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Hannity

Mike Pence explains why he is running with Donald Trump

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," July 15, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Please welcome the governor of the great state of Indiana, Mike Pence.

GOV. MIKE PENCE, R-IND., PRESUMPTIVE VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE:  We love Indiana. We love our country.  My family and I couldn't be more honored to have the opportunity to run with and serve with the next president of the United States.

Donald Trump is going to provide the kind of leadership that America needs.

We're ready to put a fighter, a builder and a patriot in the Oval Office of the United States of America!  We're ready for Donald Trump!

To strengthen our nation at home and abroad and give Americans the confidence that we'll be appointing people to the Supreme Court that will stand by our Constitution.

Donald Trump knows that the boundless potential of the American people awaits, and we can make America great again!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, HOST:  And welcome to "Hannity."  And Donald Trump has made his decision.  And today he tweeted, quote, "I am pleased to announce that I have chosen Governor Mike Pence as my vice presidential running mate. News conference tomorrow 11:00 AM."

Tonight, in light of all this breaking news, we have the honor of interviewing the man that Donald Trump has selected to be his running mate. Lots to get to, and we get things started.  Joining us now is the governor of the great state of Indiana and now the presumptive vice presidential nominee -- is that the proper language?

(LAUGHTER)

HANNITY:  Has it hit you yet?

PENCE:  Not quite, Sean. It's been very humbling, very overwhelming.  You know, my grandfather came to this country in 1923, came through Ellis Island, drove a bus for 40 years in Chicago, Illinois.  And when I called my mother and told her that we had accepted Donald Trump's selection as vice president, there were tears on both ends of the call.

This is a tremendous honor for our family and -- but it's such an important time in the life of our nation, and this man is -- is the right leader for America that...

HANNITY:  Why do you say that?

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE:  ... without hesitation.

HANNITY:  You've been watching the campaign.  There are some people that I've been disappointed in.  One is Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, although I've heard behind the scenes that things have gotten a lot better. Some of Donald Trump's opponents -- they have not come out and endorsed him.

Make the case.  Why is he the right man for the right time, in your view?

PENCE:  Well, first off, he's the people's choice, and I believe in the collective wisdom of the American people.  We had a competitive primary with an enormous number of talented men and women, and Donald Trump again and again emerged because I think, very much like the 40th president that you and I so -- so admire, Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump understands the anxiety and the aspiration of the American people like no leader Since Reagan, and he's given voice to that.

And people have rallied around him and I believe will continue to rally around him.  And I expect next week at our convention, you're going to see our party and leaders in our party rally around this good man who will be a great president of the United States.

HANNITY:  Are you ready for the predictable onslaught?  The Clinton campaign has said you're incredibly divisive.  As a matter of fact, you are the most extreme pick in a generation.  Doesn't surprise you, right?

(LAUGHTER)

PENCE:  Well, you know, I'm a conservative, but I'm not in a bad mood about it.  I mean, you know, throughout my career, I've tried to stand for those principles of less government, less taxes, traditional values, and I've done that without apology.

But I've also sought to do that in a way that practices civility toward others.  In my years in Congress, my years as governor of the state of Indiana, we've worked with people across the aisle.  And I expect in the course of this campaign, we'll mix it up.  We'll have some great debates.

But after the election, when we have the opportunity to serve, we're going to work with people to solve problems facing this country, make this country safe again and get this economy moving.

HANNITY:  You know, it's funny because you used to use that line -- you were a radio talk show host for a number of years.

PENCE:  I was.

HANNITY:  I guess that means there's hope for my future.

(LAUGHTER)

HANNITY:  I don't know how to interpret that.  But you said your Rush on decaf, and you're a conservative that's not in a bad mood.  Every election, Democrats -- and I guess with the statement of Clinton today, this fits the narrative that is predictable -- Republicans are racist, and sexist and homophobic, and they want dirty air and water and they want to throw granny over the cliff.

Do you think that narrative, which has worked in the past, will work this time?

