Fox News
January 14, 2011

Sean Hannity, Russell Simmons Face Off Over Taxes, War on Terror

Guests: Russell Simmons, author

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," January 14, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: He is pro president Obama, pro higher taxes for the wealthy, pro Ground Zero mosque and staunchly antiwar. So what exactly do my next guest and I have in common? Well, not much, other than the fact that we can agree to respectfully disagree.

Now earlier I sat down with New York Times best-selling author whose brand-new book is called "Super Rich, A Guide to Having It All." Hip-hop mogul, entrepreneur and activist Russell Simmons.

Welcome back. Good to see you. How are you? You're having a good year so far?

RUSSELL SIMMONS, AUTHOR, "SUPER RICH: A GUIDE TO HAVING IT ALL": So far.

HANNITY: All right, you got the new book "Super Rich."

SIMMONS: Yes, just came out.

HANNITY: You're already super rich. You don't need to make any more money. You're a rich liberal.

SIMMONS: The book is not about money so much. But it is about a practice that I guess makes you more attractive and maybe make more money.

HANNITY: All right. Well, you've had a very successful career. Nobody can deny it. You're incredibly successful. You know, I was amazed and I was reading a lot about you, how involved you are in politics.

For example, I went back, you wrote this in 2008. You love when people do that, right? "I've seen something very spiritual come out of the Obama campaign, the transformative component," et cetera. "I'm inspired," et cetera. "The dramatic difference between McCain and Barack and Hillary is what scares me the most." You talk about John McCain, the Republican Party. "They operate on fear and foreign policy and a disregard for the poor." I'm a conservative. Where is the disregard for the poor?

SIMMONS: Where do you want me to start?

HANNITY: At the beginning.

SIMMONS: Well, I just got a tax break. I kept my tax break, which I certainly didn't deserve. I think that we have so much property here in this country --

HANNITY: Do you live in New York? Hang on -- do you live in New York?

SIMMONS: I live in New York.

HANNITY: So you pay 40 percent of your income to federal government. We got the highest property taxes in Nassau County where I live and in Westchester County in New York in the country. So you got property taxes, you got state taxes, which is nearly 10 percent. You got sales taxes, you got hidden taxes.

SIMMONS: I can handle it.

HANNITY: In New York, 50 to 55 to 60 percent of your income goes to taxes and you're saying you didn't pay enough?

SIMMONS: No, I pay a lot more. I run five charities. I personally --

HANNITY: Charities -- I give to charities. I donated fortune to charity on top of the taxes.

SIMMONS: Let me say this to you. I come on your show and I like you. I know you have a different opinion of me and I like you. Not of me --

HANNITY: I like you, too.

SIMMONS: You and I have very different opinions. I think our president is going to be able to come to common ground with the Republican Party and we're going to get a lot done over this season coming up.

HANNITY: What? Well, give me one.

SIMMONS: I'm happy he got "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" done. I'm happy he negotiate a deal with the Republicans over the taxes, even though I don't fully agree with it. I'm glad he got something done and I'm excited about what we're going to get done. That, for me, is a bipartisan president. I think he's going to do that --

HANNITY: He's never been bipartisan. Two years of one party rule and running the -- the Republicans can sit in the back, they're the enemy. He used all those words. You praise him as this great spiritual mentor. He's a guy that sat in Reverend Wright's church for 20 years. Do you think Reverend Wright represents what's good in America?

SIMMONS: Well, Reverend Wright pointed out things about white supremacy.

HANNITY: G-d America? America's chickens will come home to roost?

SIMMONS: Well, you know, let me say this now. I don't want to get myself in too much trouble, but you know, those 200,000 innocent Iraqis that we killed, it's not nice. They were Muslim, it's true. Maybe you don't have disregard for the Muslim faith, but 200,000 innocent, they weren't soldiers. They were innocent people. We killed them. We never discussed their toll. You know, the whole media's lack of regard for the suffering --

HANNITY: You're accusing America of slaughtering innocent people and we're at war -- after America got struck -- you actually said this and this shocked me here. You said we must never wage a war directly or indirectly against Muslims or any other group of people, for that matter.

So we shouldn't fight back against terrorists that killed 3,000 Americans? These are your words -- we shouldn't fight back against -- being back against America at Pearl Harbor? Are you saying we should never fight back? Are you a pacifist?

SIMMONS: I believe specifically about the Muslim question in America.

HANNITY: I didn't ask you that.

SIMMONS: We have so much Islamophobia. It is off the charts. I get research. That's my job as a chairman of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. We have tons of new anti- Semitism growing all the time. We have a disconnect growing.

We're always been going forward except that since the Tea Party and since this last year, we have found more hatred in America growing and over 10 years, my research has seen us coming closer together.

HANNITY: Wait a minute. You did not answer my question. This is what you said. You said "we must never wage war directly or indirectly against Muslim or any other group of people."

So here is my question. Does that mean after what happened at Pearl Harbor and the killing of 3,000 Americans by Islamic extremists, are you saying we shouldn't wage war against the people who killed them?

SIMMONS: If you can pick out the Islamic extremists -- not in Iraq. If you can pick out the Islamic extremist and go after them, then that would be -- that's not a war.

HANNITY: So you do support waging war against people when it's in self defense. So if America is attacked by Japan, if America is attacked by Islamic extremist, we should fight back?

SIMMONS: I think the Islamic extremists and Japan are dramatically different, but --

HANNITY: I don't. Look at Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Islamic Brotherhood, Al Qaeda --

SIMMONS: No, no. I understand that they're groups of extremists that we have to --

HANNITY: -- wage ware against --

SIMMONS: -- wage war against, but not countries.

HANNITY: I actually got a quick look at the book and I'm going to read it and I appreciate you being here. I really do.

SIMMONS: It's always nice to see you.

HANNITY: All right, God bless thanks.

SIMMONS: God bless you.

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