This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 18, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: A lot of attention is being paid to some Republicans who have yet to throw their hat into the race. It is believed that Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels are just weeks if not days away from revealing their intentions for 2012.
And as they weigh the possibility of a run for the White House, there's word that Texas Governor Rick Perry, well, he is also testing the waters.
Now this news comes after both Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee announced that they will not challenge President Obama next year. But one name that is still very much on the radar when it comes to 2012, is that on my next guest. She is former Alaska Governor, FoxNews contributor Sarah Palin.
Governor, welcome back to the program. Thanks for being with us.
SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Thank you Sean, it is my pleasure.
HANNITY: You know, as I was watching the speaker on "Meet the Press" this weekend, former Speaker Gingrich. My thoughts went to you. Because it was a lot of gotcha. And a lot of these things, "In 1993 you said this, today you said -- the other day you said this." I don't know if you had a chance to see the whole interview. But I was just comparing that to 2008. Is there going to be a different standard?
PALIN: There's got to be the preparation on all the candidates' parts for those gotchas. That's what the lamestream media's known for now a days, it's the gotcha trip up questions and you just have to be prepared for it and overcome it.
HANNITY: What did you think about the term right-wing social engineering and then his apology to Paul Ryan, does that put that to rest in your mind?
PALIN: I don't know why politicians feel that they have to apologize for something that they've said just because they've gone through a 24 hour cycle of the lamestream media given them a hard time for something that they said. A politician either believes in what they just said in an interview or they don't believe in what they just said. And if Newt Gingrich believes that it is right-wing social engineering to undo Obamacare and reform Medicare to make sure that we provide a safety net for our seniors who are going to need health care coverage, then, say so. But don't apologize later just because the media has dinged you on what it is that you said.
I do believe that Newt Gingrich is terribly wrong on his assessment of Representative Ryan's plan. It is good fiscally sound and courageous plan. And it's not all just about Medicare, we have to make sure that we are understanding that Ryan's budget is a big difference as opposed to the Obama budget, which of course have has us on the road to bankruptcy. Paul Ryan's plan saved us $1.2 billion every single day over a decade, as compared to Obama's big spending government overreach more indebtedness plan that he's got us on.
HANNITY: I'm not sure if he was apologizing because the media was attacking him as much as he said, because I did interview him Monday, and I talk to him about it. And he said, well, what I'm saying is we need to take that plan and we've got to make sure the American people are onboard, maybe find ways to improve it. But he definitely sees the need and has called for the need to reform Medicare. I mean, that's something that he said for a number of years. And I'm not putting up a defense for him. But if he apologizes because he didn't articulate it the way he wanted to and people are offended by it, is an apology appropriate at that point?
PALIN: No, I'm saying that we should ignore the lamestream leftist media's criticism of what it is that we say in an interview if we believe what it is that we say. Don't let them in a 24 hour news cycle make us change our positions, and it sounded pretty clear to me that Newt Gingrich's position, because he articulated this, was that Paul Ryan's plan would be social engineering, and he didn't like it.
So, I believe that he made the apology because the media dinged him on it. Would he have made the apology otherwise? I don't know. I'm just saying, come on fiscal conservatives, let's stay strong, and principled and not disappoint the electorate so that they have a true choice coming into this election, who would it that they're going to choose to allow to surface to lead this great nation. Don't let the mainstream media dictate what the debate is going to be about.
HANNITY: All right. This is a great thing. I think people apologize for too often. I'm going to agree with you. And I think they're pressured to do it. And I think they do it for expediency. I'm not sure what happened in this case. My take is, is that Paul Ryan is a friend to his, he misspoke, he wanted to explain it. You know, it's like in the Congress, they have the ability to revise and extend their remarks. In the media, you don't have that ability.
But let me give you one example of what I think is gotcha. And where the media I think really, they never ask tough questions I think in 2008 against Barack Obama. And I think these are the types of questions that Republican candidates will face and you if you get in this race.
Here is David Gregory with Newt Gingrich.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "MEET THE PRESS"/NBC MAY 15)
DAVID GREGORY: You gave a speech in Georgia with language a lot of people think could be coded racially-tinged language calling the president, first black president a food stamp president.
NEWT GINGRICH, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, come on, David.
GREGORY: What did you mean and what was the point?
GINGRICH: That's bizarre, this kind of automatic reference to racism. This is the president of the United States, president of the United States has to be held accountable. Now, the idea that, and what I said is factually true. Forty seven million Americans are on food stamps. One out of every six Americans is on food stamps. And to hide behind the charge of racism, I have never said anything about President Obama which is racist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: And that number is up by millions. How do you respond to that? What advice would you give candidates?
PALIN: Well, talk about racism, that was a racist tinged question from David Gregory. He made it sound like if you're black, you are on food stamps and the president is referring to you as being on food stamps. I think that's racist.
And, you know, enough is enough of this calling out, this racism, this false charges. Obviously, it is done just to end the conversation. Just to distract, divert attention from what the real substance is, and stop the conversation. Here again, enough is enough. Why do we let the press, the media personalities get away with such? Let's call them out on them and let's start concentrating on what the real issue is. The real issue is, we have 40 some million Americans on food stamps, you know, why? Because we don't have a robust economy, allowing the private sector to grow and thrive, and have jobs provided via the private sector because government has overreached, overtaxed and over spent and got us in debt. And there is isn't enough private sector money out there creating jobs.
That needs to be the focus. Not allowing David Gregory to falsely charge Newt Gingrich as being a racist because he's making a statement, a fact about how many people are on food stamps.
HANNITY: You know, it's interesting you say that. Because there was an NBC host that said something to the effect, and I'm paraphrasing that, oh we know that you are not talking about white people when you are referring to food stamps. We know that you are talking about black people, that this is a code. I agree with you. The premise, that's their assumption, that's their bigotry and that's their bias and prejudice.
And interestingly, you know, it seems to me that the media that ignored a guy, part of a group that bombed the Pentagon, the capital, New York City Police headquarters -- one question about Bill Ayers, and he got away with "just a guy in the neighborhood," sat on boards with, give speeches with.
This is a big issue here about how the Republicans will be treated versus how President Obama was in 2008. And I think it is much harder for the Republicans.
So, is there something that they should do when they find themselves in that moment?
PALIN: Well, I think to start with, we ignore some of these reporters and their requests for us to comment and be interviewed. We know going into what they are going to do to us, to a conservative. So, why participate in their game?
Instead, candidates need to get their message out via the news social media, be a fair and balanced reporters who will just allow the facts to get out there. Don't even participate in that goofy game that has been played now for too many years with the leftist lamestream media trying to twist the candidates' words and intent and content of their statements.
HANNITY: All right. Governor, stay right there. We're going to have more with Governor Palin, is she thinking about to run for the presidency?
HANNITY: And welcome back to "Hannity." Continuing to join us tonight, former Alaska Governor, Fox News contributor Sarah Palin.
Governor, a lot of people, last time I spoke to you, I was asking, you know, where are you in this process of making your decision? And you said you wanted to assess the field. The field change quite a bit. Where are you today?
PALIN: Still assessing the field because I know it is still going to change, the line-up. People are going to come and go before that legal deadline is imposed on us to have to make the decision. So, I'm still not ready to make an announcement.
HANNITY: Yes. Where are you in your thought process if you could bring us inside a little bit? I'm not looking to reveal anything, but where are you in your thought process?