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Former Republican Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee on Rev. Wright; McCain's Future V.P. Pick

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," April 25, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Getting right to our top story tonight, just when you think he's gone, Jeremiah Wright is back in the news. He's defending himself in an interview with Bill Moyers and claiming that some of the quotes played on television were taken out of context. Now one of those quotes, the now famous "chicken coming home to roost" quote has been the subject of some debate today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REV. JEREMIAH WRIGHT, FORMER PASTOR, TRINITY UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST: We have supported state arrival against the Palestinians and black South Africans and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back into our own front yards! America's chickens are coming home to roost.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLMES: Over the course of the past few months it's been alleged that the sound bite played on television is unfair because it doesn't include Wright's disclaimer right afterwards that he was quoting of Ed Peck in an interview from September 15th, 2001 right here on the FOX News channel.

But "Hannity & Colmes" can report exclusively tonight that after reviewing the Peck interview Peck never used the phrase "chickens coming home to roost" and that Wright went further in criticizing U.S. policy than Peck did in his interview on FOX.

So if Peck didn't say what Wright insinuates, are the ideas expressed in the sermon really Wright's or were they therefore taken out of context?

Joining us now former Presidential candidate and Governor, Mike Huckabee.

GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE, FMR. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: Welcome back, Governor, to "Hannity & Colmes."

Thank you, very much, Alan. Great to be with you.

Watch Part 1 of our interview with former GOP Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee

Watch Part 2 of our interview with former GOP Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee

COLMES: Let me first ask you on this. Does any of this really have anything to do with Barack Obama's qualification to be president?

HUCKABEE: Well, it's certainly a distraction that Obama doesn't need. But you know, I would suggest that Reverend Wright isn't Obama's biggest problem. I think Obama has become his own big problem with the comment that he made in San Francisco about the bitterness of people in small-town America and their clinging to guns and God. He might want to make sure Reverend Wright stays in the news to be able to be able to keep some of the attention off of his own comments which are far more damaging to him if the long run.

COLMES: Right. But the point is the Wright story is a big story, today. You've said that it would be presumptuous to say that because a preacher says something in the pulpit that the people in the pew agree with it. That's your position, right?

HUCKABEE: Well, Alan, you know, let's face it. The preacher says every week you ought to give 10 percent of your income, you ought to forgive the people that have messed you around, you ought to come to church each week. Does everybody do that who heard those things? Probably not.

But let's face it. What Rev. Wright says is indefensible, borders on irrational, I've said that you have to cut him the slack of understanding there's a lot of pain and maybe some deep, bitter things in his life from the past but let's be real clear. We didn't get attacked on September 11th about "chickens coming home to roost," it was about some cowardly terrorist who rather than create an army and challenge our army, instead slash the throats of flight attendants, took over cockpits, flew airplanes into buildings...

COLMES: Right.

HUCKABEE: ...where people had gone to work. Now that is a cowardly hideous act of cold-blooded murder.

COLMES: I agree with you and everything you said.

HUCKABEE: Well, I just want to make sure that nobody can defend what Reverend Wright said.

COLMES: Well, let me point out that when you have Reverend Falwell and Reverend Robertson saying it's the ACLU and it's the abortionists and blamed a bunch of liberal groups and — aren't they in effect saying when they said just a few days afterwards very much what I just said, isn't that basically saying the chickens coming home to roost and blaming American sectors of the population for the very same thing?

Michael Scheuer, head of the Bin Laden unit at the CIA, says it's not because of who we are because of what we do, because of our foreign policy that brought this upon us. Isn't that saying "the chickens coming home to roost?"

HUCKABEE: You know, Alan, when people like Pat Robertson said what he did he had several layers of his skin taken off and ended up having to apologize and publicly say, I didn't really mean it that way. I think it would go a long way for Reverend Wright, instead of trying to defend himself or blame somebody else for the comments he made he ought to just say, you know, looking back those were very inflammatory, intemperate remarks that really were inappropriate. They were over the top. I apologize for them.

And I think that's the best way this can go away. Doesn't sound like to me that he has any sense of something that most ministers preach and that's a little bit of repentance which means you turn it around.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Repentance from the Latin, to "change one's heart."

Do you believe Barack Obama when he says he didn't know where the reverend was coming from especially in light of the fact that he had disinvited him to his [presidential] announcement back when he first announced he was running for president?

