This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," May 3, 2007.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Our top story tonight. Time magazine is showing its true colors. Now, it released today its annual list of the most influential people in the world, and the leader of the free world is not on it. Now, the fact that Time magazine holds the president in such low regard shouldn't come as a shock, but what is surprising is who did make the list.
Now, apparently Usama bin Laden is more influential than George W. Bush. So is talk show host and all-around big mouth Rosie O'Donnell. Throughout this segment now, we're going to show you the faces of the people that Time magazine believes are more influential than our president.
Joining us now is Senator Rick Santorum and from National Public Radio, Juan Williams — both are FOX News contributors.
All right, Juan, you can't even explain in reasonable detail, why is Usama bin Laden there and not George Bush? Can you explain that to us?
JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Sure. I mean, goodness gracious, Sean, Usama bin Laden is driving so much of what we know as the War on Tterror. He is the icon. I don't know if he's really anymore the mastermind, but he's the man behind Al Qaeda. And he's the one that so many hold up as the ideological leader...
HANNITY: And George Bush fighting back isn't that important? And yet we have Tina Fey, let's see, Brad Pitt is really important, Rosie O'Donnell. Kate Moss, I'm sure she's really more important, in terms of influence, than the president of the United States is while we're in the middle of a war. Is that your position on that?
WILLIAMS: Well, my position is you're mixing apples and oranges. Those are cultural icons. And I'm sad to say, Kate Moss is a sort of role model for too many young women, and I don't think she's a very good role model, but, you know, how beauty is held up in a society.
So I understand why they're on the list. I think you're right, though. If your point is, why isn't George Bush on the list? Now, George Bush, in terms of his ability to persuade people, in terms of his ability to even persuade members of his own party, is at low ebb, but he still is the leader of the United States.
HANNITY: Senator Santorum, do you agree with all that, sir?
RICK SANTORUM, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I agree that Time magazine is biased. I agree Time magazine has clearly shown that they have gone off the deep end in the Bush-hating crowd and that it not only disrespects this president, it disrespects the presidency.
The fact of the matter is, the president of the United States, I don't care who's in that office, is the most powerful man on the face of the Earth and has more influence over various aspects of lives, not just in this country, but around the world. And for Time magazine to dismiss that just shows you how biased and, I would argue, hateful they are.
HANNITY: But you know something, Juan Williams? They did include Democratic politicians: We do have Hillary Clinton here. We do have Fidel Castro's brother on this particular list. We do have Nancy Pelosi on this list. We do have Barack Obama on this list.
So it seems to me that we might as well just be honest about it, is the mainstream media and Time, with this list, has a bias against this president. Otherwise, he has to make the list. This is the most influential war we have going on worldwide. He's in the middle of it. So you can admit that, putting aside Kate Moss, that, if they have those politicians, they should have had him, right, in this case?
WILLIAMS: No. Because, look, at the moment, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, people are enthused, people are encouraged by the sight of them. I think people want to know what they have to say...
HANNITY: And they're not encouraged by George Bush? Come on.
WILLIAMS: Look at the numbers, Sean. Just look at the facts. If you talk about bias, you're being biased.
HANNITY: You're saying the president of the United States is not one of the world's most influential people at this time? You actually agree with that decision, is that what I'm hearing you say?
WILLIAMS: Exactly, but there's a difference between influential and powerful. George W. Bush is without a question maybe the most powerful person in the world, because he's the president of the United States.
HANNITY: So then why didn't he make the list? That's the point.
WILLIAMS: No, hey, wait a second. You said "influential."
HANNITY: Well, he is influential. He's influencing the impact of what the future of the world is going to look like here, Juan. He's leading this War on Terror. If Usama bin Laden is going to be on it, if all his political opponents are going to be on it, if Leo DiCaprio is going to be on it, for crying out loud, then why isn't the president on it?
