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Hannity

The Media Fallout Continues Over VP Cheney's Hunting Accident

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," February 20, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: The media fallout continues over Vice President Cheney's accidental shooting during a hunting trip over a week ago. The story graced the cover of both Time and Newsweek today, and it was a hot topic of conversation during yesterday's Sunday talk shows.

But despite the fixation of the White House press corps, their anger pales in comparison to that of the Hollywood crowd. On Friday, actor Alec Baldwin wrote this about Vice President Cheney on the blog Harry Whittington would be the answer to America's prayers? Finally, someone who might get that lying, thieving Cheney into a courtroom to answer some direct questions."

We also told you about actor Richard Dreyfuss and his angry, but confusing, tirade last week against the administration and my friend and partner, Sean Hannity.

Joining us now with reaction to all this is the author of "How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)," Ann Coulter. And from the aforementioned Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington.

Good to have you both on the program. Arianna, welcome back. It's been a while.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, CREATOR, THEHUFFINGTONPOST.COM: Thank you.

COLMES: Let me ask you, Arianna, was George Clooney over the top when they make comments like that?

HUFFINGTON: You mean Alec Baldwin, right?

COLMES: And Alec Baldwin, as well. Well, yes, Clooney said something, too, but Alec Baldwin. I mean, does that put liberals in a good light?

HUFFINGTON: Well, I don't agree with Alec Baldwin that Dick Cheney is a terrorist. I think Dick Cheney's an atrocious human being, an atrocious human being, and an atrocious vice president who has inflamed terrorisms, who has created more terrorists than he has ever destroyed. And that's a damning enough statement as it is...

COLMES: Here's my concern. When comments like that are made, rather than actually focusing on the issues, you give enough rope to someone like Ann Coulter to say, "You know, you liberals, this is the way you liberals think. This defines what liberals are like."

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: You unhinged liberals! Unhinged!

COLMES: Thanks for helping me out with that. I appreciate that.

And, Ann, you know, George Clooney and every comment he makes, and Alec Baldwin, with a comment he made about Cheney, does not represent — I'm sure you might even agree — by and large the left or the Democratic Party?

ANN COULTER, AUTHOR/COMMENTATOR: Right, no, I mean, I do feel sorry for normal liberals like you who...

COLMES: I'm actually happy to hear you say "normal liberals." I didn't know you could say those words.

COULTER: ... every time these things come along, liberals so hysterically overreact that it always — what would have been sort of a bumbling incident for the vice president ends up making the Democrats look bad.

COLMES: Oh, no. But, you know, this was not about the incident that happened. This was about a press that really wanted to get the story. It was incompetence on the part of the administration...

COULTER: I don't think so.

COLMES: ... that did not go to the press. They clearly wanted to keep it secret...

COULTER: I just totally disagree with that.

COLMES: ... a secretive administration. How, why?

COULTER: It's a private hunting accident.

COLMES: It's the vice president.

COULTER: The first thing you do when you have a hunting accident is not call The Washington Post." I mean, that's what Chris Shays does. That's what John McCain does. Normal people, when they are doing something in their private lives...

COLMES: He's not normal person.

COULTER: ... do not immediately call in, normal politicians.

COLMES: He's the vice president that shoots somebody. It's a national story.

COULTER: It was an accident.

COLMES: And they try — you know, the problem, Arianna, is what they don't seem to get — and this is not a Democratic versus Republican thing. Republicans are speaking out. Every former White House press secretary for Reagan and Bush 41...

COULTER: Yes, they're the ones who gave us Harriet Miers.

COLMES: ... have spoken out and said — it's your people.

HUFFINGTON: Absolutely. You know, Alan...

COLMES: They're the ones speaking out.

HUFFINGTON: Even Ann called Scott McClellan a moron in the way he dealt with the story. The bottom line is that this story became a metaphor for the way this administration has handled much more serious issues for the secrecy, the stonewalling, the refusal to level with the American people.

That's what everybody was upset about. And as you said...

HANNITY: Arianna...

HUFFINGTON: ... this was not just liberals. This was conservatives. This was across the board.

HANNITY: I know. Arianna...

HUFFINGTON: And the media found an opportunity to finally take this administration on.

HANNITY: Arianna, you're making a mountain out of a molehill. And then, you know, are you proud, on your Web site — I know you love to hang out with the Hollywood elite. I know you love to be in that crowd. And I'm sure you go to all the parties, Arianna, the ones I'll never be invited to, nor do I ever want to.

