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Hannity

Will North Korea Nuke Threat Help Republicans in November?

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," October 9, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: There you have it, just 29 short days away from Election Day 2006. The Republican Party, are they still reeling following the Foley page scandal, or has that perspective changed in the last 24 hours? As we approach November 7th, will the latest information on North Korea and their reported nuclear test help Republicans recover voters' trust?

Joining us now, former Clinton adviser Dick Morris. Two important questions: What should the U.S. do and how will this affect the elections?

DICK MORRIS, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: OK, first, what the U.S. should do. We do not have a military option. Clinton explained this to me. Once they are nuclear, Seoul is within artillery range of the North Korean side of the DMZ.

And while our defense systems have a pretty good chance of shooting down a missile and a superb chance of shooting down a bomber, they have no chance of shooting down an artillery shell, particularly not when 5,000 of them are fired at once and you don't know which one is the nuke.

So a blockade or stuff like that — which is an act of war legally — would probably not work, probably backfire, could kill 10 million people who live in the Seoul area.

The answer is China, because they are — North Korea is completely dependent on China for all of its oil, all of its gas. They could just simply turn off the spigot.

HANNITY: Right.

MORRIS: And the key is to get to the Chinese, and the way to get to them is through the Japanese and the South Koreans. If they think that Japan and South Korea are going to go nuclear and literally transform East Asia into a nuclear standoff zone between Japan and China, given the past relations for those countries, the Chinese will act very vigorously.

North is right: Put the Olympics on the line.

HANNITY: Right.

MORRIS: But you've got to deal with this through China. You can't do it directly.

HANNITY: See, I do think North was right about the Olympics, because they've got a major problem in shifting populations if anything happens. I like the idea of what you're saying: Rearm Japan.

MORRIS: Right.

HANNITY: And they could go nuclear in no time short.

MORRIS: And let's not make this like gun control, where the only guys that can get the bomb are the bad guys. Let's give it to some of the good guys, too.

HANNITY: That's a great way to put it. Rearm Japan. Confirm Bolton. For the president to call a special session, do you agree with that? And what about the effect on the election?

MORRIS: Well, special session, no, because it implies that this is our deal. What we need to do is to get Japan and South Korea to move China, to move Korea.

HANNITY: Six-party talks.

MORRIS: That's why Bush is right to do the six-party. For the election, think back to 1962. At about this time in October, President Kennedy learned that there were missiles in Cuba.

HANNITY: True.

MORRIS: And he was at the time laboring under a big negative from the Bay of Pigs invasion. And he reacted brilliantly and well and solved the problem.

President Bush now has an amazing opportunity, political and national, to really change things. Foley is gone now. Who cares about Foley, when this North Korean, craziest, most dangerous regime in the world have nuclear weapons? And Ollie is right: They're sell them to the Iranians or anybody else or Al Qaeda. And basically, if Bush handles this well and he shows strong, determined, presidential leadership, he could save himself.

HANNITY: Let me ask you this. Do you think — because you and I have discussed this both on the air and off the air. We agree this is the defining issue of our time. Here's my question. Do the American people, 29 days out of the election, understand the significance of this issue, of Iran, of nuclear proliferation, and the war on terror? Do they get it?

MORRIS: War on terror maybe not. They're complacent. But, boy, they understand what it is for North Korea to have nuclear weapons. There are millions of households out there who have guys who went to fight in Korea.

HANNITY: Sure, sure.

MORRIS: This is very much on the American radar.

COLMES: Hey, Dick, my question to you is this.

MORRIS: I just want to say this line. Right now, we're at a point basically equal to Munich. Nonproliferation has broken down decisively with North Korea getting the bomb. If we are complicit in that and we don't stand up in that, it's like taking no action in the face of Hitler marching into Austria and seizing...

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: And here's what I want to ask you, though. Can the Republicans, can the administration point to North Korea and say, "Look, we've made you safer. Look what we've done?" Because they've done nothing about North Korea. They haven't engaged with them. They haven't agreed to anything but six-party talks. They had all these preconditions. We pulled out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

How can they use this as a way to get themselves re-elected?

MORRIS: If either political party takes this disaster of North Korea having a test as the occasion for a blame game, of who's to blame, they'll be hurting themselves very badly, much more than they're hurting the other side. There is plenty of blame to go around, and I know a lot about it because I was there when a lot of it happened in the White House. But it is not useful to talk about it; it's not useful to focus on it.

COLMES: But my question is: How will the public perceive it? How are they going to look at it?

MORRIS: The public is going to look at it and say, "Who is going to solve this problem?" We, a country, Democrats and Republicans have a problem, and we need presidential leadership.

COLMES: But at 29 days between now and the election, we're not going to solve this problem in 29 days, are we?

MORRIS: Yes, we may. John Kennedy solved the Cuban missile crisis in an almost identical period of time. And the ability of the president to pressure China on this issue is enormous. And I think that we don't have to solve the problem — North Korea is not going to surrender in 29 days — but it has to be well on the road to solution.

And, by the way, it takes away from the Democrats the normal criticism and from the Republicans the normal campaigning. Bush can't go out now and talk about tax cuts. Democrats can't go out now and talk about Foley. The issue is North Korea.

COLMES: All right, this is more important than Foley. There's no question about it. But Foley's issue was really about congressional leadership or lack thereof.

My question to you now is about Japan and talking about arming Japan. Nuclear arming? Do you want to give Japan nukes? And when has nuclear proliferation ever helped bring world peace? When has that ever happened?

MORRIS: For 65 years after the end — after 60 years after the bombing of Hiroshima. The only reason we never had World War III was because of nuclear weapons on both sides.

COLMES: So you want more nukes, you want more countries having nukes?

MORRIS: I believe that, if China and North Korea both have nuclear weapons, the only offset to that is the deterrent philosophy that has worked for 60 years, which involves Japan having nuclear weapons.

Ultimately, the question Charles de Gaulle asked is: Would the American president sacrifice New York for Paris? And he said no. But the French government would, and that's why France got the bomb. Japan needs to get the bomb so that North Korea understands that they cannot trade Tokyo for Phnom Penh.

COLMES: In the long run, because who knows what crises will develop years from now, aren't you asking for more trouble globally in the long run if more countries have nuclear capability?

MORRIS: I agree with that completely, but North Korea has it. You can't make it like gun control where nobody gets a gun except the bad guys who steal it and the gun control stops the good guys from getting them.

HANNITY: We've got to run. Should we help Japan get that weapon?

MORRIS: Yes.

HANNITY: We should?

MORRIS: Yes.

HANNITY: And that would be part of the solution you're talking about?

MORRIS: If China does not ratchet up the pressure on North Korea. But give China a chance to get Korea to back down and then Japan need not go nuclear.

HANNITY: What both of us said last week, boy, things can change on a dime in an election cycle.

MORRIS: Yes, absolutely.

HANNITY: All right, Dick, appreciate you being with us.

MORRIS: Thank you.

HANNITY: By the way, don't forget, with Dick Morris, you can see his columns on AOL, DickMorris2006@aol.com.

MORRIS: I'll send you my columns each week. I promise no biography.

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