Bill Cunningham Returns for More on Obama Comment Fallout

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," February 27, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


BILL CUNNINGHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: At some point in the near future the media, the stooges from the New York Times; CBS, the Clinton Broadcasting System; NBC, the Nobody But Clinton network; the All Bill Clinton channel, ABC; and the Clinton News Network at some point is going to peel the bark off Barack Hussein Obama.

Why don't you talk to his mother and father, recently departed. God bless and God rest their souls. His parents called him Barack Hussein Obama, not me.


ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: All right. Those were the very eloquent comments of radio talk show host Bill Cunningham made yesterday at a McCain rally in Cincinnati and later that night on our program. His use of Obama's middle name has prompted debate about whether its usage was fair game.

With us now, radio talk show host Bill Cunningham and FOX News contributor Bob Beckel.

Cunningham comes back for more: Watch Part 1 | Watch part 2

Bill, I know you're very entertaining as a talk show host and your reaction, as well. That's his real name, of course. Last night, I pointed out you also called him Barack Mohammed Hussein Obama on radio. But — which you, of course, don't deny.

But let's talk about intent here. Your intent is not simply to honor his parents who called him that, but to suggest that, because his name is Hussein, it has an implication that will not sit well with a certain factor of the population. And that's what it's all about.

CUNNINGHAM: Well, Alan Colmes, let me tell you my intent. Instead of you speculating in the dark, let me give you the facts. Some of the great presidents of American history where Obama wants to be John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Ronald Wilson Reagan, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, one of your heroes. Ronald Wilson — how about Jefferson Clinton? How about — how about Hillary Rodham Clinton?

I gave him three proper names, elevating him to almost a presidency. In fact, isn't your middle name Youssef? Alan Youssef Colmes?

COLMES: Exactly. Very funny. Hilarious.

CUNNINGHAM: I'm just asking you. I'm honoring him to call him by his name.

COLMES: Alan Samuel Colmes, that's my real name. But the truth is, you're disingenuous to act like you are trying to honor him when you know you're playing on the fears of people who hear the word "Hussein" and don't particularly like the way that sounds.

Bob Beckel, do you want to weigh in on that?

BOB BECKEL, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I mean, believe it or not, I have followed this gentlemen's radio career. He's got a huge audience. And what is everybody so surprised at? I mean, the guy — if you're going to invite him to go and then stir up a crowd, you do not expect a lecture on the Marquis de Queensbury rules. I mean, this is — this is not what Mr. Cunningham is about.

I — look, the fact that these people were surprised gets me — it's amazing.

Why does Bill use his middle name, Hussein? Are we kidding ourselves? We understand why. But that's OK. That's what he does. I mean, that's his big thing.

COLMES: And why doesn't he use John Sidney McCain? Bill?

BECKEL: I'm talking about it. I'm getting tired of talking about it. This is three days in a row. Come on.

COLMES: But Bill...


COLMES: ... if middle names are so important, why don't you use them for all the candidates? Why just Barack?

CUNNINGHAM: Alan, I used John Sidney McCain III, and no Australians have been angry at all. His middle name is Sidney. What is wrong with the name given to him by his parents?

COLMES: I haven't heard you use it. I haven't heard you use it.

CUNNINGHAM: I used — I've used John Sidney McCain III. I've used those names. I've used the name.

COLMES: By the way, Bill, what is your middle name? I want to use it from now on.

CUNNINGHAM: My middle name is Daniel.

SEAN, HANNITY, CO-HOST (off camera): Don't tell him.

COLMES: What is it?

CUNNINGHAM: Daniel. William Daniel Cunningham.

COLMES: All right. William Daniel Cunningham. We'll be using that from now on.

CUNNINGHAM: Alan, the bigotry is with people like you who take offense at the proper legal name of a candidate that you want to keep...

COLMES: The issue is — you're being disingenuous about what your true intent is.

CUNNINGHAM: No, you're the one, Alan.

COLMES: Don't blame it on me. You are not being straight about what your real angle is and why you're actually doing it.

CUNNINGHAM: Straight as an arrow, because I'm using it to give the man credit for three proper names, like John Fitzgerald Kennedy is not a knock on the Irish.

HANNITY: William Daniel Cunningham, welcome back to the program, sir. You're a great American.

CUNNINGHAM: I am a great American.