WILLIAMS: Well, look, we can talk about celebrities, but if you talk about influence, President Bush can't influence other Western democracies to join him that War on Terror. He's isolated in that sense.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: By the way, Rick and Juan, good to have you back on the show. Rick, look, the editor of Time magazine, Richard Stengel, makes the point that they're not looking for the most powerful. They're looking for the most influential. It's not a hot list, he says, although I've got to admit, I'm not sure that I can separate powerful and influential.
SANTORUM: That's splitting hairs. Look, this shows how the mainstream media and the left looks at things. It's all sort of this emotional thing. I mean...
COLMES: These are voted for by readers, though. It's not the left or the mainstream media. This is a survey of people who read the magazine and go the Web site.
SANTORUM: Well, and who reads that magazine is obviously folks who are in the center and left in America. I mean...
COLMES: You don't know that.
SANTORUM: But that's who their readership is, just like most of the mainstream media. It's who watches CNN and who watches FOX. You can delineate that very, very clearly and they do those kind of studies. But Juan hits the nail on the head, where he says that Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama make people excited and it's emotional. It's all about emotion.
COLMES: Well, that influences people. That's what's influential.
SANTORUM: It's not about what he's actually doing, what the facts are. Factually, the president is an enormously influential person, and for them to ignore that because of their emotional attachment is wrong.
COLMES: Juan, you know, first, Senator Santorum wants to attack the magazine. Then he wants to attack the readers of the magazine, because he doesn't like what the readers are saying. And that's the difference between influential and powerful. The president is, without a doubt, perhaps the most powerful icon in the world, but, in terms of influence, we have cultural influences and we have political influences, and the people who are looking to be the next in power, perhaps, are the ones who are rising up and coming to be influential in the United States and the world right now.
WILLIAMS: Right. So the whole question is, are people listening to you? Do you help to shape American fashion, American economy, American politics? And at the moment, what you see among even the Republicans is they're running away from George W. Bush.
COLMES: One of the things, Senator Santorum, the Quinnipiac poll out today, for example, Americans and voters disapprove 60 percent to 35 percent of the president. He's got a very low job approval ratings compared to other presidents at this point in their term. That's not particularly influential, if you're rating that low with the American public.
SANTORUM: I guess you guys just missed the last vote in Congress when the House of Representatives stood up and sustained the president's veto with almost every single Republican joining the president. No one was running away from the president on an issue that is an unpopular...
COLMES: That doesn't reflect the country.
SANTORUM: The question is, Juan just said even his own party is running away from him. My point is, no, on issues where we understand the important significance of standing up and fighting radical Islamic fascism, we're joining this president. We're not necessarily joining everything he does, but we need to fight this battle, and we need to give the troops what they need. And we don't need a timeline.
WILLIAMS: Senator Santorum makes a good point, but here's the point, Senator: It's not just about the war in Iraq. If you go back to the 2006 election, what did you see? Republican candidates refusing to even campaign with President Bush, finding themselves in different parts of the states when he would come to visit.
HANNITY: All right, we're going to pick up this debate in just a moment.
COLMES: Welcome back to "Hannity & Colmes." We now continue with former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and NPR senior correspondent Juan Williams. Both are FOX News contributors.
You know, Juan, I'd make the argument — liberals are going to — I'm talking about influential versus powerful. And Sean and I were talking during the break. I think someone, for example...
HANNITY: Which is a rarity, by the way.
COLMES: What's that?
HANNITY: I'm kidding.
COLMES: It's the first time we've spoken in years, by the way. And I would say that somebody like Hannity, who's on 500-plus radio stations, talks to millions of people every single week, may be more influential than a lot of people, like politicians, at a distance. Rush Limbaugh, who has, what, 15 million, 16 million listeners a week...
HANNITY: Twenty million.
COLMES: Twenty million, OK. But who's counting? That's influence, wouldn't you say? That's not power like the president, but it's influence. Go ahead.
WILLIAMS: Hey, Homer Simpson is tremendously influential, you know. I mean, you listen to — I don't know who's more influential, you know, Sean or Homer Simpson, but these are big guys in any American household. You stop and you look at people like on "American Idol," those people have tremendous influence. Can President Bush go out there and do what they're doing? I don't think so.
