This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," April 13, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: My next guest on this special edition of "Hannity" got a lot of attention last year when a speech that he delivered in Ft. Lauderdale became a YouTube sensation. Now over two million people have viewed this.

Let's take a sneak peek.


CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE LT. COL. ALLEN WEST, R-FLA.: Each and every one of us has the opportunity for greatness this country. A person like myself born and raised in the inner city of Atlanta, Georgia, to lower middle class parents, but I had the opportunity to get an education, to go and earn a commission in the United States Army, to serve for 22 years, to lead men and women in combat.

That was done not because the government came down and tried to make the rules and change it for me. It was done because I realized I was an American and I had the freedom and ability to do that.


HANNITY: Alright, so I don't think I could give him any better introduction than that as we are joined here in The Villages tonight by our special guest and the one and only, Lt. Col. Allen West who is in the midst of a congressional race here in the great state of Florida.

How are you, Colonel?

I'm doing great. Thanks for having me.

HANNITY: Two million people saw that.

WEST: Well, you know, I've been tapping that thing a lot over the last few months. But it is absolutely amazing the response that video has gotten. Yes.

HANNITY: But you said something here. You said each and everyone — each and every American has an opportunity for greatness in this country.

WEST: Yes.

HANNITY: You talk about your roots, your background. I mean we heard a little bit of the same thing from Marco Rubio.

WEST: Absolutely.

HANNITY: Twenty-two years you served in the United States Army. And you said that was not done because the government came down and tried to make the rules. It was done because I realized that I was an American and I had the freedom and the ability to do that.

I want — expand on that because it seems to be lost on a big part of the country what you were saying.

WEST: Well, I think when you go back and you look at the fact that I have a father who is a World War II veteran and a mother that served 25 years civilian service with the Marine Corps. I had an older brother who is a Vietnam Marine. And now I have a nephew serving as captain in the Army.

It's about service, sacrifice and commitment, and understanding we live in the greatest country that this world has ever known.

HANNITY: What do you think — based on your background and national security, national defense, what do you make of a president that says we're going to take the nuclear option off the table?

WEST: Well, it's terrible. It's absolutely terrible. You know one of the key things that the federal government is charged to do is to provide for the common defense, and that means the physical security of the American people.

And so last week what we saw were two very serious and heinous violations of our national security strategy. Your nuclear weaponry is a deterrent to ensure that you can stay safe and secure as a nation.

And then also the fact that now we're changing the lexicon, you can't say Islamic terrorism, you can't say Muslim terrorists, you can't say jihadists. So who is it that we're fighting against? Because Sun Tzu once said, to know your enemy and know yourself, and to know the terrain in countless amounts of battles, you'll always be victorious."

HANNITY: Sun Tzu was right, I think, and there are a lot of ways. Look, there was story out today. Iran is ready to go nuclear next month.

WEST: Yes.

HANNITY: Obama admits now that Al Qaeda wants nuclear weapons and would use them at the very same time that he's cutting a deal which would guarantee that we're going to cut our nuclear arsenal in half. And we won't have the ability to modernize our nuclear weapons.

WEST: Yes. You know one of the key things is, you know, back in 1996 as a young major, I attended the Army Commander General Staff College, and we got trained in strategic studies. And when you look at what's happening with this president right now and his national Security Council and also the Armed Services Committees, they are not putting our country in the right position to be safe. Because they're sitting up there and having meetings and talking amongst friends when they need to focus on what the enemy is doing, what the enemy is planning.

HANNITY: What do you think — we got the president and once again bowing before another world dictator, the communist Chinese. What did you think of that?

WEST: Well, you know, Sean, when you don't have a spine you're constantly just, you know, flailing forward. You know? So I think we need a president that has a backbone. I think we need to have a president that can stand up to the enemies all across this country.

You know when you look at President Karzai saying that he's willing to align himself with the Taliban now, that's all because he doesn't have trust and confidence.

HANNITY: He did — he did pull back from that statement. But certainly there is a rift. You know look at, for example, our relationship with Israel.

WEST: It's terrible. You know, the fact that there's a lot of people are saying we're more so concerned about apartments being built in Jerusalem than we are with a nuclear weapon being built.

And the fact that — you know president — Prime Minister Netanyahu really did sniff out an ambush in not coming to this nuclear summit. Israel has to be protected. Israel has to take care of itself.

HANNITY: What did you think when the science "czar" — now the president, we've gone over on this program and other programs have done it as well. You know the radicals that this president has appointed, Van Jones and Holder and then Kevin Jennings, and some others and then we've got Holder saying the United States of America cannot expect to be number one in science and technology forever.

WEST: Yes.

HANNITY: Now I don't think anybody here in the Villages would ever think that we have a high ranking government official appointed by the president of the United States thinking that America's not going to remain number one in any category.

WEST: But see, it comes back to what you just discussed with Marco Rubio, is American exceptionalism. We are an exceptional country, we are an exceptional people, and you need to challenge us to continue to be number one. Because that's what we are about.

And that's what I've talked about in that video, is about each and every one of us have the opportunity to achieve our own greatness. It's kind of like that old motto that the Army said, be all that you can be.

HANNITY: Yes. Well, that old motto works here.

WEST: It does.

HANNITY: I asked Marco Rubio this, and maybe I'll ask you the same question, about are we creating a dependency culture?

WEST: Absolutely.

HANNITY: But are people buy — my concern is, when you saw the numbers that came out and 50 percent of the American households —

WEST: Not paying taxes.

HANNITY: — are not paying taxes, that's a voting bloc.

WEST: That's right.

HANNITY: That's a large voting bloc.

WEST: And that's a very dangerous thing because as Margaret Thatcher once said socialism works well until you run out of other people's money. So if we create this atmosphere where half of the people are paying for another half of the people, it's very simple to promise them all type of free entitlements from the government. And the next thing you have where it's 45 to 55 percent.

HANNITY: Are you confident? I mean we see the energy here at the Villages.

WEST: Yes.

HANNITY: And everywhere we've been around the country, we've had large crowds, and a lot of passion, and a lot of — it seems like a lot of people are engaged at a level that I have not seen since I got into the media in 1986, if you can believe it, I know I'm young.

Do you think this is sustained through November? Are you confident? Do you think the Republicans will take back, conservatives will take back the House, the Senate? Do you really believe that?

WEST: I do.

HANNITY: Tell us about your race.

WEST: I do. And I think there's a great quote from Plato that says, those who refuse to engage in politics will be governed by their inferiors.

And that's what we have allowed to happen and I think that America is going to return to those conservative principles and values of limited government, lower taxes, individual responsibility, accountability, our free market solutions and our traditional values.

And I think most importantly the American people are looking for principle leadership. They're not looking for career politicians. They're not looking for the ruling class elitism. And that's what we are offering them at Congressional District 22.

HANNITY: Colonel, I don't think I've had a single interview where somebody has quoted Plato, Sun Tzu and Margaret Thatcher all in one interview but —

WEST: That's right.

HANNITY: It's a great honor to have you.

WEST: Thanks so much.

HANNITY: Congratulations on your success. Thank you for being with us. Best of luck on your campaign.


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