupt.

DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Yes, I know, but it's not what you said...


CRUZ:  But try.  Breathe.  Breathe.  Breathe.

TRUMP:  I understand (ph).

SEAN HANNITY, HOST (voice-over):  Tonight, the dust is settling on the fiery GOP debate.  So where does the race go from here?  Our panel responds.

And I interviewed Texas senator Ted Cruz and Ohio governor John Kasich today on the CPAC stage.  We'll play the highlights.

TRUMP:  And I thought they'd come at me a little bit stronger.  They're pretty far down, and I really thought they'd come at me stronger than they did.

HANNITY:  Plus, we spoke with Donald Trump right after the debate.  We'll show that interview.

We have a duty, an honor and an obligation to make sure that we preserve, protect and defend this great country for these young people that deserve it!

And highlights from my speech at CPAC.

"Hannity" starts right here, right now.


HANNITY:  And welcome to "Hannity," and we're coming to you live from CPAC...


HANNITY:  ... Center in National Harbor.  We're in Maryland tonight.  We'll have interviews with 2016 Republican presidential candidates Senator Ted Cruz, Governor John Kasich and Donald Trump.

But first, there was a showdown last night between the remaining GOP presidential contenders facing off in yet another fiery debate.  Here now with reaction, FOX News contributor Monica Crowley, Boston Herald columnist and radio host Adriana Cohen and from The Washington Times, Charles Hurt.

Charles, how are you?  You've been a big Trump supporter.  He got it from all sides last night.


HANNITY:  Thoughts.

HURT:  Yes, it was a -- you know, I don't think it was his best performance.  The last two debates that he's been in, he's had -- I mean, he's had it, as you say, from all sides, tough questions.  Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have really ganged up on him.  But you know, he holds his own and he's standing there.  You know, at times, it looks like they're -- they're-- like they've...

HANNITY:  Did they land any blows?  Did they hurt him?

HURT:  I don't think they did.  But I think that some of the -- I do think some of the questions kind of stalled him a little bit.  He was not able to-- some of the Trump University...

HANNITY:  Actually, I thought some of the interviews where they -- for example, the one on Syria, because I know the sequence of that, and the story that he told was true, inasmuch as -- you know what?  He did say many times that we got to let people set up a place, a safe haven there in Syria.

HURT:  But -- but you know, the problem that we saw last night is the problem that we've had all -- that Republicans have had all along.  Nobody-- you know, when they gang up, they can maybe get something on him.  But nobody can go toe to toe and land punches alone.

HANNITY:  Yes.  Let me go to Monica.  What I think is very frustrating to me is one sense, is there seems to be now an orchestrated campaign, and that campaign is very clear, is they want to get to a convention floor fight.  And that's what Mitt Romney was suggesting by saying John Kasich can win Ohio, Rubio would win Florida.  Ted Cruz can win other states, as well.

And I don't care -- you know, I've been neutral in this race.  But to me, if they're going to have outside forces trying to undermine a particular candidate, if it does become a floor fight, I think it's going to get ugly, and I don't see a united party in the end, and that leaves a path for Hillary to become president.

MONICA CROWLEY, FOX CONTRIBUTOR:  Look, all of the incoming that Donald Trump took yesterday -- it started with Mitt Romney's speech and then went on to Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, who were landing blows against Trump.  They had him on the defensive throughout the entire day yesterday.

Keep this in mind, Sean.  This is a first-time politician.  he's never run for anything.  And he was surrounded particularly yesterday by two of the nation's greatest debate pros in Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.  And he is still standing.  He lives to fight another day.  That is a remarkable achievement for Trump, regardless of what you think of him.

I think if the establishment goes forward, represented by the likes of Mitt Romney and so many others who find Donald Trump unacceptable -- I think if they go forward by trying to -- to drive this to a contested convention, they will see a revolt among Republican and conservative voters, moderates, independents, people who are now deeply invested in Donald Trump.  They will a rebellion of the likes they have never seen before!

HANNITY:  Adriana, let me let you pick up on that point because I actually agree with Monica.  Let's go down the line.  Let's say candidate A has the most delegates going into the convention, and that the establishment is successful in this effort to stop candidate A or candidate B, and then the person with the most delegates loses in a convention floor fight and an establishment candidate is put in, do you think any of the people that voted for the insurgent candidates would show up on election day?

