'Black Hawk Down' Vet Condemns Obama

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," July 29, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: HANNITY: Now Senator Obama continues to catch flack over his decision not to visit wounded soldiers in Germany.

Now our next guest is actually one of his bigger critics. Michael Durant, you may remember him as the former army helicopter pilot who was shot down in Somalia in the infamous black hawk down incident. And he says, the following.

"I have spent time at Ramstein recovering from wounds received in the service of my country, and I'm sure that Senator Obama could have made no better use of his time than to meet with our men and women in uniform there. That Barack Obama believes otherwise casts serious doubt on his judgment and it calls into question his priorities."

Joining us now in HANNITY & COLMES exclusive interview, retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Michael Durant.

Michael, welcome to the program. It's a great honor to have you, sir.


Video: Watch Sean Hannity and guest host Susan Estrich's interview with Michael Durant

HANNITY: I got to tell, one of the most horrific incidents that, I think, I've ever witnessed in my life is what you lived through with "Black Hawk Down" and one of the most challenging aspects showing how brave our military men and women are. So it's really an honor to have you here.

Tell us why you decided to speak out in this particular case, why this is important to you.

DURANT: Well, it concerns me. I think it would be one thing if this was not planned and it just wasn't on the agenda. I think where it becomes a concern is that it was originally scheduled, it was an intended stop, and it seemed as though the intent of the visit revealed that once the media was told that they would not be allowed to go in, campaign staff would not be allowed to go in, that the trip was canceled.

And you know, that's not really what.


DURANT: . sort of a visit ought to be about.

HANNITY: Well — and the thing is, he was able to go, as the Pentagon has pointed out here and there's been conflicting reports and conflicting excuses given by the Obama campaign — but he could have gone had he left behind his campaign staff and any chance for, quote, "a photo-op," and then when given what the rules are, which apply to everybody, he decided to work out rather than go see the troops.

What does that tell you about him?

DURANT: Well, absolutely. I mean it was a media opportunity, and when that didn't work out, he decided there were other things that he'd rather be doing, and I think it's very revealing.

It troubles me a lot because if he does aspire to be the commander in chief, one of the most important aspects is, you know, how he views the troops, how they view him.


DURANT: They're putting their lives on the line for us, for the commander in chief, and we've got to respect that.

HANNITY: It seems now — and I don't know how closely you follow the campaign — that everything is choreographed. We had an incident at Carnegie Mellon University where, you know, people are saying, well, there's not enough white people behind Senator Obama.

We had a woman — women that were removed because they had headscarves and they would have been in the camera shot.

It seems like, you know, everything along the trip that he was on was orchestrated, it's all about image-making.

Do you think, especially with the fawning media coverage, that he's gotten away with a lot more than any other candidate would get away with?

DURANT: There's no doubt about that, and it truly is all orchestrated, it is all, you know, designed and intended to capture those soundbites and get those images. And really that's not what visiting the troops is all about. Visiting the troops is about thanking them for their sacrifices and honoring, you know, what they have been accomplished, which has been an awful lot.

And I just think it's unfortunate that it had to play out this way.

SUSAN ESTRICH, GUEST CO-HOST: Hi, Mike. Thank you so much for coming in. My respect, as well, for your great heroism.

You and Sean talk about everything being choreographed and orchestrated, but I notice your comments are being put out by the McCain campaign.

Are you being choreographed and orchestrated?

DURANT: I'm a supporter of the McCain, in fact, I'm the vice-chair of the Alabama veterans in support of John McCain, and I believe strongly in him as a candidate.

I believe he has just a tremendous record as a senator, he would make a great president, and I'm here to do whatever I can, and when I see something like this occur, I feel it's my duty to share my opinion.

ESTRICH: Obviously, you have every right to your opinion, and I respect that, but, I mean, this looks to me as a former campaign manager like a campaign staff snafu. They were worried that it would be viewed as political if he went in the context of a political trip.

Is this really, do you think, the basis on which one should decide which candidate to support, who goes to a certain event?

DURANT: Well, we're not going to.

ESTRICH: As important as visiting troops is.

DURANT: We're not going to decide which candidate we're going to vote for based on any single event, but this, to me, is one of many that causes concern on my behalf.

ESTRICH: What are the others?

DURANT: I personally consider Senator Obama to be inexperienced. I am very concerned about his ideas regarding foreign policy. I'm very concerned about some of the things I've read lately with regard to how he views the Supreme Court and who he might nominate for justices, and, you know, how he feels that body should function and operate.

I'm concerned about his position on dealing with alternative fuel, drilling, all the things that were just talked about on the segment. There are lots of positions that he holds that are of great concern to me.

First and foremost, probably, the.

ESTRICH: Fair enough. I got to — I don't ever mean to cut you off, but they're counting me done.


HANNITY: Thank you, Michael.

ESTRICH: I'd rather be talking about those issues than this campaign (INAUDIBLE).

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