Published August 02, 2004
This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," July 30, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Sean may have been in enemy territory this week in Boston, but he convinced one of his most outspoken critics, comedian and radio talk show host Janeane Garofalo (search) to sit down with him.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Hello.
JANEANE GAROFALO, COMEDIAN: Hello Sean.
HANNITY: How are you?
GAROFALO: I'm very well, thank you.
HANNITY: You got to explain to our television audience why you called me a cretin on your radio show?
GAROFALO: Absolutely. Yes.
HANNITY: Why you question how any woman could ever be married to a guy like me.
GAROFALO: You keep getting that wrong. Yes, your behavior is cretinous. Maybe you're not a cretin per se but your behavior and I am sure many people who view the show have seen it, can be cretinous, overbearing, blustering, belligerent and it's one thing to be that way, but to be the woman who is attracted to that is enigmatic to me and I'll explain.
HANNITY: How well do you know me? You never listen to my radio show. You never read my book.
GAROFALO: I've seen you on TV.
HANNITY: How many times have you seen me on TV?
GAROFALO: Very many times.
HANNITY: And I aggravate you?
HANNITY: I do. I raise your blood pressure?
GAROFALO: Yes. Yes.
HANNITY: But to question why one woman could be married — do you think there are not two sides of people, like a debate mode?
GAROFALO: I see that now but I feel that your on-the-field, off-the- field persona, I feel that your on-the-field persona, your belligerent is culturally dangerous as I've told you before
HANNITY: But you know something? You have done an hour radio with me. We're beginning an interview here. Do you have a different perception?
GAROFALO: I do have a perception of you. You're taller than I thought.
HANNITY: I told you I would be nice to you and I fulfilled my promise, haven't I?
GAROFALO: But is it interesting that you must preface...
HANNITY: ... because you wouldn't have come on if I didn't promise. You were worried I wouldn't be.
GAROFALO: Right, right, then there is the rub, sir.
HANNITY: You were worried. I knew I'd be nice to you, even though you disagree I'm nice to Alan. I have a lot of liberal friends. People were watching our coverage with Lanny Davis last night and Mike Brown. They are liberals. They're friends of mine.
GAROFALO: What's wrong with having liberal friends? I have a lot of friends — as if there is some deficit.
HANNITY: No. But you're the one who thinks that I can't be nice to liberals. Sometimes we have passionate debate. One of the things I see about you that I actually like, Janeane Garofalo is a liberal. Can I pull this up? It says right here, if we can get a shot at that, "liberal." You are a passionate liberal.
HANNITY: You are real. You are committed. This is important to you. You study issues. I think you're wrong, but you're no John Kerry (search).
GAROFALO: I knew the backhanded...
HANNITY: You're no John — Howard Dean is a committed liberal. Al Sharpton is a committed liberal. John Kerry is a liberal, 20-year voting record that's liberal.
GAROFALO: He's a moderate. John Kerry — I'm definitely to the left.
HANNITY: No. 1.
GAROFALO: No, he's not and that's a nice trick that always gets thrown out.
HANNITY: "National Journal."
GAROFALO: I know that. That seems to get trotted out for a lot of guys that are running for things, No. 1 liberal. Let me explain to you why it would be good if he was the No. 1 liberal, sir. First of all, this is a liberal Western democracy. This country was founded on the ideals of enlightened liberalism. Everything great that we have progressively in this country is because of liberal progressive forward motion, desegregation, child labor laws, environmental protections, birth control, seat belts.
HANNITY: No civil rights bill, no Voting Rights Act unless Lyndon Johnson — go back to the record, look at Lyndon Johnson. He thanked the Republicans because people like Al Gore's father were nowhere to be found.
GAROFALO: That's liberal progress, though.
HANNITY: No, but the Republicans supported it. No Republicans, no civil rights act. Look at J. William Fulbright, known segregationist, Bill Clinton's mentor in life. They're clearly double standards.
GAROFALO: No, no, wait. Let me explain As you know from your history, the Republican Party has shifted over the years and now become the party that is not very nice in racial issues.
HANNITY: What do you mean not nice?
