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Hannity

Kerry Campaign Tries to Switch the Subject

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," Sept. 9, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: But first, our top story tonight, more Vietnam vets have come forward saying that John Kerry's words were used against them while they were POWs in Vietnam.

The Kerry campaign is trying desperately now to change the subject but does the anger by men who feel that they were betrayed by one of their own just run too deep?

Joining us now, former House majority leader, co-chair of the FreedomWorks.org Foundation, Dick Armey, and also, former vice presidential nominee and Fox News political analyst, Geraldine Ferraro.

Dick, let me begin with you. Part of the news that's breaking tonight. We heard about these latest, quote, "documents." We know the AP and ABC News among them are reporting that the son of the man who wrote the documents is questioning the authenticity of them.

Similarly, we have discovered a lot. Ben Barnes' daughter, this guy who was featured on "60 Minutes" last night, calling her dad a liar.

And we find out that not only that, he is the vice chair of the Kerry campaign, who's raised $100,000 for Kerry. And it was only four years ago that he said under oath that everything that he's saying now, back then he contradicted himself four years ago.

So all of this news we had is now — all come into question here.

DICK ARMEY, CO-CHAIR, FREEDOMWORKS.ORG FOUNDATION: Well, let me just say if Ben Barnes' daughter calls him a liar, she would be taking a majority point of view from Texans who know Ben Barnes. So the fact of the matter is, he is not credible.

But I don't think these attacks from either side, on either candidate relative to where were you during the war are making a difference.

The one attack that I think is hurting and hurting badly is the attack and the question, concern about what did Kerry do after he left the service, one, in his denial of the other members of our mission in Vietnam.

And, two, the fact that he was 20 years in the Senate and has absolutely no record of accomplishment to show for it leaves a great big old blank hole. So your last impression of John Kerry doing anything is looking more and more like a betrayal of his fellow servicemen.

HANNITY: All right. Let me go to Geraldine Ferraro about this.

Now, it seems that John Kerry has got the media to do his bidding. They've got "The Today Show," in spite of Kitty Kelly's big source denouncing, saying it's not true with this book coming out, they're going to put him on for three days and running, we're told.

We've got Dan Rather now, bringing into question things he put on the air last night. That's going to develop. We'll talk more about that.

More importantly, Kerry's fight is with his fellow Vietnam vets. Here's my question to you. He accused them of atrocities. Should he — hang on. Should he apologize for that? Should he apologize for the atrocities he admits he committed? And should he tell us and explain to the American people why he admits he burned down innocent villagers' huts?

GERALDINE FERRARO, FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me just say several things on this.

No. 1, it was because the John Kerrys of this world who came back from Vietnam and really revealed the atrocity that was going on, what was wrong with that war, that that war was brought to a conclusion when it was. Because if not, then we would have lost a heck of a lot more men than the 52,000 who died during that time.

HANNITY: Geraldine Ferraro, you did not answer. Should he apologize?

FERRARO: No. And let me finish the second thing. A lot of those guys who were there did participate in some of these atrocities.

HANNITY: He said he did.

FERRARO: Well, and to hear Bob Kerrey, too, you've got a few people who have told the truth about what occurred. Do you recall — have you read in your history book about the My Lai massacre? Do you have any idea what was going on there?

HANNITY: Hang on a second.

FERRARO: No, let me ask you a question.

HANNITY: Geraldine — Geraldine, wait a minute. I've given you a minute here, and you haven't answered my question.

FERRARO: Well, I am.

HANNITY: John Kerry...

FERRARO: No.

HANNITY: Wait a minute.

FERRARO: No.

HANNITY: He admitted...

FERRARO: He came back and he...

HANNITY: Gerry, let me get the question out.

FERRARO: You asked me.

HANNITY: He admitted he committed atrocities. He admitted it.

FERRARO: But he did not.

HANNITY: I'll read it to you: "I committed atrocities."

FERRARO: He did not admit he committed atrocities.

