Published February 24, 2009
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 23, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM AYERS, FORMER WEATHER UNDERGROUND LEADER: I don't regret anything I did to oppose the war. Anything I did to oppose the war. Don't regret.
ALAN COLMES, HOST OF "THE ALAN COLMES SHOW": You wouldn't regret setting bomb at a police station or setting a bomb at the Pentagon or the capital?
AYERS: You know I don't look back on those things and regret them, but I'm willing to rethink it. And here's the way in which I'm willing to rethink it. Let's have — you host this. We'll have a big auditorium.
AYERS: And we'll bring into the auditorium, you, because you're old enough to have known, we'll bring you in, we'll bring me in, we'll bring John Kerry, Bob Kerry, John McCain, McNamara.
COLMES: You’ll get them all to show up?
AYERS: And we'll all show up, and then we'll all say what we did, and we'll take responsibility for it, and in that context when you weigh what I did against what Kissinger did, that's where we could have an honest conversation.
COLMES: Is Kissinger a terrorist?
AYERS: He conducted a war in terror in Vietnam without a doubt.
COLMES: You're certainly known notorious in some circles for your antiwar work years ago and here Obama just announced 17,000 troops into Afghanistan. Does that upset you?
AYERS: It's a mistake. It's a colossal mistake, and you know, we've seen this happen before, Alan. We've seen a hopeful presidency, Lyndon Johnson's presidency, burn up in the furnace of war. I fear that this brilliant young man, this hopeful new administration could easily burn their prospects of a great presidency in the war in Afghanistan or elsewhere.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: That was Bill Ayers talking with Alan Colmes about his role in the 1970s antiwar movement in which he participated in the bombings of, the U.S. capital, the Pentagon, New York City police headquarters.
And here to tell us more about his exclusive interview with Mr. Ayers, is my friend, former co-host — do you miss me?
COLMES: You are?
HANNITY: How are you — you know people say did you really give Alan that watch?
HANNITY: You don't even wear it.
COLMES: Well, on special occasions.
COLMES: This should qualify, shouldn't it? Thanks for having me back. I appreciate it.
HANNITY: Listen, it's great — and by the way, congrats — Alan is working on a lot of great things. And congratulations.
COLMES: In is one of them. I mean I'm able to bring you Bill Ayers. I couldn't have done that when I was your co-host probably. But you know — yes.
HANNITY: Let me — first of all, what were your initial impressions? Because you and I argued about this a lot.
COLMES: I told him he's one of the nicest terrorists I've ever met. He really is a very likeable guy. Well, he — we did the whole thing about, you know, these are obviously clips. We have an arc to the interview where I started off by saying, first of all, thanks for palling around with me, I guess I'll never be president, and he said no, actually, that works pretty well because Obama did become president.
COLMES: And we talked about the 17,000 troops for example. It's clear he is not an advocate of Obama's policies.
HANNITY: All right.
COLMES: The attempt to tie him to what Obama believes, and he's far to the left of Barack Obama.
HANNITY: I'm more interested in he's still unrepentant, Alan. I don't regret — you went into the issue and his justification, nobody was killed, but he bombed the Pentagon and the capital.
COLMES: We've been through all that. Yes.
HANNITY: But here's the point. He still denies — there were people that were injured at the New York City police headquarter building, there were — his fellow terrorists were killed and people could have died.
COLMES: People did not die in the events he says in which he was personally involved. And it's interesting to talk to him because when you talk to him — we got into this in the interview as well. We'll play the whole thing at some point on the channel, but he — there is a — I know this sounds crazy to you.
COLMES: But there is a moral code to how he went about doing what he did. And when he says we didn't do enough to end the war, he doesn't mean we didn't set enough bombs. What he means is none of the antiwar activists during Vietnam ended the war because the war continued in spite of what they did.
HANNITY: Wait, you said he doesn't mean we didn't set enough bombs.
COLMES: That's not what he was saying.
HANNITY: His quote is — I don't regret setting bombs.
HANNITY: I don't.
COLMES: What he said — he did. He said I don't regret anything I did in an attempt to end the war, but he denies he did anything that caused anybody physical harm, that they bombed property, and we're very careful not to bomb or hurt people.
HANNITY: All right. Let's show a little bit more...
COLMES: I'm not defending what he did. I'm telling you, though, what his story is.
HANNITY: I want people to be clear. You are not defending his actions.
COLMES: I am...
HANNITY: You don't agree with his actions. You've said that before.
COLMES: No, but I want to put it in proper perspective. And that's what he said.
HANNITY: But you don't agree with anything that he did.
COLMES: Well, I'm not — I'm a nonviolent person. I wouldn't have — I would never set bombs or something I would never approve of. I would denounce that.
HANNITY: Does that make me, you know, more of my views.
COLMES: Apparently, it didn't work, did it?
HANNITY: All right. Well, let me — let's go to SOT two here. You asked him a quote that I had brought up often in the debate.
