This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 16, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Tonight, we take an in-depth look at the explosive new book that has all of Washington talking. From allegations that the Obama inner circle attempted to pay off the Reverend Jeremiah Wright to reports about the widespread corruption that still exists within the administration, we will be reviewing a mountain of new evidence that shows just how unprepared Barack Obama was to hold the office of the presidency.
Plus, in a "Hannity" exclusive, you will hear for the very first time, audio of a bombshell interview that took place in 2011 between the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and the author of this book, Ed Klein.
Joining me now in studio, the man behind this explosive new book, it's called "The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House," Ed Klein, how are you? Good to see you again. Welcome back.
ED KLEIN, AUTHOR, "THE AMATEUR": Great. Good to see you to.
HANNITY: You know, you have this habit of writing books that just get no attention, not controversial.
KLEIN: I try my best.
HANNITY: I am not going to get to this now, but we are going to play some of the audio. You actually got a three-hour interview that you taped with Reverend Wright. How did you get that?
KLEIN: Well, through mutual friends who had tried over months to convince him to see me. Finally, he did see me in his office at the -- get this -- Kwame Nkrumah Academy, which is a high school, named after the late Marxist dictator of Ghana. He has his little office there because he has now retired -- Reverend Wright. And he met me in a suit. He looked very, very proper. And we had this three-hour interview. And I had my tape recorder on the desk. The whole thing is on the tape.
HANNITY: Well, I've listen to a whole thing. My name came up a few times.
KLEIN: Yes, it did.
HANNITY: It did. All right. We'll get to that later. Let's start with, I thought this was one of the more interesting parts of the book. And that is that, first of all, let's talk about the title -- "Amateur."
HANNITY: Because I have said often that Barack Obama's in over his head. Explain where the title game from.
KLEIN: The title came from Bill Clinton. He had a meeting with Hillary --
HANNITY: In Chappaqua.
KLEIN: In Chappaqua back in August, 2011. And the rumors (INAUDIBLE) of their friends. Because, you know, Bill likes to hold court. He likes to use his ideas and bounce them off of people. And I interviewed several people in that room. And he was trying to convince Hillary to run against Obama in the Democratic primaries in2012.
HANNITY: And he did some polling.
KLEIN: And he did secret polling. And he showed her that she was doing well with African-Americans and with women and with Jews. And she said, wait a second. She said --
HANNITY: What about loyalty?
KLEIN: What about loyalty? And he said, there is no such word in politics.
HANNITY: Yes. Now, you are going to come under fire for different aspects of the book. But your sources are -- but they are not named-- the people that were in the room.
HANNITY: And you had how many sources that were actually there? See, I wondered about this because I don't think Bill Clinton ever got over when he said that he thought or felt that Barack Obama played the race card on him. Is that true? Is that where this comes from?
KLEIN: You could not be more right. He is still burning from that.
KLEIN: Seething. That's right. And he wants desperately to get back in the White House.
KLEIN: You know, but he has no -- excuse me. He has no respect for this president. He has said so.
HANNITY: And the funny thing is, he doesn't want Hillary to wait until 2016 because it's about him. And he feels he will be too old.
KLEIN: He will be too old. And his health is not that good. He is worried that, you know, will I make it? And she is saying, you have to wait until 2016. I mean, there's no question. They are planning right now -- he has gone so far by the way to plan for 2016 that he is already talking to people about renting an airplane for her campaign.
HANNITY: So, he's that invested in this coming election here.
All right. As you talk about this, you go into some of the life and background of Michelle Obama and Barack Obama. What did you glean out of this that you didn't know about them going in? What would you like the American people to know about him?
KLEIN: About Obama?
KLEIN: I would like them to know that this guy is temperamentally unsuited for the job of president. You know, you look at Lyndon Johnson, he couldn't give a good speech. He couldn't read from the teleprompter, but he understood how to work the levers of power in Washington. Barack Obama is a wonderful speechifier, lovely guy in front of the teleprompter, looks good, great tie. He has no idea how to work Washington. And he doesn't really have any interest in it, either. I have people tell me that they attend meetings on foreign affairs with him and he gets a phone from the head of state and he complains in front of everybody, you know what? I have to deal with these congressmen from (INAUDBILE) to get my bills passed. Of course he does! He doesn't like to do it.
HANNITY: Yes. Maybe that's why there is this disconnect. Bill Clinton on the other hand, would be up into all hours of the night and talk to anybody who would talk to him.
KLEIN: How about Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill.
HANNITY: Is it after 6:00?
HANNITY: Interesting point. All right. Let's talk about meeting Jeremiah Wright.
HANNITY: This is fascinating. We'll play some other tapes. Tell us about the meeting?
KLEIN: It was -- it wasn't what I expected, tell you the truth. Because the guy who I met did not look like the guy on -- on the videotapes with the dashiki (ph) and, you know, red face and screaming. He was very quiet, very polite.
