This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," September 20, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
And welcome to "Hannity & Colmes." Thank you for being with us. I'm Sean Hannity reporting tonight from Charlotte, North Carolina. And we get right to our top story tonight.
The United States Senate voted overwhelmingly to condemn MoveOn.org's outrageous newspaper ad that targeted General Petraeus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID D-NV, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: No one over here endorses the ad that was in that newspaper. None of us do. But we want to talk about the war. They want to talk about an ad in a newspaper. None of us, in any way, criticized General Petraeus.
SEN. BARBARA BOXER, D-CA: This is the United States of America. We condemn all attacks against our men and women serving honorably in the military, not just one organization. We condemn all the attacks. And I hope colleagues will vote no; otherwise, we are starting a terrible precedent around here that we will regret.
SEN. DICK DURBIN, D-ILL: They want to talk about ads in newspapers about General Petraeus. Well, let me tell you something, I respect General Petraeus, but we have more important things to do than debate ads in newspapers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Now, the vote was 72-25 with every Republican voting in favor of the measure. Many Democrats joined with them in repudiating the ad that the president called "disgusting," but not all of them. Most notably Senators Hillary Clinton and Chris Dodd, both presidential candidates voted against the measure, and Senator Obama didn't vote at all, despite the fact that he had been on the Senate floor just minutes before the vote trying to support an alternative. Now, these three have solidified their membership in the MoveOn.org Democratic Party.
Joining us now with more, FOX News contributors Rick Santorum and Harold Ford, Jr.
Congressman Ford, you know, let's look at this group. They didn't go to your Democratic Leadership Conference. They ran an ad once that compared George Bush to Adolf Hitler. They run an ad about a four-star general, General "Betray Us." Hillary basically echoed the comments of this group. You know, does this hurt Hillary...
HAROLD FORD, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think that's unfair. Hillary Clinton didn't echo the comments. I joined...
HANNITY: Oh, yes, she did.
FORD: Well, no, I join my friends in the Congress in distancing myself from that ad, as well, in the newspaper. But I would ask this. You know, I didn't see the Senate when Max Cleland, a decorated veteran, was compared to Saddam Hussein in a campaign by a sitting member of Congress. Nor did anyone condemn the Swift Boat Veterans for what they said about John Kerry.
HANNITY: The Swift Boat Vets were heroes.
FORD: That doesn't — well, John Kerry is a decorated war veteran, whether you like him or not.
HANNITY: Well, he accused — wait a minute. He accused our troops of raping, cutting off limbs, cutting off heads, of burning down...
FORD: But, Sean, you're not being fair. The Swift Boat Veterans suggested he didn't perform acts of bravery and courage and that he didn't earn the medals that he won.
HANNITY: Oh well that's what they —
FORD: The only point I make is that the Senate has voted. We now ought to get back to the issue of what's happening in Iraq, how we referee a civil war, which I don't think we can, how we begin to redeploy our troops so they can fight and go after Al Qaeda.
HANNITY: But, Congressman, hang on a second. I don't want to get off track here, because this is too important an issue. You said earlier that Hillary did not echo those comments. She said, basically, that the general was there as a propaganda tool, representing the White House. She said what he had accomplished, in spite of the surge success, that he was a failure, and then she used the term "the willing suspension of disbelief." Don't you — Isn't that calling it...
FORD: She didn't use the term willing — I'm not here to defend anybody, but I will say this: I think it's unfair to put words in people's mouths.
HANNITY: Wait, she did use the words willing suspension.
FORD: Willing suspension of disbelief, which she has every right to, Sean.
HANNITY: That's calling him a liar.
FORD: No. If she believes that — that the surge will not produce a mediation between the fighting Sunnis and the fighting Shiites between one another, she has every right to share that and that vote will take place. But she did not bash General Petraeus...
HANNITY: But Congressman! Congressman, wait a minute.
FORD: And no Democrat believes. That MoveOn.org, you know how I feel about this. MoveOn.org was wrong. If they want to spend their money doing things like this, I believe spending would be more constructive and be more helpful to the process.
HANNITY: Congressman, I can't let you get away with this.
FORD: But to suggest that all Democrats believe this is not fair.
HANNITY: Two points on this, and I think this is important. I'll bring Senator Santorum in here. Senator, she was asked repeatedly herself to condemn the General "Betray Us" ad. She refused to do it. When you say the words "we have to willingly suspend disbelief," she's basically saying that the four-star general risking his life for his country is lying to the American people, isn't she?
RICK SANTORUM, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I disagree with Harold. I think she is saying that. She is trying to impugn the integrity of General Petraeus, unlike what Harry Reid said on the floor. They have attacked General Petraeus. Members of the Senate have attacked General Petraeus, questioned his credibility, questioned his ability to come and present the truth unadulterated, which I think he has done, without question. The American people by an overwhelming majority agree with that.