COLMES: Yes. Right.
HANNITY: You know, kill all the rich people, break up their cars and apartments, and kill your parents, and here's his flimsy answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLMES: When you said at one point your philosophy was kill all the rich people, break up their cars and apartments, bring the revolution home, kill your parents, that's where it's at, was that a metaphor?
AYERS: Of course. It was a joke and it was an extreme statement by a 20-year-old, and it was kidding, and of course, it was taken even that way at the time. If you read "Fugitive Days" you'll see, not a manifesto, and not a history and not a — even an autobiography. What you'll see is a memoir, a literary memoir, I hope, of somebody — a kid like me finding himself in a place like this. But it's not a defense, but it does try to capture some of that irreverent kind of off-the-track lunacy.
COLMES: You never meant kill the parents. Kill the rich people.
AYERS: Absolutely not.
COLMES: People are going to take it that way.
AYERS: I don't think so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: You know, where am I missing the joke about killing your parents, killing rich people.
COLMES: Well, when he was young and irresponsible, he said things that were young and irresponsible.
HANNITY: But he said it was a joke.
COLMES: He said it was a joke, he was speaking metaphorically. It was — he didn't mean literally go kill your parents. He had a close relationship with his own parents, you know, for whom he worked as caretakers the last years of their lives.
HANNITY: We're friends. You used to be.
COLMES: It wasn’t about killing his parents.
HANNITY: You used to be a standup comic. Do you find anything funny in that statement?
COLMES: No, there's nothing funny about it. But again, you've got to go back to the time. You got to go back to the — what was happening during Vietnam. You can't take those kinds of things literally. You don't think he truly meant.
COLMES: ... go kill your parents.
HANNITY: I'm listening to your interview and he says it was a joke. I don't think there's anything funny about killing your parents or killing.
COLMES: I think he was talking in metaphor. He was a 20-year-old. Did you ever say anything when you were stupid when you were 20 years old? He said it was stupid.
HANNITY: Not kill my parents. Not kill the rich people.
COLMES: He also said we got into the — you know, that book "Prairie Fire" which was his manifesto.
HANNITY: Well, I got that.
COLMES: OK, you want to play it?
HANNITY: This is the one that he actually dedicated a page...
COLMES: And we got into that.
HANNITY: We actually — you remember I picked this up and one night you said to me where did you get that?
COLMES: I brought it to him. I was going to have him sign it for you but I figured you'd put it on eBay.
HANNITY: All right. All right. But — he dedicates the book to Sirhan Sirhan. Those who may not know...
COLMES: Among others. Yes.
HANNITY: Among others, that's true.
HANNITY: Who was responsible for the assassination of Robert Kennedy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLMES: You dedicate this to a number of people including Sirhan Sirhan.
AYERS: Well, that's not exactly right. But if you take a look at it.
COLMES: Well, it does say — yes, you'll see, well, it's got some notes in it, but you'll see Sirhan Sirhan.
COLMES: ... in the dedication page right there.
AYERS: To all prisoners in the U.S., and if I were writing it today, I'd have two million names on it.
AYERS: And that is because at that time I felt very strongly that the prisons were being used as a terrible instrument of social control, and today it's worse. 2.1 million of our fellow citizens are in prison. That's a huge waste of talent, money, energy, humanity. We should close them.
COLMES: Are you saying there are no people who deserve to be in prison?
AYERS: It's not a question of deserving to be in prison. What we need to do is focus on drug rehabilitation, treatment, psychological counseling, all kinds of things as alternatives to prison. Half of the people in prison are in prison for nonviolent crimes. The drug war has been a colossal mistake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: How did you feel about that answer?
COLMES: But I want to be clear. He went on to say that was stupid. We don't see that on the clip. He said — I said after that, but Sirhan Sirhan? He said yes, that was stupid.
HANNITY: But let me ask you this. You're a fan of Robert Kennedy because I...
COLMES: Yes, of course. But again, it's a — he was a stupid 20- year-old kid who did some — he wasn't stupid overall, but he did some stupid things which he acknowledged in this interview, including dedicating that book to Sirhan Sirhan.
HANNITY: You sound like you're making excuses for him.
COLMES: No, I'm putting in context what he said. You didn't see the part where he said, it was stupid that I did that.
HANNITY: All right, well, listen, thanks for bringing — I view him, Alan, as an unrepentant terrorist who think — who as a professor thinks he's come up with these clever and intellectual arguments that aren't so clever. And I think what he did was evil and he ought to repent.
COLMES: Well, I know what you think because I sat next to you for a few years.
HANNITY: Yes, I know. Thanks for coming. Congratulations.
COLMES: You look good like you don't have a (INAUDIBLE) to deal with on a nightly basis.
HANNITY: You abandoned me. What are you talking...
COLMES: You poor — I feel bad. Thanks for having me back.
COLMES: Thanks very much.
HANNITY: Really appreciate it. Thanks, Alan.
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