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This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," July 23, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Is America a divided nation? Welcome to this live studio audience edition of "Hannity." Now, tonight for the entire hour, we'll be tackling the most controversial issues facing the country from race relations to ObamaCare, immigration and much more. No topic tonight is off limits. Because as we've seen in the wake of the Zimmerman verdict, and even following the 2012 presidential election, there is a great divide that exists here in America today, and it's time to explore why.
Now, in a few minutes, Utah Senator Tea Party favorite Mike Lee will join us from Washington, he's going to tackle this sensitive issue of health care. And then a liberal and conservative collide when Juan Williams will square off with former Florida Congressman Colonel Allen West on the topic of race.
But before we get to all of that, it's time to welcome in our brilliant studio audience who will be here for the next 60 minutes. Good to see you all. Welcome. All right. Scale from out of 10. Shout out numbers, how divided is America? Ten being the most divided.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Eight.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Eight absolutely.
HANNITY: Eight. Anyone say 10?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Nine.
HANNITY: Ten. Noelle, why 10, why?
NOELLE NIKPOUR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You know, the reason I say 10 is because I think Barack Obama when he got to be president immediately started on class warfare, and then immediately started with pitting the races. And I know Jehmu shaking her head but it's true. We are more divided. Our nation is more divided ever since he took president. I think it's one of the worst thing that's ever happened, and feel that within people -- I deal with donors, and I feel that with money, I feel that with race, I feel that in every aspect that we can. I think ObamaCare, I think everything that he has done has done nothing but divide us as a nation.
HANNITY: All right. More numbers, what do we got, Tom?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Nine.
DENEEN BORELLI, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It's off the charts.
HANNITY: Off the charts. Higher than ten if possible?
BORELLI: And I agree with Nicole.
HANNITY: Yes. Noelle.
BORELLI: Obama should be a leader. I mean, Noelle, I'm sorry -- more playing a role of the leader. And unfortunately, I really don't think that he's doing that, he has injected the race card, the child welfare card, the grandma card, anything to push his big government agenda because he believes more in big government and in the power of the individuals.
HANNITY: You know, with that --
DR. TOM BORELLI, SENIOR FELLOW, FREEDOMWORKS: That's the fundamental difference. The fundamental difference is, Obama brought in huge government programs, and he's facing resistance for those of us who believe in individual liberties.
HANNITY: Isn't that what it comes down to? States want big government, conservatives want limited government.
TOM BORELLI: Right.
HANNITY: Conservatives want limited government? But that fundamental --
DOUG SCHOEN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: No, it isn't Sean.
HANNITY: It isn't. Right.
SCHOEN: We're all one America. You can have different views and disagree politely. Bill Clinton brought America together. Republicans like Ronald Reagan did.
HANNITY: But hang on.
SCHOEN: We are one America.
HANNITY: Doug, you just said eight out of 10 were divided.
SCHOEN: We are. The President and both parties have divided this country. But it doesn't have to be. Sean, we are the greatest nation on earth, and we're not a people that lack common values.
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
HANNITY: All right. Let me ask the next question. How many on a scale of one to ten blame Republicans for the divide?
All right. Jehmu, it's a 10. Yes, Kisha. In the back, what?
KISHA HEBBON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I don't think we can blame Republicans, I don't think we can blame liberals, I don't think we can blame our president. I think that he represents the majority, and the government is supposed to be for the people not individuals.
DR. MARC SIEGEL, FOX NEWS MEDICAL A-TEAM: He sets the tone. The president sets the tone. You dial this back to ObamaCare, which was a huge government expansion. The president said, if you don't agree with me, you're misinforming people. That was creating a fear and a divide right there. If you don't agree with me, you're misinforming people.
TODD STARNES, FOX NEWS RADIO: But Sean, the issue here is, we've got a president whose acting very unpresidential. He needs to stop playing Barney Fife and cherry picking these local crime stories and he needs to focus on the big issues of the day. Stop dividing us, President Obama.
HANNITY: Jennifer is a Tea Party member. Jennifer.
JENNIFER STEFANO, AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY: Right. I believe the nation's divided. It's about a three. Because I don't really believe we as Americans are that divided. What I believe is that some presidents bring out the worst in us. Lyndon Johnson is one that comes immediately to the mind, Richard Nixon another one. And Barack Obama takes the cake. They bring out the worst in us.
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
HANNITY: We are divided in this room, OK. Yes.
JOE TACOPINA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I agree. Today we're at a heightened stance of divide because of this Zimmerman verdict. And what I just saw there, is unbelievable to me. Barack Obama in a great political speech and he's a terrific orator. And he could, you know -- the best, I mean, that was a great speech, talking about all one America. The speeches he's given on the heels of this verdict have been the -- of what I've seen there. He's talking about this being a racial profile. He actually opined, the president of this country said this jury's verdict was wrong. Which is outrageous to me. Outrageous.
He said it was a racial profiling incident.
JEHMU GREENE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Look, as much as I love all the folks in this audience, they are living outside of reality. This country has been divided --
HANNITY: So, everybody here is outside of reality. OK.
