This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," August 14, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated
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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We've got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops that we are not just air raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there.
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JOHN KERRY, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They relived the absolute horror of what this country in a sense made them do. They told stories of times that they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan.
There is no reason that young American children need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, women.
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HANNITY: All right, so does that sound familiar? Joining us now to analyze all of this, we have the author of the brand new book "Obama: From Promise to Power." David Mendell is with us.
David, thank you for being with us. Would you agree with my assessment — starting with the YouTube debate and his willingness without preconditions to talk to people like Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong-Il — leading up to his willingness to bomb an ally, Pakistan, followed his statement that under no conditions we would use nuclear weapons. And now today, saying our troops are air raiding villages and killing civilians. Would you say he is making some political missteps here?
DAVID MENDELL, AUTHOR: I think he would like to have some of his comments back. I think he has been a little bit all over the place with his foreign policy. He is doing a lot of talking out there on the stump. This is something that he has not done before in a presidential campaign. So he seems to be making a few missteps with his speech.
HANNITY: Are these a few missteps, or is this going to kill his candidacy here?
MENDELL: I can't answer that question. The voters can answer that question. At the end of the day, it's going to depend whether —- there are five more months in this campaign until we get to Iowa. He will probably be competitive in Iowa. He has enough money to compete there.
Hillary, Senator Clinton, she has got five months to make some missteps. Certainly Senator Obama has had a couple of bad weeks here. But I don't think it will end his candidacy, no.
HANNITY: Well let me ask you this. I'm thinking here, if I'm a family member of a brave troop that's been serving in Iraq or Afghanistan and I hear one of the major presidential candidates accusing my son and his colleagues of air raiding villages and killing civilians — on top of a willingness to invade an ally against their will and sit down with Ahmadinejad, I am thinking that this guy does not have a clue and has no business running for president. Why I would conclude anything else?
MENDELL: Well, I'm not here to defend his candidacy or defend him. I'm an author of a book about him. I think his remarks probably he would have to take back. I think his campaign is probably — they're having conversations now as to how to try to come back from this.
BOB BECKEL, GUEST CO-HOST: OK, let me —- by the way, before I start asking my questions, are you sure you don't want to run the footage again for the fifth time?
OK, well if we're not, let me get to your book for a second. David you say in your book, quote, "Obama is an extraordinarily ambitious, competitive man with a persuasive charm and a career reached that seems to have no bounds."
Now that seems to be like a presidential candidate. I mean is that something that you're suggesting is in any way unusual?
MENDELL: No, I don't think so. He's an extremely ambitious man. He obviously jumped from the state Senate to this presidential contest in just a matter of three years. So he's the guy who really, really believes he should be in the White House, or it seems so.
BECKEL: You said in your book, at least you left the impression that he had planned this very early on. I mean the assumption was that when he ran, he said he was not going to run for president I believe, when he won in 2004. And yet did you not suggest that there was a plan in place to do exactly that?
MENDELL: I don't know if it was to run for president in 2008. It was certainly to put him at the highest political peak that he could reach in 2008. Whether that meant vice presidential selection or whether it meant running for president in 2008, I can't answer that.
I just know that they had this plan in place to keep his political stardom on the rise. And by the time it got to this year, if he was in a good shape, then he would run and that is what has happened.
BECKEL: Well you do say that he has dedicated — his message about the poor and the underprivileged, unlike any Republican presidential candidate, is something that is real. You believe that to be real about him?
MENDELL: I think he's genuine in that mission. I think that's why he got into politics and community organizing. I think he's genuine with that.
BECKEL: Governor Romney — I don't know if you hear him — he ducked an issue about when I asked him about the state paying for health insurance. He said the Democrats put that in the bill and of course, he signed it. So he didn't have to sign it if he didn't want it. But all of the sudden, he conveniently forgot it. Obama is a guy that in the state legislature, did cut a lot of deals, didn't he? He looked like a guy who understands the political game, if you would.
MENDELL: He understood the process. He got himself in a position to run for the U.S. Senate through the travel politics of Chicago, so he knew how to cut a deal in Springfield, Illinois, that's for sure.
BECKEL: OK, let me send this back to Sean. Go ahead, Sean.
HANNITY: We've got to break.
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