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Hannity

Rutgers protests Condoleezza Rice as graduation speaker

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 5, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: The faculty council at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, is urging the school to rescind its invitation to Condoleezza Rice to speak at this year's commencement. Now Rutgers is awarding an honorary doctor of law degree to the former secretary of state and paying her $35,000 to speak.

Our own Ainsley Earhardt visited the campus to track down some of the 200 professors who are now protesting, and here is why they say they object.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She played a prominent role in the Bush administration's effort to mislead the American people about the presence of weapons of mass destruction, and she at the very least condoned the Bush administration's policy of enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding. And that does it for me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Booking a commencement speaker is honoring the speaker and also offering a role model to students. And I think we could make better choices than to pick Condi Rice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The commencement is a place where students should be happy and joyful and proud of their achievements and not be distracted by political controversy.

AINSLEY EARHARDT, FOX NEWS HOST: So it is not about Republicans and Democrats?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not at all. I have very good Republican friends and some of them who are members of the Tea Party. That's not the issue. For me it is the morality of what was done during the war.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

HANNITY: Joining us now is Rudy Bell, history professor at Rutgers. He signed on to this petition. You signed on to this?

RUDOLPH BELL, HISTORY PROFESSOR, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY: Yes. I'm one of the people helping to circulate it.

HANNITY: And you are upset about the effort, her role in misleading the American people?

BELL: I think we are concerned with two areas primarily, the misleading of the American people on the situation in Iraq, particularly whether there were weapons of mass destruction. And then her co-involvement in enhanced methods of interrogation I believe is the phrase she uses.

HANNITY: Let me ask you this. If Barack Obama were to speak at the commencement, would you support him being there?

BELL: He's been invited for 2016. That's a news break. I don't know whether he said yes or no.

HANNITY: Would you support him?

BELL: I think by then, he's lame duck.

HANNITY: Would you support it? Would you be protesting like you are Condi?

BELL: I'd have to think about that.

HANNITY: Probably not.

BELL: I don't agree with that. I would support Governor Christie speaking.

HANNITY: An effort to mislead the American people. Did Barack Obama mislead the American people when he said if you like your plan you can keep your plan?

BELL: That is not why I would pick Obama.

HANNITY: I'm asking you did he mislead the American people? If this is the standard, if this is what you say, if that is the standard, did the president mislead the American people if he said if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor? Like your plan, you can keep your plan?

BELL: The reason for inviting Obama would be because for his office, the same as Governor Christie. I would have no objection to inviting --

HANNITY: The office.

BELL: -- president of the United States.

HANNITY: A black secretary of state.

BELL: She has no office. She's a professor at Standard.

HANNITY: Excuse me, but a prominent role in our country's history, and a prominent position, you may disagree. Isn't a college campus where we have the most free speech?

BELL: She's absolutely welcome to come. I think $35,000 would be a little high. We pay normally pay $2,000 at the most.

HANNITY: You got her cheap, I charge a lot more.

BELL: Really?

HANNITY: That is correct.

BELL: Were you invited Rutgers ever? I don't think so.

HANNITY: No.

BELL: Anyway, on academic freedom grounds, I would never protest her coming to Rutgers. A commencement speaker is different. That is a faculty-governance issue.

HANNITY: Can I just say that you would want Obama to be your commencement speaker --

BELL: I don't want him or not want him.

HANNITY: But you won't protest this way is my guess because you won't give me an answer. But the point is, he misled the American people. He told the American people they can keep their plan, doctor, they can save $2,500 a year. Why don't you apply the same standard to him.

BELL: I'm a historian. I wait 100 or 200 years to make judgments. I'm not ready to make a judgment about Obama.

HANNITY: You're wimping out.

BELL: Not at all. I'm perfectly happy to tell you that --

HANNITY: You don't believe in academic freedom, freedom of speech.

BELL: I totally believe in freedom of speech.

HANNITY: Then why are you trying to silence someone?

BELL: I'm not trying to silence her at all. She's entirely welcome to come as anything but commencement speaker.

HANNITY: You should be thankful to God that you got someone as qualified as her and I bet you're not going to get qualified people if you keep acting this way. Good to see you.

BELL: OK.

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