GREENE: This country has been more divided at other times. We have to understand that our media has been democratized. Everything, all of the controversy, all of the division is actually taking place in high division. Billions of pixels of the hate and opinions and people who have a platform, who never --
HANNITY: OK. Florida is --
GREENE: No, no, no.
HANNITY: Wait a minute.
GREENE: That's the change from when we had Bill Clinton as president, when Ronald Reagan was president.
HANNITY: Let me give you an example. Hang on! Let me give you an example.
GREENE: It's not that we're more divided, it's that we all have platforms in which to express or division.
HANNITY: Let me give you -- when the President say, Republicans want dirty air and water, and that's not their plan, or they want kids with autism, Down Syndrome and the elderly to fend for themselves, big election issue. Is that divisive? Is that divisive?
GREENE: Well, Sean, what has been divisive with Republicans, is that for the first time --
HANNITY: I asked the question.
GREENE: For the first time, Republicans have gone in Congress and said, we are not going to govern, we get paid to come into this building, this beautiful capital, the history of our democracy, and given, we're the party of no, and that has never been done in our history.
HANNITY: You're giving me elections. I'm going to ask the question again.
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
Jehmu, when the President says that Republicans want kids with autism and Down Syndrome and the elderly to fend for themselves, I asked if he was divisive and you lectured me about Congress.
GREENE: Congress haven't done anything. Congress refuses to legislate. All they do is say no to --
HANNITY: I'm talking about Congress, yes or no?
GRENNE: And Congress has never in the history of America done that.
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Look, I'm a Democrat, he is divisive, it is very, very sad that he's not acting to unify the country. Lyndon Johnson passed the civil rights bill. Come on! Don't call him a bad person. We need people like that, with big ideas and want to bring the country together.
JEDEDIAH BILA, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: There is a fundamental divide in this country. There are people who are fighting to restore constitutional principles and there are people that are fighting to expand the role of government beyond its means. We have to recognize that. So, there is a fight going on right now between those two sides.
HANNITY: Let me agree with what Jedediah is saying here. Either you believe in bigger government. See, I don't think this could be reconciled -- or limited government.
JASON RILEY, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: It's not divided government per se that I think is the problem. It's the racial division. And again, I think the President sets the tone, he started at the top. And what's sad is that this president has not hesitated to divide the country by race, when it suits his political needs. Whether it's the calling voter ID laws racist or throwbacks to Jim Crow, whether it is using his administration to support racial admission on college campuses and so forth. When it suits his purposes, he will divide the country by race. And Trayvon Martin was just the latest example of that.
HANNITY: OK. Yes. Back here. Go ahead, yes.
LILIANA GIL VALLETTA, AWARD WINNING BUSINESS STRATEGIST: I think that bigger than racial division, we have a generational gap. The people that are in position of power right now are what? Boomers. And then you have the millennials who are highly diverse, 50 percent of them are multicultural in nature who think differently. I think it's going to take another generation to take position of authority in power and representation for us to really get a united America.
HANNITY: I worry though --
VALLETTA: We're not there yet, but the future and the changing pace of America and the trends show it already.
HANNITY: All right. Lois, hang on! Terry Pickett aka Lois Lane.
KERRY PICKET, BREITBART.COM COLUMNIST: Thank you very much. No, actually, you have to remember, this president, even before he got into office, he was actually pushing a lot of the racial divide. He did it to Hillary Clinton. He pretty much accused her of being a racist during the primaries. Then when he got into office. What happened there? Skip Gates. Remember him? He was the professor over at Harvard, he had a beer summit to actually trying, ended up cleaning up -- actually clean that up.
I mean, honestly we really have to think about how this president has been abusing the whole racism issue to try and also make look at Tea Partiers as racist during the 2010 --
HANNITY: All right, Basil. Let's get to Basil, he's a Democrat. We have equal time.
BASIL SMIKLE, JR., DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It's amazing that we have conveniently skipped over all the Bush/Cheney years. Did Bush Cheney and Karl Rove as the enforcer not divide this country? And we talk about big government versus small government. How many of us are now benefiting from the fact that this president got the unemployment rate from over 10 percent to down under eight. We should all be thankful for that. We should all be thankful for that.
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
HANNITY: Obama --
DR. MARC SIEGEL, FOX NEWS MEDICAL A-TEAM: Talking about health care, though.
HANNITY: Yes, we'll get to that in a minute.
SIEGEL: Talking about health care. President Bush talked to me about personal responsibility for health care fitness, exercise, cutting down on health care cost. ObamaCare by contrast, divisive extending an entitlement. Let's take care of you, you'll get sick, tremendous health care costs, we'll all take care of you, but what is it going to cost?
HANNITY: All right. Last word. Yes. We have everybody in this. Yes.
PAUL HOWARD, SENIOR FELLOW, THE MANHATTAN INSTITUTE'S CENTER FOR MEDICAL PROGRESS: Major social legislation, bipartisan support whether it's President Bush with No Child Left Behind, Medicare part D, President Clinton with welfare reform. President Obama came into office with the kind of rhetoric that he was a uniter, but then he just ran partisan legislation through Congress.
HANNITY: Health care has rammed down our throat? Right?
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