ADRIANA COHEN, BOSTON HERALD:  No.  As Monica says, there will be a huge revolt because what Mitt Romney and the establishment are doing is they're subverting the will of the people.  They're interfering in democracy, and that's going to -- that's going to really hurt the party.  There's going to be major blowback, and all those Trump supporters are not going to show up, and then Hillary Clinton is going to win the nomination.


COHEN:  And so this is really going to backfire against Mitt Romney and the establishment.  And I'm actually embarrassed for Mitt Romney.  I mean, this scathing speech he gave yesterday, all it demonstrated is how desperate the establishment is to lose power.  The voters want change.  Republicans all across this country want an outsider because Washington is broken, and these get-along politicians haven't been able to change it.

HANNITY:  You know -- and I've got to say to you, Charles, that, you know, in many ways, I would argue that Donald Trump, Ted Cruz's candidacies -- and that's 14 out of 15 victories -- was created by the establishment's failure.  We've got contests now coming up in Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi.  We have big leads for Trump in a number of those states.  
Then you've got Illinois, you know -- I'm sorry, we got Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, then Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Louisiana, Michigan, Kentucky, a lot of these states Trump is winning in.  Do you -- if he...

HURT:  I think all of this can be laid at the feet of no one else but the establishment, the fact that they -- first of all, that they left the wide-- you know, the opening for him to step in to begin with, but then to completely miss -- you know, to underestimate him at every step of the way.

COHEN:  Right.

HURT:  And then for him to have this -- you know, this juggernaut of a campaign, and then -- and then we get six months into it, and we have, you know, the Republican Party having to turn to the -- the -- you know, the only leader, I guess, that they have to try to do something about it, who's the guy that lost last time and lost a race he should have won!


COHEN:  Right.  Exactly.

HANNITY:  But Monica, let me go back to you, if I can, for a second, and I just think that this is such a disastrous policy.  Why not let the -- why not let the people now decide?

COHEN:  That's right.

HANNITY:  If 60 percent of Americans are betrayed or feel betrayed by Republicans, you know, why -- why are they not getting that part or taking the responsibility for creating that scenario?

CROWLEY:  Look, Sean, they have to destroy these insurgencies, whether it's Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, who I thought had a phenomenal debate last night.  
I actually thought he won the debate.  I mean, he was in command, he was in control, he was thoughtful, he was reasonable.

Look, they have to try to kill this insurgency movement in the crib before it actually gains more traction than it already has and one of these two is in the presidency.  They hate these two men, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. But moreover, they fear them because if either one is elected...

COHEN:  Right.

CROWLEY:  ... president, then they have no more control.  Their gravy trains end.  And that's the end...

COHEN:  Right.

CROWLEY:  ... of their whole hold on power.  What the voters are saying is, We've had enough of all y'all, and we're going to try something completely different because you're betrayed us, you've betrayed conservative principles, and we are now willing to try something completely different.

What you're seeing with Mitt Romney and the establishment is the death throes.  They're now in the death throes.  They are so desperate to try to cling to power and control that they're willing to now burn down the whole party.  They're blaming Donald Trump and Ted Cruz for doing it, but actually, the party was destroyed a long time ago by that same establishment.

HANNITY:  I agree with that -- that sentiment.

COHEN:  Monica, you're absolutely right.

HANNITY:  It's a shame.  Yes.  Go ahead, Adriana.

COHEN:  Yes.  I agree with Monica 100 percent.  And here in Massachusetts, Mitt Romney's home base, there's no one, no conservative that supports him trying to sabotage the will of the people.

Donald Trump won big in Massachusetts in the primary, and the -- basically, the conventional wisdom here in Massachusetts is Mitt Romney should get lost and let the voters decide who should be the nominee of our party.

And again, Mitt Romney lost twice.  If he was the smartest guy in the room and he had all the answers, why did he lose twice?  I found his speech yesterday enormously elitist and I found it offensive.  Basically, what he's telling is millions of Republicans across the country, You're not smart enough to know who's best to run the party.  You're not smart enough to know what to do when you get in the ballot box.  And I think that's going to really backfire against the establishment.

It was insulting, just like his 47 percent comment was very insulting.  And so I don't think this is going to hurt Donald Trump one bit.

HANNITY:  Yes.  Who's going to win?  We got tomorrow Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska?  Trump take a lot of those states?  He's up in Louisiana for sure.

