Sen. Rubio: Barack Obama 2.0 is a different candidate

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 29, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And welcome back to "Hannity" where we continue live from the Republican National Convention, we are in Tampa, Florida. Our next guest was once thought to be at the top of Mitt Romney's vice presidential short list and has been given the honor of introducing the governor before his acceptance speech tomorrow night. And we are joined by Florida Senator Marco Rubio is here with us. Senator, how are you? Good to see you.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA.: Good to see you again. Welcome to Florida. I know you have been here a lot.

HANNITY: I know, this is my second home.

RUBIO: I know it is. Yes.

HANNITY: I want to live here because there are no state taxes like New York.

RUBIO: We want you here. We've got to figure that out.

HANNITY: All right. You were up -- as I understand it pretty much the last day, you were on that short list. Were you ready to go?

RUBIO: Look, as I said, during the time, I wouldn't even discuss the process. But I was just honored that I was even mention in the conversation and the Governor Romney was gracious enough to call me that night and inform me that he would be making an announcement the next day. And he made a great choice. And we're going to see that tonight. The American people tonight are going to get to know the Paul Ryan that some of us that work with him in Washington know, a serious policy thinker, an exciting young guy involved in American politics and really a fantastic leader. I'm really excited about that.

HANNITY: One of the things he's talking about, he said, look, here's our pledge. We are not going to duck the tough choices. We are going to lead. We are not going to blame others. We will take responsibility. We will not try and replace the founding principles, we are going to re-apply them.


HANNITY: That's all going to be said in that speech.

RUBIO: Well, that's exactly right. You heard that, you know, we started last night with Chris Christie where he described what leadership was. And he had a great line when he said, Mr. President, leaders don't follow polls, they change them.


RUBIO: And that means, you know, go to the American people, explain to them what the stakes are and bringing them along with you. We are not getting that these days.

HANNITY: Paul Ryan is also going to say that -- that we have to do it now. There is a sense of urgency. One of the things, as I have gotten to know you over the years.


HANNITY: You have a sense of urgency as well, that if we don't get this done now --


HANNITY: -- we may not be able to recover.

RUBIO: But we have a clock right on that wall, 15 trillion, 988 billion that's going to hit 16 trillion during this convention. That's outrageous. That's larger than our economy. How about Medicare, is going bankrupt. Anyone who is in favor of leaving Medicare the way it is right now is in favor of bankrupting it. These are not -- these are not difficult issues to solve if we solve them. And if we don't solve them, they get harder and uglier.

HANNITY: What happened to candidate Obama in 2008 that called George Bush irresponsible and unpatriotic for $4 trillion in debt in eight years and now over $5 trillion in that period of time? What happened to that guy?

RUBIO: Well, look, Barack Obama 2.0 was a very different candidate than the person that ran four years ago on multiple times. You know, I actually know some people that have never voted for a Democrat that voted for him because he was new, and he was going to elevate American politics and he was going to be high minded. I mean, that's long gone. You seen speaker after speaker tonight that reminds us, this is a president that deliberately pits Americans against each other for political gain? That Barack Obama's long gone.

HANNITY: What do you make about that? Because the class warfare --

RUBIO: Right.

HANNITY: There is a war on women, old people, rich versus poor, old versus young and of course we had the comments of Joe Biden and the mayor of Los Angeles. He actually said, you just can't trot out a brown face or a Spanish surname and expect people that they are going to vote for your party or your candidate. He said that yesterday, he'll play a prominent role next week.

RUBIO: Well, first of all, I don't know who is expecting that. Republicans, like everything else, we believe we have to earn things, including people's votes and their support. We have an economic message that I think, especially appeals to minorities and especially to Americans of Hispanic descent. I would remind that the mayor and others that the folks who we've featured in this convention by the way happen to be elected, they are not manufactured, they are real.

We have a governor, Susana Martinez, that will speak tonight in New Mexico, Republican, Hispanic woman. Brian Sandoval, you just heard from Nevada, you just heard from Luis Fortuno, the governor of Puerto Rico. I mean, these are real -- Ted Cruz in Texas. Myself, obviously in Florida. We are excited about this. Allen West in Florida.

And so, here's the bottom line, I think that -- that these are folks that represent our party because what it shows is that our message appeals to a broad spectrum of Americans. We have to do a better job of communicating that and we are.

HANNITY: What about the president, though, running that campaign?

RUBIO: Yes. Because he can't ran on his record. What are you going to say -- are you going to -- can the president go to the American people and say, you are better off than you were four years ago?

HANNITY: Doesn't it, when all is said and done, doesn't this election come down to that -- are you better off than you were four years ago, $5 trillion in debt ago and can you afford $5 trillion more in debt?

RUBIO: Well, it comes down to that. But this one is even deeper. Because it is such a different view of government's role in our economy. The president believes that the government is more involved in our economy, we will be more prosperous. That has never worked anywhere it's been tried. Mitt Romney and we here in the Republican Party believe that the economy grows when people take their own money and invest it in starting a new business or expanding an existing business.

HANNITY: Let me ask you this, assuming that Governor Romney wins, Paul Ryan is the vice president, that the Republicans take over the Senate, they maintain control in the House. How hard is it to get to what we all think we need, know we need, which is a balanced budget? That seems like a very difficult task. Do you think the American people are ready for the serious, tough choices that it would take to get there?

RUBIO: And hence, the purpose of the Chris Christie speech last night -- that's what leaders do. Leaders come to the American people and explain to them, this is what's going on. Here are the options that we have. This is the option we think is the best one. Will you follow us?


RUBIO: That's what leadership was about. That's what leadership was in every era of our country that kept us great.

HANNITY: All right. I watch you as you walk around in this convention hall. You are a bit of a rock star. I don't know if it's because it's your home turf.

RUBIO: Well, the Republicans, of course.

HANNITY: It's not just the Republicans. It is you.

RUBIO: Well, we are in Florida. There are a lot of folks that were very nice to me. And it's great to see all these folks.

HANNITY: What do you think about Governor Crist?

RUBIO: Well, you know, look, my initial response is I told you so, you know?


RUBIO: I mean, that's why I ran two years ago. Because I knew he wasn't going to stand up for the principles that our party should be about. But at the end of the day, look, he is running out of parties to run under.

HANNITY: We have to go. Senator, great to see you.

RUBIO: Great to see you.

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