Gingrich reacts to SC debate shoot-out with Juan Williams

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," January 16, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


NEWT GINGRICH, R-FMR. HOUSE SPEAKER, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The difference between Barack Obama and the five of us, we actually think work is good.


GINGRICH: We actually -- we actually think saying to somebody, I'll help you if you're willing to help yourself, is good.


GINGRICH: And we think unconditional efforts by the best food stamp president in American history to maximize dependency is terrible for the future of this country!



SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And welcome back to this post-debate spin room edition of "Hannity." We are live in Myrtle Beach. We're in South Carolina tonight. That was former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich at tonight's big debate. And joining me now from the spin room, the man himself, Newt Gingrich. Mr. Speaker, how are you?

GINGRICH: Great to be with you.

HANNITY: Frank Luntz said something that in all these debates that have taken place this year, no candidate had gotten a standing ovation until tonight. The line you used on the standing ovation?

GINGRICH: Well, was that we believe in work and that we believe that people should learn to work and that we're opposed to dependency, and that Obama is the best food stamp president in history, is increasing dependency when we want to create the opportunity to be independent and to work. I think it was -- it wasn't me. I think the audience felt spontaneously that that was the value that most Americans really cherish.

HANNITY: This was in response to a question by Juan Williams, and you know, then he asked, Well, saying Obama is a food stamp president -- you know, all the people on food stamps, et cetera -- you actually ended up with saying, we want people to get a job, a better job and then own the job, or own the business.

GINGRICH: Right. I mean, people don't realize I first got into this because some left-wingers used to say, oh, don't go get a hamburger-flipping job. Now, McDonald's is the largest trainer of work in the world. More young people learn how to show up on time, how to stay for the whole job, how to actually make change, how to clean up something, how to have a boss, from these kind of jobs. And it's the beginning.

And both my daughters were reminding me, they both worked at an early age. I worked at an early age. I bet you worked at an early age..

GINGRICH: Thirteen, I was -- twelve, I was scrubbing pots and pans every Friday, Saturday night at a restaurant.

GINGRICH: And you learned --

HANNITY: By the way, without a machine.


HANNITY: I had to do them all by hand.

GINGRICH: And you got money for it.

HANNITY: Lot of money.

GINGRICH: And you learned that it was exciting to get money.


GINGRICH: And you've been working ever since.

HANNITY: The funny thing is just last week, I got in touch with the person that had hired me because he heard me talking about it on my radio show. But I think it was one of the best things that happened.

What does it mean if you suggest that it's good for people to get a job -- and you talked about how much janitors in New York make. They do make a pretty astronomical amount of money. What is it --

GINGRICH: You can hire 30 young people part-time for one janitor. So you take a school that has four or five janitors, keep the top two, take the bottom three. You now have 90 kids who have an incentive to not drop out. They have to go to -- they have to go to school to get -- have their little job. Their little job gives them cash. They have pride in what they're doing. They begin to have pride in the school. They'll learn the work ethic. It's just a win-win strategy.

HANNITY: You know, another big line of the night is you were talking about 99 weeks of unemployment is an associate's degree. Work is good.


HANNITY: Do you think the country has lost touch with that a little bit?

GINGRICH: No, the country hasn't.

HANNITY: You don't think -- you don't think the country has?

GINGRICH: The elites have. The media has. Washington has. I have yet to have a single audience that doesn't applaud when I say to them we should modernize unemployment compensation by having a study requirement, if you sign up, you don't have a job, you should have to sign up for a business-led training program so that you actually learn something while we're paying you. And now you have a human capital investment program, not a "sit around and do nothing" program. Every audience I've discussed it with in the last six months has applauded.

HANNITY: You know, I just had Governor Romney on, and the whole issue of the Super PACs have come up. And I said to him, having interviewed you and Rick Santorum and Rick Perry and all the other candidates -- I said, look, there's palpable anger about those Super PACs supporting you and whether or not you have ability to tell them to stop.


HANNITY: Last week, you said to a Super PAC supporting you, bringing up the Bain issue, you told them to stop. You know, to what extent was he right in saying, no, the campaign finance laws really need to change because you don't have any control over your Super PAC. He doesn't have any control over his.

GINGRICH: Well, I think he's right on that. I told him after the debate, the candidates ought to put together a letter to the Congress. If we had a very simple law that said, anyone can give any amount of after-tax income to a candidate, as long as they report it that night so everybody knows who's financing who, you would clean up 90 percent on this because if a candidate had to put their face and name at the end of an ad, it would clean up most of the really bitter and miserable stuff overnight because people just wouldn't do it.

HANNITY: What does it mean, Jon Huntsman getting out? What does it mean that it seems, if we're to buy the premise of your argument that this is about a Massachusetts moderate versus Reagan conservatives, when you and Senator Santorum and Governor Perry are going for the more conservative vote in a state like South Carolina, what does that mean?

GINGRICH: Well, it means that I have an assignment for the next five days to convince conservatives in South Carolina that the only way to stop a moderate from getting the nomination is to vote for Newt Gingrich. It's clear from the polls. I'm much closer to beating Romney than anybody else.

And so people have to decide, do you just want to have a protest vote and allow a moderate to be nominated, or do you want to stop Romney and have a conservative nominee by voting for me? And that's my major assignment, is to go out -- and then secondly, I have an assignment of convincing people that I can be much tougher debating Barack Obama, I would be a much tougher candidate --

HANNITY: You seem pretty comfortable out there debating. Is that your --

GINGRICH: Oh, I'm very comfortable out there.

HANNITY: Do you like that? I think one of the more interesting lines of the night -- I don't think Ron Paul particularly liked it, and that is that you kill America's enemies.

GINGRICH: Well, I think it's true. I mean, the instinct of the American people is to say, you're going come to New York City and kill 3,100 Americans and you want us to go through some legal mumbo jumbo if we can kill you? Give me a break. I think we want a country that's safe because our enemies expect us and fear us. We don't want a country so locked up in lawyers that we're getting attacked all the time.

HANNITY: All right, Mr. Speaker, good to see you.

GINGRICH: Great to be with you.

HANNITY: Thanks so much.


HANNITY: And Frank Luntz gave you a lot of credit tonight, the first standing ovation in a debate.

GINGRICH: Amazing.

HANNITY: So I bet you're pretty happy.

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