This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 18, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: He shocked the nation back in 1998 when he stormed on to the political scene and won Minnesota's gubernatorial race. Now, former Minnesota governor, pro wrestler and Navy SEAL, Jesse "The Body" Ventura is considering perhaps another political comeback?
His book, "Don't Start the Revolution Without Me," describes the outrage at the state of affairs in the U.S. It's now out in paperback.
Good to see you.
JESSE VENTURA, FORMER MINNESOTA GOVERNOR: Good to see you, Sean. Always.
HANNITY: He's been yelling at me ever since he walked in the green room today.
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VENTURA: I don't yell at anyone.
HANNITY: You are —
VENTURA: I speak.
HANNITY: You're right on me. It's like I can't get five seconds to breathe.
VENTURA: It's your reputation that precedes you.
HANNITY: Well, you said you didn't like — you didn't think you would like me until you met me. Didn't you say that to me?
HANNITY: What didn't you like about me?
VENTURA: I don't always care for how it operates in the bullying of —
HANNITY: I don't bully. Stop it.
VENTURA: Of guests and things like that.
HANNITY: I couldn't bully you if I — if.
VENTURA: Not me, but other people you can.
HANNITY: I couldn't bully you.
VENTURA: Other people you do.
HANNITY: You'd slap me down so hard I would —
VENTURA: Other people you do, and I get irritated when I see that at home.
HANNITY: Well you said — you've been out to surfing the last six months — have you really been in Mexico surfing for six months?
VENTURA: No, unfortunately, only for three because from November — well, my brother-in-law was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease.
HANNITY: Sorry to hear that.
VENTURA: And he was diagnosed October 2nd, then he passed on January 14th so I didn't get to Mexico until the end of January because my wife, that was her younger brother, and she stayed home and took care of him until his passing. It's a horrible disease.
HANNITY: I'm sorry, no, I know. It's horrible. I know somebody right now who has it.
VENTURA: I know another one, too.
HANNITY: It's terrible. It's horrible.
VENTURA: Scott LeDoux, the boxer, has it.
HANNITY: Is it true?
HANNITY: All right. I — look, we can go down the old road of our battle. You do not like the Bush administration?
HANNITY: You don't like Dick Cheney. I got that. I understand that.
HANNITY: But I want to ask you some new questions.
VENTURA: All right.
HANNITY: All right? You're game?
VENTURA: Sure. All right.
HANNITY: What is it — do you — what do you think of Barack Obama?
VENTURA: I think he's exceptionally intelligent from — you know, when you hear him speak and…
HANNITY: He reads a teleprompter. Come on.
VENTURA: Well, at least we've got a president now who can read one.
VENTURA: You know we didn't have that for eight years.
HANNITY: That's not a sign of intelligence.
VENTURA: Yes, it is. If you're not capable of reading a teleprompter.
HANNITY: No, it's not.
VENTURA: No. I'll say this, I think he's very intelligent. I think it's far too early to be judgmental. Because let's face it. He inherited a mess.
VENTURA: Wait. He inherited two wars. He inherited an economy in the tank.
HANNITY: You can't stop yourself.
VENTURA: Economy in the tank. Two wars. I wouldn't have wished that on my worst enemy.
HANNITY: Well, George Bush inherited a recession. George Bush inherited the negative...
VENTURA: Oh no, he did not.
HANNITY: Let me finish. Yes, he did. Yes, he did.
VENTURA: Wait a minute.
HANNITY: Oh yes, he did.
HANNITY: And the negative impact of 9/11.
VENTURA: All right. All right.
HANNITY: All right. Want to arm wrestle?
VENTURA: You're telling me, you're telling me that the United States was better off after George Bush or before him?
VENTURA: Oh my God. How can you make that statement?
HANNITY: I just did, and I'll tell you why.
VENTURA: No, I don't even need to talk to you about it.
HANNITY: Listen, it's not about Republicans.
VENTURA: It's ridiculous. This country was far better off.
VENTURA: ... before George Bush than it is after George Bush.
HANNITY: Well, let me quote from the 9/11 Commission reporter? "For an entire decade...
HANNITY: I'm glad I can make you laugh. "For an entire decade..."
VENTURA: You could when you bring up the 9/11 Commission that makes you laugh.
HANNITY: For an entire...
VENTURA: Because they didn't investigate nothing.
HANNITY: Well, I agree and to one extent you're partially right, but they did get one thing right, that there were a group of radicals that were at war with the United States.
HANNITY: And we weren't at war with them.
HANNITY: We saw the first Trade Center bombing, the embassy bombings, the USS Cole, and we have radicals that think God is going to reward them in heaven with virgins, Jesse. How do you stop them? What do you do?
HANNITY: Tell me what you do?
VENTURA: You pay attention to memos on August 6th that tell you exactly what bin Laden's going to do. Instead we hear Condoleezza Rice going, I didn't know what they were going to do, and the memo says bin Laden set to hijack planes and ram them into buildings.
