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Obama Campaign Defends William Ayers Relationship

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This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," October 7, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: So with us now is Senator Obama's communication director and senior spokesman, Robert Gibbs. I don't even want — I know you think he won. So there's not — not reason in asking you that.

All right. A lot of what came up tonight seem to be a rehash of what we discussed in the first debate. But going into the debate, the feeling was that, in light of recent comments by Governor Palin that we will be talking about William Ayers tonight.

Now let me ask you a question. How can you fight terrorism when you give speeches with, you sit on a board with, Axelrod says you're friendly with, and you never speak out against William Ayers?

ROBERT GIBBS, OBAMA COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: You see — you had it (INAUDIBLE) until...

Video: Watch Sean and Alan's interview with Robert Gibbs

HANNITY: Wait a minute. Wait, he did blurbed his book, you know?

GIBBS: No.

HANNITY: No, no. Barack Obama did blurb Ayers's book.

GIBBS: Listen to this, do you think — so you think he's guilty by association, right?

HANNITY: No, I would — I'm Sean Hannity, here's my answer. Would never sit on a board with a guy that bombed our Pentagon or our capital. And I want to know...

GIBBS: Can I ask you...

HANNITY: No, wait, wait.

Why does Barack Obama sit on a board with — why did he stay — knowing his past, why would did he be friends with him?

GIBBS: What William Ayers did was deplorable. And when he did it, Barack Obama was 8. And Barack Obama said it was a deplorable act.

HANNITY: Then why would he sit on a...

GIBBS: That's what he said...

HANNITY: Why would you sit on a board with — would you sit on a board that a guy that bombed the Pentagon and wasn't sorry about it?

GIBBS: He sat on a charitable board and a board funded by a conservative Republican and a friend of Ronald Reagan.

HANNITY: Was that poor judgment?

GIBBS: That was Walter Annenberg, I say that was.

HANNITY: Was that poor judgment on Obama's part?

GIBBS: I don't think that's poor judgment at all. I think what Barack Obama has done throughout his career is talk about the big issues that are important.

HANNITY: All right. You're giving me a spin now. I'm asking you...

GIBBS: No, no. Let me ask you one question.

HANNITY: All right, you ask me a question.

GIBBS: OK. Are you anti-Semitic?

HANNITY: Not at all.

GIBBS: OK. On your show on Sunday, you — the show that's named after you, right? The show or the centerpiece of that show was a guy named Andy Martin, right?

HANNITY: I know you're reading it your talking points...

GIBBS: No, no, no, no. I don't have a talking point.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: When I interviewed — hang on a second. I'll answer your question.

GIBBS: Let me do this. Let me do this.

HANNITY: When I interviewed Malik Shabbazz, when I interviewed Al Sharpton...

GIBBS: Right.

HANNITY: When I interviewed all these controversial figures — you see on FOX we actually interviewed people of all points of view whether we agree or disagree.

GIBBS: So...

HANNITY: I — the statement you're about to read...

GIBBS: Yes. Andy Martin called a judge a crooked clammy dude who has...

HANNITY: I totally, completely...

GIBBS: ... a history of lying and thieving coming...

HANNITY: His (INAUDIBLE) a few.

GIBBS: Martin went on to write that he understood better why the holocaust took place, given that Jew survivors are operating as a wolf pack of...

HANNITY: Here's my answer to you, I find those comments despicable. But wait a minute.

GIBBS: But you put him on your show.

HANNITY: We put Malik Shabbazz on the show?

GIBBS: It's the Hannity...

HANNITY: I put Khalid Mohammad on my show?

GIBBS: Why am I not to believe that you are anti-Semitic?

HANNITY: I put — let me...

GIBBS: Why am I not to believe that everybody who works for the network is anti-Semitic?

HANNITY: Here's the answer. Here's...

GIBBS: Because Sean Hannity...

HANNITY: Mr. Gibbs. Mr. Gibbs...

GIBBS: ... gave a platform to somebody who thinks that Jews are...

HANNITY: Mr. Gibbs, I'm a journalist who interviews people that I disagree with all the time that give their opinion. FOX has all points of view. We are allowing you on the program and I don't agree with hardly anything Obama says.

GIBBS: Well...

HANNITY: So here's my — no, I don't need an answer. No, no, I'm going to answer.

GIBBS: I won't — I really wish you wouldn't give a platform to virulent anti-Semites...

HANNITY: Here's - I will tell you this.

GIBBS: ... who said...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: I'll make a deal with you. If Barack Obama admits that what he did by sitting on a board with, giving speeches with, having Ayers, going over to Ayers's house...

GIBBS: You'll admit you're anti-Semitic?

HANNITY: No, no. I will admit to you that — I will tell you that Barack Obama wants to be president. It's poor judgment, it is irresponsible...

GIBBS: Well...

HANNITY: ... and it's reckless to be — let me finish.