GAROFALO: No, there's a moderate face to it. Listen, you know there is a "southern strategy" the Republicans like to use, which is basically the cracker strategy. What they do is they will, as you know, when there was Dixiecrats that split during the civil rights era, there were people that had problems with black civil rights issues and they went over to the Republican Party.
HANNITY: You're missing something. Bill Clinton as president, he didn't appoint a secretary of state or national security adviser in top positions of his cabinet. It wasn't the Republican Party that had as their Senate leader for eight or 10 years a former Klansman. That was your party. That was the Democratic Party.
GAROFALO: There is definitely Klan-like behavior. Robert Byrd (search), you know that Strom Thurmond (search) and Jesse Helms and Trent Lott have their issues of race. Let's say this about Condoleezza Rice. It doesn't matter if she is black or white or male or female. It doesn't matter what color she is. You are saying that it says something that people thought she was the most competent person for the job, not because she was African-American.
HANNITY: All right. Let's move on. You want to send a message to my wife, she should leave me?
GAROFALO: No, no, no, no.
HANNITY: All right. You cannot stand the fact in your view that that word "liberal" is now used as a pejorative. Here's my point. According to the "National Journal," based on the voting records and they examined the voting records of every senator, they determined in 2003, John Kerry had the most liberal voting record. John Kerry is doing everything he can do at this convention to appear not to be a liberal. My question to you is you want to be a proud liberal. Why won't John Kerry do the same thing?
GAROFALO: Second thing, as you know, if you consult other journals and stats, he is not the most liberal and you know that the word — he's the left of Kennedy. It's so stupid.
HANNITY: Is it true?
GAROFALO: To the left of Kennedy?
HANNITY: According to the "National Journal", they're non-partisan.
GAROFALO: There's other stats that say he is not the No. 1 liberal.
HANNITY: Which one? What stats?
GAROFALO: I can't remember right now. But as you know, if he was No. 1 liberal, I would think that was a great thing.
HANNITY: I know you would.
GAROFALO: John Kerry is much more moderate than me. He doesn't have to be like me. So why — I don't understand what you're asking me to do.
HANNITY: But he is close to you. But you know something? I think the only reason he moved left on the war, for example, is because — you were supporting Howard Dean at the time, is because Howard Dean was getting all that traction with the antiwar crowd in America led by people like you. And I think he artificially manufactured a more antiwar position, not out of core convictions...
GAROFALO: Then you should love him.
HANNITY: Not out of core conviction, but out of political ends, expediency and the desire for blind ambition. Am I wrong?
GAROFALO: Well, I would say most of all politicians suffer from that on both sides of the aisle. No. But I would say, there is nothing wrong with having an educable mind, Sean. Can't...
HANNITY: He was educated into it that position?
GAROFALO: No. But why can't people change their minds over the years? Why does he see (ph) that Iraq is disintegrating and it's a disaster. It is an unmitigated disaster. Yesterday was one of the bloodiest days in Iraq.
HANNITY: Did he change because it was the right thing to do or did he change because he will say anything to get elected? I have a poll here.
GAROFALO: He changed because it was the right thing to do.
HANNITY: Forty-nine percent of the people in Massachusetts say Kerry believes — he will say what people want to hear rather than what he believes.
GAROFALO: Your source is what newsmax.com, Matt Drudge?
HANNITY: No, ABC/"Washington Post," ABC/"Washington Post." The ABC poll in the internals also said 64 percent see Bush consistent on issues, only 24 percent think Kerry is consistent on issues.
GAROFALO: What do I care about those polls? People are frequently wrong because the news doesn't do their job. Seventy percent of people thought Saddam had something to do with 9/11. That's because the news doesn't do a job.
HANNITY: I think it is beyond the pale that former Vice President Gore said George Bush — at the top of his lungs, screaming, George Bush betrayed America. When I said that to you yesterday, you said George Bush betrayed his country.
GAROFALO:Yes, I did and Al Gore was right and he wasn't screaming.
HANNITY: Howard Dean on top of his lungs. I'll run the tape.
GAROFALO:No, I know. I was there.
HANNITY: Howard Dean advanced the theory that George Bush knew about 9/11 ahead of time. In rhetoric he has used, Dennis Kucinich said we are targeting civilians for assassination. Ted Kennedy said he concocted the war in Texas. Why can't you as a liberal say we can have an honest political disagreement about the war, about the president, about the future of this country, but not say that a former vice president at a time of war saying that is out of control and you repeating it?GAROFALO: Oh, it's not out of control at all. It's very accurate. First of all, as you know during the Clinton-bashing years, you said many immoderate things during the time...