PENCE: I really don't.  I think the American people are tired of it.  I think they're tired of the paralysis in Washington, D.C.  They're tired of a rigged system that hasn't been solving problems for everyday Americans. I think that's the reason why Donald Trump, who's gotten more than his fair share, more than his fair share of that kind of treatment from the mainstream press, has risen in the way that he has in this time in the life of the country.

The American people are tired of being told.  We're tired of being told this is as good as it can get.  We're tired of being told that we'll solve these problems tomorrow.  We're tired of being told by elites from Wall Street to Washington, D.C., how things have to be.

I think Donald Trump -- people sense in him a strength of leadership. They're drawn to that strength of leadership, and that's -- I truly do believe why...

HANNITY:  He certainly...

PENCE:  ... we will prevail in this election in November.

HANNITY:  And he did have a record number of votes, and he seems to have shattered that feeling of political correctness and seems to speak his mind.  Sixty-five percent of Republican voters feel betrayed by Republicans in Washington.  Are they justified?

PENCE:  I think, in many ways, they are.  You know, I actually ran for Congress before the Republican revolution.  I was greatly inspired by the leadership in the late 1980s and early '90s of Newt Gingrich, who is still a hero to me to this day.  But I was elected to Congress I feel like many times after the Republican revolution was over.  I arrived in Washington, D.C., in 2001, and bills like No Child Left Behind and the Medicare prescription drug bill, and ultimately, the Wall Street bailout...

HANNITY:  You voted against those things.

PENCE:  I helped lead the fights against them.

HANNITY:  Well, I've got the list here.  You voted against TARP.  You voted against repealing "Don't ask, don't tell."  You voted against the Fannie and Freddie bail-out.  You voted against Dodd-Frank and on all of these big issues.  You know, in many ways, I don't see you as establishment.  You were the only person in leadership in either the House or Senate to speak at a Tea Party rally early on, and interestingly, you challenged John Boehner for his job.

PENCE:  I did.  I did.  Well, it was after we lost the majority in 2006, which i -- I predicted.  I said, Look, we've lost our way.  We've drifted off course from the ideals of Ronald Reagan and the Reagan Republican agenda into big government Republicanism.

And you know, I always used to say, you know, if we keep spending money like the Democrats, voters are eventually going to go with the professionals.  And in 2006, they did.  They turned us out.

So I stepped up.  I challenged John Boehner for the leadership role in the Congress, and eventually, I'm proud to say that I was a part of a leadership team that took the Congress back from Nancy Pelosi.  And we battled against "Obama care" and cap and trade and the stimulus bill before I was elected governor of Indiana.

HANNITY:  You often quote yourself as saying I'm a Christian, I'm a conservative, and a Republican in that order.

PENCE:  That's right.

HANNITY:  You quote Reagan a lot in your speeches.  You talk about the three-legged coalition of Reagan, which is economic, conservatives, social conservatives, national security conservatives.  Explain that.  I mean, if I were -- if somebody asked me where do I stand politically, I'm a registered conservative, but I consider myself a Reagan conservative.

PENCE:  Yes.  I know.  That's one of the reasons why I admire you so much.

HANNITY:  So you don't hold it against me that I supported Newt.  OK.

(LAUGHTER)

HANNITY:  You supported Ted Cruz, so that's fair.  We'll get to that in a minute.

PENCE:  Well, you know, Ronald Reagan's the reason I became a Republican.

HANNITY:  Same here.

PENCE:  I mean, that Irish immigrant that I mentioned -- I was named after him.  I watched my father build everything that matters.  He built a family, a small business, and a good name.

And I started out in politics as a Democrat, and John F. Kennedy was one of the heroes of my youth, still is.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was a hero of my youth.

But as I came up, I started to hear Ronald Reagan's capacity to articulate American ideals, and I was drawn into the Republican Party.  One of the great privileges of my life was meeting Ronald Reagan in 1988 at the White House, when I was a young candidate for Congress.

I had a chance, Sean, actually to thank him for what he'd done for the country.  And he would tell a small group of us a few minutes later -- he said, A lot of you thanked me for what I did for this country.  But I want you to know I didn't do anything for this country.  He said, The American people decided to right the ship, and I was just the captain they put on the bridge when they did it.

