Nuclear Showdown Coming in Iran?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," November 9, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: A new chilling report released by the United Nations IAEA agency, that's the International Atomic Agency. And it reveals that Iran is on the brink of having the capability to build atomic weapons. And of course, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is denying the claims raised in the report. Appearing on state TV, he said Iran would not retreat one iota from its nuclear program.

So, what would a nuclear-armed Iran mean four our allies in Israel and the rest of the world? Joining me now with reaction is Arizona Senator John McCain. Senator, welcome back to the program.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: Thank you, Sean. The reaction would be that other countries in the region, including Saudis, Egyptians and others would also be on the path to acquisition of nuclear weapons. It would be dramatically escalatory and would be a direct existential treat to the state of Israel. And the American people need to know more about what the Iranians have done. IEDs have killed Americans, supporting terrorists' organizations, nuclear weapons, playing in other countries in the region. They declared our withdrawal from Iraq is a great victory. They are making trouble not only in that part of the world, but as you know, there was a plot about their attempt to assassinate the Saudi ambassador right here in Washington, D.C. They are a great threat. And the American people need to be told how dangerous this threat is and the fact that the Israelis may feel, and I emphasize may, feel compelled to neutralize this threat to their existence.

HANNITY: I don't even think it should be Israel. I think it should also be the United States for some of the very reasons you discuss. They want to have an assassination on American soil, that's bold. They talked about putting ships right off our coast. And it seems that at a time when the U.S. and Israel ought to be more united than ever, we have never been more divided. And that is, you know the recent comments by President Sarkozy that he called Netanyahu a liar. He was talking to President Obama. Obama said, well you may be sick of him, but I have to deal with him every day. You add to that, the '67 border fiasco and the time that he left the prime minister in the White House, while he goes upstairs to eat dinner. You know, I mean, we're not exactly on the best of terms right now because of President Obama.

MCCAIN: Well, I think the remarks exchanged between Sarkozy and the president are indicative of both of their attitude towards Israel, by any measurement, the United States policy towards the Israeli/Palestinian issue has been a total and abysmal failure. One reason being that they insisted on settlement freezes on the part of the Israelis and nothing on the part of the Palestinians to start with. Then, when the president backed off of that, the Palestinians had to demand it. And also, it's very important to recognize that Benjamin Netanyahu is the elected democratic leader of that country, the democracy. I happen to be a great admirer of his, by the way. And I think he's a very effective leader. And I think that he has not been treated with the respect that he deserves.

HANNITY: That's pretty sad coming from America, especially because we have a united interest here to stop Islamic extremism and President Obama is doing everything he can do to alienate the prime minister who is isolated now and may have to make decisions without even consulting the U.S. because he can't count on our support.

You recently said that you predict the rise of a third political party in the country. Explain that.

MCCAIN: Well, I think that right now, when you look at approval rating of Congress is nine percent. By the way, that's paid staffers and blood relatives.


They are -- that, you know, we are not responding to the American people or if we are responding, we are not getting the message through. And in my home state of Arizona, we now have voter registration of one-third, one-third, one-third and the greatest increase is in the independent voter registration. If you have such a large block of Americans that are registering independents, they're going to find a home somewhere if they feel they can't find it in the Republican and Democratic Party.

So I worry. I worry a lot about the future of the Republican Party because I still think our principles, our values and our ideals are the best and by far. But I do worry about this anger out there that is really palpable.

HANNITY: I want to ask you without dragging you into Herman Cain's specific issues. I want to ask you because of your background and your experience in running for office. I thought you were too nice to President Obama in the last campaign. And it's probably because you are a nicer person than me. And I felt it was a really legitimate story on the Bill Ayers issue. You decided not to make that a big part of the campaign, same with Jeremiah Wright, you really didn't make that the biggest part of the campaign.

With that said, when you hear the president saying that the Republican plan is for dirtier air and dirtier water, and that poor people can't get health care, when you hear the attacks against all the Republican candidates, when you hear the Democrats leave the Super Committee today because they want to use it for political reasons, do you think Republicans -- and maybe in retrospect, do you need to get tougher? You maybe, you should have been tougher? Maybe these candidates need to be tougher with Obama, considering that they seem that there's no limit to the degree to which they will sink to win an election?

MCCAIN: Well, I hate to revisit my campaign all over again. But I really felt that the economic issues, the issue that we brought up with "Joe the plumber." The fact that the president wanted to redistribute the wealth. I thought that those were issues that required the majority of my opinion. I haven't seen any presidential candidate, and maybe it's just a lack of memory, but I haven't seen a presidential candidate say the things that the president has been saying this early on and in a way that he's been saying it when it is an outright falsehood to say that the Republicans are blocking his jobs bill. The Democrats won't vote for his jobs bill. And we have alternatives, in fact a whole bunch of us introduced it today, we have an alternative jobs plan. He says we don't have it. We have a plan to really get America back on track economically and that's the key issue.

And we keep -- you can't forget, Sean, that for two years, he had a 60-vote majority in the Senate most of the time, overwhelming majority in the House and they passed all of this legislation and it was an abysmal failure. So, no, I don't like the rhetoric the president is using at all.

HANNITY: I still think you are nicer than me.


MCCAIN: I don't think so. But I think that I thought that that was the most effective way. And maybe you are right because I didn't win.

HANNITY: Well, there is a much bigger picture than that. But senator, we always appreciate you being with us. Thank you.

MCCAIN: Thanks for having me on.

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