This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," January 5, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Ron Paul and Rick Santorum in my opinion are going to over perform in Iowa, because they're well organized. Paul has his support -- remember, Iowa is sort of an isolationist state. They're going to be a lot of college kids who are attracted to his message of, you know, the antiwar message. And they're going to be some Democrat young people who want to play on the Republican side. Ron Paul will over perform. Similarly, Rick Santorum has dug in, visited every one of the 99 counties. People I talk to in Iowa whose opinion I respect tell me they think he is going to over perform. I think they're right.


SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Now, that was none other than the architect Karl Rove accurately predicting way back on December the 13th that both Rick Santorum and Ron Paul would have strong showings in Iowa. And as we now know Senator Santorum fell only a handful of votes shy in winning the Hawkeye State while Ron Paul, he came in third place.

So tonight with only a few days to go now before the first in the nation primary in New Hampshire, we thought we'd invite Mr. Rove back to see if he has more predictions.

You know, just say it. "I was right, Hannity." Go ahead.

ROVE: I'll let you say that. Thank you.

HANNITY: I just did. You were. Congratulations.

All right. Well, the big winners obviously I think Santorum, Mitt Romney, Romney a few weeks ago, nobody was really predicting that he was going to win Iowa. Granted, eight votes is eight votes but it's a win. And Rick Santorum, you know, perseverance, hard work, paid off.

ROVE: Yes, it did.

HANNITY: What does this mean going into New Hampshire?

ROVE: Well, first of all, for New Hampshire, Iowa doesn't mean much. New Hampshire has this habit of not paying attention to Iowa, which is why, you know, George H.W. Bush wins Iowa in 1980 and Ronald Reagan wins New Hampshire. It's why George W. Bush wins Iowa in 2000 and John McCain wins New Hampshire. It's why Mike Huckabee wins Iowa in 2008 and you know, McCain wins New Hampshire.

I mean, it's just, it's -- New Hampshire has got its own rhythm and pays attention not that much to what happens in Iowa. Except this year. And that is, if you take a look at it, there is some evidence in the two polls that have been conducted since the Tuesday primary, one is a one-night poll and one is a two-night poll, that there is some movement for Santorum in the state of New Hampshire at the expense of Jon Huntsman who spent the entire year trying to pull a Santorum in New Hampshire, that is to say camping out in that state. And at the expense of Speaker Newt Gingrich. Both of whose numbers look like they are dropping. And those people are moving into the camp of Santorum.

HANNITY: All right. Looking at this -- let's say, Rasmussen, which is one of the polls that you are referring to. You got Romney, 29. Twenty one for Santorum. That was a huge jump for him. A big bounce out of Iowa. Newt at 16. Those are the top three there.

Tell me where am I wrong in my analysis. I say Romney and Santorum now are going to be on the receiving end of some negative ads, negative attacks, they have two debates over the weekend that they've got to perform well in heading into Tuesday's primary. How would you advise both of them to handle what's coming their way?

ROVE: Well, look, I think you are right about Romney. I think Romney is going to be the pinata on Saturday night in the debate with everybody going after him. I'm not certain I necessarily see Santorum on the receiving end of attacks by other candidates.

HANNITY: But I'm not --

ROVE: The media, the media is going to give him a lot more scrutiny. And so, he will have to deal with that. But it's going to be, you know, Romney has been scrutinized by the media. And now it's going to be Santorum's turn to be scrutinized by the media. But it's going to be Romney who is going to be the guy whom everybody is coming after in the debate.

HANNITY: Yes, I would probably agree with that. But now, you just, all the chatter out there against Rick Santorum. I mean, some of it has been vicious, unfair. But, you know, look, negative ads if there is any big campaign against either one of them in New Hampshire, between now and Tuesday, it could have an impact. As we saw it had a big impact on Newt Gingrich's campaign in Iowa.

ROVE: Well, the difference was Newt Gingrich was sustained over a period of weeks. Now we have just a matter of days. So, it's going to be what they read in the media and what they hear at the water cooler or what they see at the church social or what they hear when they, you know, go out to, you know, socialize with their neighbors or friends. It's a much shorter time frame between now and next Tuesday. So, the media is going to play less important. What is going to matter more is what actually happens on the trail.

Here is -- I think Romney is in first. The question for him is whether or not, you know, the expectation is the Santorum campaign is trying to say our goal is to keep him under 30. So, you know, that may or may not happen. But that is going to be the goal.

The question is going to be who is in second place? Because right now, in the polling if you look at the average of recent polls, Ron Paul is in second place. And Newt Gingrich in third. And Santorum in fourth. And the question is this momentum that Santorum has, does it pass Newt Gingrich, it will be very damaging to the Gingrich candidacy if it does. And does it get to and pass Ron Paul? If it does, then Santorum is going to have a really good night next Tuesday even if he doesn't reach his goal of keeping Mitt Romney under 30.

HANNITY: What about this power grab of Barack Obama as it relates to recess appointments? And interesting, you were there in the Bush White House. Something that George Bush, in other words, if the Senate is in session, the constitution is very clear on this, that you cannot have recess appointments. And the Democrats use that a number of times so that President Bush could not recess appoint people.

ROVE: Right.

HANNITY: As a matter of fact, then-Senator Obama said it was the wrong thing to do. In other words doing it even the right way. He now went ahead with this power grab. I don't think a lot of people in the media are looking closely at it. I think this could be a big issue. I wanted to get your thoughts on it.

ROVE: Well, look, people said, well, you ought to do exactly what Obama has now done. You know, five years later. You ought to do this like John Bolton's nomination is stock for the U.N. ambassador. You ought to basically, if they are not really meeting, you ought to test this by appointing him, we listen to the discussions, we listen to the lawyers, heard the arguments on both sides. But it looked to us as we ultimately decided not to go down this path because it looked to us like the preponderance of evidence was that this was a constitutional prerogative of the United States Senate and that if we attempted to do what Obama did, then we would face serious ramifications legally that it could be overturned -- our actions could be overturned in the courts because this was the prerogative of Congress and that we would spark a constitutional crisis with the Democrat Senate. And this president has no such concern. He wants to get re-elected. And if shoving three nominees to the National Labor Relations board through, you know, is what he needs to do to get them all psyched up about getting him re-elected, he will do it. And if he needs to put his finger in the eye of the Republicans trying to reach a policy solution to some questions, he will do it.

HANNITY: All right. My predictions are very quickly, New Hampshire. Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, in that order. South Carolina then becomes critical. Your prediction? Let's see if we're on the same page.

ROVE: Romney, first place, Paul, second, Santorum, third, Gingrich, fourth.

HANNITY: OK. We'll see now.

ROVE: And South Carolina does become important.

HANNITY: South Carolina, not matter what. It's very important. And it's going to be very critical.

All right. Karl Rove, good to see you.

ROVE: Thank you. I appreciate it. Great to see you.

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