HANNITY: Wonderful, I said what I...
GAROFALO:... during Operation Desert Fox and Bosnia and Kosovo. And you know that and there's also a book called "Take Them at Their Words" where you're quoted in it. Beyond that everything that these gentlemen have said is absolutely correct. I agree with that. I believe that George Bush betrayed this country. I believe...
HANNITY: Betrayed this country?
GAROFALO:Yes, I do. I think that the CIA was compromised. They were repeatedly tasked to come up with a result that mirrored what the neocon plan was.
HANNITY: That is not what the commission report said, just the opposite. It said just the opposite and it was an unanimous report. They said there was no evidence of any...
GAROFALO:The rest of the commission report will be released after the election.
HANNITY: Wait a minute, they say it's the British (ph). But they address this issue. They said there was no pressure brought to bear on the agency, no evidence...
GAROFALO:That's not true.
HANNITY: Janeane, I've read the document.
GAROFALO:There are plenty of CIA — did you read the book "Anonymous"...
HANNITY: No, I'm reading this. I am talking about the 9/11 Commission report said specifically there is no evidence that there was any pressure on them.
GAROFALO:It's a nice whitewash. It's a good whitewash report. It is, it is.
HANNITY: Richard Ben-Veniste...
GAROFALO:Richard Ben-Veniste is ... on that.
HANNITY: A liberal.
GAROFALO:It's a thing to be proud of Sean. Liberal is not a pejorative. But beyond that, yes, the CIA was pressured. CIA operatives themselves have gone on news programs and said they were pressured. You know that it's true. The Defense Policy Board created to do such a thing. They were repeatedly tasked to come up with the...
HANNITY: And the 9/11 Commission said no in all its detail.
GAROFALO:And a lot of commissions say a lot of things within the strictures of government. They were — the information was hyped. It was misleading. Saddam was never an imminent threat. Saddam was never aligned with 9/11.
HANNITY: Here's my next question. And you think the president is a liar.
GAROFALO:Yes I do.
HANNITY: You think he betrayed his country, lied about weapons of mass destruction.
HANNITY: And you're supporting John Kerry for president.
GAROFALO:Yes, and John Kerry is a senator...
It does. John Kerry was a senator who was given bad intelligence, it's not the senator from Massachusetts' job...
HANNITY: Is John Kerry — wait a minute. John Kerry, who was on the intelligence committee in earlier years, John Kerry now admits he didn't read the report leading up to the decision to vote for the authorization.
GAROFALO:Yes. None of them were given time to read the report.
HANNITY: Wait a minute. John Kerry in 2003 leading up to the war said all the following things. Let me read them to you
GAROFALO:No, we read them yesterday...
HANNITY: For the benefit our audience, let me read it to them.
GAROFALO:This is bad intel given to him by the administration.
HANNITY: John Kerry quote, "Saddam's WMDs are a threat, that's why I voted to hold him accountable. We need to disarm him. Leaving Saddam unfettered with nuclear weapons or WMDs is unacceptable. If you don't believe Saddam is a threat with nuclear weapons, don't vote for me. We need to disarm him, a murderous dictator leading an oppressive regime." And one final, John Kerry: "Iraq's WMDs pose a real and grave threat to the USA."
GAROFALO:Right. And that is from the compromised report and he voted to authorize the use of force if certain criteria were met.
HANNITY: Here's my question. You call the president a betrayer. You say he is a liar and yet you're voting for a guy who said the exact same things. Why should we not think they're being just totally political and hypocritical?
GAROFALO:Well, then why shouldn't we say that you would call Bush a liar? If you're saying John Kerry is a liar...
HANNITY: Because I think Kerry is right.
GAROFALO:No, you don't. First of all...
