What Made Ann Coulter Change Her Mind About Mitt Romney?
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," December 13, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: The polls are showing that former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is leading the pack for the GOP nomination. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is trying to win conservative votes in Iowa. And he is using the words of my next guest to help. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM MITT ROMNEY CAMPAIGN AD)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Mitt Romney's conservative plan to get federal spending under control has been called the boldest GOP agenda since Reagan 1980.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Congressman Paul Ryan praised Romney's plan, saying, this is getting us towards a prosperity agenda that will allow the private sector to grow.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: And conservative columnist Ann Coulter says.
ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, "DEMONIC": I think it's going to be Romney, I think Romney is the strongest candidate and I think Republicans want to beat Obama and Romney is the best one to do that.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Mitt Romney. Because it's time we start believing in America again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Joining us now with reaction, the author of The New York Times bestseller, "Demonic," Coulter. Good to see you. How are you?
COULTER: Good to see you.
HANNITY: I'm not going to ask you about your boyfriend, since you called me brat or an old grandmother.
COULTER: I appreciate that. Let's get right into the election.
HANNITY: All right. So, this is what you think. And you've been pretty, you've been very harsh against Gingrich?
COULTER: Yes. I mean, you hear this often. I think it's actually is true for this upcoming election. It's the most important election of our lifetime.
COULTER: The 1980 election was the most important election for people who lived in the old Soviet Union, but for America if we don't repeal Obamacare in the next four years, it will never be repealed. Republicans will have to run on improvements to Obamacare. Newt Gingrich will call plans to reform Obamacare right-wing social engineering. The treats don't kick in yet. As soon as the treats kick in, we will never get it repealed, and that takes America on the path to being some mediocre Western European country.
HANNITY: This is surely political in terms of you think he is the most electable?
COULTER: No, no, no. I think he is the most conservative. I think the two most conservative candidates -- and look, people are talking about a brokered convention, you know, knock it off Republicans, these are our candidates. We've seen them.
HANNITY: I agree with that.
COULTER: The two most conservative candidates who are still standing now are Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney. And Michele Bachmann, I think she is terrific by the way, but she is just a congressman. She has never been a governor. I think she is also probably hurt a little bit by the resemblance to Sarah Palin, having had this woman last time. The same I think Perry by his resemblance to Bush, and that's not an insult to any of them, but.
HANNITY: Let me ask you this. Because she was in love with Chris Christie.
COULTER: I remain in love with Chris Christie. He is going to be our cleanup guy in eight years.
HANNITY: All right. Threatened to take his breathalyzer, quote, "inhaler" away which isn't an Obama joke (ph).
COULTER: But I trust him enough, he made the decision not to run. Now, we have the candidates.
HANNITY: All right. But you have to go back to your own words at CPAC.
HANNITY: Because you know this has been making the rounds. Play the tape.
COULTER: I wish you wouldn't play it because I was sick that day --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM CPAC, FEB. 12)
COULTER: I may as well tell you what my prediction is because then, you can either totally congratulate me or laugh at me two years from now. I don't like to attack Republicans. Many of them have excellent characteristics and they are good in the positions they're in now, and I support them. Their positions as representatives or governor or Fox News host, but I think, well, I'll put it in the nutshell. If we don't run Chris Christie, Romney will be the nominee and we'll lose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: All right. What changed?
COULTER: Obamacare for one thing. I mean, that was February, last year. Not last year -- whenever. And we have the economy in the toilet -- we have Obama knowing nothing to -- and by the way, I didn't say I hate Mitt Romney and now I love him.
HANNITY: Well, you said, if we don't run Christie, Romney will be the nominee and will lose. Now, you are saying, Romney is not the nominee we're going to lose.
COULTER: No. There were two predictions, and by the way, it's a lot better than, you know, everybody on MSNBC telling us it's going to be Pawlenty. So, so far my prediction is holding up pretty well.
HANNITY: This isn't a gotcha -- I want to know what changed.
COULTER: What changed my mind about is whether -- and by the way I changed my mind about three months after that on some Fox News show because the economy was so bad. And I said, look, I mean, I'm generally a pessimist who we're running against -- actually, maybe I'm not. But we have this very popular --
HANNITY: You're not a pessimist.
