Diana Irey Explains Why She Is Running Against Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha
This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," August 4, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Recently, we spoke to Diana Irey, a Republican County Commissioner running to unseat Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman John Murtha.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: This is a district that's very winnable. John Kerry, we were just talking about this, got 51 percent of the vote. It's a winnable district.
DIANA IREY, CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATIC SEAT CHALLENGER: It's a very winnable district. And the time is right. People are looking at what Mr. Murtha has done in his 32 years in Congress. And they're looking for change.
HANNITY: What is the latest — I mean, here's a guy that, without any proof, without any evidence, without any substansiation, without giving our troops the benefit of the doubt, accused our troops of killing innocent civilians in cold blood.
What has been the reaction to that?
IREY: Oh, Sean, the reaction has been overwhelming. Because of what he said, we've received contributions from all 50 states. People are going to our website, which is irey.com, and they are signing up. They're volunteering. They're sending money.
But the most heartwarming response we have had, we have soldiers on the ground in Iraq that are sending contributions.
HANNITY: And what is it, 18 percent, you were telling me, of veterans in the district?
IREY: There's about 18 percent.
HANNITY: And he says that we can't win this war. He says that while our troops are in harm's way. I think it is the most harmful thing. It is so dangerous. And I don't understand why he doesn't get that considering his background?
IREY: He should get that. And I'll tell you, I was at a welcome home party just last weekend for a soldier that came back from Iraq. And he talked about what Mr. Murtha had been saying and what effect it had on the soldiers over there. Because they were being told by the Iraqi military what is his saying is hurting not only you, but it's hurting us as well. It's making our job harder.
HANNITY: Yes. You know, I have noticed and I've been following your race. And I know you're on with my good friends, Quinn and Rose, on our big FM talker, WPGB in Pittsburgh a lot, and you're friends with them.
But and I know that they have come after you now. I know they are ratcheting up the attacks. Are you ready for the inevitable? When you've got Rahm Emanuel that will use coffins of dead soldiers to raise money — and he did use it to raise money — I think there just no shame here anymore in the Democratic Party. Are you ready for that war?
IREY: I'm ready. This is something I believe in with all my heart. I am standing up to Jack Murtha. And I'm doing it for all of the citizens and all of our soldiers throughout the United States.
COLMES: Should Jack Murtha not speak out?
IREY: Jack Murtha has a right to speak out. But I think that he has a responsibility to be guarded in some of the things he says, like accusing our Marines of being cold-blooded killers before any facts were in...
COLMES: Well, he said in cold blood. And by the way, the prime minister of Iraq also used the phrase. The guy we support, Maliki, said "in cold blood." Was he wrong to that? Should we not be supporting the prime minister of Iraq?
IREY: We should be making sure we are supporting our troops.
COLMES: Right. Isn't one way to support our troops to point out how they are in harm's way. And what Jack Murtha's greater point was you don't know who the enemy is. And are troops are in a very difficult situation. And he wants to support them by finding a way to get them safely back. Isn't that a way to support them?
IREY: That's not — That's not how the troops feel.
COLMES: Some of them.
IREY: I'll tell you, the majority of the troops that I've talked to, the majority of the soldiers; they feel like what he's done has been a terrible thing to them. He's put them in greater danger. He's put a bigger target on their backs. And he's also emboldened our enemies.
COLMES: Well, most Americans — and I don't know what the polling is in your district — but most Americans don't approve of how the president is running this war. In the LA Times poll only 40 percent approve, the Pew study, 35 percent approve.
IREY: But we're not talking about the president.
COLMES: So what he is saying is indicative of how most Americans feel about this war.
IREY: But we're not talking about the president. We're talking about Jack Murtha and what he said.
COLMES: And what he's saying is in sync with the way most Americans feel about the war in Iraq.
IREY: Well, you started off by telling me that — we were talking about his comments about our Marines that were being cold-blooded killers. That's what we're talking about. And that is wrong!
COLMES: He said people are being killed in cold blood. He didn't say all Marines. He said people are being killed in cold blood.
You're called on him.
IREY: He called them cold-blooded killers at a press conference.
COLMES: No, he said — he didn't say cold-blood killers. He said people being killed in cold blood.
IREY: And that's what he called them.
COLMES: You've called on him to repudiate what Sean referenced a few moments ago, the coffins that were being used, and that he should repudiate that.
In 2004, President Bush ran a re-election ad using coffins of firefighters on Ground Zero and that has not been repudiated by anybody who's a Republican.
Will you call on Republicans to repudiate George W. Bush's re-election campaign ad where he used coffins?
IREY: Look, I didn't see that commercial that you're speaking of. But let me tell a few about this. This was wrong, what he did. And I can tell you that people are outraged.
COLMES: But Bush did the same thing. He used the same kind of imagery when he ran for re-election in 2004.
IREY: We are talking about Jack Murtha. We're not talking about the president.
COLMES: But I'm calling for the same standard.
IREY: Well, the same standard should apply to everyone.
COLMES: I misspoke earlier. Jack Murtha is a Democrat.
Watch "Hannity & Colmes" weeknights at 9 p.m. ET!
Copy: Content and Programming Copyright 2006 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc. (www.voxant.com), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, LLC'S and Voxant, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.