HURT:  Yes.  It's -- you know, the -- you know, they're closed caucuses or
-- I think one primary, three caucuses.  Caucuses are not Donald Trump's supporters' favorite manner of doing this.  But...

HANNITY:  He's up a lot in Louisiana.  He's up a lot in Michigan and Mississippi.

HURT:  But I think that he will -- I think we will do very well despite those obstacles.

HANNITY:  Yes.  You agree with that, Monica?  Last word.

CROWLEY:  Well, you know, victories beget victories, and there's no...

COHEN:  Right.

CROWLEY:  There's no countering that Donald Trump certainly has the momentum.  But I also think Ted Cruz has spent a lot of time in the South. We've got Louisiana coming up tomorrow and Kansas, Kentucky.  He's built real organizations there.

So I think after last night's great debate performance that Ted Cruz might give Donald Trump a real run for his money going forward.

HANNITY:  In Louisiana, there's two polls out yesterday that have Trump up 18.  One has him up 20.  But we'll see if the debate had an impact.

All right, thank you all for being with us.

And coming up, I had a chance to interview Ohio Governor John Kasich and Senator Ted Cruz earlier today on the CPAC stage.  We have highlights and more.

Then later, Donald Trump sat down with me last night for a post-debate interview right after he stepped off the stage.  In case you didn't get a chance to watch it, we have that and more as we continue from CPAC tonight.



HANNITY:  Welcome back to "Hannity."  So earlier today, I talked to 2016 Republican presidential candidate Texas senator Ted Cruz right there on the CPAC stage.  Take a look.


HANNITY:  Senator, it's good to see you.

CRUZ:  It's great to be here.

HANNITY:  I know you got a lot of sleep last night, maybe an hour, two hours?

CRUZ:  Not much!

HANNITY:  Not much.  I want to talk about process and where we are with your campaign.

CRUZ:  Yes.  Yes.

HANNITY:  You are second in the delegate count.  It's not that big a disparity.

CRUZ:  No.

HANNITY:  You have a path to the nomination.


HANNITY:  I want to -- you -- there is now -- Mitt Romney gave a speech yesterday.  What did you think of it?

CRUZ:  Oh, listen, I think Mitt is a citizen.  He's entitled to express his views.  I think he's concerned about what Donald Trump would mean.

Listen, I come from a different place than Mitt does, but I'll tell you the concern Mitt's expressing is a concern people have all over this country.


CRUZ:  You know, if you look at -- if you look at Republicans across the country, 65 to 75 percent of Republicans recognize that Donald Trump is not the best candidate to go head to head with Hillary Clinton...


CRUZ:  ... that if Donald is our nominee, in all likelihood, Hillary wins.  We lose the Supreme Court for a generation.  The Bill of Rights is lost. And we're buried in debt.  And jihadists continue to rise across the globe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hammer (ph) Trump!


CRUZ:  Well -- and I will say, if you're one of those 65 to 70 percent of Republicans that recognize Donald is not the best candidate to win...


CRUZ:  ... then what is critical is that we come together.  And I think super-Tuesday this week was a clarifying moment in this election because super-Tuesday made clear that only one campaign has repeatedly beaten Donald Trump and only one campaign can and will beat Donald Trump!


HANNITY:  Here's what I want to ask.  I want the crowd to answer with me.  Do you not see that of the 14 or 15 contests that have happened -- and I think this is true -- that the establishment has lost 14 of 15?

CRUZ:  Yes.  Yes.

HANNITY:  Did you see that?  Now, the only question I have is, there seems to be an organized, well-funded effort to push this to the convention in the hopes -- I'm -- and maybe I'm reading into it...

CRUZ:  Yes.

HANNITY:  ... to prevent you or Mr. Trump from getting the nomination because the establishment is angry that you're winning.

CRUZ:  Yes.  Yes.

HANNITY:  Is that is that true?

CRUZ:  Look, Sean, you're exactly right.  Any time you hear someone talking about a brokered convention, it is the Washington establishment in a fevered frenzy!  They're really frustrated because all of their chosen candidates, all of the golden children, the voters keep rejecting!


CRUZ:  And so they've seized on this master plan.  We go to a brokered convention, and the D.C. power brokers will drop someone in who is exactly to the liking of the Washington establishment.  If that would happen, we will have a manifest revolt on our hands all across this country!


CRUZ:  And so if you want to beat Donald Trump, here's how you do it.  You beat Donald Trump with the voters!


