This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," August 25, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Our top story tonight, controversy has erupted over antiwar protests outside Walter Reed Army Medical Center (search) in Washington, D.C. The hospital has treated more than 4,000 patients since the war in Iraq began.
Now, CNSnews.com (search) has provided us with this exclusive video showing protestors demonstrating last Friday evening during visitor’s hours for wounded soldiers and their families. The antiwar group, Code Pink (search), calls the gathering a vigil and says their goal is increased veteran benefits, or to get them increased.
Joining us now, from CNSnews.com is Marc Morano and from Code Pink, Laura Costas.
Laura, let me go to you. I've heard conservative web sites misrepresent this and basically say that you're protesting the soldiers in the hospital. That's not what's going on. Let's set the record straight.
LAURA COSTAS, CODE PINK: That's correct. That's definitely not what's going on. We're not protesting anything. It is a vigil. That's what we call it, because that's what we do. We stand out there, and we hold up signs, as you saw, that say, "Support veterans benefits" and "Fund the wounded, not the war."
So, yes, thank you for clarifying that. We're not protesting anything.
COLMES: Marc, what this is about, really, is you have a situation where we're given the impression there's no sacrifice. They don't want to show returning flag-draped coffins. We're given the sense that there's no sacrifice for this war.
They have people coming into the hospital at night. You don't even see the wounded going into the hospital. And that's what Code Pink is trying to point out to the American public.
MARC MORANO, CNSNEWS.COM: Well that may have been their original purpose back in March when they started this. But over the summer and last Friday night, that's not what was going on.
When you've seen signs like "Maimed for a Lie" that the wounded soldiers come in and out of the main entrance at Walter Reed Hospital, that's hard to say they're putting on a vigil. They don't like the word "protest." I heard chanting that night that George Bush — last Friday night — "George Bush Kills American Soldiers." At the same time...
COSTAS: May I make a comment here?
COLMES: Hold on, let him finish and then you can comment.
MORANO: At the same time, soldiers with prosthetic arms were walking in and out of the entrance. How do you call chants like that a vigil? It just doesn't make sense.
COLMES: All right, Laura, there's nothing wrong with protesting. But what do you say in response to Marc's statements about some of the things said at this event?
COSTAS: Well, actually, anybody can walk up and say anything they like because it's out on the sidewalk. So we don't really have a whole lot of control over who says what.
If somebody is saying something that we feel is inappropriate, we tell them please to be quiet. But I don't think that anybody should have a problem with that sign right there that says "Funding for the wounded, and not for the war."
And we've gotten a lot of support from the people inside the gates at Walter Reed. We have people that come out and thank us for our presence, families come out. My brother served in Iraq. He was there for 14 months.
So I'm a military family member. I know what it's like to have somebody over there.
COLMES: Marc, anytime there's a protest...
COSTAS: And if, you know, we weren't getting the support from the soldiers and their families, we wouldn't be there.
COLMES: Marc, anytime there's a protest, there's going to be extremists who, on either side, just like the Minutemen (search) may have people joining them who are racist, that doesn't mean the Minutemen themselves, or the core group, is racist. And you want to tie every extremist here — you want to tie every extremist to the core group that's having this demonstration.
MORANO: This isn't about cherry-picking an extremist or two. This was the message of the group.
COSTAS: No, that's incorrect.
MORANO: Steve McCarron, who was on this network, Steve McCarron, from Veterans for Peace (search), who was on this network earlier today...
COSTAS: You've got his name wrong, sir. You've got his name wrong. He's a member of Veterans for Peace. I know him personally.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: All right, I want to set a bigger picture — hang on...
MORANO: Well, let's not talk about pronunciation of names. He's...
HANNITY: All right, Laura and Marc, hang on one second. I want to give our audience a bigger picture of what's going on here, Marc, because, clearly what's happening here is Code Pink and the protesters are backtracking because of the video that you've had, the pictures that you've taken, and what you've been able to report.
In fact, they can now say it's a vigil all they want, but when they have signs that say "Impeach George Bush," "Maimed for Lies," "Enlist Here and Die For Halliburton," I mean, these are guys in the hospital back from war. They often have life-threatening wounds.
