This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," Sept. 23, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: On the day when Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi spoke to Congress visited the White House, well, the flip-flopping senator from Massachusetts launched a new barrage of attacks at President Bush, saying that the administration is in, quote, "disarray," that the America — that America needs leadership that tells the truth.
But does America need a president with, well, 30 positions on everything?
Joining us now is the host of "Morning in America," also the senior Washington fellow at the Claremont Institute. Bill Bennett is back with us.
Bill, welcome — welcome aboard.
Something has happened here, and I think we need to analyze this.
Only now — it was about three or four days ago, John Kerry settled in on Bush is a liar, attack, attack, attack. Coincidently, when he gets advice from Joe Lockhart, McCurry, Carville. All the Clinton guys are in there; all the attack guys are in there.
This is what I feel about Kerry, after finally settling on a position. He's like a puppet on a string. They gave him the script. They told him to go out and be mean and attack the president. Is that what America needs at this time?
BILL BENNETT, FORMER EDUCATION SECRETARY: No, I have to say, too, Sean, America doesn't need it. The Democratic Party doesn't need it. This is not the vigorous masculinity of John Kennedy or even a Scoop Jackson or Hubert Humphrey. This is a guy who's yanked in all directions.
"The New Republic" magazine — not the "National Review, the "New Republic" — the other "N.R.," said of John Kerry last week, it said his positions have moved from inscrutable to indefensible. That's where he is, and it's very sad for him and for the party.
HANNITY: Yes. What did you think about what happened? Allawi comes to the United States today, gets this reaction from Congress, thanks the American people. Twenty-five million people are liberated.
And John Kerry races out to the microphones, basically to once again call the president is a liar and follow the Carville-Begala-Lockhart- McCurry talking points of attack.
BENNETT: I think even worse, Sean. Here's Allawi making this speech, this guy who, to me, looks like Charles Kuralt and sounds like Humphrey Bogart. He's — he's a brave guy, a courageous guy. He's this kind of David Bengurian of...
BENNETT: ... this new country, this new democracy. And the worst thing John Kerry did, Sean, was to say that, you know, "I was in a war where people didn't tell the truth."
He compares today's visit and brings up Vietnam. Is that appropriate when this guy comes, the prime minister, to talk about a war from which we retreated and we lost because we retreated? This is entirely inaccurate and not right.
HANNITY: One of the things that's amazing, and I keep going back. And I mentioned this on the air. I'm not going to repeat it now.
But you know, a guy that has had so many positions on Iraq, so many. A guy that said when he was battling Howard Dean, defending all the reasons we went to Iraq, all the threats of weapons of mass destruction: "If you don't believe we're safer with Saddam captured, you don't have the judgment to be president."
You know, does he forget what he says? Does he think it's not relevant what he says? What is going on here?
BENNETT: I don't know. I don't know. But I'll tell you, I was in this debate with Howard Dean on Saturday night, last Saturday night at Villanova, Sean.
BENNETT: And he ended a sentence and he said, "You know, conviction, that's what I have. Wouldn't it be great to have a president in John Kerry who" — and he was going to say has convictions. You realize he couldn't say that. So he said, "Who will welcome all people to the White House."
This is the thing that's known by everybody.
I challenge Senator — Governor Dean, I said, "Name one thing in that twenty years in the Senate, not just a piece of legislation, how about a speech, a marker, a comment, something for which he stood," and the answer was nothing.
And so if you don't stand for anything, you will stand for anything. And that's what we're getting, one thing one week after another.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Dr. Bennett, I honestly believe that George W. Bush has a terrible record on Iraq and we have his own Republican senators saying the policy is wrong.
And now it's attack, attack, attack John Kerry; call him a flip-flopping. That's the Republican talking points.
Just today, Dr. Bennett, we had Iyad Allawi talking about we're going to have elections in January and President Bush saying, "I agree with him."
And then Donald Rumsfeld comes out and says, "Well, they'll just be limited elections because some of the country is so — there's so much going on in terrorism that we can't have them possibly in every place in Iraq."
