Fox News
March 28, 2011

How Libya Could Break Obama

Guests: Dick Morris, author of "Revolt!"

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 28, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And this is a Fox News alert. Nine days into the allied military campaign against Qaddafi and his regime in Libya, President Obama tonight finally addressed the American people.

Now, this long overdue speech came after more than a month of other confusion and mixed messages from the administration, and officials in the administration. Now speaking at the National Defense University in Washington, the commander in chief used his time tonight to pat himself on the back for what he called swift action. And despite being virtually silent on the issue for weeks, he now argues that he was in complete control all along.

Oh really? Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: In just one month, the United States has worked with our international partners to mobilize a broad coalition, secure an international mandate to protect civilians, stop an advancing army, prevent a massacre and establish a no-fly zone with our allies and partners.

To lend some perspective on how rapidly this military and diplomatic response came together, when people were being brutalized in Bosnia in the 1990s, it took the international community more than a year to intervene with airpower to protect civilians.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Now what we didn't hear from the president tonight was anything about an exit strategy. Nor did he say what America's role will be if and when Qaddafi is removed from power.

And here to help us break down tonight's presidential address, the author of the bestseller along with his wife Eileen McGann, his brand new book and book stores across the country, "Revolt!," Fox News contributor Dick Morris is with us.

All right. I want to put up on the screen the words of President Obama. I want to start tonight, in light -- because look, he can read a teleprompter, he can give a speech, 31 days later, utter confusion leading into it.

But this is what he said. He said, "The president does not have the power under the constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."

Now, I want to play Vice President Joe Biden because I think through the prism of what they said, we've got to judge their comments tonight. Let's watch Joe Biden about Bush in Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM MSNBC'S "HARDBALL" ON DEC. 4, 2007)

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: The president has no constitutional authority to take this nation to war against a country of 70 million people unless we are attacked or unless there is proof that we are about to be attacked. And if he does, if he does, I would move to impeach him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Now was Libya threatening -- about to attack us?

DICK MORRIS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: By the way, 70 million -- 26 million is more like it in Iraq.

HANNITY: Yes, that's a good point. That's separate point, yes.

MORRIS: Yes, OK. But I think that clearly that -- I think clearly he needed to go to Congress. But you know what the irony is? If he ever went to Congress and President Obama was Senator Obama, he would vote against his own resolution.

HANNITY: Yes. This is the point. Look, finally -- look, this weekend -- we are going to show this in the next segment -- Defense Secretary Gates, you know, he went out there and he said, quote, "it is not the -- the attack is not of vital interests to U.S."

MORRIS: Right. Look, the way you have to look at this attack is, it is one more thing that Obama is on the hook for. Colin Powell said you break it, you own it in cautioning President Bush about going into Iraq. So, think about the things Obama is now on the hook for. If oil prices go up, his anti-oil drilling. If we get a terror attack, his weakness in terms of the terror policies. If Egypt blows up and becomes a Muslim Brotherhood state, the fact that he encouraged that rebellion. If Libya resorts to ongoing violence, he's on the hook for that, of course for the economy.

And you just have -- you have so many outcomes that can undo him. And I believe that he's taken the first step into quicksand.

HANNITY: Yes.

MORRIS: Because when you back -- when you say your rationale is that you are going to protect civilians. OK. What happens if we get rid of Qaddafi and his henchmen are just as deeply embedded at the Ba'athists were in Iraq, and they go underground and then it becomes an ongoing guerilla warfare going on. The United States has not going to have to send ground troops in? We are not going to get involved? There's not going to be another Iraq?

HANNITY: First of all, I love your perspective here, because you are right. He's on the hook for all of these things and I'm listening very carefully to what you're saying. What frustrates me is I think there's a certain segment of the voting electorate in this country that did not pay attention to Gates contradicting Admiral Mullen's contradicting, Hillary contradicting, the president, the vice president contradicting, we are going to get Qaddafi, not get Qaddafi. It's in our interest, not in our interest, and he goes out and they looked at all the arguments and all the criticisms they come up with a speech. And some people say, he did a great job.

