August 18: Actor Ed Asner Jumps Into The Debate With Sean

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This is a partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, August, 18 2003  that has been edited for clarity. Click here to order a transcript of the entire show.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: We're joined by our good friend, liberal…I don't even think liberal fits the political orientation. What, Ed Asner is here.

I watched every Mary Tyler Moore episode there ever was.

ED ASNER, ACTOR: Prove it.

HANNITY: Stop it. I can't prove cite you chapter and versus, like I still by the end I head about I watched most, if not all. Let me ask you, I asked you just before we came on the air, I said, do you watch the show?

ASNER: Of course I do. I can't cite you chapter and verse just like you can't cite me chapter and verse about Mary Tyler Moore.

HANNITY: Oh, Mr. Grant...that's pretty good. But when I asked you if you watched the show, I said, 'Do you like what I say?' And what did you say, you hate me.

ASNER: Of course I did.

HANNITY: You don't really hate me.

ASNER: That's what you're designed for.

HANNITY: What does that mean?

ASNER: You're the latest model.

HANNITY: Of what?

ASNER: The latest model of 2003 hate.

HANNITY: You think I'm a hateful person?

ASNER: No. I think you're built up to be.

HANNITY: What does that mean?

ASNER: Well, I think that we live in 30 second sound bites, that you're out there to slash and give them the old what for.

HANNITY: It's called the truth, Ed.

You know, you also said something else before we were coming on the air. We were having a very lively discussion, ladies and gentlemen just before. You were talking about conservatives and equating them with Nazis. Do you believe that?

ASNER: I didn't say all conservatives.

HANNITY: Do you think some?

ASNER: My feeling is that, in the old days, conservatives were there serving the very useful purpose, preserving, conserving the progressive gains of liberals.

HANNITY: So you think now we are Nazi like?

ASNER: Now I think there are many conservatives out there who are just out there to destroy. They say destroy big government. And that's to enlarge and enrich their own things.

HANNITY: You really believe. You know, here's what you may not know about. Here's how I describe my version of conservatism.

I consider myself a Reagan compassionate conservatism. A believer in a strong national defense, understanding the nature of evil in the world that wants to destroy our way of life. He was a staunch anticommunist. I'm sure that bothers you.

ASNER: Why does that bother me?

HANNITY: I don't know. Does it bother you?


HANNITY: And he wanted to cut taxes to stimulate the economy and he doubled revenues in eight years. That's my version of conservatism. What does that have to do with that Nazism? Why do you do use term likes that?

ASNER: How much were taxes cut during Reagan?

HANNITY: Reagan dropped the top national rate from 90 to 28 percent and in eight years he doubled revenues from $500 billion...

ASNER: Ninety to 28 percent.

HANNITY: That's right. The top marginal rate...

ASNER: Is that figure...

HANNITY: Yes, that it.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Look at the deficit debt. We'll get into that.

ASNER: Yes, I know. And I thought he was there to reduce government. Why did government grow under Reagan?

HANNITY: In eight years he doubled the revenues that government took in and he also had to deal with your good friend, Tip O'Neill, the liberal.

ASNER: He had to pay for that government.

HANNITY: But he couldn't spend a dime without Tip O'Neill's approval.

ASNER: But government grew very largely.

HANNITY: You're a really big liberal.

COLMES: They don't want to talk about the deficit, the debt that Reagan left. They don't want to acknowledge that Clinton left a surplus and now we have deficits again. We keep mis-estimating what the deficits are. And they want to recall Gray Davis (search) for that but they want to promote George W. Bush (search) to a second term.

ASNER: I know, they blame Gray Davis for everything that ever happened. They need somebody. I mean, it's like George Bush. He needs somebody to blame. Usama bin Laden hits him. He can't find Usama bin Laden. So he turns around and hits the guy behind him.

COLMES: Let me ask you. Why do you think conservatives do so well on the media, on talk radio, on cable news?

HANNITY: We're good.

ASNER: Because they are simple.

COLMES: They're simple?

ASNER: They are very simple.

HANNITY: You think it's simple.

ASNER: Very simple. They come out...

HANNITY: Condescending liberal.

ASNER: He is rotten. He wants to increase your taxes. He wants to let criminals out of prison.

COLMES: You think it's going negative?

ASNER: It is conservative who have packed our prisons with the greatest prison population in the world.

COLMES: What do liberals need to do to get an equal playing field because conservatives, I think, will take credit for the fact that the we have a conservative House, conservative Senate, conservative president, conservative judges, conservative Supreme Court. What do liberals need to do to even the playing field?

ASNER: Be as rotten as the conservatives.

COLMES: So you would advise them to go negative and be rotten?

ASNER: Yes. You've got to fight fire with fire.

COLMES: Do you think...

ASNER: What did everybody complain about the Democrats lying down like sheep when Bush was going crazy there. They were not fighting him.

COLMES: Wasn't the media easy on Bush in terms of military record. Weren't they easy on him about his record as the governor of Texas?

ASNER: ... media, don't they?

Maybe not Fox.

COLMES: Its seems that liberals were very quiet about...

