This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," May 25, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Our top story tonight: On Monday night, the A&E network (search) will run their adaptation of John McCain's autobiography, "Faith of my Fathers (search)." A few minutes ago, Sean spoke exclusively with the senator before a screening of our troops on the decade of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum (search) here in New York.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Now you're a movie star?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: No, but — no, but it's a movie about the book that Mark Salter, and I wrote and it ends, by the way, when I get out of prison. So those — those conservatives don't have to worry about the politics.
HANNITY: Well, we'll get into that in a second. This is not the best week with you and conservatives. And you know that.
But the story is about your book, your grandfather, an admiral in World War II, your father became an admiral, you go to the Naval Academy (search), then to Vietnam and you're shot down in 1967.
MCCAIN: Yes. And it talks about some of my times in private training and at the naval academy and how I broke not every rule at the naval academy but most of them.
And it also is about my relationship with my comrades in prison. The reason why I was able to do what I was able to do in prison was because of my friends, who lifted me up when I was down, who provided me with courage. And I was blessed to observe a thousand acts of courage and compassion and love when I was there.
HANNITY: Well, I read the book in full. And I remember the stories about how you would all communicate with each other, even though you didn't see each other. You spent five — what, five and a half years in the POW Camp.
MCCAIN: Yes. Yes. And a couple of years in solitary confinement. But, look, I was proud to serve my country. And I'm — the people I know best and love most are those who I got to know when I was there. And I'll cherish their friendship and the memories of them forever.
HANNITY: When did they approach you about turning the book into a movie?
MCCAIN: A couple of years ago, the A&E people came and said they'd like to make a movie out of it, and I was glad they did it.
HANNITY: Yes, all right. Now this guy that plays you, I saw him. He's a lot better looking.
MCCAIN: I was a lot better looking then...(laughter)
HANNITY: As a matter of fact, I think he's coming out here now. We're going to say hello to him in a second.
But you know something, one of the things, the story that most — that I most admired about you is you could have left.
HANNITY: Because your father was such a high-ranking member in the armed services, you could have left, but you didn't leave because you weren't going to leave until all of your fellow mates left with you.
MCCAIN: Yes, I was offered a chance to come home. And it was tough decision. And I'm glad I didn't know I was going to be there for three more years! But the code of conduct says you come home in order of capture. And yes, I was hurt at the time, but the fact is, it's the smartest thing I ever did.
HANNITY: Do you ever feel you have residual anything from that experience? We talk about post-traumatic — you know...
MCCAIN: No, except that I think every day about those people I served with. Some of them have passed away. And I think about them, and I love them. And I thank them for — look, I was really down at one time. And they picked me up by giving me the courage that I needed.
HANNITY: Now. By the way, this is the man. This is...
MCCAIN: Shawn Hatosy.
HANNITY: You know, I heard you the other day. Everyone said, "John McCain was talking about you." It was really him.
SHAWN HATOSY, ACTOR: How are you?
HANNITY: What a life story you're running here.
HATOSY: It was — it was a great opportunity for me to play a guy that I have a whole lot of respect for.
HANNITY: Well, it is amazing. And by the way, you picked somebody way too good looking for this part.
HATOSY: What are you saying? I saw the cover of the book, he looked pretty good.
HANNITY: Very nice to met you. I'm sure everyone is going to be watching.
All right. You know conservatives are angry with you?
MCCAIN: Sure. Sure.
HANNITY: Two hundred and fourteen years. We've never had nominees who would otherwise get by — get approved, filibustered.
HANNITY: The Democrats for the first time in history did this, and people feel you emboldened them by this deal. What do you say to them?
MCCAIN: Well, first of all, they did abuse the process badly, because they blocked the nominees that the president had for judgeships. We've now got an agreement where they are moving forward. You watch what we do.
But I don't believe that we should have changed the institution of the Senate, which meant doing away with the ability of a minority to filibuster.
Sean, Sean, the Senate is set up — the reason why Rhode Island has two votes and California has two votes, is to protect the rights of the minority. I didn't want to see this institution damaged.
And also, I didn't want to see everything come to a halt or close to a halt if we couldn't get an agreement. What we did was diffuse it.
Now I say to my friends on — and by the way, on the left they're just as angry as they are on the right.
HANNITY: No, they're angrier on the right.
MCCAIN: They're very angry on the left. Because now you watch. We're going to confirm these judges. There's not going to be a filibuster of a Supreme Court judge. I hope the president will consult with Congress, as called for by the Constitution.
And we will now move forward and do an energy bill, do asbestos legislation, do the things we're supposed to do, rather than be in gridlock.
Finally, could I say, it's not an accident that the approval of Congress is down at 33 percent. It's not been that low since 1994. They want us to do their work.
HANNITY: But if the Democrats — if this is the first time they did it, didn't they get a reward for this? And what guarantee is there they won't do it in the future?
MCCAIN: If they do it in the future, the agreement we had will be null and void. We've made an agreement that they will only filibuster under, quote, "extraordinary circumstances."
HANNITY: Does that mean that a conservative is appointed? Is that "extraordinary"?
MCCAIN: No, it does not. That will be our judgment, not — as well as theirs.
Look, this was based on trust. That's the way the Senate works. We have to work that way. And I'm confident — listen, I can't tell you. A number of my colleagues came up to me today and say, "Thank you. We need to now go about the business of the Senate."
HANNITY: Senator Frist, I interviewed him yesterday. He felt like he was out of the loop, that people did this sort of behind his back and there was a little bit of a power grab. Have you spoken with him since?
MCCAIN: Well, I've spoken to him many times. I have said, and I should have said at the beginning of our conversation, I'm grateful for his leadership. He got us to this point by threatening the nuclear option. Otherwise, we wouldn't have made this agreement. I've had many conversations with him. I respect him as a person and as our leader. And I'm grateful to him.
HANNITY: Did you keep him in the loop on this deal?
MCCAIN: Yes, we did. Yes, we did.
HANNITY: If there's a nominee like a Miguel Estrada (search), if there is a nominee like a Robert Bork (search) or a Scalia or a Thomas, and the Democrats say that's an extraordinary circumstance, will you then join with Bill Frist and go forward with that option, because you feel that they will have broken the agreement?
MCCAIN: I will — I can't name those names because I never examined any of them that carefully although Estrada clearly was qualified. But if we make a judgment that these nominees are extraordinarily unqualified, we'll agree with them. But if they're not, then we will — we will go ahead and go forward.
HANNITY: But Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas, those are all qualified people who should not be filibustered? People like them.
MCCAIN: I don't think these seven — remember, I didn't make the agreement with 45 Republicans — Democrats. We made it with seven Democrats. I'm confident that these seven Democrats would — would not filibuster those individuals.
HANNITY: All right. We'll be watching. You're now a movie star. Congratulations.
MCCAIN: I thank you, Sean. And again, watch what happens here in the next few months before we make a judgment.
HANNITY: Senator McCain. Thank you. Appreciate it.
COLMES: I like that set. You can see "Faith of My Fathers" Memorial Day on A&E.
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