CRUZ:  And the key to that, Sean -- listen, we started off with 17 candidates, which means there are a lot of folks in this room that started off supporting other people.  There were a lot of good people in this race. I understand that.  I respect that.

But the field has narrowed, and it's narrowed and it's narrowed.  We've now have had 15 races.  Our campaign has beaten Donald in five states.  We beat him resoundingly in Iowa.  We beat him resoundingly in Texas.  We beat him in Oklahoma.  We beat him in Alaska and we beat him in Minnesota.


HANNITY:  I think that plan is real.  I think the establishment is paying all this money to do it.

CRUZ:  Yes.

HANNITY:  But I want to move on to some other topics because I think the voters have something to say about that.  One thing they can't factored in is, they can't buy your votes.  They can't decide for you.  And you will have the power to pick the people that you want to be the next leader of this country.  And thank God it's going to be you and not them, or else we'd have another, well, Bob Dole or John McCain.

CRUZ:  Look, Sean...

HANNITY:  That wouldn't be good.

CRUZ:  ... that is exactly right.  And let me make an explicit pitch to folks here.  If you started off with another candidate, you know, maybe you were originally with Rand Paul...


CRUZ:  ... maybe you were with Jeb Bush or Chris Christie or maybe you were with Mike Huckabee or Rick Santorum or maybe you've been with Marco Rubio or with John Kasich...


CRUZ:  ... or maybe you were with Carly Fiorina.  All of them...


CRUZ:  ... are good, honorable people.  I respect every one of them and anyone -- and maybe you were with Dr. Ben Carson.


CRUZ:  Every one of them are good, honorable people.  Every one of them is a thousand times better than Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders!


HANNITY:  Here's a question.  Would you put those people in your cabinet if you get elected president?

CRUZ:  Absolutely!  Just every name I listed would be a natural to serve in a cabinet and as part of the leadership if we win this race.


CRUZ:  And let me speak to the supporters of each of those candidates. Those are good and honorable people, but I don't believe they have a path to beat Donald Trump.  And if you don't want Donald to be our nominee, then I ask you, come join us.  We welcome you on our team.  We're building a broad and welcoming coalition of lovers of liberty who believe in the Constitution!


HANNITY:  I want to get to your legal background.  You were the former attorney general of the great state of Texas.  I can see he's got his -- he's got his boots on, so he's proven his worth here.

Hillary Clinton has now had somebody that pled the 5th that is now turning state's evidence, the person that built the server in the mom and pop shop that Hillary should not have been using.

From your legal expertise, do you believe a grand jury has been convened, as Joe DiGenova believes and Victoria Toensing believes?  Do you think she violated the law?  And do you think, in the end, she will be the candidate?

CRUZ:  Listen, I think it is an ominous development for Hillary Clinton. You know, how many of you all have watched mob movies?  How many of you watched things like "Goodfellas"?


CRUZ:  Listen, when Paulie flips and goes to the feds, it ain't good for Fat Tony!


CRUZ:  And they're -- I'm going to get in so much trouble for this!

HANNITY:  This is so funny!

CRUZ:  You know, Sean, you have a bad effect on me.

HANNITY:  I know.  I notice I get blamed for all of this.

CRUZ:  But listen.  It is the fact that immunity has been granted to the person who sets up the server means that he can't plead the 5th anymore, that he's got to spill the beans.  And I guarantee you they're asking what did Secretary Clinton know and when did she know it?  What did her inner team know and when did they know it?

And I will say this.  In the general election -- we've never had a general election debate convened at Leavenworth, but this year might be the first!


HANNITY:  I hope she likes orange pantsuits.


HANNITY:  I can say it.  I'm a talk show host.  I can get away with anything I went.

CRUZ:  Well, Sean, orange is the new Democratic blue.



HANNITY:  And coming up, I got the chance to interview Ohio governor John Kasich on the CPAC stage earlier today.  That's coming up next.

Also tonight, after last night's GOP debate, Donald Trump joined us with reaction.  In case you missed it, we're going to play that interview straight ahead, also highlights from my CPAC address.  That and more tonight on "Hannity."


HANNITY:  And welcome back to "Hannity."  And we're broadcasting tonight from CPAC 2016, and earlier today, as part of the program, I also had the chance to ask 2016 Republican presidential candidate Ohio governor John Kasich some questions, and here are some of the highlights.