Well, I think they're doing it again.  I think the American people are rallying around Donald Trump.  They're rallying around his strength, his authenticity, his common sense conservatism because we want to see America strong at home and abroad once again.

HANNITY:  I think and I have said many times when I look at the numbers -- we've doubled our national debt, nearly $20 trillion.  Obama will accumulate more debt than every other president before him combined, a record 95 million Americans out of the labor force, 50 million Americans in poverty, 46 million Americans on food stamps.  One in five American families don't have a single member of the family in the workforce.

I view that as America in decline.  To me, the numbers seem overwhelming.  What is the plan that you support that will get those people out of poverty, off of food stamps, back in the labor force, the debt down, and stop robbing our kids?

PENCE:  Well, I think the agenda that that Donald Trump has articulated, the agenda that many Republicans on Capitol Hill have put forward -- it's an agenda about rebuilding our military.  It's an agenda that commits to crushing ISIS not waiting for them to hit us and our allies, but going there and hitting them at the source.

It's about securing our borders.  It's about getting this economy moving again.  It's about solving the problems that have resulted in this mountain range of debt that we're piling on our children and grandchildren.

But here's what it all takes.  Everybody knows what the problems are, but what we're struggling under in this time where we've seen America's strength erode at home and abroad is a lack of leadership.  And Donald Trump is a great leader.  This is a man that I'd love -- he calls himself the kid from Queens, right?

HANNITY:  But it is interesting, I mean you're more soft-spoken, a little less controversial.  You're from the Midwest.  He's from New York.  Tell us about how you met and how you connected and when you knew you were under consideration.

PENCE:  Well, it was just a few short weeks ago.  I'd had the privilege of meeting Donald Trump a few times and always was impressed at his cordiality, but I didn't know him very well.  And a few weeks back, we got a call that he was impressed with the progress that we had made in the state of Indiana, that he was aware of my record when I served in Washington, D.C., and wondered if I would have any interest in being considered.

HANNITY:  You have a $2 billion surplus?

PENCE:  We do.

HANNITY:  Not bad.  Largest tax cut in Indiana history?

PENCE:  We've actually cut taxes every year for all four years that I've been governor.

HANNITY:  That's not bad.  Can you move to New York and become New York's governor if this doesn't work out?

(LAUGHTER)

HANNITY:  You created over 150,000 private sector jobs?

PENCE:  That's right.  Unemployment's dropped from over 8 percent to...

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE:  ... and we have more Hoosiers working than ever before in the 200- year history of the state of Indiana today.  And it's all evidence of this simple fact.  Strong Republican leadership put into practice works.  I call Indiana a state that works.  I mean, what we've been able to do in the state of Indiana, we can do in this country.  But it's going to take strong Republican leadership bringing those principles to bear, and then bringing people together.

HANNITY:  All right, we're going to take a break.  We'll come back.  We're just getting things started.  A lot of news happening in the world.  We'll have more with Donald Trump's running mate, Indiana governor Mike Pence, right after the break.  Please stay with us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What I think Mike Pence brings to the table is I think he's measured.  I think he's experienced.  I think he shores up a conservative base that is important.  I think he's a complementary to Donald Trump as far as personality.  He brings a lot of those experienced qualities to the table.

And Donald Trump's been open about that.  I mean, he's been very clear that the diversity of experience is one of the major things that he needs to have on the ticket.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

HANNITY:  And welcome back to "Hannity" as we continue now with Donald Trump's vice presidential running mate, Indiana governor Mike Pence.

I know the media is going to spend a lot of time trying to create a wedge, issues you might disagree on.  Let's deal with it head on.  You had once tweeted out Donald Trump calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional.

PENCE:  Well, first, let me say that our hearts go out to the families of the fallen in this latest horrific terrorist attack...

HANNITY:  It's awful, isn't it?

PENCE:  ... in France.  And I am very supportive of Donald Trump's call to temporarily suspend immigration from countries where terrorist influence and impact represents a threat to the United States.