COSTAS: And they might be abandoned by the V.A. by the time they get out of there.
HANNITY: This is for Marc Morano.
COSTAS: Who are you telling who it's about? I'm there on the corner almost every Friday night. I know what it's about.
MORANO: Well, I talked to Kevin Pannell (search), one of the wounded soldiers, a double-amputee who lost both legs in Iraq last year. He said he tried to ignore these protesters at first, until he saw some of the outrageous things. One of the things he said he saw was caskets out there, mock caskets.
COSTAS: No, no, I'm sorry, that never happened.
MORANO: I have another protestor, counter-protestors saw black wreaths hanging on the fence.
HANNITY: I want you both to be quiet. I want to get a question in here. Marc, wait a minute, because we have the video. They can say this is a vigil all they want. But we have the video.
MORANO: It's an argument over semantics.
HANNITY: Wait a minute. Both of you, please. We have the video, "Maimed for Lies," "Impeach Bush," "Enlist Here and Die for Halliburton." And you know, Laura, you can deny this all you want, but soldiers are literally fighting for their lives and you don't have enough respect for them...
COSTAS: My brother was over there. My brother was over there.
HANNITY: You are exploiting — you are so extreme.
COSTAS: Excuse me, I'm not exploiting anyone.
HANNITY: You have no respect for those guys that are trying to heal in that hospital.
COSTAS: No way. We are supporting them. We would like for them to have all the benefits that they need when they leave Walter Reed.
HANNITY: Then why don't you say benefits and stop putting up signs that say "Impeach Bush."
COSTAS: We do that. We do that.
HANNITY: Why are you politicizing the war in front of guys that suffered for you?
COSTAS: This war is absolutely political. It's absolutely political.
HANNITY: So it's not a vigil; it is a protest.
COSTAS: It is a vigil.
MORANO: The veterans I spoke with aren't upset about whether you're for the war or against the war. It's about location, location. Why are they in front of a military hospital, timed for maximum exposure on Friday night...
HANNITY: All right. Let me ask Marc Morano, because we're short on time. Marc, I guess what's really — this is what was so clear about your report, is that clearly they have been caught here, that they have so little respect for our soldiers.
COSTAS: No, no, no, no, no.
HANNITY: And they're — even their recovery time...
COSTAS: I'm sorry. We have nothing but respect for our soldiers. We are the soldiers. Veterans for Peace is one of the...
MORANO: Laura has to talk to Veterans for Peace. On your own network earlier today, you had a member on, Steven McCarron, or however she wants me to pronounce his last name, that he was defending "Maimed for a Lie" and other things.
COSTAS: You have his first name wrong, too. You don't have your facts straight on the guy that you interviewed, so I'm not sure how accurate the rest of your report is.
HANNITY: Laura, why don't you — you have every right to protest as much as you want.
COSTAS: Yes, I do. That's right. I do. That's what my brother's over there fighting for.
HANNITY: Here's my question.
HANNITY: You have every right to do it. It's about — I'm questioning your taste. Why don't you take your protest and your free speech rights...
COSTAS: FOX News is questioning my taste? That's a good one.
HANNITY: ... and stop sticking it in the face of people that have suffered enough. Why don't you take it elsewhere?
COSTAS: Sir, if you would like to come to our vigil and really see what it is and leave the, you know, your hype behind...
HANNITY: "Maimed for Lies"? "Maimed for Lies"?
COSTAS: Well, you know, if that's how somebody feels about it, they're entitled to that. I'm not...
HANNITY: "Enlist Here and Die for Halliburton"? You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Laura. It's disgraceful that you don't respect these men more. They gave you the right to say that.
COSTAS: My brother was one of those men, sir.
HANNITY: You do not respect these injured soldiers.
COSTAS: My brother was one of them.
HANNITY: It's disgraceful. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
COSTAS: My brother was one of them. Can you say that?
HANNITY: You ought to be ashamed.
COLMES: ... free speech that people are dying for. Thank you both very much for being with us.
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