MORRIS: Look, that's fine, the president is entitled to that on day one or day 31. But what happens with them, if we end up having to put -- just like Bush had his mission accomplished day on aircraft carrier. If it then turns out not to be accomplished and it unravels, it is on his watch, it's on his lookout. And I think that Obama going to inherent, from himself, a whole series of disasters here that are going to unravel in the remaining two years of his presidency.

HANNITY: I think that is a great big picture analysis. Here's my concern though, he sent troops into harm's way. He says he consulted Congress, didn't really appear that he did. Congress is pretty mad at him right now, both sides of the aisle. But as I watched the president come up with all these differing positions, you know, he sounded so definitive tonight. We knew what we were doing from day one. I'm watching all this and I'm thinking, I don't have confidence, because I know the truth.

MORRIS: Yes.

HANNITY: The truth is they've been utterly, completely incoherent. But that's frustrating.

MORRIS: But that's all inside baseball. What is going to happen now is will it work or won't it work. There are two other thoughts I have, one is it takes real talent to give a speech of half an hour about Libya and not mention the word oil. What distinguishes Libya from all these other oppressive regimes, o-i-l, 2 million barrels of it a day.

HANNITY: Yes.

MORRIS: And secondly, I feel that in this whole thing, his whole approach is one in which he's essentially denying that he needs an exit strategy. In which he doesn't talk about how we are going to get out of it, how we are going to get from here to there.

HANNITY: Didn't define success either.

MORRIS: Right. And if your definition of success is preventing civilian deaths, well, come on!

HANNITY: It's interesting because what it seems to have emerge here is what I would call the Obama doctrine, and the Obama doctrine is, he said this many, many times tonight, people in need, et cetera, et cetera, it is in our vital interests, he's brutalizing his people. In many ways, he sounded like President Bush.

MORRIS: Exactly.

HANNITY: But wait a minute, do we go to Syria next, do we go to Bahrain, in Saudi Arabia?

MORRIS: Yes. And should we have gone into Rwanda? You know, Bush spent the entire terms in office trying to persuade people that Iraq was not another Vietnam. And in fact, except for the outcome, it was.

Now Obama is trying to persuade people Libya is not another Iraq and it probably is. And -- but the other point politically is that you have close to half of the Democratic voters disapprove of this invasion. It is 51 percent approval among Democrats, 57 nationally but only 51 among Democrats. If this thing goes south, it is going to be the basis for a serious Democratic Party challenge to Obama, initially from Kucinich, and then very possibly from more serious candidates.

HANNITY: If you sense what I sense tonight that this was a political speech that the president was defensive and the president was answering every criticism from the right and the left, that because he had been so incoherent?

MORRIS: Yes. And I think that he was answering as much the isolationists in his own party as the interventionists perhaps on the other side of the aisle. But I think that fundamentally, this is a civil war within the Democratic Party, the Republican Party is out of it. They still support military action, they support getting tough on Qaddafi. This is a civil war not just within Libya but within his own party. This guy was elected against the Iraq war. That's why I say, if he were in the Senate, he would have voted against this resolution and run for president based on it.

HANNITY: Yes. Well, I thought he gave a false choice tonight as well. Do you think it is right for the U.S. to go to the United Nations, form a coalition, begin bombing, hand it off to NATO and basically seemed like he put his hands on the basin and washed his hands of this in many ways tonight because basically, he doesn't want another Iraq.

MORRIS: It's facile to believe that you can. I have a column now on dickmorris.com where I talk about how he has violated every one of Colin Powell's principles. Have a clear mission. What is the mission, to topple Qaddafi or not? Don't have mission creep. It has already crept from a no- fly zone to supporting his army, the rebels' army. And finally, do you have an exit strategy, we don't. Because if Qaddafi doesn't fall, and brutalizes civilians, what are we going to do? If he does fall and there's a civil war, what are we going to do? And to pretend that this is now England or France's problem is facile because it was the United States' problem to begin with and will become that again.

HANNITY: All right. Dick Morris, fascinating analysis, I really appreciate you being here with us tonight.

MORRIS: Thank you.

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