HANNITY:  Was it a wording difference?

PENCE:  Well, I think -- you know, I've never hesitated to take issue with fellow Republicans.  I mean, I don't think that things came out quite right or quite how I would have done it.  But I want folks to know that I strongly agree with Donald Trump's call that we've got to do something different.  San Bernardino, Orlando, Chattanooga...

HANNITY:  ... Fort Hood, Belgium, France, again and again and again.

PENCE:  I took -- following San Bernardino, we suspended the Syrian refugee program in the state of Indiana, using the authority I had as governor...

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE:  ... because we have no higher priority than the safety and security of the American people.  And what I've heard from Donald Trump, and I believe the position he's articulated that resonates with millions of Americans, is that we've got to find out what's going on, and we've got to do something different, and we've got to put the safety and security of the American people first.

HANNITY:  This is a really important issue.  And I think what happened last night -- and I want to talk more about this -- really brings issues that Donald Trump has brought into this campaign front and center, and that is building the wall and immigration, what to do with the people that are here illegally.  And the refugee program, Hillary Clinton wants a 550 percent increase in refugees.

Now, here's the problem.  We have our national director of intelligence, James Clapper, our FBI director, our assistant FBI director, our CIA director, our House Homeland Security chairman, and Obama's own special envoy to defeat ISIS, former general John Allen have all said ISIS will infiltrate the refugee population.

Why would we take in people if we know like what happened in Paris will happen here because our top intelligence people say so?

PENCE:  Well, that's why Donald Trump is right in calling for a temporary suspension of countries that have been compromised by terrorist influence. There's no question it's the right view.

But it was precisely Director Comey's testimony last fall that precipitated my decision to suspend the Syrian refugee program.  He simply said with Syria completely compromised by civil war, ISIS, and the regime Bashar Assad, that we simply can't know who some of these people are.

But the American people need to know who these people are.  We have a proud tradition of refugee resettlement in my home state of Indiana and all across this country.  That continues to this day.  But it has to be subordinated...

HANNITY:  To the safety of Americans.

PENCE:  ... to the safety and security of the American people.

HANNITY:  So if Hillary Clinton wants to bring in 550 percent more, against the advice really of our top national security advisers -- CIA, FBI director, national director of intelligence -- is she gambling -- willing to gamble with the lives of Americans?

PENCE:  I think it's -- I think it's reckless and irresponsible for Hillary Clinton to call for a 550 percent increase in the Syrian refugee program at a time of such peril to the United States and our allies.

And let me point out that President Barack Obama used his authority in 2009 to suspend the Iraqi refugee program when two Iraqi refugees were found to be plotting a terrorist attack in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

I mean, this is a very clear choice for the American people.

HANNITY:  How do you...

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE:  The president can suspend this program unilaterally.  Barack Obama did it in 2009 when he suspended the Iraqi refugee program for six months. Donald Trump is prepared to suspend the program unless and until it's secure.  Hillary Clinton wants to increase it by 550 percent.

HANNITY:  You know...

PENCE:  We've got to have leadership.

HANNITY:  ... I put up this -- these issues a lot, the money that Hillary Clinton has gotten from countries like Saudi Arabia.  I have the whole list in front of me here and other countries that practice sharia, a very strict form of sharia -- $25 million, for example, for the Clinton Foundation from Saudi Arabia, $10 million for the Clinton library.

But in Saudi Arabia, gays and lesbians can be executed.  You can't build a temple.  You can't build a church.  And women are told how to dress.  They can't drive.  They're told whether they can go to work or school and have to have a male relative to leave the house.  And in some countries, it gets worse from there.

So I guess the question is if somebody wants to come to America from a Muslim country, and they grew -- or maybe a country that practices sharia, a better way to put it, and they're coming from that country, how do we ascertain what's in their heart?  Do they want to assimilate?  Do they want the breath of freedom that America offers, that your grandparents came for, or do they want to advance the caliphate, which is worldwide sharia?

