This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 9, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: We begin tonight with brand new indications of President Barack Obama's re-election chances in 2012 are dwindling. Now according to a CNN poll, a majority of Americans expect the president to lose his reelection bid next November.
Only 46 percent of those polls believe he will win a second term.
Now those dismal numbers could be the result of growing opposition to the administration's handling of the economy. On the federal budget deficit, the president's approval rating has dropped to an all new low, only 27 percent approve of his handling of this monstrous deficit, while 68 percent now disapprove.
Now since November, that number has been clearly trending in the wrong direction for the White House. And guess what else could soon fire up American taxpayers? A massive federal bailout to help states pay for unemployment insurance.
Now under the administration plans, states that borrowed billions from Uncle Sam to pay for unemployment will not have to pay interest for two years. However -- and this is a big however -- to pay for the short term suspension of interest rates, it will be businesses that will be hit in the long term. According to the Washington Post, "Starting in 2014, Obama would target companies for sharply higher payroll taxes to help states replenish their depleted unemployment funds and repay their debts to Washington."
So we have a growing deficit and tax hikes on the horizon. So, how is this all likely to play out for the president in the 2012 in that race?
Here with reaction, and analysis, former Alaska governor, Fox News contributor Sarah Palin.
You know, governor, I don't get it, the White House doesn't get it. Again, in two years we have the issue of raising taxes on small business. Now they are going to tax small business here. You know, what part of this is not going to help the economy do you think they don't get?
SARAH PALIN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, that is why those poll numbers, they're reflective of the public's perception of what's really going on here. Yes, the Obama policies really lack any kind of soundness when you consider that just growing more government and now, an idea of bailing out states, that kind is going to be the answer to these problems.
And no, those poll numbers reflect that Americans at this point are saying, enough is enough. You know, this ain't our first rodeo. After two years of failed leftist policies, we are not believing that growing more government and then taxing businesses and taxing the people -- and that will hit in about 2014 -- that that's the answer to these problems.
HANNITY: What did you think where the president -- now here's the Chamber of Commerce, among the long list of people that this president has attacked. And then he says, talks to them and talks about them and lectures, the Chamber, about how business has a moral obligation, basically to redistribute the wealth. What did you think of those comments?
PALIN: Yes, that's exactly what I believe that suggestion was, was that businesses, you know, it is up to you to allow government to take more from you and then we'll distribute it according to politicians' priorities and that's absolute ridiculous. What the Chamber needs to do and what members of Congress need to do is understand that now is your opportunity.
You don't have to capitulate. You have the public will on your side. The public that is saying via these poll numbers, saying, no we don't trust Obama on the economy on how these bailouts are supposed to work and how future tax increases are supposed to work, we won't capitulate. Instead, Congress needs to cut spending.
Businesses, they need to be able to keep more of what it is that they are earning, so they can reinvest and hire more people and that gets the economy moving again. There is no need to capitulate.
HANNITY: Yes, what do you make -- are we deceiving the American people? For example, with the jobless numbers, because when you look at -- we stopped counting people after they've been on unemployment for a period of time and they stop looking for work. I mean, so we look at that real unemployment number, its 17 percent. Are those numbers deceptive for this?
I forgot which commentator I was reading today, saying hey, if the unemployment number is down below eight percent, in other words people start giving up looking for work in higher numbers, and the unemployment rate number goes down. Does that help the president in his re-election attempt in 2012?
PALIN: Well, tweaking those numbers, they would evidently assume that they'll help the president to the re-election bid. But the reality is, it's at least 17 percent under employment rate that we are facing. These are historic numbers. And the policies that the president two years in now is still believing that Americans are going to accept are not being accepted.
Again Sean, that's why we go back to those poll numbers that show that his numbers are in the tank when it comes to these economic issues that he believes all come back to growing government being the answer, why the American public is saying, absolutely no more, no more federal overreach and over taxation and overregulation. That's not going to be the answer.
HANNITY: The president gave this interview with O'Reilly just before the Super Bowl. I'm not sure if you saw it. But one of the first questions out of the box, he was asked about the people that hate him. And his answer was, well they don't really know me.
Now, you're a staunch critic of the president, you're standing on your Reagan conservative principles. I'm a staunch critic of the president. I don't hate the president. I think his policies are failing the country. His economic policy is nearly five trillion, he will have accumulated, just show you that in debt by the end of this year.