HANNITY: I have a better idea.
VENTURA: And your buddy, George Bush.
VENTURA: He was on vacation in Crawford at the time.
HANNITY: I have a better idea.
VENTURA: Did you know he took over 900 days of vacation?
HANNITY: So what? He's — no, a president is never off. President is — do you know that — let me give you an example.
VENTURA: This one was.
VENTURA: He wasn't the man who's watching because the biggest attack in the history happened on his watch.
HANNITY: I wrote about this in my first book, I'll give you a copy before you leave here. Bill Clinton was offered Osama bin Laden on a silver platter by the Sudan, and we passed on it five times.
HANNITY: So I don't want to hear lectures about George Bush and bin Laden. He did keep us safe. He did put Osama...
VENTURA: And let's see...
VENTURA: And let's see. George Bush was bailed out of one of his bad business deals by Salem bin Laden. Osama's brother.
HANNITY: Can I ask you this?
VENTURA: You don't think there's a connection there? Come on.
HANNITY: Let me ask you this. Are you — do you not think the quadrupling of our national debt which in one year.
VENTURA: Whoa. I agree.
HANNITY: Would you do that?
HANNITY: If you are president?
VENTURA: I don't know. No, because I would — I was talking about the deficit before the election, and not — you notice that term never came up.
HANNITY: I agree.
VENTURA: Through the entire John McCain...
HANNITY: I agree.
VENTURA: Osama bin Laden election, nobody would touch the deficit with a ten-foot pole. Do you know who first brought up the deficit?
VENTURA: Ross Perot.
HANNITY: It's true.
VENTURA: That's right.
HANNITY: That's true.
VENTURA: And so don't come at me that — all the Republicans do, they spend like Democrats, only they charge it. At least the Democrats go cash and carry. The Republicans do the same thing in charges.
HANNITY: I will say, though, but in one year to quadruple the deficit, to have the CBO tell us that in 10 years.
VENTURA: And who is left with this?
HANNITY: Let me finish. Well, our kids and grandkids. But in 10 years we're going to quadruple.
VENTURA: No, George Bush left it.
HANNITY: No, that's not true. No, this deficit is Obama's deficit. This is Obama' spending. Obama did it in one year. In one year.
VENTURA: To fix George Bush's mess.
HANNITY: You just hate Bush so much you can't see straight.
VENTURA: No. No.
HANNITY: You can't see straight. He's not the president.
VENTURA: You can't see straight because you're so conservative.
HANNITY: I'm a conservative. That's right.
VENTURA: All you do is back the conservatives no matter what they do.
HANNITY: Wrong. Wrong. You haven't listened to me for five years, criticizing the Republicans.
VENTURA: Five years?
HANNITY: Six years criticizing Republicans for spending too much money. Say that's right, Mr. Hannity.
VENTURA: Mr.? You're not my officer.
HANNITY: I'm not.
VENTURA: No, you're not.
HANNITY: Glad to see you, The Body. Good to see you.
VENTURA: Good to see you.
HANNITY: Did you have a good time?
VENTURA: I'm done already? This is it?
HANNITY: That's it.
VENTURA: Sheesh. You didn't even get to any good topics.
HANNITY: Because you insist on going over the old topics, and I knew you'd do this.
VENTURA: Because I need to pound it home for people to have them realized Barack Obama inherited this mess, Republicans had the Congress for six years. And they have the presidency.
HANNITY: Well, now it's Obama's mess, and Obama quadrupled the deficit in one year, and we'll see what happens to our kids and grandkids.
VENTURA: OK. Well, George Bush had a bailout too, didn't he? And you know what's interesting?
HANNITY: Are you ever going to run for office?
VENTURA: Republicans — wait.
HANNITY: I don't care what you said about it.
VENTURA: Republicans voted for it. When it was George Bush's bailout. But they wouldn't vote for it when it was Obama's. That's politics at its worst. That's putting your party before the country.
HANNITY: I am a Reagan conservative. I am...
VENTURA: Well, I'm a Goldwater conservative.
HANNITY: Well, I'm a Reagan conservative. We just disagree on social issues on many things.
HANNITY: Reagan gave us the longest period of peacetime economic growth. He ended the Cold War and he took on evil in his time and I love him for it.
HANNITY: And Bush kept us safe. Good-bye. Thank you.
VENTURA: Kept us safe. The biggest attack in history on his watch.
HANNITY: Yes, OK.
VENTURA: Don't tell me he kept us safe.
HANNITY: Thank Bill Clinton for that.
VENTURA: No. I'll thank George Bush who don't read memos and he goes on vacation and sleeps.
HANNITY: You should have blamed Clinton for not getting bin Laden when he was offered.
VENTURA: Well, I'll put it to you this way. I'd rather have a thousand Monicas than all these 9/11s and the terrorists.
HANNITY: I don't know why I like you but I do.
All right, coming up.
VENTURA: Because I tell you the truth. That's why.
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