HANNITY: Very measured.
KLEIN: Very measured. And talked about his -- his academic credentials, very proud of the fact that he had a PhD. And answered all my questions and he was -- it was just like you and me talking. There was no -- there was no sense that this guy could go off the deep end.
HANNITY: You know, I felt some intensity -- maybe when he was talking about me -- but also defending G-d America. He felt that he had been wronged.
KLEIN: That's right.
HANNITY: But the overwhelming sense that I got Ed, out of the conversation, listening to the three hours was that, was that as I listened to him, he was throwing Barack Obama down the stairs. And let's start with, he tells a story, I am going to play this first tape here, where basically, he is offered money through a third party to basically shut up and not speak until the November 2008 election.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, NOV. 11, 2011)
REV. JEREMIAH WRIGHT: Any time I look at that box, with all of those things in it --
KLEIN: What's in the box?
WRIGHT: An e-mail offering me money not to preach at all between the explosion of the media in the first week in March and November election.
KLEIN: E-mail from whom?
WRIGHT: One of his friends.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HANNITY: Interesting. You didn't mention the name Whitaker in the book. But this was a bona fide offer.
HANNITY: With proof. Evidence. Did he show it to you?
KLEIN: No, he did not.
HANNITY: But he says, he has an e-mail.
KLEIN: He says, he has a box, a cardboard box, in which he has put all kinds of things in including this email from Eric Whitaker, who is one of Barack Obama's closest friends, basketball player, they go on vacations together. During the campaign, he -- Eric Whitaker traveled on the airplane, the campaign plane with him. Their families are very, very close. Eric Whitaker is the guy that Barack Obama turns to when he has something personal that he wants to have handled outside of the normal channels.
HANNITY: Why does this sound to me a lot like why John Edwards is on trial right now?
Think about this.
HANNITY: In other words, is it an offer for an in-kind donation to buy the silence of somebody that could hurt his campaign? Even Reverend Wright said at one point, when they cancelled him for the invocation of the announcement in Springfield, when he announced he was going to run for president -- he was cancelled -- he talked to you about that.
KLEIN: Yes, he did. And he was very upset about it and his family was even more upset about it. And he had to settle for giving a little prayer beneath the platform where he was not seen with the family. But he was not rolled out to give the invocation in front, you know, on the platform in front of everybody in Springfield, Illinois.
HANNITY: So, what does that -- what is he saying to you here? And why is he saying it now? Because he obviously knows anything he says is going to have a big impact on the campaign. Why is he suggesting that they tried to buy his silence in 2008?
KLEIN: Because he feels that he has been turned by the Obama campaign into a pariah and that everywhere he goes, people who recognize him come up to him and say, "How could you do that? How could you say those things on the platform in your church?" And I think he wants to set the record straight.
HANNITY: But it's also setting the record straight about Obama.
HANNITY: And this next tape that we are going to air is very revealing because when nobody knew it, they had a private meeting, during the 2008 campaign. And President Obama appealed to him himself, begged him, pretty much.
KLEIN: And you know, this took place --
HANNITY: Well, hold that. Because we are going to play this part when we get back.
KLEIN: All right.
HANNITY: Pretty much begged him. And they had an exchange at the end of that meeting which I think is very profound. And I'll let you explain it from your new book when we come back. We have much more of that exclusive audio from Ed Klein's interview with the Reverend Wright.
HANNITY: And welcome back to "Hannity" as we continue to take an in- depth look at the book that everybody is talking about, it's called "The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House," and the author of that book, Ed Klein is still with us.
All right. So, this is interesting. So, they have a meeting, President Obama and Reverend Wright. And they hide it from -- in the middle of the campaign -- now Reverend Wright has already been offered money through an intermediary.
KLEIN: That's right.
HANNITY: To stop talking.
HANNITY: OK. Now the president makes that appeal himself. You spoke to Reverend --
KLEIN: The campaigner. He is not president, yet.
HANNITY: OK. The campaigner. He is not president yet. So they have a secret meeting. And as part of that, President Obama is asking Reverend Wright, hey, you know, you can please stop? And this is Ed Klein's interview with Reverend Wright about it.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
WRIGHT: He came to talk to me and said the same thing the Ed Whitaker e-mail -- I would wish -- I really wish you would not be do any more public speaking until November.
KLEIN: Did he offer you any money?
WRIGHT: No, he did not. Eric did not say that to me. He said it to one of the members who said it to me.
KLEIN: Eric did not say it directly to you?
KLEIN: He said it to one of the guys close to me. (INAUDIBLE) However, he signed it. And IP shows exactly where it comes from, that's in the box.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: All right. So, this is after the president -- he's meeting with Reverend Wright after he gave the speech at Philly on race.
KLEIN: Yes. And basically threw the Reverend Wright under the bus.
