Published March 09, 2006
This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," March 8, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: As we continue on "Hannity and Colmes," here is part two of my exclusive interview with radio host Howard Stern.
HANNITY: You've got a choice on your tombstone — I don't want you to think about dying — but it says, "King of All Media" or "Good Father." What do you want?
HOWARD STERN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: "Good Father" is way, way more important to me — I've learned that.
HANNITY: Years ago it might have been the other?
STERN: I don't think it ever would have. You know, having my kids — and I've said this on the air — was one of the greatest things that ever happened to me in my life. My kids are great, they're great kids.
So, you know, it's just — when you're in the midst of the battle — and to me, radio is a war — whoever is up against me is going to war with me. That's how you survive in it. You know — you're in the game, and it's tough.
HANNITY: I know. It's a battle.
STERN: And it can get personal and all those kinds of things.
HANNITY: Only difference is, instead of lesbians and strippers, I go for Ronald Reagan, you know.
STERN: That's it. You know, who knows?
HANNITY: It's a different — it's a different gig.
STERN: That sounds a little strange now, but maybe you ought to look at some lesbians. But you know, the thing is, you become fixated.
STERN: And you want to be able to get out of that fixation and know that there's more to life than just work.
HANNITY: Let me talk about your competitors, because over the years I watched you very closely. I grew up on Long Island like you did.
HANNITY: Although I left for a long time, pursuing my radio career.
HANNITY: When you would go up against a competitor — and maybe this is the dark side of Howard — you could be brutal. Coffins walking through the streets...
HANNITY: ... of a city where you're going on and you're saying to the guy that's No. 1, "I'm going to be No. 1." I talked to Mancow once. Mancow said his father was dying and you said, "He's going to have sex with his dead father."
Is that a dark side of you? That's pretty brutal.
STERN: Sure. Listen, that's brutal stuff, and I think if you speak to those other guys, they've done just as brutal stuff.
HANNITY: To you?
STERN: Absolutely. You know, it's radio theater, as well. I don't think any...
HANNITY: A dead father — sex with a dead father?
STERN: Oh, please! It gets much uglier than that and worse! Oh, please! I mean, it gets down to the darkest deepest battles, and the audience loves it. It's like wrestling. They go berserk for it.
HANNITY: Somebody said that about your father, I think — I see you've been mad at Les Moonves. You wouldn't be mad at that?
STERN: Words don't upset me.
HANNITY: Not at all.
STERN: No, not at all. Actions upset me.
You know, it's funny. It's like, you look at the religious right, you know. What upsets them? Dirty words on the radio. Oh, horrible thing!
What upsets me is some of the obscenity that exists in our society. When you — I know you're a big religious right guy, but you think about it, guys screaming with abortions, got to stop abortion, we got to stop abortion! So many of these guys won't step up and support giving a black kid maybe an equal opportunity, these poor kids in neighborhoods. A lot of these guys aren't very charitable.
HANNITY: Some are, though.
STERN: Some are.
HANNITY: Jerry Falwell, for example — you may not like him. You probably hate him.
HANNITY: Jerry Falwell has a home for any girl who's pregnant. He'll send them to school, he'll give them free health care, if they have their baby.
STERN: Well, the problem is, once these babies hit the street...
HANNITY: You got to help them.
STERN: ... there's a lot of unwanted babies and no one's taking care of them. And not a lot of people are stepping up to take care of them.
STERN: It's one thing to say, you know, you're for choice, and it's one thing to say you want every baby born, but someone's got to take care of these babies. We've got deep, deep problems in our society, you know. It's not all so simple. So, you know — we shouldn't argue politics.
HANNITY: I want to ask you...
STERN: I'm all over the place with politics anyway.
HANNITY: Do you believe in God? You mention religious right. Do you have a faith in God, do you think God created you?
STERN: I'm a spiritual person. I truly am.
HANNITY: Does that mean you believe in God?
STERN: Well, you know, it's a funny thing. I'm afraid to say I don't because what the hell happens if I die and I meet my maker? I'm a religious paranoid. I'm like one of these guys — I'm really just afraid that something — but I don't believe in any religion. I just can't get behind the whole organized religion.
HANNITY: I'm not asking about religion. Do you believe there's a God? There's somebody up there that...
STERN: I'm going to have to be a yes. I'm going to have to go with the God thing.
HANNITY: Yes, but that's not...
STERN: I know. It's a milquetoast answer. Not good. It's not a good answer, but I never dug organized religion. I just see too much hatred.
HANNITY: There's a difference, though.
STERN: Too many people fighting over whose religion is better. It's just a — it's a load of bull. You know?
HANNITY: There's a difference between organized religion and a belief that — for example, I know you look at — just if you look at universes within universes, the planets, the stars, gravity, and Howard Stern, and people in the animal kingdom. And you say, "All right, that's pretty majestic."
STERN: Howard Stern is at the center of the universe in my — I'm pretty sure I'm the center.
HANNITY: You're it, right there?
HANNITY: I'm on the outside of this thing.
STERN: Now you know why I'm in therapy four days a week. Plus, I'm a narcissist.
HANNITY: All right, that's pretty bad.
STERN: Yes, yes. But I believe there's something going on here. But you know, when I try to break it down and I go, "There's a God up here. It's a man in the sky. We pray to him. Goodnight. He's not Santa Claus, but he's somebody else." Who the hell knows?
HANNITY: What do you like to do outside of radio?
STERN: I'm pretty much a recluse. I spend a lot of time with my girlfriend. I'm pretty much one-on-one with her. My kids...
HANNITY: Are you going to get married?