HANNITY:  Republicans in Washington have been weak.  They have been feckless.  They have been ineffective.  They have -- they have sought to keep their own power.  They wouldn't -- they wouldn't use the power of the purse to stop "Obama care" and defund it.  They wouldn't defund executive amnesty.

Are you all frustrated about that like I am?


HANNITY:  So I think that's part of the frustration, and I know that I think people want to hear from you about why people feel as angry as they do.

GOV. JOHN KASICH, R-OHIO, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Well, I think they keep electing people and they're not getting what's promised, so I have to be very careful to not say -- make promises that I can't keep.

But here's what I believe, Sean.  Look, the reason why we have a poor economy is we over-regulate.  We're choking small business.  We're raising taxes.  And we're blowing up to the budget.

So what do you do to fix it?  Common sense regulations with an eye on rewarding small businesses.  Secondly, cut the taxes for businesses. That's why they're leaving.  And secondly, cut individual rates.  Make it simpler like Reagan had.  I basically have the Reagan plan.  And then have a path to a balanced budget.

And when all the special interests come yelling and screaming, say, Hey, tough.  We're going to get this country moving because if we don't do those three things and work on workforce, we're going to fall short.

Here's what the Congress needs.  It needs a dose of leadership from the White House and then through.  And Paul Ryan is going to be a good one.  
Paul Ryan will be a guy that I can -- look, Paul Ryan used to be an aide when I was Budget Committee chairman, OK?  And I can't wait to get there.

And I'll tell you what.  If you don't have a seatbelt -- in the first 100 days, I'm going to give them a plan to freeze federal regulations, reduce taxes on businesses and individuals!  We're going to have a plan to balance the budget!  We're going to fix Social Security!  We're going to fix the border.  We're going to have immigration taken care of.  I'm going to restore our relations with our allies, and that's what we're going to do in the first 100 days, so buy a seatbelt!


HANNITY:  Let's -- we've had...

KASICH:  We need shock and awe down there!

HANNITY:  I like shock and awe.

KASICH:  We need shock and awe.  We need to say to the Congress, This is where we're going.  Let's get together.  And by the way, when I talk about working with Democrats, we have -- I worked with the Blue Dogs!  They were more conservative than a bunch of Republicans...

HANNITY:  They don't exist.

KASICH:  I know.

HANNITY:  They're an extinct species.

KASICH:  But any of those Blue Dog types that want to come and bring a conservative side to support us, to fix these problems, they're welcome, OK?  But they're not going to call the tune.  We will call the tune.

HANNITY:  Let me ask you this.  We've had 15 contests.  Walk us -- walk the people in this audience, your path that you see that will get you the nomination to 1,237 delegates.  How do you get there?

KASICH:  Well, I don't think anybody's going to get that.  I'm going to win Ohio, and then we're going to...

HANNITY:  So you think it's going to be a brokered convention.

KASICH:  I do.  I do.  And let me also tell you -- let me just put you in my shoes.  Nobody covered me.  No one knew who I was.  They didn't call on me in the debates.  I had to fight for every second.  I haven't raised a lot of money.  I'm now doing a lot better.  Couldn't get any attention.  They thought, He'll never get on the stage for a debate.  Then they said he'll never make it to New Hampshire.  Then he (ph) said he wouldn't survive super-Tuesday.

And then, you know, look at where we are.  I'm the last governor standing.  There's only four of us, and we're the little engine that can!  So believe in us!  And now finally...


KASICH:  Finally, finally, the country is beginning to get a little bit of who I am.  I love this tonight.  I'll take this every day as compared to one of those debates, OK?  This is the way we ought to run it, come out and talk to people and tell them what you're for!

HANNITY:  Well, let me -- let's go through your scenario.  You think it's going to be a brokered convention...

KASICH:  I do.

HANNITY:  All right, so there are people in this room that support you.  But there are also people in this room that support Ted Cruz...

KASICH:  Yes, of course.

HANNITY:  ... and Donald Trump and Marco Rubio.  So at the end of the -- say you get to the convention and candidate A -- I won't mention a name -- is close to 1,237 and but he doesn't get there.  And candidate B is kind of significantly behind.

Do you think, with a brokered convention, that candidate A's supporters are going to be angry if candidate B, C or D gets the nomination?

KASICH:  Well...

HANNITY:  I think they're going to be angry.

KASICH:  Well, Sean, it has to be done fairly.  And you know, I was there, you know,  as a really young man in '76 when President -- when Governor Reagan tried to beat Jerry Ford.  At the end, everybody got together.  It worked out.