COLMES: Also, Senator Santorum, you know, long after President Bush is out of office, Usama bin Laden's influence will be felt. He will still probably be spearheading the War on Terror. His influence and his visage, as we see right there, is what is driving us to continue what has been started under the Bush administration, which will continue after Bush is out of office.
SANTORUM: Well, obviously, the president has had tremendous influence in this country. He's had influence with his tax policy, to create the growth in this economy that we've seen. He's had influence on health care to create the Medicare prescription drug plan that's going to be there long after he leaves office, with No Child Left Behind, and of course, with this war, the Bush doctrine, which he put in place, has had great influence on the direction of this country and will long after he leaves office.
COLMES: But bin Laden will still be in force and probably in power when Bush is not in power. But let me ask you about this. Nancy Pelosi is on the list. Who wrote about how influential and historic a figure she is? Newt Gingrich, who will be on our show later tonight. So this is Newt Gingrich basically, in a sense, telling you how Nancy Pelosi is influential, not President Bush.
SANTORUM: Well, I think Newt would not argue that Nancy Pelosi is influential — and she certainly is, she's speaker of the House, first woman. That obviously brings a lot of cache. But I think Newt would also argue that the president still has a tremendous amount of influence, not only in this city, but around the world, and in foreign capitals all over the world.
COLMES: You're saying, Juan Williams, some of the people who are on the list, the question is, do we look to politicians to influence us, or is it religious leaders, like the pope who we saw? And we're looking at people now who may have an effect, more influence on our day-to-day lives than a president actually does.
WILLIAMS: I don't think there's any question. You know, you look at the surveys about the young people reading the paper. They're just not there. They're looking to people like the pope, in some cases, Billy Graham, as a religious leader. They're looking to the rock stars, the models, the people they see on TV and the movies.
Sad to say, but those are highly influential people, even down to whether they smoke cigarettes on TV, whether they curse, a lot of their attitudes towards women. I'm sad to say, those are influential people in this sometimes very sordid culture.
HANNITY: All right. Juan, let me ask you a very simple — Michael Bloomberg. This is what the list is, "The World's Most Influential People" — that's what the title of this is. If you had to make an opinion, let's go down the list a little bit. Usama bin Laden or George Bush, who's more worthy to be on that list, in your view?
WILLIAMS: Usama bin Laden.
HANNITY: Usama bin Laden?
WILLIAMS: You asked me about influence, right?
SANTORUM: They both should be on the list. They both should be on the list.
HANNITY: See, I would agree with Rick. What about Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who's the mayor of one city, New York City, is he more influential than George Bush, Juan, in your view?
WILLIAMS: I think, without a doubt, Bloomberg, not only in terms of controlling Bloomberg, the company, the data company and all that, but, in fact, as mayor of the biggest city in the country, he has tremendous influence and, in fact, he may be a presidential candidate.
HANNITY: Do you think Raul Castro right now is more influential than George Bush? He's on the list, the brother of Fidel. Do you believe that?
WILLIAMS: I don't. I don't believe that one. I have to break off there. It's not me. I don't agree with that one at all.
HANNITY: I guess what I'm feeling, Senator Santorum, is I just — it seems like this anti-Bush fanaticism is so — they're so fixated on it, is that they're looking for any shot they can take against the president. Am I wrong in interpreting that way?
SANTORUM: No, I used the term hate-filled earlier. It's exactly what it is. These people are so full of really — you know, they just despise this man. And so this is a deliberate slap by Time magazine, not its readers. Its readers didn't cull this list down to 100 people. The people at Time culled this down.
Yes, I'm sure that — in fact, I think the editor of Time magazine said he was on the list of 1,000 that the readers sent in, but they exited him early in the process. My feeling is that this is typical of the — again, taking something that is emotional and turning it into — I mean, excuse me, political, and turning it into a personal animus, and that's what's reflected in this list.
COLMES: He wasn't in the top 100, according to the readers. Look, that's — we thank you both very much. We're not going to agree on this one. Thank you both very much for being with us.
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