HANNITY: Listen to me. I think John Kerry was right. I have a quote from John Edwards. You want me to read that?GAROFALO: You don't need to. Let me — what I am saying is that it's not the senator from Massachusetts' job to come up with the intel. All the Congress was given bad intel from the compromised CIA. Then they voted for the use of force if certain criteria were met. As you know, that criteria was not met. The criteria was to prove that all diplomatic avenues had been exhausted and the inspectors had been allowed to do their job. They weren't. They were pulled out for bombing to begin. Secondly, it had to be proven that Saddam was an imminent threat and that he was related to 9/11. It was never proven. It was a scam and sham. It's like the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. You now I.F. Stone famously said, all governments lie. And at times they do...
HANNITY: Does John Kerry lie?
GAROFALO:Does John Kerry lie? As a politician he has probably on occasion misled people.
HANNITY: If you call the President Bush a liar for saying the same things, John Kerry is lying. Why won't you have the intellectual honesty to say, yes, John Kerry lied about that also?GAROFALO: No, John Kerry was given bad intel.
HANNITY: And George Bush, you won't give him that slack...
GAROFALO:George Bush was in on the manipulation of intel.
HANNITY: But the 9/11 Commission said just the opposite.
GAROFALO:That is not really true, Sean, and it's also not finished. First of all the 9/11 Commission...
HANNITY: The 9/11 Commission said it...and I'll show you the quotes. Do you want to bet?
GAROFALO:The compromise for the 9/11 Commission to move forward, which as you know, Bush stonewalled with every ounce of his fortitude.
HANNITY: Because he knew it would be politicized.
GAROFALO:No, it's because he doesn't want information. This is the most secretive government since Nixon. John Dean wrote the book "Worse than Watergate" for a reason.HANNITY: I am not calling anybody or suggesting anybody is unpatriotic. I don't believe in that...
GAROFALO:Yes, you do.
HANNITY: ... although I think certain people say unpatriotic things at times and you have to question them.
GAROFALO:You have done that too.
HANNITY: I have. An isolated incident, as a general broad-sweeping generalization, I believe in debate. I make my living on the First Amendment.
Here is America. I don't think we are ever going to be a perfect country. Human beings are imperfect. We're imperfect. When you look America, but when I look at America, I see this is a country that has beat back the forces of fascism, the forces of imperial Japan, Nazism and totalitarianism. While imperfect, we have been a force for good and liberty and freedom in the world and I'm proud of our country for what we represent. Do you feel the same way on those issues?
GAROFALO:I see everything you see and I'm also emotionally maturely enough to see the overthrow of Allende. I'm also mature enough to see Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala. I'm mature enough to see the slaughter of the indigenous people, the American Indian, slave owners. I can see what Vietnam has done. I think I said that at the beginning.
HANNITY: Is America a good country in your estimation?
GAROFALO:It's a good country.
HANNITY: Is it a great country?
GAROFALO:It's a great country sometimes when it lives up to its ideals. It's not the land I have a problem with. It's the men and women who make bad decisions.
HANNITY: I understand but at different points in history but when you look at America overall, do you think we are a great people that have done great things in the world? We have been a force for good.
GAROFALO:Some are and some aren't.
HANNITY: You can't say we're generally a force for good?
GAROFALO:I would say that we have at times been a force for good and in many situations for other people around the world, we have hurt them very much.
HANNITY: What would the world look like if America didn't beat back the forces of fascism, Nazism, imperial Japan and totalitarianism?
GAROFALO:I don't know. What would it look like if Pol Pot never had the killing fields and Vietnam never happened. What would it look like if Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala never happened? What would it look like if - seriously, Sean...
HANNITY: You and I have two very distinct views on history.
GAROFALO:As I said, you don't have to turn in your...
HANNITY: Would you like to wear it?
GAROFALO:No, you don't have to turn in your pin by discussing history. It's OK to criticize.
HANNITY: Like for example, I think it was a good thing even though we know what happened, 20-plus million people killed under Stalin, communist Russia. We know the brainwashing and mind-numbing techniques they'd use against individuals and how they rob them of their souls. But yet we aligned with them an unholy alliance for the time being to beat back Nazism. In the Iran-Iraq war, which is often cited by the left, yes, we did support Saddam Hussein for a time knowing he was imperfect...
GAROFALO:And we supported him for too long and also the CIA helped bring the Baathists ...
HANNITY: ...to beat back the forces — hang on.
GAROFALO:... to power in 1963.
