This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," August 3, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Just 91 days until Americans rush to the polls to reelect my president, George W. Bush (search).
And Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s (search) president. Something tells me Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the author of "Crimes Against Nature" is not going to be voting for President Bush. All right.
I am going to try and control my temper. Reading your book makes me angry beyond the pale. I've got to be honest. And you and I have had heated disagreements over the years.
I'm just going to put up some of the words you put in your own book, and we'll let our audience decide if this is appropriate language from you against a president of the United States.
OK, fair enough?
ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR., AUTHOR: Sure.
HANNITY: All right. Let's start with one. First of all, you start with, in your book, page 193, you talk about, "communism is the control of business by government, fascism is the control of government by business. My American Heritage dictionary defines fascism as a system of government that exercises dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of the state and business leadership together with belligerent nationalism. Sound familiar?"
Are you accusing this president of being, and this administration of being, fascist like, Nazi-like?
KENNEDY: The point is that if you read that in context, is that Americans have to understand that there's a huge difference between free market capitalism, which is great for a democracy, which democratizes our country, that brings efficiencies, and the corporate crony capitalism that has been embraced by this administration, which is as antithetical to democracy in America as it is in Nigeria. Today, you have polluters running the agencies that are supposed to protect Americans from pollution. The second in command at EPA is a Monsanto lobbyist. The head of the air division at the EPA (search) is a utility lobbyist….
KENNEDY: Let me finish.
HANNITY: Go ahead. Go ahead.
KENNEDY: ...who for his lifetime has been defending the worst polluters in America. The head of the public lands now, Sean, is a mining industry lobbyist. The head of forest service a timber industry lobbyist and on and on and on.
HANNITY: I understand your point.
KENNEDY: These people did not enter government for public service. They entered to undermine and subvert the very laws that they're charged with enforcing.
HANNITY: This is fundamental. Because I say the left today, your leadership, including your uncle Ted Kennedy, has said irresponsible things about our president and about our country. And I find it here.
Now I'm going to read a very long paragraph for the sake of our audience because I don't want to take it out of context and I want to make sure I get the full context in here. OK? This is from your book.
HANNITY: You said, "these elected governments use the provocation of terrorist attacks, continued wars" — you're talking about Nazism and fascism on page 193, OK?
KENNEDY: No, no, no. Now you're...
HANNITY: Wait a minute, right here I have it in the book, 193 and 194, and you talk about Spain, Germany and Italy reacting to the economic crises.
HANNITY: And then you say the following: "These governments use provocation of terrorist attacks, continual wars, invocations of patriotism and homeland security to privatize the commons, tame the press, muzzle criticism by opponents, turn the government over to corporate control.
'It's always a simple matter to drag people along,' noted Hitler's sidekick Herman Goering, whether it's a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a parliament or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them that they are being attacked, denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and expose the country to danger — and exposing the country to danger. And it works the same in any country," is what you say.
Then you go on to say — you're talking about fascism and Nazism — and the next line in this book of yours says, the White House has clearly grasped this lesson. That is disgraceful to make that comparison.
KENNEDY: Well, you know, Sean in this — you know, look at the comparisons. Look at our — what is — look at the terror alert, for example, that we — that was...
HANNITY: Nazism and fascism? That we're using the tactics of fascists and Nazis? That's what you're saying about your president? You can't disagree without being that obnoxious?
KENNEDY: We can disagree with each other, Sean, and that's something that we ought to be able to do without calling each other names.
HANNITY: You're the one calling them fascists and Nazis, comparing them to fascists and Nazis.
KENNEDY: Well, I never called the president a fascist or a Nazi.
HANNITY: You found a nice roundabout way to compare his tactics to the fascists and the Nazis.
KENNEDY: And the point that I'm making, which is very clear in that book, is that control of government by corporations is as dangerous as control of government by communism.
HANNITY: That is unbelievable.
PAT HALPIN, GUEST CO-HOST: Sean, give me a chance here.
Now, Bobby, I want to talk to you, to get back to this book, what are the three biggest crimes that the Bush administration has committed against the environment?
KENNEDY: Well, it's hard to enumerate which are the three biggest. But within the administration now, you have, as I explained to Sean, you have corporations and the biggest polluters that are now running the agencies.
And I'll give you an example. I live two miles from the state of Connecticut. Connecticut is one of 17 states in which it is now unsafe to eat any freshwater fish in the state, because of mercury contamination. There's no...
HALPIN: That comes from power plants.
KENNEDY: It comes from power plants. There's no geological source of mercury in the state of Connecticut. It's coming from the power plants.
We know a lot about mercury. One out of every six American women now has so much mercury in her womb that her children are at risk for a grim inventory of diseases, including autism, blindness, mental retardation, permanent cognitive impairment.
I have so much mercury in my body — I recently had it tested — that Dr. David Carpenter, who is the national authority on mercury, told me that if a woman of child-bearing years had the same levels that I did, that she would have a child that would have permanent cognitive impairment.
KENNEDY: Now listen, the Clinton administration, recognizing this problem, classified mercury as a hazardous pollutant under the Clean Air Act, which required those utilities to remove the mercury, 90 percent of it, within three and a half years. They can do it. It will cost less than 1 percent of the revenues of the plant.
HALPIN: Now, Sean, you ought to be concerned about that.
KENNEDY: That's a great deal for the American people, but it's still billions of dollars for the utility.
This is an industry that gave over $100 million to the president since the year 2000. And one of the first things that, six weeks ago, the White House announced that it was abandoning the Clinton era regulations and it was adopting instead regulations that were written by a utility lobbying firm, Latham & Watkins, that would require the utilities to never have to clean up that mercury.
HALPIN: You have actually worked with Republicans. You worked with George Pataki to protect the watershed. You worked with Arnold Schwarzenegger to help put together his environmental plans when he was running for governor.