HANNITY: He admitted he burned down villages. I've played the tape 50 times. Should he explain this to the American people?

FERRARO: And he has.

HANNITY: He couldn't be a prison guard at Abu Ghraib.

FERRARO: That's what he appeared before the Senate in '72, '73, whenever it was he came back. He went there and said, "This is what's going on; you've got to stop it."

And when they stopped it finally, we ended up pulling ourselves out of Vietnam.

I have to tell you. You tell me one other senator who went there and went after the MIA's? There was one other senator who tried to...

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Some of his legislation was in fact the POW legislation. So some of the legislation he accomplished...

FERRARO: Exactly. Tell me who else has done that?

COLMES: Let me go — let me go back through...

FERRARO: What other senator in the United States in association with John Kerry?

COLMES: Quick, this is actually an outrage, how Republicans are once again sliming anybody who speaks up, anybody who's got a different point of view than George W. Bush.

They put out this issue, this directive on who is Ben Barnes about whom you were speaking just a moment ago, who came forward on "60 Minutes" last night.

And they accused him of being a deep — deep-pocketed Kerry partisan and they accused him of being — shoveling money to somebody illegally. They accused him of being a lawbreaker and a bunch of other things.

Does anybody who speaks up have to worry about getting smeared by Republicans? Is that the way it's going to work?

ARMEY: Alan — Alan, I think we need to be fair about this. If you are — if you're from Texas and if you know Ben Barnes, one — first of all, you know this is a completely incredible guy. He — he's been into everything under the sun.

But here — here is a very partisan Democrat attorney general who now is telling us that he made special favors for a Republican of such promise as George Herbert Walker Bush?

The fact of the matter is Ben Barnes is simply not credible. Everybody in Texas will tell you this guy just can't be believed on any subject at any time.

FERRARO: Let me tell you. I know — I know Ben Barnes, too.

ARMEY: Any person in Texas that he says that it was raining and they're standing up to their knees in the water, they won't believe him.

COLMES: This is — this is a partisan attack. He was a speaker of the House in Texas, lieutenant governor...

FERRARO: That's exactly right. This man was elected by Texans. Are you saying that all those majority of Texans who elected him to office are stupid?

ARMEY: No, I'm saying — I'm saying...

FERRARO: Do they not know who Ben Barnes is...

ARMEY: Once they found out.

FERRARO: Come on, Dick. You and I know that in a bipartisan way, when we were in the Congress, if somebody came to us from our district and said, "Gee, I need help."

And it was somebody who was with of influence, if it was one of our colleagues, we would do it for their kid.

ARMEY: no, we wouldn't.

FERRARO: And that's what Ben Barnes did — don't tell me you wouldn't do it. We all did it when we were in Congress. Don't hand me that.

COLMES: Geraldine, they've gone after Kerry's service. They attack his medals.

ARMEY: I need to make two points here.

FERRARO: Do you know how many guys — How many guys in Congress have their kids currently in the service?

ARMEY: Two points.

FERRARO: Tell me, Dick, how many people in Congress have — do?

ARMEY: George Herbert Walker Bush would not ask such a thing and Ben Barnes would not...

FERRARO: I mean, were you there? You were never there.

ARMEY: George Herbert Walker Bush...

FERRARO: You were never there.

ARMEY: ... would not ask such a thing.

FERRARO: That's not true.

ARMEY: I know the man. I know his character. As they would say in Yale, it wouldn't be cricket. He wouldn't do that.

FERRARO: Yes. Dick, you and I did not go to Yale.

ARMEY: It would be outside of the character of Ben Barnes to one...

FERRARO: But we're parents.

ARMEY: ... do a favor for a Republican or, two, tell the truth on just about any subject.

FERRARO: You know, it's...

ARMEY: And you've just have to know Ben Barnes. You've got to be in Texas and know the man's history, and you...

FERRARO: Dick...

ARMEY: ... and Geraldine, I'm sure you would find that is true.

