Rubio's SOTU reaction: Locker room speeches are great, but then you've got to play the game

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," January 24, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


GOV. MITCH DANIELS, R-IND.: No feature of the Obama presidency has been sadder than its constant efforts to divide us, to curry favor with some Americans by castigating others. As in previous moments of national danger, we Americans are all in the same boat. If we drift, quarreling and paralyzed over a Niagara of death, we will all suffer, regardless of income, race, gender or other categories. If we fail to shift to a pro-jobs, pro-growth economic policy, there will never be enough public revenue to pay for our safety net, national security or whatever sized government we decide to have.


SEAN HANNITY, HOST: That was Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels just a short time ago delivering the Republican response to tonight's State of the Union Address. For more reaction from the GOP side, I am joined by Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Senator, how are you? Welcome back, sir.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA.: Good to be back with you.

HANNITY: You were in the room. General impressions, what did you think?

RUBIO: First of all, let's take this off the table as far as speeches are concerned. No one has ever accused the president of not being able to give a good speech, especially when it's written like that. The question is what does it all mean to you and I and to all the American people? Here is the fundamental facts: we're now three years into his presidency. There is still no plan to save Social Security. There's still no plan to save Medicare. There's still no serious plan to reduce the national debt. And none of these things have been addressed. And there's no plans to incentivize job creators.

Number two, I would say to you I don't think that ever in modern American history have we ever seen a national leader so blatantly try to divide Americans against each other, stand up before the country and basically say that the only way that some us can be better off is make other people worse off, that the only way some of us can progress is by making sure other people have less money. It's not -- it's not part of our heritage as a people to do that. And it's not intellectually honest. The taxes he's talking about raising when he says 30 percent, all the richest Americans should pay no less than 30 percent -- well, the richest Americans make their money from investment income, which means money they make available to other companies by investing in them, so those other companies can create middle class jobs. Why would we ever make it harder and discourage people from investing money in companies to create middle class jobs?

And the second thing he's not telling people is that if we raise all the taxes that he's threatening and promising to raise, it'll destroy a bunch of jobs, but it doesn't even come close to raising the kind of money we need to make a dent on this massive now $15 trillion debt that our country has.

HANNITY: I might take issue with you on one thing. I would agree and concede that in the past, he's given great speeches. He's inspired people. One of the things that really struck me tonight, if he's going to go out to America and travel across this country and make the case for four more years, I didn't get any sense at all of any grand vision that he has for the country, short of igniting these embers of class warfare. I didn't hear anything too inspiring. There is a very different Obama than four years ago, I'll tell you that.

RUBIO: Let me tell you, I have grown up around sports in my life, football for example. There are these coaches that give these great locker room speeches before the game. But then you've got to go out and play the game. You've got to call plays. You've got to block. You've got to tackle.

HANNITY: You've got to win.

RUBIO: And if you're going zero and seven, zero and eight, zero and nine, after three losing seasons, people start tuning you out, no matter how great your locker room speeches are. So locker room speeches are great, but you've got to go out and play the game.

This president has had three years of his presidency. This is not some guy that just took over. He's been in charge for three years. Two of those three years, he could have had anything he wanted from Congress. His party controlled the House and the Senate. What we got was a health care bill, Obamacare, that's killing jobs. What we got is he appointed a debt commission and then he ignored them. What we got is failure. Now we're all paying the price for that.

HANNITY: I would argue, in many ways, he was successful. He got his budgets passed. That gave us five trillion in debt. He got Obamacare passed. He wanted that. He pretty much did ram through his agenda. The question is, you know, it didn't fulfill the promises. You saw great disappointment in this focus group tonight.

Alright. How are things looking down there in terms -- things getting pretty negative in terms of the ads and the rhetoric of Governor Romney and Newt Gingrich and this primary. What is your take about this, as you sit there and watch it close up, and you're watching the ads every 30 seconds?

RUBIO: Well, I've been a proponent of Florida having an early primary. I think it's bearing fruit. And here's why: we -- Floridians understand this is a state where all of the major issues -- you know, you spend a lot of time in Florida. Every major issue that confronts America is present in Florida. And all of them are going to have to be addressed now in this Florida primary.

Let me tell you why that is important, because as you well know, the presidency of the United States is a very, very important job. It's probably the most important job in the world. So if someone in this building, a legislator, whatever, makes a statement that isn't right or takes an action that perhaps isn't well thought out, they get a lot of bad press coverage. But if the president of the United States does that, people could get hurt all over the world.

So Floridians understand that. They're looking at these candidates and they're saying OK, who can lead our country? Who are we going to put in -- who are we going to make commander in chief of the most powerful military force in the world? Who are we going to put in charge of the largest economy in human history? And that is why I'm glad Florida plays a significant role in this primary, because Floridians understand that and really focus in on that.

HANNITY: I think Floridians are being unfairly punished by having their delegates cut in half as a result of this.

So I've got to tell everybody a funny story. So you're giving a speech in Naples, Florida. And of course, I'm five minutes late, fashionably late. I walk in the room and you were very gracious to acknowledge that I was there. I said thank you, Senator -- I'm sorry, thank you, Mr. Vice President. At that moment I got quite a lot of applause for that line, which leads to the obvious question. Your name is thrown around a lot. I would be very surprised if you weren't on every candidate's short list as a potential vice president. If asked, do you have an answer?

RUBIO: Yes. I've answered that question so many times, I don't have anything further to add to it. How's that?

HANNITY: This is an inside joke. Because I said don't say no. Just say I'm done answering it. You did very well with that.

RUBIO: I'm flattered. Yes.

HANNITY: Senator Rubio, it's always good to see you. Love it down there in your Sunshine State. Thanks for being with us.

RUBIO: Thank you.

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