KLEIN: And then he called the Reverend Wright, as the Reverend Wright told me and said, I would like to have a private meeting with you in a secure place. Reverend Wright said, what do you mean a secure place? You have come to my home a thousand times. Why don't you just come here? So, he did go there. And I have the Secret Service logs showing that he did show up that day at the Reverend Wright's parsonage.
HANNITY: And it was picked up only on a small way by the media but you would think after the big Philly speech. Remember, this is the President that had said earlier that he is like family to me.
KLEIN: That's right.
HANNITY: I could no longer disown Reverend Wright than I could the black community. So, I could see why the Reverend's resentful. At the end of this meeting, you ask Reverend Wright about this and Obama says to him something profound. You can tell it. And then I will play it.
KLEIN: He says, the trouble with you, Reverend, is that you have to tell the truth. And the Reverend Wright says to him, that's not bad a trouble to have, Mr. Obama.
HANNITY: Wow. So, in other words, he is basically saying, he is saying, I don't have to tell the truth.
KLEIN: That's right.
HANNITY: All right. Listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
KLEIN: Was he confident about being elected?
WRIGHT: At that point, he was -- yes, and he saw me as -- as -- yes. He was confident, he was very hopeful. But he saw me as a deterrent, which is why he didn't --
KLEIN: How did you two leave each other that day in your living room?
WRIGHT: He said, "I'm sorry you don't see it that way." I said, oh -- he said to me that day, he said, "You know what your problem is?" I said, what's my problem? "You have to tell the truth." I said, "That's a good problem to have."
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HANNITY: So basically, Reverend Wright is telling the world right now, knowing that this is an important point in the election.
HANNITY: That Barack Obama is a liar.
KLEIN: That's right.
HANNITY: Am I reading that right?
KLEIN: You are. He said to me numerous times during this interview, there was a Barack Obama that I knew before he ran for president. Not a bad guy. Wanted to stay home with his kids, tucked them in at night. And then something happened when he ran for president. He completely changed.
HANNITY: He said he became a politician.
KLEIN: That's right.
HANNITY: You know, and he went into great detail on that.
All right. There was an interesting connection that you brought up between Whitaker and Michelle Obama?
HANNITY: Because she had a huge pay raise. She worked for this hospital. That became controversial because they had this whole policy put in place where people would be sort of encouraged to go to other hospitals to save money.
KLEIN: To save money for the University of Chicago Hospital Medical Center, they would shunt poor patients -- when Michelle Obama was head of the Urban Health Initiative, they shunted these poor patients to local hospitals so they had more room for rich patients who could pay more. And that job that she had -- which was paid I think $315,000 a year.
HANNITY: Which was a significant raise.
KLEIN: Oh, like triple what she was making before. This was after he became United States senator.
KLEIN: That same job is now held by, guess who? Eric Whitaker.
HANNITY: Pretty interesting.
KLEIN: Yes, I mean, this is crony Chicago capitalism.
HANNITY: You know, I felt bad in the book, Oprah Winfrey I think paid a little bit of a price, but for the first time she came out, supported a candidate, somebody I think she, you know, whole heartedly believed in.
KLEIN: No question.
HANNITY: And really you describe in the book where she was shunned by the White House, Valerie Jarrett, Michelle Obama in particular.
KLEIN: Yes. What happened is after Oprah, after the election, Oprah said to herself, well, I can't say what she said to herself, but she acted as though, listen, I played a major role in getting this guy elected. And she and Barack Obama were on the phone all the time with her giving him advice about various things, how to conduct a -- an administration that would be popular. And she knows a lot about how to be popular. Well, when Michelle Obama got wind of this, and especially Valerie Jarrett, her very best friend who is ensconced in the White House, they -- they interpreted this as though Oprah was trying to be the first lady -- that Oprah was trying to usurp Michelle's position. And they really froze her out.
HANNITY: Right. I've noticed, left-wing blogs that always attack you are attacking you now. I don't see how they can attack you because you have a three-hour audiotape that you have now given me on the Reverend Wright interview. So, it corroborates everything you said there. What do you say about the other sourcing for and the information, you spent a lot of time researching the book?
KLEIN: I did. You know, I interviewed 200 people.
KLEIN: Most of them on the record, by the way, including president's physician who was his personal physician for 22 years.
HANNITY: That's a great story.
KLEIN: -- guys who worked with him at the University of Chicago Law School. People who worked with him at the Illinois State Senate.
As far as Oprah is concerned, Oprah was so upset what she heard back from the White House which was -- this is an Oprah quote, "Michelle doesn't want me in the White House working with her on this anti-obesity campaign because she says she doesn't like a fat person waddling around the White House." Oprah was fit to be tied. Now, as you can see, Oprah is not campaigning for Obama this time around.
HANNITY: And obviously, you believe they are connected.
HANNITY: All right. Ed Klein. A very, very bland, noncontroversial book, as usual.
Thanks for being with us. I am sure there's going to be reaction to this.
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