FERRARO: Dick, you and I — you and I know...

COLMES: Go ahead. Hold on, Dick, let Geraldine respond.

FERRARO: You and I both know that members of Congress will do whatever is necessary to protect their kids, like any other parent.

And if you — all you have to do is take a look at today's Congress. Tell me how many members of Congress have a kid serving in Iraq right today. Tell me how many. Not one.

And the issue is, if we can protect our kids, we will. And so did George W. Bush. And if he didn't do that as a father, I would say...

COLMES: Do you really believe, Congressman Armey, that George Bush had no help getting into the National Guard? Do you believe that's accurate?

ARMEY: Yes, I do believe that's accurate. Or if he did it isn't because George Herbert Walker Bush, the gentleman we know as Bush 41...

FERRARO: It's because of his personality.

HANNITY: We've got to take a break.

ARMEY: Bush 41 would not ask such a thing.

FERRARO: Then how did he get...

HANNITY: Hang on.

ARMEY: You must know this man by his character.

HANNITY: Ben Barnes himself said that four years ago. And his daughter, according to one report tonight, said, "My dad lied about Bush."

We'll pick up the debate, coming up in just a moment.

FERRARO: There's plenty of lies.

HANNITY: And still to coming tonight, Al Gore is at it again. He's lashing out at Vice President Cheney. We'll show you the tape. You'll hear from another outraged Democrat, Charlie Rangel.

And then, Democrats are going after the president's National Guard service, but does one of the attackers have something to hide himself? We've got a surprising investigation.

And well, is it time for the president to appoint another front- runner? We'll show you what the polls are.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: No, no.

COLMES: Welcome back to Hannity & Colmes. We're arguing during the break.

Welcome back to Hannity & Colmes. Coming up, is Dick Cheney completely out of control? He is trying to scare voters into voting Republican. We'll you about and we'll show you Al Gore's response.

First we continue with Dick Armey and Geraldine Ferraro.

Back to Ben Barnes, who you're calling a liar, Dick. You know, he a few years ago did say that Bush didn't ask him directly to help get his son into the guard.

But he — allegedly, what he is now saying is that there was an intermediary, a guy named Adger, since deceased, who intervened. He may not have been asked by Bush directly.

Are we to believe that President Bush didn't know about it, the father didn't know about it, that people didn't use influence, he jumped over other people to get into the National Guard? Nobody knows about that?

ARMEY: No, I'll tell you. First of all, you have to begin with President Bush, George Herbert Walker Bush. This is an old school man with standards of personal conduct who seeks no favor, seeks no exceptional circumstance for himself or his family.

It wouldn't be consistent with the man's character, his upbringing and the way he would teach his children.

COLMES: How did Bush Junior — how did W. get into the guard? How did he skip over other people to qualify?

ARMEY: There were a lot of people that got into the National Guard. I mean, how did anybody get in the National Guard?

COLMES: Exactly.

ARMEY: I don't know the circumstances there. But I could tell you something.

Even Democrats in Texas for the last 15 or 20 years have held Ben Barnes as a standing joke. If you said, "Hey, I got this great land deal."

And the other guy said, "Oh, yes, who from?"

"Ben Barnes." You would the whole room of people laughing.

COLMES: You besmirch the guy's character, ruin his reputation, call him a thief. This is what they're doing. Anybody who speaks out, this is just an indication.

ARMEY: I just have a view — no, look...

HANNITY: I don't know about you guys.

COLMES: You'll be up in a second, Mr. Hannity.

This is the way they treat people.

ARMEY: He is know to be unreliable where he's know.

COLMES: This is the way they — hold on. Let Geraldine speak.

FERRARO: That's exactly what...

COLMES: This is the way they treat people that have the temerity to speak up and speak truth to power. This is the way people are treated in this country.

ARMEY: That's not true at all.