KENNEDY: I have been very disciplined for my 20 years as an environmental advocate about being nonpartisan, bipartisan.
HALPIN: I want to go to a quote...
KENNEDY: I don't believe that there's any such thing at Republican children or Democratic children. The worst thing that can happen to the environment is an issue is if it becomes the province of a single political party.
HALPIN: And by the way, I agree with that. Teddy Roosevelt was a great environmentalist. And Sean, you'll be interested in knowing this: Richard Nixon actually created the Environmental Protection Agency.
KENNEDY: I want to say something about that. Teddy Roosevelt said that our nation would never be destroyed by a foreign enemy, but our democratic institutions would be undermined by malefactors of great wealth.
HANNITY: How bout page 193?
HALPIN: Hold on, hold on. Sean, I want to go to a quote that a Republican pollster, Frank Luntz, said about how the public perceives the Republicans.
Let's go to that.
It says here, "The environment is probably the single issue on which Republicans in general and President Bush in particular are most vulnerable."
That's Republican pollster Frank Luntz wrote. He cautioned that the public views "Republicans as being in the pockets of corporate fat cats who rub their hands together, chuckle maniacally as they plot to pollute America for fun and profit."
Now that's the perception. Is that happening?
KENNEDY: That is an accurate description of what's happening with this government, of what this government is doing. As I said, if you go to NRDC's rolling environmental, the National Resource Defense Counsel, you will see a list of 400 major environmental rollbacks that have been promoted by this administration over the last three and a half years.
Nobody denies this. If even a fraction of the current rollbacks are passed over the next year or two, we will effectively have eliminated virtually all of our significant federal environmental law. That's not exaggeration. That's not hyperbole. It is a fact.
Many of our laws will remain on the books in one form or another. And they'll be unenforceable for us.
You know, Sean, you should be as upset about this as I am. This is not a Republican issue, a Democratic issue. This is not a liberal or conservative issue. These are people who have taken the "conserve" out of "conservatism."
HANNITY: I know, Robert, here's the problem I have with you. I have two problems. You know what? And I mean this: You are an extremist.
Your rhetoric in this book — let me finish. When you go on to say that this administration has clearly grasped the lessons of the tactics used by the fascists or the Nazis, that is extremist. When you write in your book George Bush will go down as the worst environmental president in our history, that is extremist.
And the other problem I have with you is I think you live a hypocritical life. We've exposed on this program, you fly around the country in private jets. You have a big caravan. You have the Kennedy compound in Hannisport. You support windmill energy, but not in your backyard in Nantucket Sound. And you can't address our public and address these obvious hypocrisies in your own lifestyle.
KENNEDY: Well, I'm happy to address all those issues. I'll start with the first one, which is you calling me an extremist. Every time I come on this show you call me a name. You call me a name, you call me a liberal or you call me an extremist...
HANNITY: You compare the tactics of the president with Nazis, not me.
KENNEDY: Let me finish. It's not extreme to think our children ought to have clean air and water, in my view. It's not extreme to think that my three children...
HANNITY: George Bush uses Nazi tactics? You said that in the book. You're suggesting that.
KENNEDY: Let me finish replying to your question, Sean. I have three sons with asthma. One out of every four black children in New York now has asthma. Those asthma attacks are triggered by pollution from power plants, which George Bush let off the hook. They were being prosecuted by the Clinton administration. They were being forced to clean up. It's undeniable, Sean.
HANNITY: Will you admit that you said in this book that he uses the tactics of Nazism?
Will you admit what you wrote?
KENNEDY: Let me finish what I'm saying, Sean. Because you made a series of charges. Let me have the opportunity to address what you had in the book.
HANNITY: It's what you wrote in the book.
KENNEDY: Let me have the opportunity to address them. You called me an extremist, that's not an argument. Argue with the facts. It's not, when somebody comes on and says that they don't believe that they have problems with the way this administration went to war. You call them un-American.
HANNITY: No, I don't.
KENNEDY: Yes you do.
HANNITY: When I point out what you say, the Bush administration has grasped the lessons of fascism and Nazism and the facts of them, I am pointing out a fact. That is so reckless and irresponsible. I think that hurts your case.
KENNEDY: Sean, you're equating liberalism with terrorism.
HANNITY: Did you ever read my book?
KENNEDY: I saw the cover.
HANNITY: Do you judge books by their title? Read the book before you comment on it.
KENNEDY: I looked up my name in the back and I found Teddy's name back there.
HANNITY: There you go.
KENNEDY: And I read those sections.
HANNITY: Well, do you want to respond to the wind farm issue?
Because you support it but not in your backyard.
KENNEDY: Yes, I will — but I have to say this, that I think there's a way of avoiding talking about the issues.
HANNITY: I talked about your book and the charges against the president.
KENNEDY: All right. Anyway, I'll say this briefly about the wind farm. I believe in wind farms offshore. We ought to be fighting for wind power.
But the worst thing for environmentalists, the worse mistake that that they can make is to say that the only wildness that is worth preserving is in the Rocky Mountains or in national parks. The most important wildness that we have in this country are those accessible to the cities.
And the place that they're going to build that wind farm is the most heavily utilized recreational boating corridor in America.
HANNITY: Just promise us. Look in the camera and say you'll never fly on a private jet again. Will you do that?
HALPIN: And Bobby — and Bobby...
KENNEDY: Why do you get personal?
HANNITY: Say that.
HANNITY: Say you'll never fly in a private jet again. You've got ten seconds. Ten seconds.
KENNEDY: You cannot debate an issue.
HALPIN: As soon as Sean gets rid of his big Cadillac SUV.
HANNITY: I'm proud by big Cadillac, thank you. And my Jeep from Westbury Jeep in Long Island.
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