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Hannity to Trump: Pick and Choose Your Battles

Talk radio and Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity advised Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump “you’ve got to look at those negative numbers, and you’ve got to pick your fights” on Wednesday.

Hannity said that he likes Trump, and many of the other candidates, and praised Trump for getting the country’s attention on immigration and the treatment of veterans. Hannity also described the “energy” Trump brought to the campaign as “awesome,” “especially in the light of the weak, the timid, the pathetic Republican leadership in Washington.”

Hannity further praised Trump releasing Senator Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) personal cell phone number was “hilarious,” and that Graham “deserved it.”

He then shifted, and talked about what he would do if he was Trump’s campaign manager, which he said was in response to comments he had read on Breitbart. He stated that Trump has the nation’s attention, but pointed out that polls at this stage “don’t mean a whole hell of a lot.” Hannity pointed out that at this time in 2007, Rudy Giuliani was topping the polls and Fred Thompson was in second place, while Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich all led in the polls back in 2011. He continued that the first thing he would say to Trump is, “this is a marathon, it’s not a sprint,” and that he would remind Trump of the history of polling.

Hannity added, “He [Trump] needs to look at the negatives that he is drawing in,” and cited a Quinnipiac poll that showed Trump either dead last, or second to last among presidential candidates in favorability versus unfavorability numbers in Colorado, Iowa, and Virginia.

Hannity then turned to the third piece of advice, stating, “Mr. Trump, you have the country’s attention. You have tapped into something extraordinarily powerful in the country, and very specifically with the base of your party. And among that base, you are now off the charts because they have legitimate anger at the political class, and politicians, and elected representatives of our government, the Republican establishment. And you’re tapping into this by giving voice to the many frustrations, I would argue, that conservatives like me feel.” And that Trump was “different” and “fresh” and that shouldn’t be changed. However, “to preserve it, at some point, you’ve got to look at those negative numbers, and you’ve got to pick your fights.”

As an example, he contrasted how Trump handled Graham versus how he handled Senator John McCain (R-AZ). Hannity said that while he didn’t think Trump’s comments about liking people that weren’t captured weren’t a “big deal” or the the end of his campaign, “if it hurts your perception, as it shows in this Quinnipiac poll, and adds to negative ratings, maybe it would be worthwhile paying attention to that. Is that a fight worth taking? That’s it. Be smart.” He further argued “‘The Art of the Deal’ is different than the art of politics.”

Hannity later pointed to Trump saying that he would change his tone if he became president as “smart,” and would “drive down those negative perceptions by those in the middle that you’ve got to win in the second part of the election, assuming you could take the first part.”

He continued that Trump should remember that attention can be both good and bad, and use his “genius” of being able to draw attention to advance a “serious governing agenda.” And urged all candidates to be willing to go into specific detail on their policies.

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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