But look, as crazy as this year is -- and there's nobody in here that wouldn't say this is, like, nuts, right?  Can you think of anything cooler than a convention where we're all going to learn about how America works and our kids in school will learn more about American politics than they will than the Kardashians?  You know, not that I have anything against the Kardashians.

But the fact is, Sean, you have to do it right, and you can't have a bunch of people in smoke-filled rooms, who are the establishment, by the way.  And you and I never been the establishment.  Never, OK?

And my only fear of a convention is that these kind of connected interests would dominate.  And we're going to have to prevent that.

HANNITY:  I'm a little concerned that this is -- you think the only path to the nomination is through a brokered convention.-

KASICH:  I have to win.  It's not impossible.  I have to win.  After I win Ohio, I have to win 68 percent of the remaining delegates.  Marco has to win like 64, and Ted is somewhere around 59 percent or 60.  It is unlikely.  
And so if nobody goes to the convention with enough delegates, then we're going to have to meet in -- and by the way, they told me the convention is in Cleveland.  That's kind of interesting.  

HANNITY:  A place close to home.  All right, I want to talk about your background and experience.  I actually think there's some truth to what you say that a lot of people didn't know you.  And maybe I'm showing my age here, but I remember you and Pete Domenici, and Bill Clinton was president.  

KASICH:  And Newt.  

HANNITY:  Newt Gingrich became the speaker of the House.  And you guys took on a sitting president.  You did get to a balanced budget.  You did get to a surplus.  

KASICH:  Reformed welfare.  

HANNITY:  But now we have $20 trillion in debt, $120 trillion in unfunded liabilities.  The numbers are much bigger.  Can you do that?  

KASICH:  Of course, of course.  

HANNITY:  How do you duplicate that?  

KASICH:  Let me remind you of something that's really sad.  When I left Washington we had a projected $5 trillion surplus, OK?  And my friends told me in Ohio, now that you and your buddies are leaving, they're going to spend it.  I said you can't spend $5 trillion.  You could have had private accounts for all the young people which would have given them not only Social Security but the ability to grow with the strength to grow with the strength of the economy.  

Guess who controlled Congress?  Republican house, Republican Senate, and a Republican president.  No one stood in the breach and remembered the people.  And they blew $5 trillion, put us deeper in the hole.  I like to say, you know, Democrats, they love to spend.  So do Republicans.  They just feel guilty when they do it.  

I mean, we have to think about this.  Here's at the end of the day, if we cannot control this fiscal policy, if we cannot reduce the taxes or control regulations, we're going to drift.  And we're going to have a lousy economy, and these young people who want to realize their God-given purpose will be denied it.  

See what politicians worry about too much is being popular.  If that's your goal is to be popular and love and you worry about the next election, get out.  Just go away.  Go do something else.  You're in there to raise everybody and make hard choices.  



HANNITY:  And coming up, when we come back, highlights of my post-debate interview with Donald Trump.  And then later tonight I had the chance to address the CPAC conference, and we're going to play some of that speech and much more tonight as we continue.    


HANNITY:  Welcome back to "Hannity."  We are broadcasting tonight from CPAC 2016.  Last night after he stepped off the FOX News debate stage, 2016 Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, he joined us with reaction to his debate performance.  In case you didn't get a chance to watch it, here's some of the highlights.  


HANNITY:  Let me start with tonight and the debate itself.  You -- somebody just said they love you.  But I want to ask you this, as you answer the questions, you obviously are the frontrunner so you're going to get most of the fire.  You seemed at ease there tonight and it didn't seem to bother you.  You went in expecting it, I assume.  

TRUMP:  I did.  I actually thought it was going to be much tougher than it was, Sean.  I thought they'd come at me a little bit stronger.  They're pretty far down, and I really thought they'd come at me stronger than they did.  I actually enjoyed the debate.  And I mean, according to "Drudge" and all of these polls, the result was really good, so I'm happy about this.  

HANNITY:  Yes.  The number I saw was 69 percent on that poll, which has been pretty consistent throughout the many, many debates.  

One of the things that is came up tonight, and I want to give you a chance to clarify this, was the issue of Trump University, because I talked to your attorney on my radio show earlier today, Michael Cohen, and Michael said that you have documentation that you had a 98 percent approval rating from the students that went to the seminars, the university.  And do you feel that this is now gotten unfair inasmuch as nobody is paying attention to that?  

