This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes ," July 19, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS: ... "Barack Obama supports teaching sex education to kindergartners."
And, you know, which — I didn't know what to tell him. But it's the right thing to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: That was Illinois Senator Barack Obama making it known where he stands on sex-ed for young kids, while fellow presidential contender Mitt Romney doesn't seem to think it's such a good idea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS: I heard a quote today from Senator Barack Obama which puzzled me. He said that we should have sex education in kindergarten. How much sex education is age-appropriate for a 5-year-old? In my view, zero is the right amount.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Joining us now is the author of "It Takes a Parent," syndicated columnist Betsy Hart and the Washington editor of Time.com, Ana Marie Cox.
Ana, you know, the original statement was that, yes, he supports sex education. As long as it's age-appropriate, it's the right thing to do. So I'll follow up on Mitt Romney's point here. What is age-appropriate for a 4- or 5-year-old?
ANA MARIE COX, TIME.COM: Well, you probably should ask Mitt Romney that, because five years ago he signed a Planned Parenthood questionnaire saying that he agreed that there should be age-appropriate sex education for kindergartners. But the second thing I want to address is, if you actually look at some of the programs like those Barack Obama supported, I think to call them "sex education" is painting too broad a brush.
HANNITY: No, I want to explain to our audience — I think they're interested — what would be age-appropriate sex education?
COX: I am about to explain, Sean.
HANNITY: I'm waiting. I can't wait.
COX: I actually went online today and looked at some of these programs. And, you know, it's not demonstrations with cucumbers, or bananas, or peaches, for that matter.
HANNITY: No, that comes in the first grade, right?
COX: It's very simple stuff about appropriate touching and inappropriate touching. I mean, there are probably "Veggie Tales" episodes that are more explicit, quite frankly.
HANNITY: You know, look, I guess I just have this old-fashioned thought process that I think the parents ought to be taking care of this. You know, for example, he was asked a question, Barack Obama was, and he said, you know, things ought to be talked about beyond abstinence. So he reveals that he thinks — he has a viewpoint. Why should parents, if they're forced to send their kids to these government schools, you can't mention God in school, why should they put their kids in a position where the values of the parents can be contradicted by teachers and educators at ages the parents don't agree with?
COX: Well, if you want to go very specifically to the programs that Obama was supporting in this particular instance, for the kindergarten and first-graders, parents could opt out, number one. And, number two, like I said, calling them sex education is probably not a very accurate term. It was about teaching children about, you know, what I think is euphemistically called good and bad touching. Those are things...
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Betsy, go ahead and respond to what Ana Marie is saying. Go ahead.
BETSY HART, "IT TAKES A PARENT" AUTHOR: Yes, well, for starters, we're obviously seeing a lot of politics being played with these guys all over the map. Imagine that. Wow, politics and making statements they have to go back and later recant. But, I think, you know, Sean is absolutely right. Why should parents have to opt out? Why shouldn't they have to opt in to these things? I've got to tell you, I wouldn't want the kindergartner teacher telling my kindergartner that there wasn't a Santa Claus. Stay out of it.
COLMES: I think that's not exactly what we're talking about.
HART: I want my kids to believe in the Easter Bunny.
COLMES: By the way, Betsy...
HART: But wait a minute. Wait a minute. When you get to the idea of, you know, the good and bad touching and all that, here's the biggest problem with that. First of all, these kids should be busy meeting the letter people and having snack and math and then about two-and-a-half hours are done. But, second, you're putting a Band-Aid on a problem. I don't know any 5-year-old who has ever stopped a child molester by saying, "Wait a minute, I learned about good and bad touching in class today."
COLMES: Hold on a second.
COLMES: We teach people about their bodies, we teach people about all kinds of things, Betsy, in classrooms. And, by the way, as I think Ana Marie has pointed out, the United Church of Christ promotes, for example, a sexual education curriculum for kindergartners focusing on helping children identify and avoid sexual abuse. If we could show you, Betsy — let me get out a question here, if I can.
HART: No, no, no, no, no, no.
COLMES: If I could show you an empirical study that showed that these kinds of programs helped reduce pedophilia, for example, would you then agree that it's a good idea?
HART: You know, Alan, I think you would have to be very careful as to what kind of a study you're talking about and who your control group is and what problems you might be creating.
COLMES: So you've already decided you're not going to believe this?
HART: But wait a minute. So wait a minute. Here is the number-one thing that you can tell kids — I think every parent should have this conversation with their child. I'm a parent educator. I talk to parents. Here's what I tell them. From day one, you tell your children — and this is something you liberals won't really like...
COLMES: I am "you liberals."
HART: You tell your children, if there is ever an adult who says to you, "Let's just keep this a secret from mom and dad," that adult is trouble. I don't care if he's a next-door neighbor. I don't care if he's a doctor.
COLMES: That's right, and that's called sex education. What's wrong with that? That's sex education.
HART: But the point is, Alan, you know what? The point is, there's not a child molester in the history of the world that hasn't wanted to keep it a secret from the child's parent. That covers a multitude of sins, but it also keeps mom and dad in the loop.
COLMES: All right, we only have a moment left.
HART: And I've found a lot of times...
COLMES: Ana Marie, they want sex education as long as it's only abstinence or abstinence only, and that's sex education, too. And that they support. That's the problem.
COX: I tend to agree. And I think, you know, child predators really prey on the ignorance of children. And the kind of education that Obama is supporting is something that would actually put weapons in the hands of children, in the form of knowledge.
HANNITY: All right, guys. You know, that's all we need, liberals with Alan's values teaching 5-year-olds about sex.
COLMES: What's wrong with my values? Wait, wait, wait. What's wrong with my values?
COLMES: No, no, no, my values are good American values, just like yours are.
HANNITY: You teach your kids your liberal values and have at it.
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