"Cheney is a terrorist." That's on -- How would you want — you want your Web site to be viewed as something serious, Arianna, or is this something you're proud of?

HUFFINGTON: Oh, Sean, you know, our Web site, as you call it, The Huffington Post...

HANNITY: I know. Plug-o.

HUFFINGTON: ... has over 500 bloggers. You know, they can blog on anything they want, provided they have a password.

HANNITY: This is Alec Baldwin...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: I'm asking, do you want Alec Baldwin on your Web site to call our vice president a terrorist?

HUFFINGTON: The bottom line is that what Alec Baldwin was saying is this administration's policy has inflamed terrorists.

HANNITY: That's not what he's saying. I know what he said. I'm reading it. "He's a terrorist." Are you proud of that as the owner of the Web site?

HUFFINGTON: You know what, Sean? It's not a matter of being proud. I don't have to agree with every word that Alec Baldwin or anybody on the Web site says.

The bottom line, though, is that the essence of what he's saying is that this administration's policies have made us less safe, they have inflamed terrorism everywhere in the world. Even Don Rumsfeld said that. Do you remember, in that famous memo, he said, "Are we creating more terrorists than we are destroying?"

HANNITY: Yes, you know something...

HUFFINGTON: That's the answer that this administration has not given us.

HANNITY: Arianna, I love that your Web site's there. Keep printing him. Let Richard Dreyfuss have a column and attack me. By the way, Coulter, I'm proud he attacked me and not you.

COULTER: I know. I was so jealous.

HANNITY: You're so jealous this time. You know, because this why -- this is a party that is not only unhinged, led by their leaders Al Gore, and Carter, and Clinton...

COULTER: And Janeane Garofalo, the great intellectual light of the left.

HANNITY: Yes, I mean, but they are a party, frankly, that is an appeasement party, that is pre-9/11 in their thought process, and they show themselves every day to be weak on national security.

COULTER: I think it's more than pre-9/11. I mean, they do have affection for these terrorists.

COLMES: Oh, please. Please.

HANNITY: I will say this: But you are, Arianna, as a party, it seems you've become unglued in this hatred you have for the president. Now, I will say this, the Democratic leadership...

HUFFINGTON: You know what, Sean? Sean, let me ask you something. Sean, let me ask you something.

HANNITY: Hang on a sec. OK, you ask me.

HUFFINGTON: Do you agree with your guest, Ann? Do you agree that Democrats have an affection for terrorists? Do you agree with that?

HANNITY: Do I agree?

HUFFINGTON: Yes or no? It's a yes or no question.

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: I'll cite examples. I'm ready to back that up.

HUFFINGTON: Do you agree with that?

COULTER: Go ahead.

HUFFINGTON: Hold on a second, Ann.

COULTER: We have, in The New York Times op-ed page...

HUFFINGTON: Give him a chance to answer.

COULTER: ... wait, wait. I'm backing this up.

HANNITY: Go ahead.

COULTER: You're questioning this; I'm going to back it up. The New York Times op-ed page on Friday has Robert Reich comparing these savages rioting over the cartoons to blacks rioting in response to segregation and having to sit on the back of the bus. They are saying that this is justified. They're comparing it to everybody wants to be black. The comparison is exactly the opposite. This is affection for the people...

COLMES: No, it's not.

COULTER: ... rioting and caring on, saying, "Oh, this is a good thing, because it will lead to changes and progressive changes." No, it's exactly the opposite. Blacks were not rioting over "Amos & Andy."

HANNITY: Arianna, I will answer it this way.

HUFFINGTON: You know what, Ann? You're just completely exaggerating what Robert Reich wrote in that column.

HANNITY: Your party has undermined...

HUFFINGTON: ...and Sean is not backing you up here.

HANNITY: Your party has undermined the war on terror every step in the way. They are consistently, repeatedly, almost on a daily basis, not only wrong, but they're hurting the war effort. They're hurting our troops. They're hurting our commander in chief.

And you know something? I think you're hurting yourself politically as a result of it.

COLMES: All right. We've got to take a break.

HUFFINGTON: You know what?

COLMES: By the global terrorism has increased since 9/11. We have more terrorists in the world.

COULTER: Yes, things were going fine before 9/11.

COLMES: And that, by the way, what you said is not affection for terrorists.

COULTER: Anything was just fine before we invaded Iraq.

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