HUCKABEE: You have to wonder why there was seeming disconnect, but you know, maybe it's that Barack is like a lot of people who show up for church on Sunday, they slept through it. Now.

HANNITY: Not through your sermons.

(LAUGHTER)

HUCKABEE: Well, of course not. But, you know, how do you sleep through a sermon like that? I don't know. But if I were Obama, I think that's what I'd come out and say. That was one where I was up that late the night before and I'm sure he said that stuff but I think I was sound asleep that day in church.

HANNITY: Well, apparently for 20 years, though.

You know, maybe this is the conspiracy side of me, Governor, and that is that, why am I thinking that, you know, I saw the tone of Reverend Wright on the Bill Moyers show, very different from what we see in the pulpit, there is a side of Sean Hannity that thinks, well, maybe this is a part of a political strategy to put him out there as much as possible to sort of, you know, saturate the market with him now, to show a different side of him, to make people doubt what they hear. You think this may be a political strategy?

HUCKABEE: Well, if it is, it's not a very smart one, because every time he comes on with a mild manner, just remember somebody is going to be showing us those videotapes of him saying, not "God bless America," but God, hmm, America. And we're going to see it over and over again through November.

The best thing he can do is to come out and disavow it and say that, again, what he said was inappropriate, it was wrong, it was senseless, it was insensitive to the people who were murdered September 11th and I want to use that word purposefully, they were murdered. These were not military soldiers in the midst of a war. These were innocent citizens and to blame anybody other than the criminal thug terrorist who did that is absolutely beyond the pale.

HANNITY: All right. Governor, you're questioning the honesty about what he is saying to the American people that he didn't know about this, but then it becomes an issue of judgment, the judgment, William Ayers, the unrepentant terrorist and the fact that he has a friendly relationship with him. Are we dealing with issues that Barack Obama is showing poor judgment for somebody that wants to be president?

HUCKABEE: One of the things that will be, I'm sure, raised against Obama over the next few months is going to, does this demonstrate a pattern? If it were a one-time or even a one type of situation, he probably could skate past it. But what you've just mentioned, really, is the cumulative effect of several different relationships that really are questionable and that kind of thing at a political campaign, the cumulative effect is what kills you.

It's the death of a thousand cuts. Rarely does a political candidate die because he gets his head chopped off with one fatal blow. It happens because there's just a little bit of bleeding each day, cut after cut after cut. And in some cases we've seen it here lately with the San Francisco speech...

HANNITY: Yes.

HUCKABEE: ...they were self-inflicted wounds on the part of Obama.

HANNITY: Well, and then Michelle Obama's comments that America is a mean country in 2008, I've never been proud of my country, so an entirely new narrative has emerged.

But stay right there, Governor. We'll have more of Mike Huckabee coming up right after break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: The Obama campaign took the focus off Hillary Clinton today and fired a shot in John McCain's direction. Top advisors allege that Senator McCain is using an unwanted Obama endorsement to smear the Illinois senator. This coming after off a top Hamas official praised Barack Obama. A campaign spokesman said today that, "We want to take Senator McCain at his word that he wants to run a respectful campaign, but that is becoming increasingly difficult when he continually tries to use the politics of association and makes claims that he knows not to be true to advance his campaign."

Now we continue now with former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

You know, I'm finding this amazing if John McCain brings up either Bill Ayers or the fact that he wouldn't criticize Jimmy Carter, they attack McCain.

Do you think that's fair?

HUCKABEE: No. You know, it's ridiculous. Senator McCain was here in Little Rock today. I was with him when he made the comments. He simply stated what was an indisputable fact, that leader of Hamas in America said we'd like to see Obama elected president. That's what the guy said.

Senator McCain simply recognized that that was a statement of fact. He didn't try to editorialize on it. You know what? He didn't have to. The fact that the leader of Hamas in the United States wants Obama to be elected president is a significant news story. And McCain did nothing other than point out what had been said by somebody else. If there's anybody that ought to be tamping it down, it ought to be the guy from Hamas.

HANNITY: Well, let me ask you this. I want to run this ad. This is the North Carolina ad that John McCain has been critical of. Let's run this ad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: For 20 years Barack Obama sat in his pew listening to his pastor.

REV. JEREMIAH WRIGHT: And then wants us to sing "God Bless America." No, no, no. Not God bless America, God [beep] America.

ANNOUNCER: Now Beth Perdue and Richard Moore endorse Barack Obama. They should know better. He' s just too extreme for North Carolina.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Now I've got to tell you something, Governor, Republicans are furious at Senator McCain that he's critical of that ad, that he was critical of the president when he was in New Orleans. Why would he be critical of that ad?