TRUMP:  You know, I have done so many big deals, massive deals, big real estate projects that have been tremendously successful.  Nobody ever mentions it.  I do hundreds of deals and transactions and nobody ever mentions it.  They bring up this Trump University, which frankly has a very good rating from students that took the courses, did very well with the Better Business Bureau, and we're going to win the case.  

Eventually, I'll have a case.  Maybe it will be in a long time.  I don't know when it's going to be.  But when people take something -- it's a class action when they're trying to get money back.  It's a civil suit.  
And, you know, I don't like settling suits.  I could settle this case.  I could have settled the case.  I don't like settling cases, Sean, because when you're known as a settler, what happens is everybody sues you.  So I just don't settle cases.  But we're going to win the case.  

HANNITY:  Listen.  I've experienced it myself.  I was once sued, by of all people, believe it nor, Lindsay Lohan and her mother Dina.  And I refused to settle.  I said I'm not doing it, and it was thrown out on summary judgment.  It was knocked right out of the courtroom.  And as a public person that happens a lot.  I don't think people realize that.  But it does.  
Let me ask you this.  The issue of flexibility came up.  And they showed a tape of you on my show.  I didn't see the night before.  
Apparently you were on with Bill.  I didn't see that night.  But all throughout this campaign when I asked you about Syrian refugees, you have been very consistent in saying that you believe that they should stay there.  You would support a military presence, a coalition of nations.  You'd support food, medicine, water, supplies.  Why does that keep coming up?  Why do you think, you know?  What happened to that?  

TRUMP:  That's the first time -- yes.  Bill really asked me the question for the first time.  That was a new subject.  The migration was very new.  And Bill asked me the question, and I gave him an answer that seemed to be-- after sending it, I didn't realize they were going to bring in so many people.  So by the time I got to you I had thought about it and I studied it and I actually changed my answer.  

And I talked about that tonight because I said you have to have a certain amount of flexibility or you're not going to go anywhere.  If you're going to make a decision and it's not going to be a right decision, you have to be able to change that decision or you're going to be in trouble.  That would mean the other way you're going to do a wrong decision.  So, when Bill brought it up, nobody had really -- I hadn't thought after it.  And then after I realized they were going to bring so many more people than I had heard, which was by the time I got your show, I said in that case I'm changing my decision.  

HANNITY:  A lot of people have said, OK, you have been hard on the other candidates and they brought it up tonight.  Fair statement.  This isn't bean ball.  We call it a blood sport for a reason.  There's a lot at stake, the country's future.  We have a lot of young people here.  I'm worried about these kids and their future and the debt and the deficit and giving mullahs in Iran all of this money so they can build nuclear weapons.  

So the question is, as hard as you might be on some of the Republican candidates, how hard, how serious does it get if you win the nomination with Hillary?  

TRUMP:  Well, I will be very hard on her.  She's done a terrible job.  I think we're going to beat her very big.  Look, I'm leading in four or five polls already and I haven't done anything other than when she said something four weeks ago and I think she probably regretted she said it to me.  

I mean, look, I think we're going to beat her.  I think I'm the only one that can beat her.  I'm going to bring New York into play.  I'm going to bring Michigan into play.  I'm going to bring a lot of places into play that these other candidates are never going to win.  I'm going to win Pennsylvania.  I'm going to win Ohio.  I'm going to win Florida.  The other candidates cannot win those states.  

HANNITY:  Last question.  This is now, I think, what, the 11th debate that you guys have had.  Were you happy with the Fox debate tonight?  Are you happy with the debate process?  Do you think they're becoming repetitive?  Do you think that maybe they have run its course, or do you want to keep doing them?  

TRUMP:  I thought the moderators did a very good job.  I was very happy with the way I performed.  I think that now it's getting so repetitive it's ridiculous.  I just don't think we need any more debates.  I guess we're saddled up with one more.  But I really think the moderators were very, very good, the three moderators, and I thought FOX did a very good job tonight.  


HANNITY:  And coming up, highlights from my speech at CPAC.  That and more as we continue right here on HANNITY.

HANNITY:  Welcome back to "Hannity."  And we're coming to you tonight from CPAC 2016.  Last night I had the chance to step on stage and address the conference directly.  Here's some of those highlights.  


HANNITY:  How are you all doing, CPAC?  