Why is it that if you have a passionate, principled disagreement, some people view it as hatred?
PALIN: Yes, that was kind of a perplexing answer that the president gave there. Because I'm with you Sean, I don't hate the president, but I certainly dislike and distrust what his policies are. It's just been proven over and over again.
Look at the trillion dollar stimulus package that really was kind of sold to the states as a state bailout. We don't want to do another state bailout because that first trillion dollar one didn't work, with that stimulus package today, you know, all it did was stimulate those in the Tea Party movements and other conservative movements and independent movements to say no, you know, enough is enough and we have to rein in this government growth. So, no, for the president to have that kind of thin skin there with an answer like that, I think was some quite reflective.
HANNITY: Yes, I think, this is interesting, you know, it is almost like he's portraying himself as the victim here because, you know, again, he said unemployment would be below eight percent. He said he would reduce deficits, he said, he had transparency, he said, he'd eliminate earmarks.
And I go through my checklist. Then, I see the economy is in much worse shape. The deficit problem is really as bad as it's ever been. The debt we're accumulating is bad, and I just think that there is real legitimate criticism.
My take is I think this president is in over his head. Is that a fair description?
PALIN: I think he and those who surround him to advise him do not know how to run a business, they've not made payroll, they have not understood what it takes to balance budgetz because they're so used to spending other people's money and they are irresponsible in that arena.
So, whether that is in over his head or whether it just adults who he has chosen to advise him, they are really getting our economy really, Sean, if you think about it, in a worse position than what he claims he inherited.
He, our president is responsible for growing the largest chunk of debt in United States history. And if he would acknowledge that and if he would say OK, you know, I got to admit these things, they're just not working. The joblessness is still as bad as it was. And debt is growing, and deficit spending is continuing, we've got to turn this thing around.
We have to cut spending. If he would just acknowledge some of those things, you know, I think he would see some changes in his poll numbers too.
HANNITY: All right. We'll going to continue with Governor Palin and we'll see if she has made any movement in terms of thinking about running in 2012. Also, we'll talk about a reported riff between herself and possible 2012 presidential contender, Senator Rick Santorum. She will respond to comments that he made that sparked a bit of a media firestorm.
HANNITY: And tonight, some of the mainstream media are looking to advance the idea that a feud has developed between two potential GOP presidential candidates. Now, it all started when former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum was asked to react to Governor Sarah Palin's decision to turn down the keynote speech at this year's CPAC conference. Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
S.E. CUPP, HOST: What about Sarah Palin turning down the keynote? What do you think happens there?
FORMER U.S. SENATOR RICK SANTORUM, R-PA.: I don't know. You know, I have a feeling she has some demands on her time.
SANTORUM: And a lot of them have financial benefit attached to them. So I'm sure that she is doing what's best for her and her family.
CUPP: You wouldn't have turned it down?
SANTORUM: Well, no. I wouldn't have turned it down, but you know, I don't live in Alaska.
CUPP: Right. Right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: And last night, Politico released a story claiming that Santorum believes Governor Palin is skipping CPAC in order to make money of paid speeches. But this morning, he issued a response on Twitter, he wrote, quote, "This article is garbage, all I said was she is very busy, period. The reporter is trying to create something out of nothing."
In response to all this, Fox News contributor, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
Why does it not shock me that, you know, there's always some controversy governor. Your life would be dull without it.
PALIN: Evidently. But OK, that's the first that I have actually heard what he had to say. And yes, I think the reports were much worse than what he really said. I think some things were maybe taken out of context. So I will not call him the knuckle-dragging Neanderthal that perhaps others want to call him, I'll let his wife call him that instead.
But no, you know, I think that maybe he's uninformed as to why it is that I can't make it to another political speech in a couple of weeks. As I've explained, February is our busiest winter month. And just because I am a mom that does not mean that I didn't want to be there. But, you know what, I've never been to CPAC, I don't know what the big brouhaha is this go around. I've never been to that conference, so I don't know why anybody would think it is that big of a darn deal not to be there this time.
HANNITY: I was invited. My daughter has a tennis tournament. I chose the tennis tournament. But there is a controversy about some of the groups that they've associated with, that GOProud and some social conservatives are not happy with the direction that CPAC has taken. Are you one of them?
PALIN: I don't have a problem with the different diverse groups that are involved in political discourse and having a convention to talk about what the answers are to the problems that face America. Look, people are losing their jobs, their losing their homes. We're still engage in a war.