PENCE:  My grandfather grew up in a little town called Tuckercurry (ph) in western Ireland, and that's a great story about him standing with his mother, looking out over the Ox (ph) Mountains, and she said, You need to go to America because there's a future there for you.  It was an American future.  My grandfather always cherished his heritage.  He would say it was across the pond.

HANNITY:  They might have been friends with my grandparents.  They came here with 10 bucks in their pocket.

PENCE:  I think it's very likely.  But I'm saying he came here to be an American, to buy into the principles enshrined in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.  And I believe that everyone who is here must be encouraged to buy into the American ideals of freedom.

HANNITY:  But we have to examine if you grew up under a system that is the antithesis of what we believe as a constitutional republic and the values are so different -- we have to figure out a way to vet that, don't we?

PENCE:  Well, I think that's the challenge that Director Comey referenced.  
That's the challenge that we face with the refugee program.  We just need to be smarter and think harder about individuals who may be coming here, not just rejecting our political ideals but with the intent to do harm.

And that's where we need -- as Donald Trump said, we've just got to find out what's going on, and we've got to approach this differently and boldly. And that's quite a contrast from Hillary Clinton, who wants a 550 percent increase in the Syrian refugee program alone.

HANNITY:  You in 2006 -- the GOP at that time was considering full-scale amnesty.  You rejected that concept.

PENCE:  I did.

HANNITY:  And you said in part because what makes America exceptional is the rule of law, and immigrants' first action joining this country cannot be breaking the law through illegal entry.  And you called for legislation requiring every illegal alien to leave the country at the point of entry, and then to register, and then they'd have a chance to come back.

So you really seem in sync with Donald Trump on the issue of immigration. Does that include the wall?

PENCE:  Absolutely.

HANNITY:  Is Mexico going to pay for it?

PENCE:  Absolutely.  That president we mentioned before said a nation without borders is not a nation.  And building the wall, establishing border security, has to be job one, and internal enforcement.  I mean, we are a nation of laws, and we need to uphold those laws.

HANNITY:  Do we have to build the wall first and then deal with those people that are here illegally?  And for example, if we're going to let some stay, do they have to pay for their own vetting, their own background checks?

PENCE:  I -- I have rejected throughout my career amnesty.  And -- but I believe we need to focus first and foremost, as Donald Trump has done with such force and such passion, on border integrity and building the wall and internal enforcement.

You'll also remember from my record, though, I do think we should reform the way that people have the ability to come into this country.  You know, I advocated with the senior senator from Texas at the time a no amnesty guest worker program that you just alluded to.  I think there are ways that we can improve the system.  But everything begins with border security, which will make our nation more secure and our economy a stronger foundation.

HANNITY:  All right, we'll have more with Donald Trump's running mate, Indiana governor Mike Pence, as we take a quick break.  Stay with us right here on "Hannity."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY:  And welcome back to "Hannity" as we continue now with the man that Donald Trump has chosen to be his running mate, Indiana governor Mike Pence.

Thank you so much for staying with us, governor.  You voted for the war, the authorization for the use of force as it relates to Iraq.  Donald Trump said it was a mistake -- area of disagreement.  Also said we should keep the oil.  I'm sure you didn't support Obama and Hillary Clinton's plan to pull out early.

PENCE:  Well, look, I think reasonable people can differ on whether or not we should have gone into Iraq.  But where Donald Trump and I are in strong agreement is that Barack Obama's precipitous withdrawal from Iraq created a vacuum in which ISIS was created.

And Hillary Clinton's leadership as secretary of state, as you can see unfolding today in Ankara, Turkey, with an attempted coup, has literally left the wider Middle East and the Arab world in shambles.

HANNITY:  What do you make of this coup today that's been going on all night and all day?

PENCE:  Well, we're just following it.  You know, I served on the Foreign Affairs Committee for many years.  I've been to Ankara.  You know, Turkey has been, at times, a challenging ally of ours in the region, but it is an ally of ours in the region.

HANNITY:  Do you regret...