COULTER: We have this popular Democratic president. He does have an attractive family. He has the entire mainstream media behind him. He's an incumbent. That is why I thought the candidate we ran would lose. I no longer think -- I now think Obama has a glass jaw, I said that's just a few months after that statement by the way, but it's not really I think that big of a change. In fact, we don't know if my prediction is wrong yet. What I am saying now is of the available candidates, Romney is by far the most conservative -- tied with Michele Bachmann -- and he has a proven ability to win in a state like Massachusetts.
HANNITY: Let me agree with you in one sense. First of all, you and I, I think are the only two people that keep saying, Romney was clever enough to outfox Democrats. And he said a few things that he would probably -- took a few provisions would have taken because he had to win in Massachusetts. I think that is true.
COULTER: Yes. It makes more sense than some secret Manchurian campaign trying to fake out Republicans --
HANNITY: I think Romney will be a good president.
HANNITY: But I also think Gingrich, Bachmann, Santorum -- everybody but Ron Paul would be -- I have a problem with Ron Paul's foreign policy and some of his writings that went on for a decade.
COULTER: I have a problem with Newt Gingrich's big government conservatism. I think of the candidates on the stage, Newt Gingrich is tied with Ron Paul -- and only Ron Paul because of his foreign policy -- as the least conservative candidate on the stage.
HANNITY: Wait a minute. When he governed in '94 -- stop for one second because I studied this extensively for my last book. Wait a minute. He had his ten items, they were conservative. He fought for limited government. It took them seven times to get Clinton to buy into their welfare reform bill. It took Kasich and (INAUDIBLE) to get him to buy into a balanced budget plan.
HANNITY: They went from a deficit to a surplus. What's not conservative about that?
COULTER: Those of us who were working for the Congress -- and I was for the Senate Judiciary Committee after the '94 election because it was a big election and I wanted things to change. And I'm going to be writing about it in my column this week. But with Newt Gingrich you get the worst of both worlds.
You get the bombastic rhetoric, but you don't get the policy change. You have him calling for orphanages for children on welfare for them to be janitors. You have him talking about women not being --
HANNITY: That is not what he said about kids -- orphans being janitors. That is not what he said.
COULTER: Yes he did.
HANNITY: He said the kids need to develop a work ethic.
COULTER: Yes, he did! And he said, for example --
HANNITY: I was scrubbing pots and pans at 12 years old!
COULTER: I'm not going to listen to you talk about all the hard work you've done. I've heard that about a million times on your show. He said they could be janitors --
HANNITY: I would of cut you off as bartender.
COULTER: By the way, this is what we went through the '90s. Republicans would leap forward and defend him, but the point is, Sean, we didn't get kids getting work. We didn't get orphanages for children.
HANNITY: What about balanced budget, welfare reform --
COULTER: No, but my point is what you get is the bombast, the heat, the blowback, the image of Republicans is being cruel, but you never get the policy. Change the policy then. At least when Ronald Reagan was called heartless --
HANNITY: I will support the nominee.
COULTER: I told you. I'll support Jeffrey Dahmer against Obama. That isn't the question here. The question is how do we beat Obama? I think we beat Obama with the most conservative candidate and with the one who has been elected in a very liberal state who is calm, who is a turnaround guy.
HANNITY: Do we have to tell liberals that you are kidding about Jeffrey Dahmer or should we just let it go.
COULTER: No, screw them.
HANNITY: They're too stupid.
COULTER: Let's try to get something ginned up.
When Romney was running against Teddy Kennedy the big campaign against him was, you know, the turnaround guy. People lost their jobs. Please use that ad against Romney this time because I want him to go to Washington and have people lose their jobs.
HANNITY: Bottom line is, I think we have a much stronger field -- especially the media and the punditry class are giving them.
Coulter, it is a -- how is your boyfriend?
COULTER: How much time do we have because I have a few more points?
HANNITY: I really liked him. You're not going to get married, are you?
COULTER: Can somebody hold up a stopwatch?
HANNITY: See Ann Coulter sweat? This never happens. She's steel. She has a backbone of steel.
COULTER: Go back to telling me all the jobs you had as a child.
HANNITY: Listen, I would have cut you up. You were there when I filled in for your bartender buddy, that one night. Didn't I do a good job?
COULTER: And we're going to do it again. Want to do it this week?
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