This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," December 7, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: As the primary season nears, the ad wars among GOP hopefuls are heating up. While some candidates are adhering to former president Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment thou shall not speak ill of any fellow Republican, well, others are ignoring the Gipper's advice and they're going on the attack.



MITT ROMNEY, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You did support the individual mandate.


ROMNEY: OK. That's what I'm saying we got the idea from you and the Heritage Foundation.


ROMNEY: And I don't line-up 100 percent with the NRA.

RICK PERRY, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Commerce, Education, and the -- oops.


ROMNEY: Look, I was an independent at the time of Reagan- Bush. I'm not going to return to Reagan-Bush.

ROMNEY: The right course is the one championed by Ronald Reagan 30 years ago and by John McCain and Sarah Palin today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And as a result he ends up sounding like he cannot take a position one way or the other.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything that Gingrich railed against when he was in the House, he went the other way when he got paid to go the other way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is demonstrating himself to be the very essence of the Washington insiders.


HANNITY: So is playing dirty just part of the political process or are some campaigns taking it too far? Joining me now with reaction, he was a GOP presidential candidate in 2008, former mayor of the great city of New York, Mayor Giuliani. How are you? Good to see you.


HANNITY: Did you see this, by the way, that Mitt Romney said to the Republican Jewish collation he would consider nominating key cabinet positions and your name was represented as potential attorney general?

GIULIANI: Well, that's very kind.


HANNITY: I have a better position for you, though.

GIULIANI: You do? Thanks.

HANNITY: I would like to see you secretary of defense.


HANNITY: Why are you laughing?

GIULIANI: The best thing to do is to focus on making sure we elect one of these Republicans president and we don't hurt each other too much before we get to the big show.


GIULIANI: I mean, the networks are doing enough damage. I've never seen anything like this. I've told you that before the show. I think it's disgraceful. And it actually has implications for our country. Democratic candidates for president don't get vetted in the same way as Republican candidates for president. And if they're going to do this to us, what they've done to Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, as soon as you become number one they come after you. You get the top of the news, five minutes, find every piece of dirt, and what they did to Herman Cain, and now Gingrich is at the top of the news. You know, he did this when he was in Congress and he did that.

That was never, ever of done to Barack Obama. Never done to Barack Obama. And really, I remember when Bill Clinton had his problems. He had his problems, he got one chance to explain it. He explained it with Hillary and that was it. Forget it. They are trying to rip apart anybody that has a chance to defeat Barack Obama.

HANNITY: I said in 2008, and I wasn't kidding, that I think the media in America, journalism died, and now it's dead and buried. I guess, thank god, for cable and Fox and talk radio.

GIULIANI: People can get a different way of looking at things now. I think all the debates, although some of them, you know, got a little repetitious and maybe got a little boring, I think they were very, very good. I told Newt, the reason he is in the position he is in because he does such a good job in the debates. And one thing he did that nobody else did, he didn't attack other Republicans. But when he would say that, you could feel it.

HANNITY: Frank Luntz actually polled it and he said that those that went on the attack against their fellow Republicans did not benefit. When they attack Obama, they like it.

GIULIANI: Of course, Republicans are going to love it. But every single one of them at one point or another did attacks because somebody else was getting to the number one position so they would go after that person. And then you turn to Newt, and Newt would say our objective here is to defeat Barack Obama, not each other. All of us would agree we would be a lot better than Barack Obama. And then he would go to the point that had to be made about our economy being out of control or the failure Obama has been or the weak foreign policy that we have.

HANNITY: Do you think the attacks that they have been now throwing at Newt, because he's now under scrutiny, under fire, he's now the frontrunner. The poll numbers of pretty amazing for him. I've never seen anyone skyrocket that quickly. He was going up two, three points after each debate and then, boom, rocket ship. Do you think he will be able to withstand these attacks?

GIULIANI: You never know, but I think so, because I think in his case it's different than for Michele Bachmann and for Herman Cain and even for Rick. They were more newcomers to the national picture. He's not. I mean, Newt has been around for a very long time. I have known Newt for 20 -- I don't remember how many years, but I've known him a long, long time. He has real accomplishments. He has got some problems that you add up against those accomplishments, but you put them against real accomplishments. So I don't think it is going to mean the same thing as it would mean if those attacks were against somebody new on the scene.

HANNITY: Why -- because Mitt Romney has been, along with Ron Paul, but Mitt at the top has been steady throughout the whole process.


HANNITY: Why has he not been able to close the deal?

GIULIANI: I think Mitt has strengths and weaknesses like the others. Mitt's great strength is his background, background as governor, background as --

HANNITY: Likeability.

GIULIANI: He's charming. He's very good in the debates. I would say each debate, depending on your sort of prejudices, either -- either Newt won it or Mitt Romney won it. He did a great job in the debates. I think Mitt's problem, and it came across on the interview on Fox, are all the changes in position. They are so many all at once.

HANNITY: Isn't a big flip-flopper, in fairness, Obama?


HANNITY: It is an amazing thing. The media ignores that.

GIULIANI: But we aren't look at Obama.

HANNITY: Not yet.

GIULIANI: You are asking Republicans, you are asking Republicans to say we want to put a person in the presidency who is going to really transform the country, who is going to be tough, who is going to stick with a set of principles, whether they are popular or unpopular.

And then you look at Mitt, having been governor, moderate governor, and then all of a sudden, six or seven key positions get changed within four months. I think actually he has the burden of explaining that. And he has the burden of creating credibility with that 60 percent, 70 percent that he hasn't brought over yet about that. What they want to know is if you become president, Mitt, and things get unpopular, are you going to stick -- are you going to stick with a balanced budget amendment? Are you going to stick with cutting these federal programs? Are you going to stick with getting really tough with Iran?

If the New York Times is writing editorials and everyone else is saying -- like they used to say about Ronald Reagan. I worked for Ronald Reagan. I remember when Ronald Reagan deployed the cruise missiles to Europe and pointed them at the Soviet Union. The New York Times wrote an editorial the next day saying he was going to cause World War III. ABC did two days of the morning after I think it was called the end of the world. Well, Ronald Reagan took all that. His approval numbers went way down but Ronald Reagan took that because Ronald Reagan knew why he was president.

HANNITY: If you were defense secretary, would you advise the president that we've got to take out Iran's nuclear facilities?

GIULIANI: I believe that the goal of our government has to be to make sure that they do not become nuclear. If that involves the necessity for the attack, then we should do the attack. They should not become a nuclear power.

HANNITY: Don't settle for attorney general. You have got to be defense.

GIULIANI: And we have to have a president that's capable of doing that. We have to have a president that's capable of exercising that option if that's the necessary option to stop them from being nuclear. I've been saying this for eight years. But all you need is the case now that has been brought here in the southern district in New York. If a government is insane enough, irrational enough to offer money to kill the Saudi-Arabian ambassador in Washington, D.C. --

HANNITY: That's bold.

GIULIANI: -- then that's a government that can hand off nuclear materials to terrorists, think they can buy their way out of it, and have that nuclear material explode in London, New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Israel. You cannot allow irrational people to have their hands on nuclear weapons. It was the great fear of the cold war. The greatest fear of the cold war was somebody in the Soviet Union would be nuts. But we have nuts in Iran. Ahmadinejad is nuts. You might as well take him at his word. You must protect your country. If people tell you they are going to destroy Israel, you better believe them. We're a lot safer believing them.

HANNITY: Mr. Mayor, it's always good seeing you, and appreciate you being with us. That is good advice for anybody who is running.

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