STERN: I don't think we're going to get married. We talk about it all the time. Neither one of us feels like, if we got married, we understand how that would enhance the relationship. We think we're in pretty good shape. I was married for twenty-something years. I wasn't, you know, great at it. I think if Beth and I got married, it would be great. But who knows, you know? I don't know. Right now, we're happy as can be.
HANNITY: More of the personal side of Howard Stern in just a moment.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Welcome back to "Hannity & Colmes." Now more of Sean's exclusive interview with Howard Stern.
HANNITY: There's a big story about your daughter. And she was in this play, and she was naked. And she felt that you felt that they were using her name when they promised her they wouldn't do that. She was playing Madonna in a Kabbalah play or whatever?
STERN: My daughter's a great kid. She's starting an acting career. She was a graduate of NYU Tisch. And a talented, lovely, kid. And she got into a play. She has no problem with nudity. I don't have problems with nudity. It's OK.
HANNITY: If your daughter's a stripper, no problem?
STERN: Oh, stripper would be a big problem.
HANNITY: Why? You have strippers in your studio all the time.
STERN: Yes, but come on.
HANNITY: Why wouldn't you want your daughter to be a stripper?
STERN: You know, it's a funny thing about — I wouldn't want my daughter to be a stripper.
HANNITY: Why not?
STERN: Because I'd want something better for them than to be a stripper. I think stripping is a really tough life. I know enough strippers to know that most of them are unhappy. It's really sort of a sad life. You know? Why would I want my daughters to have a sad life?
I'm fascinated by strippers, not because they're naked. And I think people who listen to the show understand this. What's fascinating to me is how do you get into that life? How do you accept that life and live it normally? That's what's important to me. I want — I love to talk to people who live on the fringe. I'm amazed by it.
So with my daughter appearing in a show nude, that wasn't a problem for me. What the problem was, she got into an argument with the guy who either wrote or produced the show, where she had said to him, "I want to do your show. Don't single me out of the cast. Don't use me specifically when you video, and don't just highlight me. Treat me as a member of the cast."
He agreed, and then all of a sudden, she goes on his Web site when this show got bad reviews, and he's now, you know, using her name.
HANNITY: Using her.
STERN: So she objected to that and left the show. And then it turned into a whole big brouhaha.
HANNITY: Your daughters ever talked to you about your show? "Dad, what are you doing?" Or they have to — growing up, they had to explain their dad away? Was it hard?
STERN: It's very hard to be my kid. I think my daughters have handled it beautifully. But I don't think it would be an easy thing. I'm notorious. I'm wild man of the airwaves. I'm the guy who gets away with everything.
And when you're a young lady growing up on Long Island, I would imagine that there's an excitement to it. Your dad's, you know, every guy is like, "Hey, he's the man," and all that. But also, you have to sit there and say, gee, who is my dad? Is it the guy who's at home? Or is he the guy on the radio? And there's a lot of issues there.
STERN: So they haven't had it easy being my kids. But they've handled it beautifully.
STERN: I was a big Gerald Ford fan.
STERN: I liked Gerald Ford. I liked Ronald Reagan. I liked — I think Richard Nixon was one of the best presidents that we ever had. I think he got caught up with a bunch of thugs who worked around him who really, you know, did him in. I think, in a way, Bush, too, sort of gets led around by Cheney and that whole gang of his and some of these guys. And I think he really got sort of led into even the war in Iraq.
I think if Bush had to do it all over again, I don't think he'd do the war in Iraq. I think if he'd concentrate more, still today, on Afghanistan, we would have nailed Osama bin Laden by now. Because let's not forget, he is the guy who led the 9/11 attacks. We still don't have him. We haven't captured him. I think that Afghanistan would be more secure. I think that Iraq was probably a diversion.
HANNITY: Did 9/11 — because you're in New York, I'm in New York. That had to change you when you saw that.
STERN: Yes. I was furious.
STERN: Furious. I am still furious. I'm not some guy who didn't — I'm not going to lie to you. I was on the radio saying, "Let's just blow up the Middle East," I was so angry. I just — you know, why do any of our boys have to die? You know, I was just furious.
And I think what President Bush did right after the 9/11 attacks was great. I think he went into Afghanistan — he had the world on his side. And I think he made a decision — honestly, do you really think there's ever going to be a way out of Iraq?
HANNITY: I do.
STERN: It's been tried before in history.
HANNITY: Look, I don't know what's going to happen. Nobody's got a crystal ball.
HANNITY: But I don't think we could have risked — everybody said that he had weapons of mass destruction. Kerry said it, Kennedy said it, Hillary said it, Bill said it. Everyone said he had them.
I think, personally, that they moved them to Syria. He had a lot of time to prepare, sort of like 14 months to prepare for your departure. But I think the bottom line is, we couldn't risk those weapons that he had used before getting in the hands of the enemy and bringing it over to our shores. You know, they didn't get here.
STERN: What do you think about my idea — and I wasn't being facetious when I said it. Saddam is the only guy who can run that country. Let's put him back.
STERN: Let's give him a shave.
STERN: Put him in a suit. Maybe he's sorry.
HANNITY: What are going to do about the 300,000 dead bodies pulled out of a mass grave? You want him to go back to that?
STERN: All right, listen. We've got to get back...
HANNITY: Here you go.
STERN: Who the hell is going to run that place for us?
HANNITY: I'm thinking Stern, once you get your TV channel. And you've go the radio channel. Two channels.
STERN: It's not going to be Les Moonves, because this guy can't even run a radio division. We know he can't run Iraq.
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