Andy Card on Ellison's Heated Obama Confrontation

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," June 24, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Hey, we have 133 days away from November 4, election day. And on Friday Senator Barack Obama personally apologized to the two Muslim women who were moved out of camera view at one of his rallies.

FOX News has confirmed that, not only did Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison orchestrate the apology, but he scolded Barack Obama over the incident. Ellison confronted Obama at a Congressional Black Caucus meeting. And according to multiple sources, the exchange became so heated that the CBC chairwoman had to intervene.

Joining us now, former White House chief of staff, old friend of the program, Andy Card.

Andy, how are you?

Video: Watch the interview

ANDY CARD, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Terrific, Sean. Good to be you, and Alan.

HANNITY: Well, we appreciate it. Watch out for him, though.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Thanks for the warning.

HANNITY: But in fairness to our audience, how common is it that the campaigns get involved in — in other words, like right behind me you see the "H & C" over — no, that shoulder. OK. There we go. It's opposite on TV.

How often is it that you try and orchestrate what the TV audience will see behind a candidate?

CARD: It's pretty common. But having said that, I don't think it's appropriate to be too contrived. And my feeling is that maybe the Obama campaign is getting a little bit too contrived lately, and I think they've just got to let Barack Obama be Barack Obama.

HANNITY: You see, I actually agree with that, and there's all the evidence that is not the case.

Back in April, for example — to take away the woman with head scarves in this case, back in April, Jake Tapper reported that there were reports of saying, "We need more white people up here" on ABC News. Do you know the instances where it's gone that far in the past, anything you've ever heard like that?

CARD: Well, I hear rumors about it, but I don't know anything. All I can tell you is that there will be people that will try to be too cute by half, and sometimes that gets a campaign in trouble.

Really, I think that they should let the candidates be the candidates. There's plenty of distinction between Barack Obama and John McCain. I actually think that, when people look at the distinction on the merits and on the issues, they're going to pick John McCain. So let's let Barack Obama be Barack Obama.

HANNITY: All right. Let me ask you this. The Washington Post reported that he is going to reintroduce himself to the American people. The New York Times reported the day Michelle went on "The View," that she had a new speech writer, a new chief of staff, an orchestrated attempt to soften her image.

And I'm wondering from now until election day are we basically going to see both Barack and Michelle, you know, be controlled by their handlers? In other words, will we even have an opportunity to really get to know the candidate? Or is everything going to be scripted and phony?

CARD: Well, I hope everything will not be scripted. I definitely don't want it to be phony. But I am a little troubled that the Barack Obama that we saw during the Democratic primary process may not be the Barack Obama that they present to the voters in the general election.

COLMES: By the way, Andy, you know, isn't it true that during the Bush — when he was running for president in 2000 and 2004, did carefully controlled campaign events? Isn't that true?

CARD: We had well-scripted campaign events.


CARD: They weren't controlled.

COLMES: Well-scripted would be a nice way to put it.

CARD: Any presentation. Any presentation of a candidate you want to be in the best possible light.


CARD: But I don't think that we were trying to present George Bush as anything other than George Bush.

COLMES: What are they doing now with Barack Obama. But you'd like to spin it that way. The fact is, he actually appeared the next day at Wayne State University with Muslims wearing head scarves. He appeared in Seattle a month earlier with people wearing head scarves.

So this was a one-time event for which he apologized and it was...

CARD: Alan, you're making a bigger deal out of it — you're making a bigger deal out of it than I am. I'm not making a big deal out of it. I'm just telling you this appears it was a little too cute by half, and one member of Congress who had particular concerns was upset about it.

COLMES: He apologized. Wasn't that an honorable thing to do, to call the — apologized?

CARD: It was. I actually think Senator Obama handled it in the right way. And I was glad that he called the two people that evidently had been asked to move away from the camera.

COLMES: Right. But my point is, why should we be shocked to hear that somebody who's running now in a general election, as a different, you know, obviously a potential first lady gets a staff. There are different people around the candidate when there's a general campaign. It's run different than a primary campaign.

Barack Obama now has to be introduced to a broader electorate than he was as a primary candidate. Why should we be surprised by any of this?

CARD: I don't think anybody is surprised. We may be disappointed.

COLMES: Disappointed at what?

CARD: Well, I'd like to see Barack Obama be what he's been during the primary. And if he was not the real Barack Obama then and he's the real Barack Obama now, that was unfair to the Democrats.

COLMES: But you're suggesting that there's some kind of a difference between the person he is now and the person he was then. I'm suggesting that he's doing what every candidate does, which is introduce himself to an electorate that may not have been — especially like somebody like Barack Obama who hasn't been on the national scene as long as someone like John McCain who's been there since the earth cooled.

CARD: Some of his rhetoric has changed, and some...

HANNITY: The earth cooled. You want to apologize now?

COLMES: It was a little joke, Mr. Hannity.

HANNITY: I think you should apologize.

COLMES: I have no apology here.

HANNITY: Go ahead, Andy.

CARD: You know, we saw Barack Obama take some positions during the primary, and they've morphed into slightly different positions during the general elections.

I think that's disappointing, but it's really — this campaign should not be about the idiosyncrasies of a campaign structure. It really should be about the policy differences. They're real. John McCain has wisdom and experience, and he has a sound policy, and Barack Obama doesn't have any.

COLMES: For the record, I don't think it's — in all seriousness I don't think his age should be an issue because I hope to be that age some day.

HANNITY: The earth cooled. Why don't you just say you're sorry?

COLMES: Do you know what a joke is?

HANNITY: I'm sorry.

CARD: Ageism is not a very good thing to practice.

COLMES: I am not an ageist. I welcome him into the campaign at whatever age he is. Thank you very much, Andy, for being with us.

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