This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 16, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Senator Joe Lieberman is one of the few politicians in Washington who always stands on his principles. He's not afraid to make waves with lawmakers on either side of the aisle.
Earlier today, he proved that to be true. During a morning interview on "America's Morning News," Senator Lieberman said he's not sure if he will support President Obama's reelection bid in 2012.
Joining me now to talk about this and much, much more is the man himself. By the way, his brand new book is out, "The Gift of Rest" -- I need rest -- "Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath." It's now in bookstores today.
Senator Lieberman, so good to see you. How are you?
SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN, I-CONN., "GIFT OF REST" AUTHOR: Sean, great to be back with you. Thank you.
HANNITY: You know I've got to always get you in trouble.
LIEBERMAN: I know. I'm ready. I've got my Kevlar on underneath.
HANNITY: Why is it every time you come on the program with me, either radio or TV, your fellow Democrats -- well, you are an independent now.
LIEBERMAN: I am.
HANNITY: But they use it against you. They go nuts. You know, why is that?
LIEBERMAN: It is not right. It says a lot about the state of our politics today because for a lot of people, you're a great guy, for a lot of people you are a bad guy. And you are the same guy. People can disagree with you.
HANNITY: Look, you and I agree on foreign policy. You are great on foreign policy. I mean, one of the things you pointed out in a recent interview, you fear the Republican Party is becoming more isolationist. I think the statement you made was, every time we do that, we do it to our own peril. We can't do that.
LIEBERMAN: No question. I mean, over the course of the American history, certainly the last hundred years, at different times, we've responded to the siren call to come back home and just focus on America.
But, every time we do that, we pay for it. Second World War did that, we did that in parts of the Cold War and ultimately, America is a great global power. Our security depends on our strength in the world and our prosperity depends on our strength in the world.
So both parties, different groups, I don't have to convince you there's a group in the Democratic Party that wants us to pull back from the world. But there's this new group --
HANNITY: I would say the majority of the Democratic Party. Well, you're not going to disagree with me. I mean, you fight your fellow Democrats on issues --
LIEBERMAN: I know, the old Democratic Party that I joined, which was the party of President Kennedy, which was ask not -- bearing any burden, pay any price for the survival of liberty in the world. And that's still what America, I think, is all about.
HANNITY: Let me ask you. You're not sure if you will vote for Obama. You said it today.
LIEBERMANN: I did. Somebody asked what are you going to do in next year's election? I said I'm an independent now and I'm going to approach from it the perspective of an independent. And I'm going to wait and see.
I got a year and a quarter, a little less than that before I have to decide how to vote. I want to see who the Republicans nominate. This is a really important election. I don't have to tell you.
Some of it about foreign policy, who is going to keep us strong in the world, and some of it, of course, about who is going to show the leadership to get our government back in balance and the economy going again.
HANNITY: Yes, let me ask you the question this way without trying to get you in trouble. Tell me where President Obama has been successful. You voted for John McCain.
HANNITY: He's a friend of yours.
HANNITY: I think you were excoriated and great alienation took place --
LIEBERMANN: I don't know if it is possible for a political party to ex-communicate -- to continue on the religious theme -- but that might have happened there. Let me tell you some stuff think that I was relieved that the president did on foreign policy.
He didn't do what I think a lot of the liberal Democrats thought, which is the day after he got sworn in pull us out of Iraq. It has been a methodical withdrawal. Secondly, he did surge our troops in Afghanistan.
I think the withdrawal strategy now is a little quicker than I would have wanted. But he says he will listen to the generals if they tell him not to do that. The stimulus at the time I think was the conventional wisdom about what would help to get the economy going. I think it probably kept us out of a deeper recession. Did it solve our problems? No. Was it all spent wisely? No. So, you know, it is a mixed record.
HANNITY: Before we get to the book, why not another term?
LIEBERMAN: I just ended up having a feeling after 24 years in the Senate, 40 years in elective office, it is time to try something different.
I'm not the guy who will ever retire until I have to physically or mentally retire. I just want to try something else. It will probably be involved in the same kinds of issues, particularly national security and foreign policy that I've been involved. I'm looking forward to it.
HANNITY: You know, you wrote this book, "The Gift of Rest" and one of the things you were talking about. By the way, this is for people who are Jewish, non-Jewish. This is for people of all backgrounds and religions.
I really took interest in the fact that you turn off your Blackberry on the Sabbath and I'm thinking that is a great idea. Every Sunday that Blackberry from now on is going off.
LIEBERMAN: Do it! It is one of the hardest things I do as we approach the Sabbath. But it is part of what it is all about and part of where I write this book as a trip through a typical traditional Jewish Sabbath.
But at the end of every chapter, I give some ideas for people who are not Jewish how to either approach their Sabbath more fully or even if they don't go to church or synagogue to pick up some of what happens.
And part of it is we are all working too hard. We're working 24/7. We need to turn it off. Spend some time every week within ourselves, with our family and with God. And recharge not just your physical batteries, but your spiritual batteries.
HANNITY: I think this is a great lesson for everybody because we are going 24/7. We don't stop to hear the birds sing or look at the beauty of nature. I don't want to sound like a liberal now.
LIEBERMAN: No, conservatives love nature too.
HANNITY: Nancy Pelosi said we want to poison the air and water.
LIEBERMAN: I don't think so. Look, if you believe in God as you and I do. And God in the creator then the natural outdoors is God's creation. So one of the things I like to do in a Sabbath is just experience the outdoors.
HANNITY: Yes, I do too. Just on the similar -- I'm very concerned, more than I've ever been in my life about Israel.
HANNITY: When the prime minister was in town recently, I got to spent time with him. I got to interview him. With Iran you got Syria, you got Hamas, you got Hezbollah, you got I believe Egypt now. Unfortunately, I think I was right, the Arab spring is going to be worse in Egypt maybe even Jordan ultimately.
LIEBERMAN: I hope you are not right. But right now the signs in Egypt are not good.
HANNITY: Not good.
HANNITY: I've been saying that from the beginning. I worry about the president. I didn't feel he treated the prime minister correctly, when he came to town the first time. I didn't like when he sprung on him going back to '67 borders. I wanted to get your thoughts.
LIEBERMAN: I agree with you. I think the president is not anti- Israel. I think he's pro-Israel, but I think he's handled the relationship with Israel in a way that has encouraged Israel's enemies and really unsettled the Israelis.
Because the Israelis have one really good friend in the world, it's us, it's natural and of course, they are very loyal to us too. But when the president of the United States acts in a way that makes the Israelis wonder whether we are for them, what it does is to discourage them from taking the risk that they would ever have to take to have a peace agreement with the Palestinians or anybody else.
HANNITY: Did you ever tell the president this?
LIEBERMAN: I have. My own hope is some of the things that he did like calling for the so-called settlement freeze were learning experiences. I hope he understands.
HANNITY: You are good at this, you are beyond gracious.
LIEBERMAN: Thank you.
HANNITY: All right, "The Gift of Rest, Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath," I will agree with you. As a Christian who believes in the Judeo-Christian ethic, I learned a lot from the book. Senator, it's always good to see you. Thank you for being with us.
LIEBERMAN: Thank you, Sean. God bless. See you soon.
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