So which is it? His own administration flip-flops in one day on the issue of whether or not there will be full elections in Iraq.
BENNETT: The answer, Alan, is you will do what you can. If you don't have control of all the areas, you're not going to send people to the polling places.
COLMES: Then don't act like you're going to have full elections.
BENNETT: Well, no, but 14 out of 18 is what Rumsfeld said. Do you remember 1862, 1864 in the United States, 10, 11 states didn't hold elections. Did that make Lincoln less legitimate?
COLMES: Well, don't give the impression that you're going to have full elections and then Rumsfeld says, "Well, it's exactly going to be full elections."
I think that's a misrepresentation. And I think it's...
BENNETT: He said he didn't know, Alan.
COLMES: ... the administration.
BENNETT: He said he didn't know. It's a contingent universe. It depends upon whether it's safe to have.
COLMES: That's not what Allawi said. That's not what Allawi said today in Congress.
BENNETT: Check the time frame for other nations in an emerging democracy. Can you just flip this for a second and think about the possibilities if you have a democratic or a largely democratic nation there in Iraq for the first time in that part of the world, what an extraordinary thing it will be.
We will do what we can, and you know the American troops won't abandon them.
COLMES: Dr. Bennett, we're hearing...
BENNETT: It's silly to say all obstacles can be overcome.
COLMES: We're hearing two messages. We heard one message from Allawi today and from Bush, another message from Rumsfeld.
I want to put up on the screen right now what "The New York Times" reported about Allawi not too long ago, in June.
"Iyad Allawi, now the designated prime minister of Iraq, ran an exile organization intent on deposing Saddam that sent agents into Baghdad in the early 1990s to plant bombs and sabotage government facilities under the direction of the CIA, several former intelligence officials say."
Are you comfortable with who Allawi is, what his background is and what he's alleged to have done?
BENNETT: I would — I would have participated in an attempt to rid of Saddam Hussein. You bet I would have participated in an attempt to get rid of Adolf Hitler.
COLMES: Planting bombs, sabotaging government...
BENNETT: This guy is — what are you going to do, ask him to leave? Do you think Saddam would leave if you wrote him a nice letter or engraved invitation?
I mean, you know, this guy was a total and complete monster. And it was a perfectly justified, in a moral sense, geopolitical sense.
I think this guy is terrific. And I think the undercutting that was done by him — by John Kerry today will just sink Kerry a little deeper.
COLMES: So you support that he was planting bombs that could have affected, could have hurt, could have killed civilians? There are some reports that they might have done that, although that's not been confirmed but you're OK with that?
BENNETT: Could — Could have killed civilians? I don't know about the collateral damage. He was aiming at Saddam Hussein. And if we would have dropped a bomb on Saddam Hussein and killed a few civilians, you know, we might have in some of the bombs we dropped earlier, it would have been perfectly justified. Absolutely.
COLMES: How can you say that?
BENNETT: It's an unbelievable war that we're in, Alan, and you have to understand that. You recall what happened in other wars we've been in.
COLMES: This is before the war started. This is before we declared war.
BENNETT: I know, but it wasn't before Saddam Hussein started his reign of tyranny.
COLMES: How can you accept...
BENNETT: Reign of terror.
COLMES: How can you accept, Dr. Bennett, that the administration says things are going well, things are getting better every day? Over the last year the number of insurgents in Iraq has quadrupled. We have more fatalities this month than last month and the month before. And the president says things are getting better every day.
Why should we accept that...
BENNETT: Because they're fighting — because things are a lot better, a lot better than they were under Saddam Hussein.
And these guys are fighting like hell, because if they lose, they know that this will be a disgrace to their entire terrorist movement. And they are going to lose.
They're going to — they're going to ratchet it up even more. And what we've got to do is be sure that we are ready and get the Iraqis ready to — to take it on.
This is where the war on terror is going on right now, and anybody who thought it was going to be a cakewalk didn't know what we were getting into.
HANNITY: Dr. Bennett, they're getting tough now. They've decided that's the new talking point. You've got to be ready.
Good to see you.
BENNETT: Gee, they tried to take out Saddam. What nasty guys.
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