HANNITY: Let's go back, though. He made a great point, Bob Beckel. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Richard Milhous Nixon, Ronald Wilson Reagan, William Jefferson Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, George Herbert Walker Bush, George W. Bush.

I mean, you're just making an assumption here, almost all of the presidents, we use their middle names it's an term, it's the name his parents gave him. Why is there this reaction to this?

BECKEL: Well, let me play right along and say, "Gee, you're exactly right."

Now, Sean doesn't have a middle name, I find out.

HANNITY: That's correct.

BECKEL: Just Sean.

HANNITY: And if I did, I'm not telling you.

BECKEL: I have a middle name. Now, Daniel is a nice middle name for Bill. You've got Daniel — Daniel Boone. I mean, here's a — you know, here's a famous guy and he's famous.

Look, who are we kidding? I didn't fall off the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) last night. I'm not falling into this game.

I will say this: does anybody wonder what it would be like to have dinner with Alan Colmes and Bill Cunningham? Does anybody think...

COLMES: It would cost too much money.

BECKEL: It would be disastrous. Nobody would have their silverware.


HANNITY: Bill Cunningham, let me ask you a serious question. We just had on the architect, Karl Rove, and Senator McCain denounced your comments, even though he wasn't there when you made them. Even though his staff, you said last night on this program, they asked you to go out and pump up the crowd.

CUNNINGHAM: Joe Deters did. Joe Deters.

HANNITY: All right. Joe Deeters. Joe Deeters, OK. Now, but here's what Karl Rove said. He said, by using the name "Barack Hussein Obama," that it would perpetuate the notion that Republicans were bigoted and that it would hurt the party. How do you respond to the architect?

CUNNINGHAM: It perpetuates the notion that the accurate name should be used. And that when you're in a state like Ohio, Sean, this is a bare- knuckle battleground state.

We're used to fighting in the pit in Ohio. Maybe in Arizona you don't. Maybe in New York you don't, because New York is certainly a blue state. Arizona is a red state. But in Ohio we're used to fighting with knives and guns for elections.

HANNITY: Bill — Bill...

CUNNINGHAM: And so here you got McCain coming here, and he wants to play by the — by the pussycat rules that don't work in Ohio.

HANNITY: Before — before we get — before we get Bob Beckel back in, you said you're now going to support Hillary Rodham Clinton.

CUNNINGHAM: Absolutely.

HANNITY: Bill Cunningham, I am challenging you right now that you are not going to support, when push comes to shove — I will bet you a dinner at your restaurant, that you are not — Willie's, that you are not going to pull the lever for Hillary Rodham Clinton. And I'll bet you any amount of money you want to bet right here.

CUNNINGHAM: Can I have 20 seconds to respond?


CUNNINGHAM: Here's the deal. In 1976 if Ford became the president, Reagan never would have happened. I say now a Clinton or an Obama will usher in 20 years of Reagan conservatism.

HANNITY: Well, so that means — wait a minute. So that means — wait, but this means that Iraq gets turned over to Al Qaeda and Ahmadinejad because both are — wait, wait. Because both are going to retreat. This means you may have, at the end of that four-year period, nationalized healthcare, higher taxes, open borders.

Bill Cunningham, are you ready to vote for a president that supports views that are the antithesis of yours?

CUNNINGHAM: My friend Sean, short-term pain, pain for long-term gain. We have to go through four years of Jimmy Carter again to get eight to 20 years of Reagan Republicans.

And I say, if this man McCain is elected, we're going to have 20 years to restore the Republican Party.

BECKEL: Let me make this — let me make this easy on you, OK? We don't really want your vote. OK? Keep your vote.

CUNNINGHAM: You're going to get my vote, Bob. You're going to get it.

BECKEL: The reason McCain backed off was — and apologized for it, because that kind of conversation, it's bad politics this time around. It doesn't work. It's like the ACLU. Or Sean was going on about Barack Obama...

COLMES: All right. We're going to continue. Bob, what is your middle name, Bob? Bob, what's your middle name?

HANNITY: Daniel.

BECKEL: Gilroy.


HANNITY: And we continue now with radio talk show host, nationally syndicated guy, Bill Cunningham. Three hundred and 20 stations around the country. And Bob Beckel is with us.

Bob Beckel, I want to ask you about William Ayres. If you recall, he admitted that he was involved in the bombings of New York City police headquarters in 1970, the Capitol building in 1971, the Pentagon in 1972.

