Iowa Straw Poll Make or Break for Tim Pawlenty?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 4, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And one week from tonight, the Hannity team is going to be headed off to Ames Iowa, that is the site of the Republican primary debate that is hosted right here in the Fox News Channel. And the big debate is followed by the Iowa state fair fried Twinkies next Friday, and then the Iowa straw poll on Saturday where voters state wide will cast ballots for their preferred Republican candidate. So, who's going to come out on top and could next week's showdown prove to be a make or break event for some of the GOP nominees? Joining me now, a man who has a lot on the line next week, and that is former Minnesota Governor, Republican presidential candidate, Tim Pawlenty. Governor, welcome back, sir.

TIM PAWLENTY, R - PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Sean. It's great to be with you.

HANNITY: Some of your fellow candidates are promising me pork chops on sticks, fried Twinkies, let's see Godfather's pizza from Herman Cain, I just, you know, going to be a lot of food at that fair.

PAWLENTY: Well, we are going to have at our Ames staw poll booth, a Dairy Queen Blizzard. I know you like those, Sean.

HANNITY: Ah, I love those.

PAWLENTY: What is your favorite blizzard?

HANNITY: Great. I'm going to come back weighing the 15 pounds I lost in the last six months, I'm going to gain back. Alright. This is important. Obviously, you are nearby in Minnesota, this is only a straw poll. Big indicator, historically, how important are you viewing the straw poll results?

PAWLENTY: Well, I think it's the kickoff to the formal campaign season. There's a lot of pre-season, warm-ups. But this is going to be the start of the formal season. And I think we are going to do very well. I'm confident of that. The same straw poll is more of an organizational exercise than it is a random poll. But I think when my record continues to get out across Iowa in America, reducing spending, and doing health care reform the right way with no individual mandates, no government takeovers and appointing conservative justices and more, we're going to continue to get good momentum. And I think you will see the first step of that in the straw poll next week.

HANNITY: Alright. There's been some back and forth between you and your fellow Minnesotan, that being Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. What is going on?

PAWLENTY: Well, we've had a couple of back and forth. I don't know that people are interested in the back and forth as much as they are the country is in big trouble. The reason why I'm running for President of the United States is because I believe I've got the results, and the record, and the skills and the values to lead it to a better place. And so, I know with the economy drop and the stock market drop and President Bush's policies, as something that President Obama continues to blame him on, my goodness, it's his economy, he has been president three years and he is inept. And we've got to get this economy moving. And the proposals that I put forward for jobs and investment are the most specific, boldest, clearest of any candidate in the race, including the president.

HANNITY: Alright. So, we see this, you know, nine out of ten days now, we see major drop in the stock market. All the gains for the year have been wiped out. The president has said, well, that's the one thing that he could point to as the great indicator of his economic success that was, you know, two years ago in the State of the Union. And then he also talked about recovery summer last summer. Every economic metric we have is down. What has gone wrong here and how bad is it?

PAWLENTY: Well, what's gone wrong is we don't have a president who understands that we need to have a private economy not just a government economy growing. Or as I say in my remarks, and I've said all across the country, you can't be pro jobs and anti-business. And what this president has done, President Obama, is take things from the private sector and bring it into government. What we need to do is take things from government and bring it into the private sector. We need to grow the private sector by shrinking government. And the entrepreneurs the people who want to grow businesses and provide jobs say the same thing every day, all across this country, which is get the government off my back.

Some talk about taxes, some talk about regulation, some talk about energy costs, some talk about Obamacare. But the message is all the same. The federal government and President Obama have made it too difficult, too discouraging, too uncertain, too slow, too expensive, and we need a candidate, and I am that candidate, Sean, who will ignite the entrepreneurial spirit of this country and get this economy moving. I've called for cutting the business tax rates, individual tax rates, reducing regulations and more. Those are the kinds of things that will get the economy moving again.

HANNITY: You know, while the country's been engaged in the debt ceiling debate, Governor, you know, nobody noticed that the president signed on 608 new federal regulations that are going to cost business $10 billion. That's an enormous amount of money. Certainly, it will take away any incentives for those businesses to hire. You know, I've been spending a lot of time during this debt ceiling debate talking about real solutions to balance the budget. You know, I like Cut, Cap and Balance. I think that was a good plan. I thought the Ryan plan was a good start. I like the Mack plan a lot. The Mack Penny plan. Are you aware of the plan? And is it something you would sign on to.

PAWLENTY: Well, I have my own plan, I gave it at the University of Chicago Barack Obama's former employer. It's available at But it goes into great detail about what I would do as president, to get this economy moving again.

HANNITY: Give us some of the bullet points.

PAWLENTY: Sure. Cut the corporate rate from 35 percent to 15 percent. Take the individual rates from six down to two. Eliminate all taxation on dividends, interest, capital gains, and the estate tax, have a pro-American drill here, drill everywhere, bring more energy to market to bring down cost energy plan, repeal Obamacare, fix Sarbanes-Oxley, fix Dodd-Frank, and make sure we have a regulatory approach that is pro-jobs. And one of the things I've said in that regard is, let's have a sunset on all regulations. Let's also make sure that before regulations go into effect, there's a final up and down vote by Congress so real people who have to bear the burdens of these regulations have one more crack at their elected representative before those regulations go into effect. Those are the kinds of things we need in long run. And I know you support this, Sean. We got to have a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. I don't believe we can send politicians to Washington, D.C. anymore and trust that they are actually going to be fiscally disciplined. Some will, most won't.

We got to have what 49 of the 50 states have, and that's a requirement, constitutionally, that that budget be balanced.

HANNITY: I got to tell you that's a pretty impressive plan, not one thing you said there I disagree with. Governor Pawlenty, good to see you. Thank you for being with us.

PAWLENTY: Alright, Sean, thank you.

HANNITY: And coming up, Obamacare is in full swing. You won't believe what insurance companies are now required to cover. You will be shocked. Your tax dollars, we are looking out for your wallet, next.

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