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Hannity

Iraq Most Important Midterm Election Issue?

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," August 24, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

KIRSTEN POWERS, GUEST HOST: There are just 75 days left until Americans elect a new House and a new Senate. According to the latest Godless: The Church of Liberalism," Ann Coulter, and Democratic strategist Michael Brown.

Thanks for being with us.

Ann, so why don't you give us your predictions on what's going to happen in the midterm elections?

ANN COULTER, CONSERVATIVE AUTHOR: I don't know.

POWERS: What do you think is going to be the biggest issue?

COULTER: Unlike Morris, I don't like to give predictions. No, it absolutely should be in Iraq. It should be the war on terrorism, not just Iraq. That is part of the war on terrorism.

But no, of course, I mean, we have billions of angry fanatics who want to destroy America, slit our throats, you know, kidnap Americans, blow up planes. Of course that is the most important issue. And, I mean, the fact that Democrats aren't very good on the national security issue, I think, is indicated by the fact that they consider it unfair to talk about national security.

POWERS: Michael, so if Iraq is going to be the central issue, as Ann says, it looks like Democrats are probably going to be picking up a lot of seats, don't you think?

MICHAEL BROWN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, I do think. I know Ann doesn't want to make a prediction. She can't, because her forecast don't look too good. But for Democrats, it clearly looks wonderful.

I mean, frankly it wasn't just the Iraqi poll number. You just look at those top three issues, the economy and gas prices, all have to do with the failed policy in the Middle East. And it clearly is a correlation between it.

So, yes, obviously Democrats are very optimistic, but 75 days is a long time. We've got a lot of work to do. We can't take anything for granted. Clearly, we see an opening. But these policies have just failed, they're just wrong, and they're going to pay the price in November.

POWERS: Well, the other issue really is that now we're seeing in the poll that came out yesterday, The New York Times/CBS poll, that Americans are saying they don't think that there's a link between terrorism and Iraq. And, Ann, I suspect that you don't agree with that.

But how do you think Republicans are going to deal with that? It seems like Americans are starting to question that.

COULTER: Right. I think by asking the question I ask in the title of my column today, what part of the war on terrorism do they support? This idea that Iraq is distracting from the war on terrorism is really the oddest thing I've ever heard, but that has clearly been the talking point from the media and the Democrats for a while.

It would be more credible if the Democratic Party supported any other part of the war on terrorism. But, no, they're against the Patriot Act. They want to shut down Guantanamo. They're against the NSA listening to phone calls from people calling numbers found on Al Qaeda computers. They're against profiling at airports. I mean, what part of fighting terrorism do they support, other than, you know, denouncing Wal-Mart?

HANNITY: That's a good line, Ann.

Let me go to Michael Brown. Michael, I want to ask you two yes or no questions. Yes, do you agree with Howard Dean, the leader of your party, that Ned Lamont is the future of your party? Do you agree with that statement, yes or no?

BROWN: Well, clearly, as...

HANNITY: Yes or no?

BROWN: Yes, I know you...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Question two. Here we go. I want to know if you agree with John Murtha, the No. 1 campaigner now for the Democratic Party, your guy. John Murtha said that instead of deterring terrorism, American policies are fostering it. Do you agree with that, yes or no?

BROWN: Absolutely yes. And, frankly, for the end of Ann's question that she had, clearly the Republicans in the Bush administration have not been able to sell that the Iraqi war is connected with the War on Terror.

HANNITY: Wait a minute. Let's get to the...

BROWN: The American people are speaking, and they're going to speak in November.

HANNITY: You are saying — wait a minute. Let's put emphasis on this.

BROWN: I said absolutely yes.

HANNITY: You are telling America tonight that America...

BROWN: You don't have to repeat the question. I said, "Absolutely yes."

HANNITY: ... is causing terrorism. That's what it said.

BROWN: Not America. Not America. The Bush policies. The Republican Bush policies, not America.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: So did we cause what happened in Spain and Bali? Did we cause what happened in Russia? Did we cause the first Trade Center attack? Did we cause the embassy bombings? Did we cause the Khobar towers?

BROWN: No, no, clearly everything is not done in a vacuum. You can go back in time all that we want. We can go back to the Reagan administration, too. The question is: What's happening today in the world, and what have our policies done to foster that hatred towards our country?

HANNITY: You know something, Ann Coulter...

BROWN: There are more countries now that hate the United States than ever before in the history of our...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Go ahead. You blame America. This is...

BROWN: I'm not blaming America. I'm blaming the Bush policies and what they have done to this government.

HANNITY: You are saying that we — our policies foster — Ann Coulter, this is the problem. The party that's weak on national defense...

BROWN: We're not weak. We're weak because we disagree with the policies?

HANNITY: ... excuse me Michael, Michael, wait a minute. Ann Coulter, the party that's weak on national defense, that doesn't want the Patriot Act, the NSA program, the data mining program, that wants to confer rights on enemy combatants, the party that's always been weak on defense...

BROWN: Sean, that's just wrong. It's not...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: ... now blames America for the series of attacks that's taken place around the world. That should be the issue of this campaign.

COULTER: And that list illustrates that Michael really does have a point. Yes, the terrorists are mad at us, and they'd be much happier with the policies of the Democrats. Yes, that's true. If you want to make the terrorists like us...