We have a report out today, ABC News via the New York Sun that he donated to the Obama campaign. We have a report out, Jonah Goldberg wrote a column, that Obama visited his home as, quote, "a rite of passage when launching his political career in the mid-1990s."

His spokesman — Barack Obama — said, "Yes, they're friendly. They know each other."

Does the presidential candidate for the Democratic Party have any business being friendly with and potentially accepting donations from a man that admits that he blew up and helped plan and set a bomb at our Pentagon?

BECKEL: Well, I mean, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower met with Joe Stalin, who killed 22 million people. Now, I suppose you could argue that that was a bad...

HANNITY: This man declared war on the United States.

BECKEL: But let's put it this way. The kind of guilt-by-association — this happened in the '90s. It isn't going to work. Do I care? No. Do the American people care? No. You want to keep running that thing now?

HANNITY: You don't think so? I don't know what kind of world you're living in, Bob Beckel, he said in 2001...

BECKEL: It is a non-ACLU world. The non-liberal world. The non- commie world.

HANNITY: Let me read this to you.

BECKEL: All of the stuff you guys are running, that's 1990's, man. You guys are out of it. You're out of it.

HANNITY: Bill Cunningham, in 2001 the man that the Barack Obama spokesman says that he's friendly with now that declared war in the 1970's, involved in the bombing of a Pentagon and police headquarters, we now — he said in 2001, "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we did not do enough."

I think, I think this is going to be a major issue, Bill Cunningham.

CUNNINGHAM: Hold on, Bob. Hold on.

BECKEL: And are you suggesting that Barack Obama therefore supports that position?

HANNITY: I'm suggesting for his campaign to say they're friendly with a man that set bombs at the Pentagon and accepted a campaign donation from.

BECKEL: I mean, what about — what about people who hung around with Jesse Helms?

HANNITY: Did Jesse Helms blow up the Pentagon? Did Jesse Helms declare war against the U.S.?

BECKEL: No, but he almost blew up the ACLU at...

CUNNINGHAM: Bob — Bob, what if George Bush had met with Timothy McVeigh? This guy, Obama, is meeting with domestic terrorists who's blowing up American institutions, and you don't object to that? Come on, Bob! You're better than that.

COLMES: What do you mean by meeting with?

BECKEL: When did Bush meet with McVeigh?

CUNNINGHAM: He didn't, but if he's a double standard.

COLMES: He happens to be on the board of directors of organizations that do fundraising, charitable fundraisers. And that doesn't mean he has any friendship with him. It doesn't mean he has anything to do with him.

BECKEL: Exactly.

COLMES: You are actually, again, trying to smear Barack Obama with this guilt by association, and this is going to come back and haunt the people who actually do the smearing.

So far it's not worked, and it's not going to work. And Mr. Cunningham, I think you should be ashamed of yourself if you think this is the way to run this campaign.

CUNNINGHAM: I'll tell you what, Youssef Colmes. I'm standing with Sean Hannity on this one, because I don't want any domestic terrorists to be meeting with presidential candidates.


COLMES: Wait a minute. Define "meeting." What are you talking about, meeting? Can you tell me exactly what you're talking about? What do you mean "meeting?"

CUNNINGHAM: According to news accounts — according to reports that Barack Hussein Obama has been friendly with Mr. Ayers and perhaps took campaign donations from him.

And also, Louis Farrakhan is the lifetime award winner from the man that Obama claims saved him from Christianity.

COLMES: He's already renounced the Farrakhan endorsement. You're a couple of days behind here.

Bob Beckel, you want to respond?

BECKEL: Richard Nixon met with Cho En Lai and Mao.

CUNNINGHAM: They're not domestic terrorists.

BECKEL: Hold it. Bill, Bill, Billy, Billy. Can you just — just because everybody now gets it, and I admire the fact that you stir it up. You use the word "Hussein" because it makes him sound like a Muslim, and it's good for stirring people up, right? Come on.

CUNNINGHAM: No. No, no, I used the man's name as given to him by his parents. And if you object to it, then you're the bigot and not me.

COLMES: Bill, I wish you were honest about what you're doing. I wish you were at least honest about your intent, which you so far have not done. But...

CUNNINGHAM: I have no intent except make America a better country.

COLMES: Thank you for being on with us.

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