This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," January 23, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Now essential to Obama's changes in conducting the War on Terror is closing Guantanamo Bay. Now his special task force is currently devising a strategy to close the prison within a year. Now while some are praising the measure, our next guest who understands terrorism better than anyone says not so fast.

Now earlier I sat down with former New York City mayor, Rudy Giuliani, to discuss just that. Take a look.


HANNITY: Let's start with, you know, closing down Gitmo. Is this — I guess the simplest question is, does this make America safer?

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: In my personal opinion, no. I was — as a candidate, as you remember, I was against closing Guantanamo, several times took that position in Republican debates. I think that you shouldn't close it down until you have a real plan of what you're going to do with these people, and until then you got to keep them there.

What are you going to do, send them to the United States or — nobody wants them. You try to — you try to send them to other countries, other countries don't want them. People that we have released from Guantanamo have gotten involved in terrorist activities again and killed people, innocent people, Americans.

HANNITY: Sixty-one.

GIULIANI: Yes, I mean.

HANNITY: Sixty-one people we know now were released and now they're back on the battlefield.

GIULIANI: And we know some of them have engaged in — murdering Americans and — other people.


GIULIANI: So you have to have a very concrete plan as to what you're going to do with them before you just announce you're going to close them.

Here's my hope: My hope is that President Obama announced that campaign promise, got to get it over with, and now is just going to stay there for a long time.

HANNITY: Well he.

GIULIANI: Until they get the practical, the practical plans over with.

HANNITY: But if he spent the better part of the first two days, I mean, significantly pushing this — but it was interesting. As I was watching the press conference with this new press secretary, where are you going to put them?

GIULIANI: Well, they don't seem to know.

HANNITY: No answer.

GIULIANI: Right. So what that might mean is this was a symbolic act rather than a real one. Let's hope that's the case. He satisfies his left-wing supporters by saying I'm closing Guantanamo, and then, you know, two years from now it's still there.

HANNITY: All right. The — and other big issue that is facing this country right now is the economy. He's talking about trillion-dollar deficits as far as we can see. He's saying it's a tax cut, but people who don't pay taxes are going to get a check.

Look, you dealt with welfare in New York. Is that welfare?

GIULIANI: Yes, if — somebody is not paying taxes is going to get a check from the government, then that is welfare. You haven't earned it, that's a welfare payment. I think he's going to have to abandon that in light of the economic situation.

HANNITY: Are you thinking that he's really — he's going to abandon all these things?

GIULIANI: I think so.

HANNITY: You really do?

GIULIANI: I think, as practicality emerges, you're going to see — I'm hoping you're going to see a very pragmatic approach. I'm not sure if President Obama is an ideologue or a pragmatist. I am hoping and praying he's a pragmatist. We can get through it if he is.

HANNITY: You know, look, I'm going to tell you, my take on it is just the opposite. I think he's an ideologue. And I'll tell you why.


HANNITY: Because, look, he's talking about anywhere from $850 billion to over a trillion dollars in a stimulus package. Trillion-deficits as far as we can see. They're going to move on health care, which is.


HANNITY: Will alter this economy dramatically. Gitmo, I think, is we are redefining the war on terrorism. And we can go straight on down the line, instituting welfare, the era of big government is beginning again.

GIULIANI: Right. I hope that he and his people have read "The Forgotten - - Man," Amity Shlaes' book that came out last year. I think it's back on the best-seller list. Basically it points out why the recession of 1929, which was a bad one, became the Great Depression of 11 or 12 years, and it became the Great Depression because of unwise government actions first by Hoover and then by Roosevelt.


GIULIANI: And if — you think you're just going to get your way out of this recession by all kinds of social programs, welfare programs, you're just going to make it much worse.

HANNITY: Well, in the 10 years that the Japan — the Japanese economy was suffering in the '90s, they had eight separate stimulus packages that created, in their history, massive debt. It was unprecedented.


HANNITY: And it didn't work, and you're right, historically.

GIULIANI: And — the actions of the new deal, which may have had other reasons for them, did not work from the point of view of solving the depression. In fact, by 1936, '37, '38, the Depression was arguably just as bad as it was in 1929.


GIULIANI: So now you look at that history and you look at the other countries that have tried this, what it says to you is, yes, you have to have a — relief program, but it's got to be one that's targeted right to the — right to the problem.


GIULIANI: And the problem is the toxic debt that's sitting on the books of the banks. Paulson's first approach, which was then abandoned, probably makes the most sense which is set up an auction for these toxic assets, the government will come in, make an offer, a low ball offer, and then private enterprises can come in and try to buy up some of this debt.

So you can take $2 or $300 billion in government funds and you can leverage it with maybe a billion — trillion dollars in private funds.

HANNITY: They seem to be using — and I'm just discerning the Obama administration here — playing on people's emotions in two separate ways. We got Obama-mania, which is that euphoric feeling that people see and they see Obama that they feel.


HANNITY: And the belief that he's the messiah and he's going to solve the world's problems. That's one. And the other one is, they've been using a lot of fear, scaring Americans that the economy is in the worst condition since the great depression.

That's not true. It's in the worst condition since Jimmy Carter.


HANNITY: And — will the convergence of those emotions — will that hurt or — help them push all this through? I think it helps them.

GIULIANI: It probably helps them because they have control of both Houses of Congress.


GIULIANI: And it sounded like, at least on the House side, they want to go much further than even President Obama does. The real question here is going to be, can he control the left-wing forces in his party? How much of a price is he going to have to pay in social programs and other welfare programs that are really unnecessary to solving the economic problem?

And the more you put into that, the longer this economic problem probably extended.

HANNITY: Well, we're going to watch and see. I — I'll even bet you a cigar on this one, so — I think he's more ideologically left than — centrist. We'll see.

GIULIANI: I wanted to say a word about my friend Norm Coleman.


GIULIANI: Who's in a very difficult legal fight but won a great victory today.

HANNITY: That's true.

GIULIANI: The Minnesota court has decided to hear the case, and here's the hypocrisy of this. Al Franken begins this, you know, with the Al Gore, we're going to count every vote. Well, they count some of the votes, and now he wants to stop.


GIULIANI: And he goes and sees Harry Reid, and Harry Reid has — is talking about seating him even without a certification. So I think people have to watch this very, very carefully.

HANNITY: Yes, we've been all over it.

GIULIANI: If we're talking about a post partisan period with President Obama, the way to start that post partisan period is not to cut through some kind of a behind-the-scenes deal and cut off the decision of the Minnesota courts.

HANNITY: Mr. Mayor, good to see you.

GIULIANI: Thank you.

HANNITY: Thank you for being with us. Appreciate it.

GIULIANI: Good luck.

HANNITY: Thank you.


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