HANNITY: To beat back the forces and not have a winner in that conflict which is when we got the result we wanted. It's not so simple.GAROFALO: I know. So don't say it as if it is. In 1963, as you know, help with the CIA-backed coup, the Baathists came to power and he was supported and he should never have been and the same Iran, 1979 revolution, Sean, you know that America — and other nations did this too, it's not wrong to criticize...
HANNITY: I hate to think of what this world would look like, Janeane Garofalo, if it weren't for America. If it weren't for America shedding blood, all around the Earth for liberty and the cause of freedom. I'd like to think what Europe would look like if it weren't for us.
GAROFALO:Yes. And I would like to see America live up to its ideals.
HANNITY: But I don't think you see it that way. I think America does live up to its ideals. We are a great country. Why don't you say we are a great country?
GAROFALO:It is a great country when it does great things. If it's not a great country...
HANNITY: Is it doing great things now?
GAROFALO:In Iraq, no.
HANNITY: In the '80s did it do great things?GAROFALO: Absolutely not
HANNITY: Only in the '90s when Bill Clinton...
GAROFALO:...in the '80s? No, it did not, under Reagan.
HANNITY: When was the last time we have been a great country?
GAROFALO:When it does great things. Why can't you be an adult about this?
HANNITY: I'm an adult. When were we a great country? When were we last a great country, in the '70s, in the '60s?
GAROFALO:No. It's intermittent. It's not a blanket statement.
HANNITY: Well, tell me when.
GAROFALO:When it does good things.
HANNITY: When was the last time we've done good things in your estimation?
GAROFALO:I'm sure there are good things going on now but there's also bad things going on. Why can't you admit that?
HANNITY: We liberated 50 million people between Iraq and Afghanistan, 50 million people. Women can go to school. Women can take off their burkas.
GAROFALO:Afghanistan is a failure, sir. It's carved up by war lines.
GAROFALO:Please, why did you get into journalism?
HANNITY: We are not filling the mass graves anymore.
GAROFALO:Hamid Karzai cannot travel anywhere without any bodyguards.
HANNITY: ... the United States.
GAROFALO:The assassination attempts on his life are constant. Afghanistan is a failure right now. And as you know, it's a bigger failure because the resources were taken out of Afghanistan to go into Iraq.
HANNITY: Are we better off if Saddam was out of power?
GAROFALO:We are worse off.
HANNITY: People in Iraq are better off.
HANNITY: With Saddam in power.
GAROFALO:Iraq is as bad off today as it was with Saddam in power.
HANNITY: Did you ever see pictures of the mass graves?
GAROFALO:And we have a lot to do with the mass graves.
GAROFALO:George Bush urged an uprising as you know. There was an uprising and the Americans abandoned them. People will admit this, Sean. You don't have to turn in your pin.
HANNITY: I interviewed a guy the other day who was left for dead in one of those mass graves and 180,000 people in that ....
GAROFALO:We shouldn't have supported Saddam in the first place. He is a bad guy. He is a really bad guy. We shouldn't have supported him.
HANNITY: Now that you had 1 1/2 hours...
GAROFALO:And Iraq is a mess. You should read the paper.
HANNITY: I disagree with you. Now that we've had - well, thank God John Kerry voted for it...
GAROFALO:Why did you get into journalism?
HANNITY: So I could debate wonderful people like you. All right. So has your impression of me changed? Have I been fair to you?
GAROFALO:Off camera, it is.
HANNITY: What about on camera? I have not been fair to you?
GAROFALO:No, it's not fairness.
HANNITY: You were concerned if I was going to be fair. Was I fair in this interview?
GAROFALO:I don't know if it's considered fair to ask questions the way you do. You don't really ask questions, everything is a...
HANNITY: ...do you me. You ask me questions.
GAROFALO:Everything is a challenge or sounds like a threat.
HANNITY: This is a debate show.
GAROFALO:No, it isn't a debate show. It's a you tell people what you think and why you think that they're wrong or you play gotcha with them. You do your Nexis search or your Google search.
COLMES: You know what, I think you've got new pal. You have a new little friend.
HANNITY: She still thinks I'm a cretin.
COLMES: I like you off camera, too.
HANNITY: Do you think I'm a cretin?
HANNITY: She doesn't think it either. She called me a cretin.
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