This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," Feb. 17, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: First, television legend Art Linkletter may be best known for his hit show, "The Kids Say the Darnedest Things." But he is also a strong advocate for seniors, as the national chairman of the United Seniors Association. So what does he think about the president's plan to overhaul Social Security?
Art, you're what, you're 93?
ART LINKLETTER, TELEVISION LEGEND: No, I'm the 50th anniversary of my 40th birthday.
LINKLETTER: No, seriously, I'm glad to be here, fellows...
HANNITY: It's good to see you, my friend.
LINKLETTER: ... and I'm glad to be anywhere.
And you always show pictures of me with kids, and that's fine, because I interviewed 27,000 of them over 26 years. But I have had more and more interest in the last 30 years in old people. And I lecture at all kinds of retirement colonies. And I'm president of Alzheimer's Research Foundation...
HANNITY: Yes, you are.
LINKLETTER: And I'm very much interested in what old people are talking about.
HANNITY: Well, you know what, we have the same speaking agent, it just so happens, Duane Ward, Premiere Speakers. And how many speeches do you do a year?
LINKLETTER: I do about 50 or 60.
HANNITY: That is amazing. And this is important...
LINKLETTER: How many are you doing?
HANNITY: Not many. I'm busy. I've got to work every night.
LINKLETTER: You're making money.
HANNITY: Well, I'm having fun.
But, while I was very glad, I can't understand — here is the AARP. They come out against the president's plan. It's not going to impact them at all. And then you said what I knew instinctively, which is, this is a political organization. Explain.
LINKLETTER: You know, I just can't understand the AARP. I have met lots of them, and I was a member at one time. They seem like sensible people. Something must be wrong somewhere.
They're trying, for instance, to scare old people into believing things that are patently not true. They're having millions of telephone messages and messengers going to all of their places where they can reach their members and they're telling them that they're going to lose their Social Security.
HANNITY: Why do you think they're doing this?
LINKLETTER: They're scaring them. They're trying to frighten them into talking to their senators.
HANNITY: But it doesn't impact them. This won't affect them.
LINKLETTER: That's why I don't understand what AARP's trying to do. It's so easy to argue against it because the president — the people who are for the changes — are all saying the same things. If you're over 55, you're going to get what you want. You can make it or a change to the new idea that comes out of the discussion.
HANNITY: Do you believe this is politically motivated? Is this a Democrat-Republican thing here?
LINKLETTER: Oh, yes. They're a liberal group. And they have been liberal ever since they were working with the Congress years and years ago to get this thing started as a — well, it was originally an insurance sales scheme to get on the good side of the old folks.
And then it was turned into a very profitable organization that does millions, and millions, and millions of dollars worth of business, and always — and also they have a political leaning, which has been demonstrated by how they have done the Medicare vote last year. And now they're trying to wreck the idea of giving a new deal to the next group.
You see, I'm national chairman of USAnext.org. And we would like to invite you to join because we're interested in the next group of old people who aren't getting it yet and want to have a little private resource of their own.
HANNITY: Yes. That's great, Art.
COLMES: Mr. Linkletter, we thank you. Good to have you back on the show. It's Alan Colmes.
LINKLETTER: Yes, yes. Thank you.
COLMES: Good to see you, sir. I was a big fan of "House Party." Loved "House Party." Terrific show.
LINKLETTER: You were a kid, weren't you?
COLMES: I hope so.
LINKLETTER: On it?
COLMES: No, I wasn't on it, but I watched it every day.
LINKLETTER: Go ahead.
COLMES: The president — some have accused the president of scaring people and saying it's going to be bankrupt when the, you know, the numbers of the Congressional Budget Office have said it's not going to go bankrupt. The president has been accused and his side accused — and many Republicans are not supporting the president. So it's really not that partisan, is it?
LINKLETTER: Well, to begin with, it has to go bankrupt. It has to. No way out. In the next twenty years, it will be 76 million of the Baby Boomers coming in. And besides that, they have spent all the money on various things that the government needs. And they don't have any surplus.
All the extra money not going to actual retirees are put in a Trust Fund. But people have very little trust and no fund, because they have gotten back collateral that does not be used by the government how they're going to pay it. They're going to have to raise taxes. They're going to have to spend less on the things, or they're going to have to give it to them later.
COLMES: Well, the issue is, the president, Mr. Linkletter, has not said — in fact, the White House has said this does not solve the solvency issue. But now, as of today, the president's coming out and talking, for the first time, about raising taxes. What's your reaction to that?
LINKLETTER: I know the president very well. I have visited with him, well, many times — well, once.
We have got to be truthful now. That's the difference between USA Next and AARP. And the fact is that George Bush is a guy who cuts taxes. He doesn't raise them.
COLMES: They're talking about raising payroll taxes...
COLMES: ... and raising the age at which they take taxes out now, to pay for this. That's on the table today.
LINKLETTER: It may be on the table, but it will be brushed aside. This is far, far from through from being argued out. And he is the last guy in the world I know of who wants to raise any taxes. But something has to be done.
And there are many things coming up. And I think it's only fair for the old people, and especially the new old people, to get a chance to hear them.
Right after the president's big speech the other night, I heard the headman of the Democratic Senate say the 44 Democratic senators are going to vote in a bloc against the president, even though we don't know any of the details. Now can you imagine anything so stupid as to say we're going to be against it even though we don't know what it is?
COLMES: By the way, I want to know how you look so great. We have you on the cover of USA Next magazine. We're going to put it up on the screen. How do you look so good? We have it up on the screen now.
LINKLETTER: That's what George Bush asked me the other day when I was in getting the lovely humanities award there. He said, "Well, how do you do it, Art? You're 93." And I said, well, I don't smoke. I don't drink. I get a good night's sleep. I stop any crises being too serious for me. And I have the attitude, which is a positive attitude and a sense of humor.
You have to have all of those things, you know, because there's a lot of stress in this world. And people who think positively, I look forward to every day of my life. Of course, I started, you know, as an orphan with no parents, no future, and so the whole world for me is my oyster.
COLMES: Well, you know, the first time I ever saw a computer was on your show, the old Univac computer, half the size of a room, on your show, the first time I ever saw one.
LINKLETTER: And we were matching people who might be in love and married. And we had the big computer and all of those facts. And we put them together and sent them out on dates. You know what we proved? I like your style, I like your smile, I like your talk, I like your walk, I just don't like you.
LINKLETTER: So throw the whole computer out.
HANNITY: Art, we've got to run. You're a great American, my friend.
LINKLETTER: Oh, already? Is there a prize or anything?
HANNITY: Just you being here is a prize for us.
LINKLETTER: Remember this. I say this to all of the old folks. It's better to be over the hill than under it.
HANNITY: That's a good point, Art Linkletter. Good to see you, my friend. Thank you.
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