Fox News
February 03, 2014

How Obama downplayed the scandals of his presidency

Guests: Bob Beckel

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 3, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Here with reaction to this and much more, our good friend from "The Five," Bob Beckel. Let me start -- I thought this was a really good interview. I thought -- it's very difficult, as you know, to interview a president. You got to respect the office. You can't let the president run out the clock. And I thought Bill was really able to strike that balance. So stylistically, I really liked how he did the interview.

BOB BECKEL, "THE FIVE" CO-HOST: Yes, I mean, I think -- it was a -- it was a good interview on his part. And the thing that amazes me is that, one, Obama agreed to do it, I mean, it'd be like agreeing to do it with you. I mean, I -- about the last thing I would -- Obama would do unless he wants to decide to get out of his office.

(CROSSTALK)

BECKEL: Oh, come on, and then still don't wait for that Christmas invitation.

But the other thing is, I -- I'm not so sure people want to hear about politics and all that stuff just before they go to watch the biggest game of the year.

HANNITY: Well, what's he supposed to do, say, "Who do you think's going to win? What do you think about this?" I mean, the -- I -- we have never -- he's never answered these questions! That's what made this so profound, and he was irritated by having to be asked them!

BECKEL: You're still irritated by it. Listen, he made a good point, the president. He said there's been 10, 15, 20, 30 hearings in the Congress, and they haven't come up with anything!

HANNITY: Can I give you -- can I give you an example? On Benghazi, here's what I'd like to know. Before Ambassador Stevens asked for extra security, it wasn't given. During, we now know that his military people were calling it a terrorist attack. And then after, we have footage that shows there was no spontaneous protest. This was a terror attack, but they told the country something different, and they did it before an election! That to me is deceitful!

BECKEL: Well, I -- listen, I have said on this show and on my own show that it was -- politics played a big role in how they dealt with this. Now, but there's a difference between that and -- our producer on "The Five" calls this an epic scandal. It's not an epic scandal. I mean, it is something that's been -- the Congress of the United States, if they can't find a smoking gun here, I think it's time to move on.

HANNITY: But if they -- if -- why didn't they give the support during the attack? Why didn't they give the ambassador the support he asked for before it ever happened? Why did they lie about it afterwards? See, there's a pattern in all of these, and I see lying and cover-up on a lot of different fronts. I'll get to that in a minute.

Doesn't -- if a president lies, should that matter to you, even though you support him politically?

BECKEL: I'm not the Dalai Lama. I can't answer all these things about what happened, what did, what who did what -- I don't know if he lied.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Let me give you an example. They first blamed the IRS on rogue agents in Cincinnati.

BECKEL: Right.

HANNITY: And then the rogue agents -- they were deposed and they went up to the Hill, and they said, No, we were being directed from Washington.

BECKEL: Right.

HANNITY: That's a direct lie, isn't it?

BECKEL: Well, I'm not sure you would call it a direct lie. I think it was probably a way to try to push it outside of the main political arena. But look, I don't -- I said -- also said this before. The IRS scandal -- and that is a scandal, is -- when they target right-wing groups -- I mean, I'd like (INAUDIBLE) targeted. But now I'm...

HANNITY: No, you don't. You really don't like that.

BECKEL: No, not like that. But my biggest fear is now they're going to try to even it out by coming after liberals.

But I think that -- look, in all these things, have they dealt with it directly in a straight forward manner? No. It's politics. A lot of it's involved in it. It certainly was in the campaign in Benghazi. But I think from their standpoint, their -- their strategy is to move on and then...

HANNITY: But their strategy is -- but I think the American people need to know if -- look, more Americans now do not believe the president is honest and trustworthy.

Let me go -- I thought this was a really good exchange. Was the president telling the American people the truth on the issue of health care? This was at the very beginning of the interview. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O'REILLY, HOST, "THE O'REILLY FACTOR": Was it the biggest mistake of your presidency to tell the nation over and over, If you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Oh, Bill, you've got a long list of my mistakes in my presidency --

O'REILLY: But no, for you, wasn't that the biggest one?

(CROSSTALK)

OBAMA: Look, this is -- this is one that I regret and I said I regretted in part because we put in a grandfather clause in the original law saying that, in fact, you were supposed to be able to keep it.

O'REILLY: That's in the past. But isn't that the biggest mistake?

OBAMA: Well, I -- you know, Bill, as I said...

O'REILLY: You gave your enemies a lot of fodder for it.

OBAMA: You were very generous in saying I looked pretty good, considering I've been in the presidency for five years. And I think part of the reason is I try to focus not on the fumbles but on the next play.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Let me ask you a question. I want you to give a long, thoughtful answer. November 3rd, 2013, Wall Street Journal, described that the White House internally was debating whether they should tell the American people the truth, correct the record about," If you like your plan, you keep it, like your doctor, you keep it," and that you're going to save money. They made the political decision not to do it. Is that a lie?

BECKEL: It is a -- let me put it this way. Did I think Obama believed that there was more to the grandfather clause than there, in fact, turned out to be? I think he did. I didn't think he expected all the insurance companies to change those policies, therefore take them out of the grandfather clause.

But having said that, I think if -- somebody dropped the ball here politically because they had to know -- they had to know that there were going to be a lot of these policies canceled. Why they didn't -- why somebody didn't go up to him and say, Mr. President, stop using that line -- it's not -- it's going to come back to haunt you -- you can't get away with these kinds of things.

HANNITY: But here -- here's the pattern that I see. It wasn't rogue agents in Cincinnati. We were told something else. This was not a spontaneous attack caused by a YouTube video. And they knew in July of

2010 that a lot of people would lose their health care, millions. But they didn't tell us. That to me is a pattern of deception and lies that I don't think I've seen in my lifetime from the presidency!

BECKEL: Well, you are -- I'm older than you are, but you are old enough to remember Richard Nixon. I don't think this compares to that.

But look, this -- is -- are all these -- all these have been fraught with some -- from bad decisions, from bad political guidance -- yes. It has not -- and it's -- and he's paid a price for it. Look at -- his poll numbers are very, very low. This did not come without a price for Obama. And I think, frankly, the people around him failed him as much as he may have failed the American people.

HANNITY: All right. The president seems to me to almost be above being asked these questions, very thin-skinned. And why does Fox News bother him so much?

BECKEL: Oh, man. I -- I mean, I've been down there and listened to...

(LAUGHTER)

BECKEL: ... I can tell you...

HANNITY: Give me some insight.

BECKEL: I barely -- I don't think I could get an invitation, and I've been in liberal Democrat politics for 35 years. There's a really strong dislike. And I would say that it -- you, my friend, are right there on the top of the list. You -- you're -- you're -- no, really. When Glenn Beck was here, he was number one. Then when Beck left, you entitled (ph) the crown.

(LAUGHTER)

BECKEL: So congratulations. You're the...

HANNITY: Thanks.

BECKEL: ... you are the most detested person in the -- probably in the...

HANNITY: Next year, will you -- when you get invited to the Christmas party, will you take me as your guest?

BECKEL: I'll take -- how about this? I'll take you as my date, and you're going to have to get yourself all disguised because I can never -- you know, I've been telling you, man, they -- I love you. I love you!

HANNITY: All right, we got to go...

BECKEL: But they don't love you.

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