This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," December 5, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: But first, we bring you my exclusive interview with billionaire entrepreneur, the one and only Donald Trump. His brand new book is called "Time to Get Tough: Making America Number One Again." I sat down with him earlier today at his offices right here in New York City. Let's take a look.


Mr. Trump, good to see you.


HANNITY: Congratulations on the book.

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

HANNITY: It's already doing well.

TRUMP: It's doing very well.

HANNITY: People downstairs are lining up getting ready for your Friday book signing.

TRUMP: That's right. I'm signing at 2:00 at Trump Tower, we are signing books, so that will be great.

HANNITY: Everybody is seeking Donald Trump's endorsement. Today is Newt Gingrich's day. He's --you are going to spend time with Newt. What are your thoughts on him prior to him coming in here today?

TRUMP: Well, I spent time with most of them. And we've gone through, I mean, Herman Cain was up, a wonderful guy had a couple of really tough weeks. Bad, bad weeks. Mitt Romney, all of them. Michele Bachmann. Spoke with Santorum. It's you know, a lot of good people. And they are in there trying and they are in there pitching, they want to do something. And Newt is coming up today. I've known Newt through the years and I've always liked Newt. But it's amazing what's happening. I mean, he really shown he's a rocket ship. I've never seen anything like this where he started so negatively. I thought the press was very unfair, what he said where he was doing the show, and all of a sudden they took some words and they made it like a big deal. And nobody would have said he could have recovered. Not so much from that, just generally.

HANNITY: They had written him off.

TRUMP: They had totally written him off and he's a rocket, I mean, what he's done is amazing and I take my hat off to him.

HANNITY: All right. You are going to work with Newsmax and you're going to host a debate.

TRUMP: That's right.

HANNITY: And it's created some controversy here. The media doesn't seem to like it. They are attacking you for this.

TRUMP: I can understand that.

HANNITY: Now, I understand that, too.

TRUMP: Because they're not doing it.

HANNITY: Exactly. That's probably why.

TRUMP: You know I'm a ratings machine according to everybody. I mean, I get great ratings, "The Apprentice" (INAUDIBLE) --

HANNITY: Listen, we will put it on Fox if you want.

TRUMP: You have to be there.

HANNITY: I'll be there for that.

TRUMP: That's good.

HANNITY: And you are doing it with Newsmax. Ron Paul said it's beneath the office of the presidency. He doesn't understand your success. You don't like to be challenged on issues. That was his reaction.

TRUMP: Well, I don't know what he means by that. I am challenged all the time and I respond. I mean, unlike a lot of other people. But look, Ron Paul has zero chance, zero, of getting elected or getting the nomination. He will do OK in Iowa and after Iowa he will fade into oblivion. So, Ron Paul, you know, frankly that some of these people aren't there, Huntsman is another one. He called my office, I don't know if you know this, wanted a meeting. I didn't give it to him. Maybe I should have. I didn't give it to him. But he wanted to come up and see me. And then I see him in a debate saying, unlike you people, I didn't go and see Donald Trump. So, he's a Mormon, so I'm sure he wouldn't lie about it. But the fact is that, all these people, I mean, the two people that we are talking about, I'm glad they aren't going to be there because then I can sort of focus on people that really have a chance of winning. And you have some very good people and people are going to be at that debate. I'll tell you, it will get great ratings.

HANNITY: You are missing one person in your invite list.

TRUMP: Go ahead.

HANNITY: Barack Obama.

TRUMP: Well, look, I wish he were a great president. I'm a Republican but I would love to see a great president, Democrat, Republican, independent, anything. I wish we had a great president. And you know, as I've said to you before, I really thought -- when he got elected, he got elected. So, now you say, OK, we have a man. I thought he was going to be a positive person. I really thought he was going to be a cheerleader, a great cheerleader for the country. That was the one thing I saw. I thought he would be a cheerleader for the country and he's really turned out to be a negative force, a very, very negative force with class warfare and everything else that's going on. And I'm really surprised and disappointed at that.

HANNITY: What do you make of the evolution of the polls? We talked about Newt skyrocketing. Why do you think he's skyrocketing? Why do you think Romney has been fairly steady?

