This is a partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, November 14, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: President Bush is set to make an official state visit to England next week. The president will spend four days touring the country and meeting with his wartime ally, Tony Blair (search).
Joining now is John Meacham. He's the author of Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship, which looks at the relationship between two other wartime leaders, Winston Churchill (search) and Franklin Delano Roosevelt (search).
John, good to have you with us. Isn't there an attempt on the part of those who are defending President Bush, if not Bush himself, to make that comparison between him and Churchill? Is he trying to be consciously a Churchillian leader?
JOHN MEACHAM, FRANKLIN AND WINSTON AUTHOR: I think there's definitely an ethos of the Churchill myth, very much a part of the Bush administration.
Donald Rumsfeld watched the HBO movie, A Gathering Storm coming up from a trip to NATO. And Bush asked, shortly after he was elected, to have a bust of Churchill put in the Oval Office. He said that he reminded him of a Texan, that he was somebody who decided what he believed and stood by it.
So it's very much part of what is going on right now. The Churchillian rhetoric has informed the president's best speeches. And you know, Blair was the first person to come visit quite shortly after the election and was there in the house when Bush gave one of his great speeches
COLMES: You mentioned in your book three qualities -- courage, candor and cooperation -- that were hallmarks of Churchill. Courage could be debatable in terms of Bush. Candor, some have said either he's not been candid or people around him have not been.
In terms of cooperation he certainly hasn't been a consensus builder like his father was, getting a coalition. So how do those three key qualities apply to George W. Bush?
MEACHAM: Well, sometimes leaders have to project power beyond their borders against public opinion, whether it's mass public opinion, which was against getting into World War II in America and Franklin Roosevelt did it anyway.
Or whether it's elite public opinion, which the elites in Britain were very much in favor of trying to cut some kind of deal with Hitler.
And Winston Churchill basically looked across the English Channel and said over my dead body. And he did that with an image of Franklin Roosevelt in his mind.
One of the great wartime speeches of Winston Churchill was "We shall fight on the beaches. We shall fight on the landing ground. We shall never surrender." A part of that speech that I talk about in the book is not noticed so much.
It's at the end of it he says until in God's good time the new world and all of its power and might steps forth for the liberation of the old. The new world meant Franklin Roosevelt.
I think that Bush and Blair have projected power beyond their borders to make an attempt to make us safer. The jury's still out on whether that's happening, but that's very much in their minds.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: John, this is a really important book. I'm glad you put it together.
I've actually -- I'm just finishing up a book that I have coming out in February. It's called Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism and Liberalism. And a big portion of the book is devoted to the Chamberlain-Churchill battling mindsets.
And he understood early on the evil of Nazism and the need to confront it and defeat it, that civilization at that time was in jeopardy.
There's an ongoing struggle we see today, is it not?
MEACHAM: Very early Churchill saw it. So did Roosevelt, both of whom, they read Mein Kampf. When Roosevelt once read an expurgated version of Mein Kampf, he said the original German would tell a different story. He was a very astute student of Germany. And very deftly led us.
Remember, we were not -- 95 percent of the country didn't want to get involved in another European war. And Roosevelt really educated the country. On the 3rd of September, 1939, he gave a fireside chat. It was the same day that Chamberlain was finally forced to declare war on Germany because of the invasion of Poland.
He said that every ship at sea, every plan that flies through the air, every word that comes in the radio, does affects the American future. And again, he was making a vision of Churchill in his mind. Churchill was the first line of defense.
HANNITY: You know, the blood, toil, sweat. I've been listening to his speeches, reading his speeches, and -- but it goes back, for me it goes back to an understanding of evil. And I have a whole chapter on evil existing and a whole chapter on Nazi Germany, the worst evil atrocity, along with communism, in our lifetime, and the millions of people slaughtered.
But there were those leaders that believed they could confront it, defeat it, those who thought they could have peace in their time.
Reagan had a similar battle with Jimmy Carter (search) in terms of confronting the evil empire of the Soviet Union.
And I really believe if we take it to modern day you see a lot of parallels between George W. Bush and his stand against evil and, you know, the axis of evil and what we see with the appeasement movement represented by the liberal Democrats in this country. Do you see the similarities?
MEACHAM: I do see the similarities. I think that Bush sees it that wait. I think that Bush and Roosevelt would go about it slightly differently. I think they would define the struggle in Manichean terms, that this is a battle against evil.
The moment they really bonded was in August of 1941 at a church service, when they sang three hymns. They sang, "Eternal Father." They sang "Onward Christian Soldiers" and "Oh, God, Our Help in Ages Past."
Churchill said it was a great hour to live. Every word seemed to stir the heart. And Franklin Roosevelt turned to his son afterward in a private moment and said, "Onward Christian soldiers. We are Christian soldiers and we will go on with God's help."
COLMES: Hey, John, thank you very much.
MEACHAM: Thank you.
COLMES: Good luck with the book. Thanks for being with us.
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