HUCKABEE: Well, I think he's trying to run a campaign that's focused on the significant difference between his position on taxes, on spending, on dealing with terror, and those of the Democrats, either Hillary or Obama. He doesn't want to get distracted into what Obama's preacher said a few years ago. That's going to be something the 527's are going to do.

HANNITY: But wait a minute. He's attacking — he's bringing up the Hamas issue.

HUCKABEE: Sure.

HANNITY: He's bringing up the Bill Ayers issue. North Carolina is bringing up the Jeremiah Wright issue. He attacks them for bringing up an issue they view as important. I've got to tell you something, I think it's a big mistake if he's going to dump on Republicans that have a different strategy than him.

HUCKABEE: Well, I think what Senator McCain is trying to do is focus on the fact he's not running against Reverend Wright, he's running against Obama. Obama has said enough things, there's enough stuff about what Obama has done, what he has said and I think that's where the senator wants to focus his campaign.

COLMES: Sounds to me, Governor, that the — that Senator McCain is being selective in his choice of when it's OK to play the guilt by association game and when it isn't. He doesn't like the North Carolina ad but he's willing to associate Obama as if he had anything to do with the guy from Hamas endorsing him, as if that somehow reflects on the views of Obama.

He's willing to play the Ayers card but he's upset at North Carolina. So he's been pretty selective about when it's OK to do that and when it isn't.

HUCKABEE: Well, Alan, I have to take issue with you, I don't think that's what the senator is doing at all. I think what he's simply doing is stating that when the leader in America of Hamas says he'd rather have Obama, that's a significant indication that they know that with Obama's willingness to sit down and have a little chat and a tea party with a terrorist, that's just what they'd love to have.

Jimmy Carter went over there and had a confab with them...

COLMES: Well, Hamas was elected, though. Jimmy Carter.

(CROSSTALK)

HUCKABEE: They're a terrorist organization, Alan.

COLMES: But they were elected by the Palestinian people to represent them. Do we not believe in democracy and we're not going to talk to elected officials that are elected by people?

HUCKABEE: What we believe in is that this is a terrorist organization by our own government's definition.

COLMES: Were they elected?

HUCKABEE: Elected, sure, but elected still doesn't make them anything less than a terrorist. When you murder people and kill innocent children and bomb up neighborhoods, I don't care whether you were elected to do that or not.

COLMES: Right, but...

HUCKABEE: You're still a terrorist.

COLMES: But we promoted the idea of a democracy where people could actually vote for their representatives and they didn't vote the way we wanted them to but nevertheless they voted, and now we want to ignore the will of the people and not have any dialogue with them, and...

HUCKABEE: No, wait, we don't want to ignore what they're doing, Alan. We will accept that they voted for some thugs to run their government but we're not going to accept that what they're doing is acceptable because when you murder people in the name of a cause and you commit acts of unmitigated terror, I don't care whether that's an elected government or a dictatorship, we still have a responsibility to call it out.

COLMES: You're trying to tie Obama to that as if he somehow reflects the views of Hamas when John McCain is also on record as having said he couldn't control who endorses him. He ought to apply that same standard to Barack Obama who can't control who endorses Obama.

HUCKABEE: Well, I can tell you this, Republicans across America certainly will make note of the fact that when it comes down to Hamas' choice, they pick Obama. I think most of America says, hmm, must be a reason we shouldn't be voting for somebody.

COLMES: But Obama doesn't think — in fact Obama denounced Jimmy Carter going to talking to them, by the way. He was against that, but...

HUCKABEE: Good for him.

COLMES: We.

HUCKABEE: He needed to do something right because he's had a really bad week and he needed a plus. Maybe he'll denounce Reverend Wright and Hamas.

COLMES: He did denounce his comments and he did denounce Hamas.

HUCKABEE: Maybe he'll even denounce you, Alan. That would be a real big...

HANNITY: I think it's more likely he'll denounce me.

COLMES: Why don't you denounce me, Governor, while you have the opportunity? Feel free to denounce me while you're on the show.

HUCKABEE: Oh Alan, I love you too much.

HANNITY: Can I do it?

HUCKABEE: I would never do that for you.

COLMES: You've been doing it 11 years.

HANNITY: Oh I...

COLMES: Thank you very much, Governor. Thanks for being with us.

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