PENCE:  And I think it's evidence of the fact that whether you look at Libya, whether you look at the wider Arab world, the policies of this administration, the failed leadership of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state tells us that we cannot have four more years of the kind of leadership that moves red lines in the sand, that spends most of its time apologizing to our enemies and abandoning our friends.  That's the kind of leadership that Hillary Clinton provided.  We can't have that in the Oval Office for four more years.

I think the wider world knows that America needs to be strong for the world to be safe and secure.  And Donald Trump is going to provide the kind of broad-shouldered American leadership on the world stage that I think will make the world a more stable place.

HANNITY:  Was it the right decision to invade Iraq?

PENCE:  I -- I think that's for historians to debate.  I supported President Bush's decision to go into Iraq, as well as to go into Afghanistan.  I traveled down range for 10 years in a row to visit our soldiers in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.  I stood -- I stood strongly through both of them.  

But I think what people may forget is that after 2006 when George W. Bush changed the strategy in Iraq and appropriated funding for the surge and put General Petraeus in charge, things changed.  By the time Barack Obama becomes president of the United States, things in Iraq were stable.  I mean, the reality was we had made extraordinary progress bringing peace and stability to that country in the aftermath of many difficult years.  

HANNITY:  Isn't it sad to see cities like Mosul and Ramadi and Tikrit and Fallujah that our men had fought, bled, and died for in the hands of ISIS?

PENCE:  It's heartbreaking to me.  I've stood by the gravesites of American soldiers that have fallen and are now buried in the Hoosier state.  I've wept with gold star families.  I know the price that was paid.  But not only is that grievous and heartbreaking to think of those sacrifices squandered, but to think that ISIS grew up that was conjured up the vacuum that was created when this administration under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had precipitously withdrew from Iraq before we should have done that with no status of forces agreement whatsoever.  

And the reality is that what's unfurling in Turkey today is likely one more installment of the anarchy that has taken over countries across the broader Middle East.  And we need strong leadership in the White House to stand with our ally, Israel, to stand with our Arab allies.  And we need leadership that will not just talk about investigating and bringing to justice those that perpetrate violence or inspire violence in our country, but we need a leader who will have a strategy to go after ISIS at the source and destroy them.  

HANNITY:  Let's talk about that.  How do we defeat radical Islam?  And we do have to mention who they are.  That's got to be a first step.  What do you think of the fact that Hillary and Barack Obama do not?  Donald Trump does.  How do we defeat them?  Your running, the president -- the presumptive nominee has said we've got to do whatever it takes and bomb the living -- out of them.  

PENCE:  We've got to exercise the full strength of the United States of America diplomatically and militarily.  This is a military enemy.  What happened in Orlando, what just happened in Nice, these are terrorist attacks that are inspired by a military organization, and we have to recognize that we are in a struggle.  

HANNITY:  It is.  

PENCE:  It's an ism, and we have to recognize and speak plainly about the impact and the influence of radical Islam.  But let's focus on the enemy. The enemy is ISIS.  We know where they are.  

HANNITY:  The enemy is really radical Islamists.

PENCE:  I think at its core is this metastasized version of Islam that is radical Islam that's being used as a justification for simply a power grab in the region.  That's what this caliphate is.  

HANNITY:  Is it just the region, or is the caliphate really to spread Islam worldwide?  

PENCE:  I think you're really talking about --

HANNITY:  The Islamization of Europe, no-go zones, everything from there, 88 sharia courts in Great Britain.  

PENCE:  Look, we know where the enemy is.  And I think you're going to see day one that he becomes president of the United States, Donald Trump is going to bring his military advisers in and say put options on the table. And a Trump administration will support military action to crush ISIS.  

HANNITY:  We've got to take a break. Much more with Indiana Governor Mike Pence, Donald Trump's running mate, right after this quick break.     

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CONOR POWELL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  This is a Fox News alert.  I'm Conor Powell.  Heavy fighting tonight across Turkey as the military there tries to oust the current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a military coup. Soldiers loyal to the military battling police loyal to Erdogan in the street in both Ankara, the capital, and in Istanbul, the largest city there.  A bomb also going off in parliament.  