There are so many life changing, life and death issues out there in front of us. You know, we'd better be concentrating on what is really important here and not going kind of tit-for-tat as people are positioning themselves for 2012, and figuring out what groups is going to support whom and all that. We better be really buckle down and being very, very serious about finding solutions to the problems we're facing.
HANNITY: But back to the Rick Santorum comments. I mean, it was pretty specific, he said financial benefit and, quote, "she is the mother of all those kids." I think it was Mediaite, the pointed out that, that you know, he has seven kids himself.
PALIN: Whoa, I didn't know that he had said about because I'm the mother of all those kids. I'm the proud mother of five children. And that my kids don't hold me back from attending a conference.
But, you know, again, it's that kind of tit-for-tat thing that Americans are really turned off by. And they want to hear us engaged in debate and discourse and conversation about solutions, about getting the economy back on the right track and securing our borders, securing our homeland and not the kind of pettiness that happens I guess internally within the GOP machine and in the Democrat machine as people are positioning themselves for future races.
But, you know, hearing that, another part of me kind of says, well, and the beat goes on. What's new?
HANNITY: OK. Let me ask you this, it is getting kind of near crunch time. We expect probably in March, that's next month and April, that a lot of candidates are planning to make their announcement that they are running for president. You have left the door open, up until now, but I would assume that you're probably getting a lot closer to a decision. Where do you stand with that at this moment?
PALIN: I don't have a date in mind. I will make the decision as things fall into place or don't fall into place for me and for my family as we move forward with the internal deliberations that we are engaged in, and deciding whether to run for this office or not.
So, I'm not going to put myself in a box to give a timeline. Other people, no doubt some politicians, they are going to be doing it in a more conventional manner than I will. I've never done anything really conventionally. That's what going rogue is all about. You get out there and you do what you believe is best for the people whom you want to serve and you better be willing to serve for the right reasons. And a lot of that even includes the timing of announcing when it is that you would desire to put yourself forward in the name of service.
HANNITY: So, we really shouldn't read anything into for example, some PAC activity that we've seen in Iowa?
PALIN: Nobody has to read anything into anything. I mean, when the time is ready to announce then that will be the right time. But, you know, in the meantime, I and I think every other potential candidate out there is continuing to prayerfully consider and speak with those whom are closest to us, our advisers and decide for ourselves with the right timing.
HANNITY: Governor, I didn't ask you yet about Egypt and I would be negligence if I did not. My biggest concern, Governor, is the president and the White House now have said that they've got to reconsider their relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood. Their desire is for an Islamic caliphate, their desire is for Sharia law, they've been involved in assassinations, they have supported extremist organizations. It appears that even Egypt has accepted the notion that they will be part of any new government that emerges.
How dangerous is that when you couple it with all the other countries, Jordan and surrounding countries now Indonesia and Tunisia, in the problems we see in rising Islamic radicalism?
PALIN: The Muslim Brotherhood as they believe in a caliphate is a big problem. And I think it should give us all great pause to hear officials in our own nation believing that the Muslim Brotherhood should be given a seat at the table and hear their ideas for democracy.
Does the Muslim Brotherhood really truly sincerely believe in freedoms and women's rights, human rights? Do they believe in freedom of religion or do they believe in cramming down someone's throat their own religious beliefs and if you won't buy into them, you will beheaded?
Now, if that what's part of the Muslim Brotherhood's mission, then for shame that the U.S. government would believe that they can be embraced and still bring those who desire freedom and democracy down a road towards democracy.
HANNITY: The president was given an opportunity to speak out against them and he passed.
PALIN: Exactly. Right.
HANNITY: What do you make of that?
PALIN: He sure did. He passed and that was a lost opportunity. And again, gives me, gives so many other people great pause, when we are trying to figure out what is it that our president stands for and stands with? If he could be strong with a steel spine like Reagan was and let us know candidly, honestly, sincerely, what do you think of the Muslim Brotherhood? What do you think of Sharia law? What do you think of Muslim extremists? Islamic extremists when they won't even use the term Islamic extremist anymore. What do you think that their desire is for Israel, for America, for other freedom-loving democratic-loving countries that would seek peace in this world?
HANNITY: Governor, those are questions you think our media would ask them. It's always great to have you. Thank you for being back with us, Governor Palin.
PALIN: Thanks so much.
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