This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," Sept. 21, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: First it was Max Cleland (search) and now it's Joe Lockhart (search). Both of them are advisers to the Kerry campaign and both of them had contact with the source of the fake CBS documents.
And late today, the Associated Press reported that the Gore campaign in 2000 was also approached by people with similar claims about the president's National Guard service, but that they did not follow up this way like this current campaign.
So are we really supposed to believe that the Kerry campaign had nothing at all to do with any of this?
Joining us, former vice presidential candidate, Fox News political analyst, Geraldine Ferraro, and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey.
Dick, here's the sinister side of this. We are 50 days out of an election. We now know that this source of the forged documents, Bill Burkett (search), had contact with two top advisers in the Kerry campaign, Max Cleland and Joe Lockhart. Originally we were told there was no contact, nothing whatsoever.
Do we not need to get to the bottom of whether or not they pushed this to CBS News? Do we need to find out who forged the documents here?
DICK ARMEY, FORMER HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Well, I'm really not concerned about what the Kerry campaign did or did not do. Politics is such a dirty, low-down business now, I give up hope on it.
But I am concerned about the reports that a CBS reporter — not only did they not due diligence on the story for themselves, but they contacted the Kerry campaign and said, "You ought to talk to him." The break down in journalistic standards is a threat to our democracy.
And I've been talking about this for a long time. The greatest failure institution in our democracy today is the press and its ability to hold to good journalistic standards, thorough and competent work and unbiased reporting. And that to me is what's the real heartbreak in this story.
HANNITY: Well, here's the thing. If it wasn't for Colonel Killian's son and Colonel Killian's wife, and if it wasn't for Ben Barnes' daughter, Amy, coming forward, he potentially could have had these forged documents, these fake documents, coming up 50 days before an election, passing through the hands of top Kerry advisers, or at least their knowledge thereof, and seriously and significantly impacting this campaign.
GERALDINE FERRARO, FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Could have. Would have. Should have. I agree with Dick Armey. He's absolutely right.
HANNITY: Forget about anything else, but you have got to be concerned, whatever side this would happen on, that forged documents could impact the campaign.
FERRARO: Well, I have to tell you, I'd be very concerned if indeed the media were taking people who came to them. Like Fox News, if you took something that came into you and you ran with that without checking it, just like CBS. I'd say, "Hey, that is just very unfair if you did that on behalf of George Bush."
But you know, the thing about it is, on this whole thing, as Dick Armey said, this is not the campaign. I have to tell you, I've run for national office. I know that people during the course of my campaign got in touch with the campaign. We never reached out to these people. And neither did the Kerry people. Those people reached out to the campaign.
HANNITY: Simple question. Simple question. I want to know the involvement of the Kerry campaign. I want to know.
Look, Joe Lockhart can say whatever he wants. He can put whatever denial. Why doesn't Joe Lockhart let an independent person check his e- mail, check phone records. Because I want to know — I want to know, because I don't believe Joe Lockhart. And I don't believe these people, because they have a history of working with Bill Clinton...
FERRARO: Let me just tell you, nobody cares whether or not you believe Joe Lockhart.
HANNITY: Do you believe him?
FERRARO: I sure do. And the reason is because...
HANNITY: You believe Bill Clinton was honest?
FERRARO: Do you believe that George Bush was honest about his military career?
HANNITY: Yes. Yes, I do. Yes, I do.
FERRARO: Well, if he's so honest about the military career, then why are worried about forged documents? Nobody's ever denied...
HANNITY: Why are you concerned about it?
FERRARO: ... that he did not — that he showed up for his medical reports, that he was down doing his service.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: They have not denied the substance.
FERRARO: Exactly right.
COLMES: Let me get a few things on the table here. First, let me show you, Mr. Armey and Ms. Ferraro, exactly what Joe Lockhart said today right here on the Fox News Channel.
Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE LOCKHART, KERRY CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Certainly, there was no discussion at all with Mr. Burkett about National Guard documents and certainly there's no basis for any of the White House claims that somehow the Kerry campaign or the Democratic Party has anything to do with this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLMES: All right, now Dick Armey, do you believe that Joe Lockhart just told the truth?
ARMEY: No, I don't.
COLMES: It was a lie? That was a lie?
ARMEY: Look, politicians always lie.
COLMES: Where did he lie? What was the lie?
ARMEY: First off, you can't tell me he talked to this guy and did not discuss this matter. But again, I want to focus on this: Did somebody from CBS contact Joe Lockhart and say, "You need to talk to this guy. He's got the goods on Bush"?
That is what will break your heart and eventually will destroy the credibility of the news.
COLMES: That's pure, idle speculation. That's pure, idle speculation.
ARMEY: No it's not, necessarily.
COLMES: If you don't believe Joe Lockhart, what lie do you think Joe Lockhart just told?
ARMEY: That he did not, in talking to this fellow, discuss Bush's records.
COLMES: On what basis do you accuse Joe Lockhart of lying?
ARMEY: Because it stretches incredibility. It's incredible to think CBS calls him up and says, "You need to talk about this guy. He's got something hot on Bush."
He's just, "Oh, yes, I followed up, I talked to him, but we didn't discuss it."
Alan, bless your heart, you can believe that if you want, but I wouldn't believe it if my brother were telling me.
FERRARO: The issue, though, is that the guy did not come to CBS and lie because he'd been contacted by the Kerry people first. The CBS people actually put him in touch; he couldn't get in touch with the Kerry people. There was no way that he would have a contact with them.
So leave the Kerry people out of this. This is between CBS and the Bush people.
COLMES: That's right.
FERRARO: And it's really sad this...
ARMEY: No, it's not. No, it's not, Geraldine.
FERRARO: ... not be put between the Kerry people. Kerry people had nothing to do with this.
COLMES: Congressman Armey, that Colin Powell went to the United Nations and gave a speech on stuff that he now agrees was based on faulty information and possibly forged document. And that speech was a peg that moved us toward a war.
I don't hear the same level of ire on your side about that and that started a war with Iraq.
ARMEY: Colin Powell to the best of his ability investigated his sources, looked at his information and made an honest mistake.
COLMES: And CBS didn't?
ARMEY: CBS had people that they had hired to examine these records that said there are questions here. They ignored them. They hushed it up and went forward with it.
COLMES: The CIA, Geraldine, said that there were questions and there were a number of people that said there were questions...
COLMES: And we rushed to war, based on what we now know was faulty information.
ARMEY: Alan, you're missing the point again.
COLMES: I think that is the point.
ARMEY: The question is: Can this democracy or for that matter any democracy survive if it doesn't have a free, professional, able and reliable press?
COLMES: Absolutely. I agree with that statement.
FERRARO: I couldn't agree with you more. But you know, the thing about this is sometimes people make mistakes. And as much as we all — I mean, I happen to think Dan Rather is an absolutely incredible person and an incredible journalist.
Sometimes mistakes are made. And he made a mistake and he said it was — well, you know, sometimes you guys say stuff that is not exactly true. And then you turn around and say...
HANNITY: We've got to go.
COLMES: You want to call Joe Lockhart a liar, you want to link it to the Kerry campaign. There's absolutely no proof that the Kerry campaign was engineering this.
FERRARO: That's right.
HANNITY: We've got to run.
COLMES: You cannot prove that allegation.
HANNITY: The question is, what did John Kerry, Terry McAuliffe and Joe Lockhart know about forged documents and when did they know it?
FERRARO: And what...
HANNITY: They need to answer that question.
FERRARO: And what do we know about George Bush's National Guard service?
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