TRUMP: Well, he's been steady, and it's surprising to me that Mitt doesn't pick up something. Because like Herman gets out. And there's a lot of votes out there. They seem to be going to Newt, and Mitt isn't getting the kind of traction. It amazes me -- a couple of things. It amazes me that Newt has done so well so quickly and I have great respect for it. And I have great respect for him. But what he's done is sort of unprecedented. And it amazes me that, frankly, Mitt Romney hasn't sort of gotten that momentum. I mean, he's been steady in a sense, but you have to be more than steady.

HANNITY: What do you think it is? Look, I think both of them have performed well in the debates.

TRUMP: Both are really good at the debates.

HANNITY: But Newt probably did a little better.

TRUMP: Well, I think they were both really good at the debates. I think Romney was great, I think Newt was great. I mean, the two stars, in a sense. Although, you know, Michele Bachmann did very well --

HANNITY: And so did Rick Santorum.

TRUMP: And so did Santorum. You know, and you had some -- look, and then you had a couple that didn't do so well. Do we agree? We like them a lot but they didn't just do so well. And actually, Rick Perry told me it's just not his thing. You know, when you're with Rick Perry, here's another one, good guy, solid guy, wonderful. I said to him once, he was with me and he was giving me something and I said, why can't you act that way during the debates?

And he said, it's not just my thing. But the debates turned out to be very important. But I would agree Newt and Mitt did very well in the debates.

HANNITY: What did you think of Christie's comments that Obama is a bystander, what the hell are we paying you for?

TRUMP: I thought they were true. I thought they were hundred percent. This committee is a disgrace. That it was formed as the most disgraceful thing. Because you are supposed to be a leader, you're supposed to get those people in a room and get a deal, not just form a committee that can't make a deal. And I thought that Chris Christie's statements were great.

HANNITY: Yes. But interesting, the president says, hey, my kids are going to be fine, whether America succeeds or not.

TRUMP: Yes, that's a beautiful --

HANNITY: That's a pretty shocking statement.

TRUMP: That's a beautiful statement.

HANNITY: It would be like you're saying, well, I hope my kids succeed. I'm not worried about the rest of the world.

TRUMP: The country is in such trouble. And if we have another four years like we've gone through, with the kind of thinking that we are going through, it's going to be very, very hard for this country to come back, Sean.

HANNITY: All right. You said in your book that we have four to eight years or else America can't recover, you say.

TRUMP: Well, the word "can't" is too tough, but it will take a very, very long time for us. If we continue to go -- Obamacare is a disaster. I have friends that are closing up businesses because they aren't going to be able to afford Obamacare. These are people that have been in business for 40 years. Have nice, middle size and even small businesses. They are closing up their business. I can tell you there are big companies where these aren't going to close, but they cannot believe the kind of cost that is being, you know, handled by -- their accounting people are coming and say, we had no idea this was going to be happening and they are going to be changing their numbers for next year and the year after. They can't believe what's going on with Obamacare.

HANNITY: Do you think Herman Cain was treated unfair? There's been no proof of the allegations.

TRUMP: Right.

HANNITY: I would think especially this most recent allegation is easily proven false. Either, there are hotel receipts, plane ticket receipts, videos of them somewhere, or they're not. Do you think he was treated unfairly?

TRUMP: Well, it was a tough thing for him. I mean, they were coming out of the woodwork. And frankly, you know, I guess based on that, John Kennedy should not have been president, right?

HANNITY: So, even when you get in the race, though -- "Donald Trump is racist" -- they immediately went right for the jugular.

TRUMP: Yes. They always do. If you ask about somebody's records in school, how did he get into Harvard? How did he get into Columbia? I thought he was a bad student here, so how did he get into here or there? You are a racist. I said, what is this that -- I didn't even know what they were talking about because I'm probably the least racist person there is. And actually some of my friends said very strongly, the least. So you ask a question like that or you ask about a birth certificate, how come there are no records that his mother was ever in the hospital? He's a racist. I'm saying, excuse me? Could you please explain that to me?

So, you know, they play the race card better than anybody I have known since Don King, who I happen to love, but he plays the race card. You know, I mean, Don King played it brilliantly for many years, and he will admit it. But they played the race card like nobody ever has played it.


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