Palin criticizes Christie for playing into the 'leftist media's hands'

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," January 23, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: It was a big weekend for the former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich who won the South Carolina primary by a double-digit margin. Now, Governor Mitt Romney came in second place followed by Senator Rick Santorum and Congressman Ron Paul.

But the battle for the nomination is just getting started as the candidates now set their sights on Florida. And ahead of that critical primary contest, the former speaker is no longer simply calling his top rival a moderate. He's now labeling Governor Romney as a liberal. Let's take a look.


NEWT GINGRICH, R- PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think South Carolinians were the first state to really understand how liberal Governor Romney's record was the Governor of Massachusetts. And I think there was -- he lost I think probably 15 to 20 points over the course of the two weeks as people began to realize that he'd been pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-tax increase and the whole range of areas that despite his advertising and his, you know, pretending, it's clear that he was way to the left of South Carolinians.


HANNITY: Now, the Romney campaign is responding to the former speaker's attacks by unleashing a brutal new ad that criticizes Gingrich's involvement with the mortgage giant Freddie Mac. Watch this.


ANNOUNCER: While Florida families lost everything in the housing prices, Newt Gingrich cashed in. Gingrich was paid over $1.6 million by the by the scandal-ridden agency that helped create the crisis.

GINGRICH: And I offer advice, and my advice as a historian.

ANNOUNCER: A historian, really? Sanctioned for ethics violations, Gingrich resigned from Congress in disgrace and then cashed in as a D.C. insider. If Newt wins, this guy would be very happy.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm Mitt Romney and I approve this message.


HANNITY: And joining me now with analysis, former Alaska Governor, Fox News contributor Sarah Palin. Governor, welcome back.

PALIN: Hey, thanks so much. So your tease tells us that Fred Thompson is going to endorse somebody tonight. I wish you would give me a little bit of a hint there. Because that's going to be some big news, he brings a different demographic as an audience to this whole primary process.

HANNITY: Well, you know, I know you haven't gotten to the point of endorsing yet unless you want to make some news tonight, but maybe I'll go back where we started last week, what I asked you. If you were voting in Florida, now, you saw the results out of South Carolina. How would you vote in Florida?

PALIN: Well, I still think that my endorsement probably is worth a hill of beans nor maybe is my advice, but my advice to Florida voters would be to ask themselves which candidate is able to recapture that American exceptionalism that we all benefited from under Ronald Reagan. Who wants to go back to those days of success under Ronald Reagan and who supported and what shaped by Ronald Reagan's economic policies and who isn't?

Remember under Ronald Reagan, he was able to enact fiscal policies that really invigorated growth and reinvestment in domestic markets. And he decreased federal spending, decrease unemployment numbers and tax rates and inflation. So, who is it who wants to recapture that? And you don't have to listen to me as an adviser on who perhaps that would be. Take, say one of Ronald Reagan's economic gurus Art Laffer, hear what he has to say as many of us quote, "Laffer's principle of the Laffer curve," how government can actually pay its obligations by reducing tax rates easier than what we see today with high tax rates. Who was shaped by an Art Laffer and who wants to recapture that and go back to that and who doesn't.

HANNITY: Well, the answer, Laffer I believe is supporting Gingrich, right?

PALIN: Perhaps he is. I would ask though that voters pay close attention to that experience that one would have as a candidate having served in official capacities in the past. What shaped them? We know what shaped Barack Obama. That's you know, Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, I think Saul Alinsky and others throughout history who had more socialists ideas, big centralized government planning ideas that Barack Obama now goes down our throat. We know what shaped him. Now, on the GOP side, who and what shaped our candidates, cast your vote according to what that shaping was.

HANNITY: All right. But if I can go back, if I had to press you -- and I'm not going to press you too hard -- if you had to decide, if you were in Florida, now that we've gone through Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and obviously this election matters because I think the future of the direction of the country. --we have two dramatically different visions between the conservative vision and that of Barack Obama's. You said last time you wanted the race the vetting to continue, if you had to cast your vote in Florida, who would it be?

PALIN: I want that vetting to continue, Sean. And I'm not going to endorse tonight because it's the candidate that has to produce. You know, you can have every endorsement in the world that you would ever dream of as a candidate. And it's not going to do you a whole lot of good if you can't produce. Not only in the debates but according to your experience, again according to what your core foundations are and according to the proof that you have that you're not flip-flopping around like a halibut getting ready to be clubbed, but you have core convictions, you know, what you're talking about, you have the experience and the record to prove it. That makes so much more of a difference, a positive difference than any endorsement. Certainly, an endorsement from me.

HANNITY: All right. In the next segment, I'm going to talk at length about how heated this has become. You took issue with the comments by Governor Christie when he was on "Meet the Press" this weekend and he said that Newt was an embarrassment at times to the party. I interviewed Newt on radio earlier today, his answer was, "Well, was I an embarrassment to the party when I helped lead the Gingrich revolution and help create a majority for the first time in 40 years and welfare reform. Was that an embarrassment?" He went through a whole litany of answers. And you were critical of Governor Christie, too. Why are you critical?

PALIN: Yes. Because he played right into the leftist media's hands, the host of that show that Chris Christie was on wanted him to say that a GOP candidate was an embarrassment to the party. And Chris Christie just played right into it.

And we're sick of the games that the media plays, we're sick of the media cramming down our throats who a candidate who our candidate is going to be. We're independent voters. And despite that filter of the media we're going to make up our own minds. So, a comment like that from Chris Christie, who is one to throw stones? I and probably every other GOP, not high profile but GOP player, I guess, has no doubt embarrassed the party, including Chris Christie, I'm sure with some of his actions in the past like taking a state owned helicopter to his kid's ballgame. You know, maybe some people thought that was kind of embarrassing.

But I think that it was just unfortunate that Chris Christie threw that out that there because what he did was just produce an ad for the Obama campaign come general election time.

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