This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 11, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: We have heard a lot about the anti-incumbent sentiment that will color the November elections. And on Saturday Utah Senator Bob Bennett became the first incumbent to suffer from that backlash.
Now he failed even to make it to the Republican primary after coming in third in a runoff behind Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater. Now those two will now face each other in the GOP primary.
And Bennett, well, he may not be alone. Politico.com points out several incumbents who may not make it out of their party primaries alive. Now they include turncoat Arlen Specter, who is now running behind his primary challenger, Congressman Joe Sestak; Arkansas Democrat Branche Lincoln who is likely to pay for support of the health care bill and her opposition to card check; Michigan Congressman Carolyn Meeks Kilpatrick, who has come under fire for defending her embattled son, that's Detroit mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick; the corrupt congressman Charlie Rangel who is facing two challengers, including one who is his former aide; and West Virginia congressman Allan Mollohan who is having a tough time justifying his push for cap-and-tax to voters back home.
And the list goes on and on. And joining me now with analysis on some of the most heated primary races this election season and his take on which incumbents are likely to go down, FoxNews contributor, the one and only Karl Rove.
Karl, welcome back.
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks. Thanks for having me, Sean.
HANNITY: Specter, not a shock. You know, Blanche Lincoln not a shock. Rangel, Bennett, little bit of a shock for people.
Is this an anti-incumbency atmosphere or is this really more anti- Obama?
ROVE: Well, it's actually it's neither. It is — problematic candidates who got unique reasons why they're at risk. I mean you mentioned a list coming up there. There are seven in — seven Democrats and two Republicans in the principal target list. It was in Politico today.
If you add Charlie Rangel and a couple of others it is nine Democrats and two Republicans from here to the end of the season. And each one of them seems to have a, — you know, a special set of circumstances that affects them.
You mentioned Mollohan. Not only does he have a problem with cap-and-trade which is enormously unpopular in his district, but even more important that that is he's got huge ethics concerns and an aggressive competitor in the Democratic primary who's willing to make hay of him and several Republicans competing to make hay of him in the general election. So —
ROVE: Each one of these is unique.
HANNITY: Alright. Go back to your board here for a second, because I want to see because you had other things written down.
HANNITY: Below them.
HANNITY: Alright. So these are the different dates and the different primaries that you think — that you're saying two Republicans and nine Democrats, right?
ROVE: Yes. The two Republicans are to be found here in South Carolina.
HANNITY: Seven of them.
ROVE: Bob Inglis —
ROVE: Bob Inglis who was opposed to the surge, was opposed to drilling in ANWR. Was opposed to elements of the Patriot Act and worked on a cap-and-trade bill some number of years ago; has got a number of Republican competitors.
And of course we got John McCain down here facing a spirited primary from J.D. Hayworth on the 24th of August. But the rest of these are Democrats. Starting tomorrow we'll have — actually next week. We will have next week West Virginia, Arkansas and Pennsylvania with four races. Two in Pennsylvania — Specter and Sestak — which you mentioned the U.S. Senate primary.
We also have Kanjorski. Paul Kanjorski, an ethically troubled Democrat who suffered a near death experience last time in the general election is now being challenged by local elected official named O'Brien in the Democratic primary and an attempt to defeat him in the primary and maybe keep the seat in Democrat hands. He could lose it very easily in the general election.
HANNITY: Alright. A few interesting thing happening. Charlie Crist now leaving the Republican primary. Does that hurt Rubio in that case in Florida?
ROVE: Yes, I think it does for right now. But we'll see how this goes forward because right now if you take a look at the data, Crist is driving 50 percent of Democrats. And I don't think at the end of the election that Charlie Crist is going to be getting 50 percent of Democrats. And particularly when you have Democrats making it clear that they will be supportive of, at least the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Florida Democrats, not supportive of him caucusing with the Democrats if he gets elected.
So third party candidates are hard to sustain. And they're — what's the reason for Charlie Crist other than Charlie Crist has been recently —
HANNITY: Charlie Crist.
ROVE: Yes. Charlie Crist.
ROVE: So he wants to do this for — there's no compelling ideological or policy reason for him to be running as an independent.
ROVE: It's just pure ego.
HANNITY: Alright. Illinois — a couple of states that might surprise people. Illinois seems to be in play for the Republicans. That could be a pick up for them. And the L.A. Times actually said about Barbara Boxer that she does not display enough intellectual firepower which I thought was interesting.
That was a pretty big shot. And the polls show that, you know what? She's pretty vulnerable.
ROVE: Yes — no, I was just in California for a couple of days. It's really surprising. This is — this woman has been in there for three terms and she is not able to get above 50 percent against Republican candidates who are not as well-known as she is. So she is in deep trouble.
I think the crystal moment for her came during that committee meeting when the general addressed her as ma'am and she took a decorated war hero and chopped him up as best she could. And I think it just — it just crystallized in minds in California how unpleasant a person she was.
They knew she was largely ineffective. This now made her, you know, sort of put — explained to people why they didn't like her which was she was generally unpleasant.
HANNITY: Alright. We know Arlen Specter is behind in Pennsylvania in the primary there and we know he jumped parties. I don't know what to make of this Specter ad with Barack Obama.
I think you'll enjoy this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama and newspapers across Pennsylvania agree, Arlen Specter is the real deal.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I want to say a few things about Arlen Specter. He came to fight for the working men and women of Pennsylvania. And Arlen Specter cast the deciding vote in favor of the Recovery Act that has helped pull us back from the brink.
Because you know he's going to fight for you regardless of what the politics are.
SENATOR ARLEN SPECTER, D-PENN. : I'm Arlen Specter, and I approve this message.
OBAMA: I love you and I love Arlen Specter.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: It's interesting. The president's re-elect number right now in one of the latest polls is 39 percent. He wasn't that successful in helping Corzine, Creigh Deeds or Martha Coakley. It seems like an odd choice for an ad at this particular point in time.
ROVE: Well, it is a Democrat primary as opposed to a general election as each one of those others were. So the president's words in a Democrat primary will carry more weight. Particularly in a sort of an establishment state like Pennsylvania where what your governor and your senator and your local party elected officials and your local party leaders say they want to do.
I mean they have a habit of endorsing the — the party endorses candidates in primaries. But you know what? Arlen Specter — I hate to say it because I'd like to sort of see a general election in which we had Arlen Specter for the Republicans to beat up on — but, you know, he has, I think, run his string out here.
People see — again, like Charlie Crist this is all about Arlen Specter. He said he was switching parties because he was afraid that he would lose the Republican primary. That's not a very good way to go about asking for the people's votes.
HANNITY: Alright. I was thinking about you today. You know the White House actually released their own video of Elena Kagan, their choice — the president's choice for the Supreme Court.
Her most notable act, of course, is throwing military recruiters on college campus at Harvard, you know, off the college campus in the middle of a war in violation of federal law. And even the most liberal members of the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision said she didn't have the right to do that.
And she — the White House releases their own interview video of her. And I'm thinking if Karl Rove ever did that what would the reaction had been?
ROVE: We'd hear from The New York Times editorial tomorrow morning and The Washington Post not too far behind it.
ROVE: You know what was interesting to me, Sean, about that was did you notice the defense that was mounted by her friends on behalf of her on the decision to deny campus recruitment?
They said well, that's nothing new. She was merely defending a long- standing policy of we liberals at Harvard Law School. I mean, it was like, OK, well, that made it all right because people before her had had the same bigoted view of the military that she did. So we — OK, we're all OK with that.
I mean it was pretty extraordinarily weak defense, I thought.
HANNITY: Alright. Karl Rove, good to see you. Thanks for being with us.
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