GIBBS: No, OK.

HANNITY: ... to be friends with a guy that bombed our Pentagon, was at war with our country, whose motto was to kill our children and kill your parents.

GIBBS: I think it's deplorable that you have put somebody on TV that's anti-Semitic...

HANNITY: And it's deplorable that your candidate for president has not been honest with the American people.

GIBBS: ... and he calls the Jews slimy and understands the holocaust better...

HANNITY: I'm explain — let me finish first.

(CROSSTALK)

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: We're on a short time here.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: I'm explaining to you...

GIBBS: I can't believe you would give a platform...

HANNITY: So you don't want me to interview anyone I — only I can interview only people I agree with?

GIBBS: You put your whole show around him, Sean?

HANNITY: Barack Obama...

GIBBS: How am I to believe only that you agree with each and everything that Andy Martin said.

HANNITY: Barack Obama, the president sat in the pew of Jeremiah Wright for 20 years.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: I have one last question. Did Barack Obama ever sit and meet with Louis Farrakhan? Has he ever met with Louis Farrakhan?

GIBBS: I don't know the answer to that.

HANNITY: Will you give us an answer by tomorrow?

GIBBS: Will you get back to me on whether you're anti -Semitic? Or whether you agree...

HANNITY: I'm not anti-Semitic?

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: Now hold on.

HANNITY: The biggest supporter of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu blurred my thoughts.

GIBBS: Let me tell you...

COLMES: Hold on.

GIBBS: I don't your Jewish viewers are going to take it very well...

HANNITY: Excuse me. Excuse me.

GIBBS: ... if you put somebody like that on your show.

HANNITY: I am the biggest supporter of Israel.

GIBBS: I think it's bad that you gave him a platform.

HANNITY: And I've got a 30-year history of — on the record of it.

COLMES: Well...

GIBBS: Ask him (INAUDIBLE) friends about what Andy Martin said.

HANNITY: And listen, I'm not friend with a guy that bomb to the Pentagon. I'm not friends with the guy that bombed the capitol and New York...

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: Let me jump in here for a second, Robert.

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: Hold on, guys. Hold on.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Your candidate is friends with a terrorist.

COLMES: Hey, guys.

GIBBS: That's not true.

HANNITY: He sits on a board with a terrorist.

COLMES: Guys, guys, stop it. First of all, he is not anti-Semitic. He's not.

HANNITY: Thank you very much.

GIBBS: Well...

COLMES: He's not anti-Semitic. This game of guilt by association, I disagree with on all fronts. I will defend Sean against anti-Semitism. He's not anti-Semitic. But I also deplore this game of guilt by association.

GIBBS: Sure.

COLMES: The people that sat on this board were also Republicans.

GIBBS: Right.

COLMES: On one of the boards it was a former president of Northwestern University. Walter Annenberg was a Reagan ambassador...

GIBBS: Friend of Ronald Reagan.

COLMES: ... who gave his money.

GIBBS: Right.

COLMES: Who spent — you know so, I mean, this game of guilt by association is ridiculous. And by the way, the Republicans who want to keep putting this fourth — I'll you a chance to respond in a second.

GIBBS: Yes.

COLMES: It's not working, because Barack Obama, the trend is towards Obama. It hasn't worked. The stuff they flung at him, which is now the kitchen sink, is a desperation, desperate act by a desperate campaign.

GIBBS: Here's what I think, Alan — here's what — exactly. This campaign — the John McCain campaign has run out of ideas and they're running out of time.

COLMES: Yes.

GIBBS: I think they realized — the reason they didn't talk about that tonight is because they understand that after two or three days, that attack didn't work.

COLMES: Right.

GIBBS: People are concerned about the economy. They're worried about keeping their job and keeping their home. They'd rather talk about these big issues.

COLMES: Yes. So what I don't understand is, as a tactician, and you work as a tactician, to some regard in the Obama campaign, if you're not winning and things aren't going your way and the narrative you're doing isn't helping your wind, change the narrative.

This isn't helping. Palin — and McCain is allowing Palin to do this. She started doing this.

GIBBS: Well, look, I read in the newspaper, on Monday, the McCain campaign said, every time we talked about the economy, we lose. They don't want to talk about the economy.

COLMES: Right.

GIBBS: But everyday Americans are losing their jobs and their homes and their health care. The American people deserve a debate that focuses on the big issues.

COLMES: Rick Davis of the — of the McCain campaign said this isn't about the issue.

GIBBS: It's not even about issues.

COLMES: The campaign is not about issues. They don't want it to be about issues.

GIBBS: They never have and they never will.

COLMES: Thank you very much, Robert.

GIBBS: Thanks for having me.

COLMES: Appreciate your being here tonight.

GIBBS: Thank you.

HANNITY: Good to see you, Mr. Gibbs.

GIBBS: Thank you, Sean.

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