What you saw in Hillary Clinton and the leadership of the Democratic Party, leadership being their presidential candidates, in this vote was two of them, at least, had the courage to stand up and side with the radical left.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Senator, you want...
SANTORUM: MoveOn.org, and one of them would have had an opportunity to...
COLMES: You want to make this about an ad. You want to make it about an ad. And this is why Congress has a 19 percent approval rating, because, rather than debating how to get out of the war, how to get out of Bush's war, and how to solve the problems that have been left with by this administration, which the Democrats were elected to do, we're debating about an ad. Should have you been censured when you compared the Democratic use of the filibuster to oppose judicial nominees to Adolf Hitler in 1942? Should you have been censored, and should there have been an up-and-down vote on you when you said that?
SANTORUM: Number one, I didn't compare the Democrats to Adolf Hitler. And if you go back and read the comments, and I hope you do.
COLMES: I'll quote. You said, "It's the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942 saying, I'm in Paris. How dare you invade me? How dare you bomb my city? It's mine." That's exactly what you said.
SANTORUM: What is the equivalent? See, that's what you don't say. I mean, what I was talking about was doing an analogy of someone who was basically not, you know, not telling the truth, someone who was — but I was not comparing them.
COLMES: But you later — didn't you later apologize for that comment?
SANTORUM: In any way, shape or form to Adolf Hitler...
COLMES: Didn't you, later, say that was wrong?
SANTORUM: ... and you're going on with this — with this quote. The bottom line is, there was not a comparison. And if you read it, and you read it in all of the context, it's not even close to being a comparison.
COLMES: I am right if I just quoted it back to you. And you — didn't you later apologize for that?
SANTORUM: You quoted and I said that, that if I offended anybody, I shouldn't have said that. What I found out, and I think every politician has found out, you don't compare anything or mention anyway Adolf Hitler when you talk about anything...
COLMES: But there was no up-or-down vote. There was no condemnation.
SANTORUM: Because you — people like you tend to bring that up.
COLMES: And you want to make...
SANTORUM: You're changing the subject, Alan.
COLMES: No, I'm drawing a comparison, is what I'm doing.
SANTORUM: What you said, Alan, is that we don't have time to debate this, to talk about this, so we have more important things. I don't know if you've been watching what the United States has been doing for the past several weeks. They have been debating, as some would say ad nauseam, but I would say appropriately, they have been debated every single element of what you're talking about, our policy there, what tactically we should be doing.
The Congress has tried to be the generals in charge and force withdrawal dates. We have had plenty of debate. It is very appropriate in this whole political discourse on the war, because this war is not just being fought over in Iraq. It's also being fought here in the streets of America.
COLMES: No. It's called free speech. And we have — and one of the things...
SANTORUM: Public support for this war is important. And irresponsible political groups need to be held accountable.
COLMES: But I wouldn't have used those words. Harold Ford wouldn't use those words.
SANTORUM: That's what the Senate did today. And the Democratic presidential candidates are missing in action.
COLMES: But, Congressman Ford...
FORD: But I'm —
FORD: I'm willing to give Rick the benefit of the doubt. And he —What I don't understand is, the difference between what Rick and I are saying, and even my friend, Sean, is that I'm willing to take him at his word. He didn't mean that.
Hillary Clinton, nor any Democrat, believes that General Petraeus is anything more than an honorable man. What we do — what many believe, and there are many Republicans and a majority of the Senate, 56 of them, believe that we ought to change strategy in Iraq. If it had been 60 under procedural rules — and, as a matter of fact, what you quoted Rick saying, he was lamenting the fact that it takes 60 votes...
FORD: to pass a judicial nominee.
COLMES: But comparing it to Hitler?
COLMES: Look. but, Rick, you want us to take you at your word. I think Congressman Ford makes a great point. Why can't we take Hillary at her word when she says she respects Petraeus but disagrees with him? We take you at your word. Why can't we take Democrats at their word when they get up and say, "You know what? We support and respect the troops. We may have a difference of agreement on policy." Why can't we leave it right there?
SANTORUM: Well, we can leave it right there, expect that what is at — what is happening — and you saw it on the Usama bin Laden tapes, and you're seeing it in his comments, is that they are encouraging the enemy.
FORD: That's not fair, Rick. That's not fair. Rick, that's not fair. (CROSSTALK)
SANTORUM: They are supporting —
FORD: That's not fair. That's not consistent.
SANTORUM: They are supporting — they are encouraging them to continue to carry on this fight. That's the problem.
FORD: That's not fair.
HANNITY: We've got to run. But it is revealing that the Pelosi-Reid Congress has an 11 percent approval rating and General Petraeus had a 61 percent approval rating after his testimony. And thank you all for being with us.
We have a lot of ground to cover tonight.
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