HANNITY:  Do you get the feeling we're about to take our country back?  Do you get that feeling?  


HANNITY:  Do you get the feeling after eight long, difficult, hard years that this is the year?  You don't get the feeling?  Keep drinking.  You'll feel better.  Do you get the feeling that the possibility of American greatness can come back to the forefront?  

I love all of you in this room.  You know why?  Because everybody here in this room, when you made your decision to pick your candidate, you studied them.  You listened to them.  You watched them debate.  You heard them.  You've watched them over the years.  And you have emotionally and spiritually and in your solar plexus, you made a choice.  You made a choice.  And you believe in that person.  

The problem is at the end of this process, only one person is going to be the winner.  And what I'm worried about here tonight is that if your candidate doesn't win, that some of you are going to be angry and emotional that your guy lost.  And some of you are going to want to pout and some of you are going to go on TV and radio and call my show and say I can't support that guy.  And then what's going to happen is you are giving half a vote to Hillary Rodham Clinton.  

Now, we are at a point in the process that if you don't like who the two leaders are, we have 14 of 15 states this year have gone to insurgent candidates, Cruz and Trump.  There is a reason for that.  Republicans have been weak.  They have been timid.  They have been feckless.  They have been visionless.  And they broke their word to us.  In 2010, the Republican Party said that they would repeal and replace Obamacare.  Why did Ted Cruz win four big states?  Why is he in second place.  Because, Ted Cruz, unlike his colleagues in the Senate and House was willing to use the power of the purse to defund Obamacare.  


HANNITY:  And we appreciate the fact that he kept his word and was willing to fight.  

Now, in 2014, in 2014, weren't we promised something?  We were promised they stop executive immigration.  They ended up funding executive amnesty.  
So we have every right to be angry, annoyed, frustrated.  We feel betrayed.  

Here is what I don't want to have happen, and I want you all to think about this.  And I'm not telling you to make a decision tonight.  You don't have to make a decision now.  As I said, this is my 30th year on radio.  It's my 20th year on the FOX News channel.  And I can tell you this.  I don't care if you support Trump, Cruz, Rubio, or Kasich.  I got it.  Anyone, any one of them are better than Hillary Clinton.  


HANNITY:  You see, we know what Hillary Clinton and Democrats are going to do in the next election.  Do you want me to tell you what they're game plan is?  Republicans are racist.  Lie.  Republicans are engaged in a war on women.  I see a lot of women here.  Lie.  Republicans are homophobic.  That's a lie.  Republicans, they want dirty air and dirty water.  Lie.  Republicans want every grandmother in a wheelchair to be thrown over a cliff.  Lie.  Republicans are stealing from the poor people in this country.  Lie.  

So we know what their game plan is.  What I reject now is this.  I didn't like, and I have great respect for Governor Romney.  I'm not here to say anything negative about him.  I think he would have been a great president.  I was proud that I supported him.  But I wish he would have been as strong against Barack Hussein Obama as he was today.  


HANNITY:  Here is the problem.  The same establishment that didn't stop Obama's agenda is now out there, calling the frontrunner in this race, and, by the way, let's be honest here.  They don't like Cruz and they don't like Trump.  That is just a fact.  True or false?  True.  

And what they're really saying is they don't like how you're voting because 14 out of the 15 votes have gone to Cruz and Trump.  


HANNITY:  I don't like the Republican establishment spreading lies about the KKK when we know it's a lie.  I don't like them spreading lies and sounding like Hillary Clinton campaign against any of our candidates.  That has to stop, tonight.  

But this is my question for all of you here at CPAC.  Will you ask yourself in your heart, regardless of who the candidate is you support.  Will you at the end of the day, I want to ask you, as a matter of fact, I want you to stand.  Wait.  Wait.  Don't stand yet.  I want to see in this room if your candidate doesn't win, you know how the Republican Party made people a pledge.  Will you pledge to support whoever wins the nomination?  If you will, stand up.  



HANNITY:  And coming up, we have more "Hannity" right after the break.  Stay with us.    


HANNITY:  Welcome back to "Hannity."  Unfortunately that's all the time with have left this evening.  As always, thank you for being with us.  From CPAC2016 we hope you'll set your DVR so you never miss an episode.  By the way, did you guys have fun today?  


HANNITY:  I can't hear you.  Who are you supporting?  


HANNITY:  All right, a mixture.  Have a great weekend.  We'll see you back here Monday night.  


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