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: The policies haven't worked.

POWERS: We have to cut out for a second, you guys. We'll be right back.

BROWN: It hasn't worked.

POWERS: We'll have more with Ann and Michael after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: As we continue on "Hannity & Colmes," we continue now with our guests, author of the No. 1 New York Times best seller "Godless," of course, that's Ann Coulter, and Democratic strategist Michael Brown.

All right, Michael, here's where we stand with your party. When the Patriot Act was killed by the Democrats, Harry Reid bragged, "We killed the Patriot Act." We know that you're against the NSA data mining. We know that you're against the NSA surveillance program.

So the question is: Where does the Democratic Party — what will you do if you're elected to power to make our country safer in the War on Terror? Specifically what do you — what will your party support?

BROWN: Well, first of all, specifically, I have to correct some of the facts that you have a little wrong. We are in favor of some pieces of the litany of the list that you just mentioned. It's not that we disagree with it, but certain things about these particular bills you send up we don't agree with. And so you try to pin us...

HANNITY: You voted to kill the Patriot Act. You're against data mining, and you're against surveillance. So what does the Democratic Party stand for to make the country safer? I ask you again.

BROWN: First of all, I wanted to correct your facts, because your facts weren't accurate.

HANNITY: All right, you voted to kill the Patriot Act...

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: But now I will answer...

HANNITY: You're against surveillance, and you're against data mining.

BROWN: But now I will answer — pieces of that.

HANNITY: Where does your party stand?

BROWN: Second of all, I will answer your question. The party stands on where this administration — let's go back to the year 2000.

HANNITY: Specifically. Give me a specific, Michael.

BROWN: I'm going to give you specifics, Sean, but I have to give you some backdrop to it. The Bush administration, during their election campaign...

HANNITY: You're talking about Bush.

BROWN: ... said they were going to — Bush said they were going to...

HANNITY: What does that have to do with what you will stand — where do you stand?

BROWN: Because I'm talking about what they ran on in the year 2000.

HANNITY: What will you do if elected? I don't care about Bush.

BROWN: They ran on putting...

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: ... together the best foreign policy team in this country's history.

HANNITY: And what will you do, specifically? Tell America tonight.

BROWN: And all it's done — what Democrats will do which is different is engage with people and talk to people.

HANNITY: Michael, you'll engage with people? Wow.

BROWN: And keep people at the table and have some dialogue. You have to do diplomacy...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: You'll engage with people. That's your answer? You'll engage with people. Amazing.

BROWN: War should be the last resort. Conflicts should be the last resort. The Bush policies haven't worked, Sean.

HANNITY: We'll talk to Usama bin Laden, that's what we'll do.

BROWN: The American people are speaking, and you don't want to listen. It's almost like you disagree with the American people.

POWERS: Ann, let's talk about Usama bin Laden. How about let's kill Usama bin Laden? How about let's find Usama bin Laden? You're talking about how, you know, Democrats don't want to do things on terrorism, which I actually will in a second go ahead and list the things they want to do, but how about the fact we invaded Iraq, when, you know, over in Afghanistan everything was falling apart? And the fact that we let Usama bin Laden get away, and the president said he doesn't even think about him, he doesn't care about him.

BROWN: What happened to "mission accomplished"?

POWERS: What about that?

COULTER: I look forward to hearing that list.

POWERS: OK, you will in a second.

COULTER: But as for catching Usama, it's irrelevant. Things are going swimmingly in Afghanistan.

POWERS: No, they're not.

COULTER: I mean, it's like a fading movie star now.

BROWN: "Swimmingly"?

POWERS: Things in Afghanistan are going horribly. But this is interesting, Usama bin Laden is irrelevant. The person, the mastermind behind the Al Qaeda attacks on the United States is completely irrelevant. Is that what you're saying?

COULTER: Right, it was handed to Bill Clinton twice.

POWERS: Oh, it's Bill Clinton's fault.

COULTER: And Bill Clinton said no...

POWERS: Yes, because I think that actually George Bush was president in 2001.

COULTER: I know you're trying to imitate Alan Colmes, but at some point he does let me answer.

POWERS: Yes, OK. Let's go — Michael, why don't we talk about the things that the...

COULTER: OK, well, good night! It was nice being here.

(CROSSTALK)

POWERS: ... Democrats actually arguing about the fact that all of the...

COULTER: Sean?

POWERS: ... Republicans have voted against all the things the...

COULTER: I think I can leave.

POWERS: ... Democrats have brought up, like increasing funding for border security, increasing funding for port security...

COULTER: I think I can leave now.

POWERS: ... increasing funding for airline security. I mean, isn't that true, Michael?

HANNITY: Hang on, Ann.

BROWN: Real homeland security starts at home. And as long as the Republicans continue to cut the budget relative to homeland security, these kind of things are going to continue. You're exactly right with your question. Remember, all of these things are getting cut and slashed to be able to pay for the Iraqi war. We're forgetting about the War on Terror.

And let's keep in mind the War on Terror is just not just a foreign war. We have homeland folks here that want to cause our government harm, too. We have to watch out for the Timothy McVeighs of the world, as well as folks in different parts of the world. So let's keep that in mind. This is not one kind of person we're fighting against.

HANNITY: We've got to run.

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