Police say at least 42 people have been killed across the country in the clashes and chaos there.  Now, the White House issuing a statement, saying that it stands with the democratically elected government of Turkey. Erdogan is believed now to be safe in Istanbul and has issued a statement saying that he will crush this coup attempt.  It is not clear yet whether or not he will prevail.  

Now back to "Hannity."

HANNITY:  And welcome back to "Hannity." We continue now with Donald Trump's 2016 running mate, Indiana governor Mike Pence.  The religious freedom issue --

PENCE:  Yes.  

HANNITY:  -- became such a big deal in Indiana.  You pulled back on it.  I think a lot of people want to know, and I'm sure it will probably be in every interview you have going forward a big issue.  So I want to give you a chance to give your explanation.  

PENCE:  Well, people who know me well know I abhor discrimination.  And I also cherish the freedoms that are enshrined in the constitution of the United States.  You know, I signed a law a little over a year ago that was similar to legislation that President Bill Clinton had signed back in the 1990s, raising the judicial standard in cases involving religious freedom, emulated in more than 20 states around the country.  And it became a subject of enormous controversy.  And so we amended the legislation, but we did it in a way that did not erode anyone's constitutional rights.  And today Indiana's more prosperous than it's ever been before.  

HANNITY:  I guess the quintessential example that is used, somebody has a deep commitment to their faith.  

PENCE:  Sure.  

HANNITY:  And somebody that happens to be gay or lesbian, the baker, should they be forced by law to make that cake if it goes against their conscience because they disagree with gay marriage?  

PENCE:  And that's a good question for our courts, and it was one of the reasons why we raised the standard in those cases in the state of Indiana, similar to what exists in the federal courts.  And while we -- you know, while we amended the legislation, we did so in a way that specifically said nothing in this law changes any aspect of the constitution of the state of Indiana, which I'm proud to say has a strong framework for freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.  

HANNITY:  In 1991, you wrote a piece in the policy review, negative campaigning is wrong.  

PENCE:  Right.  

HANNITY:  We know that Hillary Clinton will run a negative campaign.  She's running it.  The first minute out of the box, she was attacking you today.  

One of the traditional roles of a vice president, though, is to go out there and prosecute the case against the opponent.  How would you prosecute the case against Hillary?  She's got a 67 percent distrust.  People find her dishonest and untrustworthy.  And 57 percent thought that she should have been indicted on the issue involving her e-mails.  What is your answer?  Is negative campaigning wrong to tell the truth about her?  

PENCE:  I think elections are about choices.  And when I wrote that piece back in 1991 I had come out of a couple of tough campaigns where on both sides of the campaign we were talking more about what was wrong with each other than we were talking about the issues.  

I just said campaigns ought to be about the advancement of issues that are more important than candidates.  And the issues in this election couldn't be more important, and the choice couldn't be more clear.  Donald Trump is offering a vision for America and an agenda for America that will restore American strength at home and abroad.  Hillary Clinton, you know, whether it be the fact that she mishandled classified information, whether it be the fact that she left Americans in harm's way in Benghazi --

HANNITY:  Yes.  

PENCE:  -- where four Americans fell.  

HANNITY:  And she lied to the American people.  

PENCE:  And the State Department and lied about the reasons for it happening.  I think there is one issue after another where Hillary Clinton is simply disqualified to be president of the United States, and we're going to make that case in this election.  

HANNITY:  We've got to take a break.  We'll have more with Donald Trump's 2016 running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence.  Stay with us.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HERMAN CAIN, R-FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I think it's a fabulous pink.  He's a man who spent 12 years in Congress, sat on the Foreign Relations Committee, had multiple trips to the Middle East, has been very interested in that area, and also has executive experience as a governor. So he fills in a lot of the gaps for Donald.  Also bear in mind that he's a solid conservative.  I think it helps to really round out the ticket very substantially.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY:  And welcome back to "Hannity" as we continue with Donald Trump's vice presidential running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence.  We talked about a lot of things tonight.  Let's talk about Donald Trump's agenda. Really quick, you're pro Second Amendment.  