HANNITY: You're enjoying yourself tonight, aren't you? You're really having a good time. I can tell you.

ASNER: Thank you.

COLMES: Liberals were very quiet about George Bush's record. Weak constitutional state for a governor. Very quiet about his record, his military record, but conservatives are very loud about Clinton's military record.


COLMES: So it seems like there is...

ASNER: All right. Nobody talks about George Bush being AWOLed, do they?

COLMES: Why do you think that is.

HANNITY: We've got to take a break.

Why would you say this? You know what? You liberals, he freed 50 million people. When did you stop caring about people being enslaved? When did you liberals stop having compassion when women couldn't go to work, couldn't go to school, children couldn't play in the streets because of people like Hussein (search) and Usama bin Laden (search).

We freed those people, just like we beat Nazism and fascism.

ASNER: Why didn't you go into Iraq using that excuse?

HANNITY: We went into Iraq using the same rhetoric in 1988 and we're finding them. We're finding them.

ASNER: Oh, Bull.

HANNITY: Want to make a bet? How much money have you got.

ASNER: What?

HANNITY: How much money do you have?

ASNER: Probably not as much as you.

HANNITY: I guess those reruns of Mary Tyler Moore aren't doing as well as they used to.

Why do you take strong political stances? Do you ever consider how it might affect you in the business?

ASNER: That's hardly affecting me. But then, it doesn't and I'm beyond that now. Before I feel like I want to serve my country.

COLMES: Have you suffered, though? In real life?

ASNER: Yes. That's in the past.

COLMES: I'd be curious to find out how and why.

ASNER: It's not a story, really. They canceled the Lou Grant Show and it was difficult getting a job. I still survived.

COLMES: But conservatives also claim that they're the victims, they're victimized. They're the ones that are not heard and they're the ones that are punished for their views and...

ASNER: Oh, really? Did John Wayne (search) get punished badly. He and Ward Bond led the blacklist in Hollywood.

COLMES: And we have a book out right now by Ann Coulter (search) talking about that McCarthy was not such a bad...

ASNER: She's a blonde boxy.

COLMES: Do you think calling names helps locals? Is that good?

ASNER: You're right. Ann Coulter is not a blonde boxy. She's a blonde bomb thrower.

COLMES: One thing we do here...

ASNER: And that's her only cache.

COLMES: One of the issues, though: they don't like elections. Because they tried to impeach Clinton. Now they want to recall Gray Davis in California.

The electoral process is under attack in this country.

ASNER: Of course it is. It's ridiculous to recall. It destroys the American electoral system. It is an insane system. And at the time it was created, 100 years itself. Served a very have roses

COLMES: Is Davis done? Is he toast.

HANNITY: Because it destroyed the railroad domination of California politics.

COLMES: So what does California do to retain the governorship? Is Gray Davis gone? Is he toast?

ASNER: I can't predict that.

HANNITY: By the way, if you don't like the law in California, change it, number one. And is you don't like getting rid of Clinton, don't have a president that lies under oath when he swore to uphold the law of the land and the Constitution, because that what...well, Clinton's probably too conservative for you, anyway.

ASNER: But what did Bush do? What did Bush do about.

HANNITY: 70 million people.

ASNER: There you go again. There he goes again. He's using...there you go again.

HANNITY: I can prove to you that you're a hypocrite. I don't want to be rude.

ASNER: Go ahead.

HANNITY: Because Clinton made the same arguments in 1998 when he bombed Saddam, talk about nuclear coming. When did you call him a liar? Show me the paper that you.

ASNER: Nobody asked at the time.

HANNITY: Oh, but you said to yourself. Only now you're outspoken.

ASNER: Yes. I didn't have...we didn't go to war. We didn't go to war.

But we were, I found out later, bombing the hell out of Iraq, and I indicted Clinton to that. England and the States were bombing for five years.

HANNITY: Are people better off? And are people better off in Iraq now that he's gone?

ASNER: I don't think so. Are we better off?


ASNER: Are we better off?


ASNER: Not with soldiers getting killed every day. You're wrong.

HANNITY: I'm right.

ASNER: I know you're wrong.

HANNITY: You're a socialist, aren't you?

ASNER: I would say so, yes. So what.

HANNITY: You support communism?


HANNITY: What's the difference?

ASNER: Well, we've never really seen communism operating in its true...

HANNITY: Should we try it? Would you like to try it?

ASNER: No, I'd be afraid to, with all the fumblers that have done it.

HANNITY: Who's your ideal president, in this country? Who, if you could pick one person?

ASNER: Lincoln (search). How can you ignore Lincoln? And yet, Lincoln made mistakes, too.

HANNITY: What happened to you? I mean, you seem...

ASNER: I saw the light. I had an epiphany.

COLMES: Some of these liberals were dropped on their head at birth.

HANNITY: He's a socialist. He's like you, a chapter in your book called, 'Bush president, greatest president.'

ASNER: If we go on being dominated by corporations.

COLMES: We've got to run. I thank you. Hope you'll be back. I love seeing you two go at it.

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