FERRARO: First of all, that's exactly — that's my — But it really is, Dick. I mean, you just — you go after people, and the negative campaigns are just so unreasonable. And many of them are lies.

I know. I've experience them myself. It's easy for you to sit back now and not say it's happened. But it does happen. It does happen in a national campaign, and there's really no way you can come back at that. Except to say...

HANNITY: I've got a question...

ARMEY: Geraldine, I'll tell you from the bottom of my heart...

FERRARO: Can I just make a comment about Dick Cheney?

HANNITY: We don't have a lot of time.

FERRARO: Let me do it. Wait second. Let me just say one thing about Dick Cheney. There is — I have not seen anything like his comment, this terrible fear going to people.

HANNITY: We're not talking about that. We have a whole segment on that coming up.

FERRARO: Let me just — then let me — I'm not on the other segment. Just let me just say one other thing. And that...

HANNITY: You've got to help me out here.

FERRARO: ... is I have not seen anything like that since Joe McCarthy was in the United States House of Representatives.

HANNITY: Gerry — Gerry...

FERRARO: It's happening again. It's negative.

HANNITY: Al Gore screaming at the top of his lungs George Bush betrayed his country, and you haven't said a word.

FERRARO: I didn't hear him say that.

HANNITY: The Kerry — I have the tape.

"He betrayed America. He played on our" — that's what Al Gore did.

FERRARO: He said that about what?

HANNITY: He said about George Bush betrayed his country.

FERRARO: About what?

HANNITY: Do you think George Bush betrayed his country?

FERRARO: About going into Iraq? I don't know.

HANNITY: Do you think all 64 swifties — do you think all 64 swifties are liars?

FERRARO: A thousand people who are dead in Iraq, and 7,000 who are injured.

HANNITY: See, you're such a partisan, Gerry. Is that wrong for a former vice president to say...

FERRARO: I don't know what he's referring to. But if he was referring to the fact that there — we were misled to get into the war in Iraq, that it is an absolute mess...

HANNITY: That's because John Kerry told us that he had weapons of mass destruction and we had to stop it.

FERRARO: John Kerry told us? Oh, come on.

HANNITY: John Kerry in 2003.

FERRARO: Come on, Sean.

HANNITY: "Leaving Saddam unfettered with nuclear or biological weapons is — is a dangerous to the USA."

FERRARO: That's quite different from saying that he had it.

HANNITY: All right. Let me — let me...

FERRARO: It was Colin Powell, you recall, who went to the United Nations and said we had it.

HANNITY: Gerry, I've got to get — I've got to get somebody else's voice in here.

Let me — let me just get the truth out about Barnes here. Because this is important.

These people, Dick, are the very people that trashed the character of all 250 swifties, accused them of lying without any substantiation, evidence or proof. Ninety Purple Hearts among them.

ARMEY: No.

HANNITY: According to this report that Barnes' daughter — now Monica Crowley was on WBMP (ph) radio. Apparently, she is now saying he's doing this for political reasons, opportunistic reasons, trying to get Kerry elected, trying to make Bush look like a bad person and trying to promote a book.

Now if that's true, I think that's fairly amazing.

ARMEY: I can — I can only tell you what I know of Ben Barnes. As a fellow who's lived Texas since 1967, watched his whole career, the man was an excellent politician. He turned out not to be a good person.

He is, in fact, a person that is widely known in the state of Texas as a person that is not reliable with respect to questions of personal conduct and standards of personal honesty.

HANNITY: And in 1999 he said just the opposite of what he's saying now. He's — he's contradicted himself, and yet the Democrats are holding him up as the greatest saint that's ever come down the road. ARMEY: Well, I just feel like if you're going to come up with a story like this, you ought to come out with a credible person.

FERRARO: He didn't volunteer to do that. He was encouraged to do that.

COLMES: All right. Dick, thank you.

Thank you very much, Geraldine.

FERRARO: "Sixty Minutes" asked him that. He did not volunteer.

COLMES: Thank you very much.

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