PENCE:  Absolutely.  

HANNITY:  Pro-life?  Do you make exceptions for rape and incest as Donald Trump does?  

PENCE:  I have supported the three exceptions throughout my public career.  

HANNITY:  We have to touch on entitlements, Medicare, raise the eligibility rate, means test?  

PENCE:  I think we have got to bring about the reforms that will improve those programs for future generations of Americans and also contribute to their fiscal solvency.  

HANNITY:  What about repealing and replacing Obamacare, which Trump says he wants to do?  Is the answer health care savings accounts?  He and I have talked about that.  

PENCE:  I think we have to repeal Obamacare lock, stock, and barrel. There's no question as we've done in Indiana in Medicaid reform health savings account, consumer driven healthcare is the pathway forward to fiscal solvency and better health care for Americans.  

HANNITY:  How important on a scale of one to 10 do we need to spend money to rebuild our military while still trying to balance the budget?  

PENCE:  Eleven.  

HANNITY:  Eleven.  Energy, you support coal, drilling, fracking, nuclear?  

PENCE:  I support all of the above, and I support Donald Trump because he will end the war on coal that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have been prosecuting.  Hillary Clinton actually promised to shut down coal mines and put coal miners out of work.  It's one more reason why she should be disqualified to be the next president of the United States.  

HANNITY:  You once said you support the Transpacific Partnership in a tweet.  Some say Donald Trump is a protectionist.  I've asked him extensively about this.  He says no.  I believe in free trade but fair trade.  Do you believe there might come a point that if they don't let American goods into countries like Japan and China and Mexico that there should be some retaliatory action?

PENCE:  I've always supported free trade and Donald Trump supports free trade as well.  Trade and commerce supports American jobs and supports growth in this country.  But I think when we elect one of the best negotiators in the world as president of the United States I'm open to renegotiating these trade agreements.  NAFTA actually had a provision in it that's now 20 years old that we were supposed to review NAFTA again and again and ensure that it was working for Americans.  

HANNITY:  It is not.

PENCE:  I think looking again at NAFTA, looking at bilateral trade agreements instead of multilateral, that's a policy I can strongly support.  

HANNITY:  I probably should have asked this first but I wanted to save it for the last question.  At some point if you are the vice president, God forbid I hope I'm wrong, I hope it never happens, but it may very well, a Pearl Harbor, a 9/11, some type of financial collapse, what do you view as the role for you as vice president?  And are you ready on day one to serve in that position?  

PENCE:  I think the priorities of the next president are the priorities of the vice president.  My job would be having lived through a couple of those moments.  I was in Washington, D.C., and battled against the Wall Street bailout.  My first year in Congress, I was there on 9/11 when the Pentagon was attacked.  I was in this city just a few short days later and stood at ground zero.  I think being able to stand next to the president to support him, to encourage him and help implement his policies to connect to the Congress and most importantly the American people is a job I would relish. I would approach it --

HANNITY:  What do you do when you disagree?  

PENCE:  Well, I've been in positions before like that.  I served in leadership of the Congress.  You shut the door.  You tell the boss exactly what you think.  And having gotten to know him a little bit I have found out that Donald Trump is a man that appreciates candor.  And we've had some very candid and straightforward conversations, but when the door opens the job of the vice president is stand right next to the president and implement the policy that he's decided.  

HANNITY:  And God forbid anything happen, you're ready to take that job over?  

PENCE:  I don't think anybody can say that, but I wouldn't have said yes if I didn't believe in my heart of hearts that should the moment ever come that by God's grace I believe that the lifetime that we have led would prepare us to step and follow in that role.  

HANNITY:  All right, we have more "Hannity" coming up right after this break.    

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY:  Before we go, a quick programming note.  Be sure to tune in Sunday night, 9:00 p.m.  We'll be back in Cleveland ahead of the RNC convention.  You don't want to miss it.  And then we'll be there all week.  

That's all the time we have left.  As always, thank you for being with us, and we'll see you Sunday night from Cleveland.  Have a good night.  

END

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