This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," October 8, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Our top story tonight: Now, you have heard the reports about some conservatives being upset with the positions of the Republican frontrunners for president. Well, tonight, in a "Hannity & Colmes" exclusive interview, Dr. James Dobson addresses those concerns and what he plans to do about it.
HANNITY: Well, you knew when you wrote this op-ed in The New York Times that it would create a lot of controversy. It's got a lot of people talking.
Let me just surmise this for everybody. You and about 50 pro-family leaders met in Salt Lake City. And after two hours of deliberation, you came up with a resolution that you surmised in The New York Times op-ed as the following: "If neither of the two major political parties nominates an individual who pledges himself or herself to the sanctity of human life, we will join others in voting for a minor party candidate. Those agreeing with the proposition were invited to stand, and the result was almost unanimous."
JAMES DOBSON, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY: Sean, I really do need — because this is political in nature — to explain that I'm not speaking for Focus on the Family. I'm speaking directly for myself, and so I hope people understand that today.
You know what, Sean? This is a very, very difficult issue. It's one of the toughest I've ever had to face. And I know you and I see it differently, even though we agree on 99 percent of the issues. But I think it's going to be a division throughout the conservative movement, because it is not an easy thing to either explain or a position to take. And what we did there in Salt Lake was not easy for us, either.
HANNITY: Let me tell you if, in fact, this is the case, we have some poll numbers. And we'll put it up on the screen for our audience here, and this was a Rasmussen poll.
And the bottom line in the case, for example, of Rudy Giuliani that if, in fact, you were to mount a third-party challenge and support a third-party candidate, the result "would be a landslide victory for Hillary Clinton." Now, that's the same partial-birth-abortion-supporting Hillary; that's national health care Hillary; that's Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hillary or worse. Are you prepared to accept that inevitable result?
DOBSON: Well, that's what I mean when I say it's difficult. It's bad on both sides. We're very, very concerned about the implications of a Hillary Clinton presidency, but, you know, we have been working — Sean, for 35 years, I've been trying to defend the unborn child. And 19 years ago, in 1988, I came to Washington, and there were 400,000 people at the Washington Monument. And I stood up there on that day — we still have it on videotape — where I said, "I pledge hereby never for the rest of my life to vote for anyone who would kill innocent babies."
That's been my life. That's been my belief, along with marriage and the family and the other things. I can't now abandon that because we've got two bad choices here.
HANNITY: Let me run through this a different way, because I think if we believe the polls — and sometimes they can be wrong — but I think right as of now the candidate for the Republicans will either be Rudy Giuliani, Senator Fred Thompson, or Mitt Romney — Governor Romney. And in the case of John McCain, he's still doing fairly well in the polls. You have now said publicly you will not support Rudy, you will not support Fred Thompson, you will not support John McCain.
Now, all three of those men have pledged that if, in fact, they're elected president, they would appoint to the court people like Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia and John Roberts. We know if Hillary is elected that she would appoint people like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and we know she supports partial-birth abortion.
In that sense, if that Rasmussen poll is right, the result will be far worse for the cause that I know you passionately and deeply believe in.
DOBSON: It will be terrible, Sean. That's absolutely true. But you're taking Rudy's word on his intention to appoint strict constructionists to the Supreme Court, and I would like to remind you that he has a terrible record in New York of appointing judges. He appointed some of the worst possible judges.
And then there are so many other issues, the marriage issue, his personal moral background. He says he's a Catholic. I know how you feel about that, and yet he says, "I will not be guided by the Catholic Church."
HANNITY: But let me ask you this...
DOBSON: There are so many issues.
HANNITY: ... only because of the limitations of time here, Dr. Dobson, but there's another side. And I like to look at everybody in their entirety. For example, we all admire Ronald Reagan, and Ronald Reagan, for example, in his private life, we all know, was divorced. He was not a perfect person. He, for example, gave amnesty on immigration.
But on the case of Rudy, I also saw another side of him. When he became the mayor of New York, it was an ungovernable city. Pornography, prostitution, drug dealing, murder were running rampant. You couldn't bring your family to New York. And he took on the establishment and stood firm and strong on moral issues that I know you would care about, and the city became safer, the morality changed around, and there were significant results.
Do you not have to factor that in? And you're basically saying you don't believe him. You think he's lying to us when he says he'd appoint an Alito or a Scalia?
DOBSON: Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say he's a liar, but I would say the man has never said that he repudiated Roe vs. Wade. He's never said that. He's never said that it's bad law. And just reading his record and what he stands for and the way he's approached these issues in the past, and then you come over to the issue of marriage, where he did not support a constitutional amendment to protect marriage...
HANNITY: But let me ask you this.
DOBSON: ... there are just too many things. He's against school choice.
HANNITY: But if Rasmussen is right, if Rasmussen's right, and that that becomes a landslide for Hillary, you get Ruth Bader Ginsburg or worse, you get somebody that totally is against you on issues of abortion and school choice and gay rights and definition of marriage, and the result would be far worse. Do you not see that that would be a worse-case scenario for things you believe deeply in?
DOBSON: You're assuming that the election is going to be tomorrow. It is 13 months away. Things change.
HANNITY: We'll know by February 5th.
DOBSON: And why would we not support someone who does line up with our values system, when we would have to literally hold our noses to support somebody that contradicts those values? And we have seen elections — they're very dynamic, they're volatile, they change. And there's still a possibility that one of those other candidates, a dark horse, could come from nowhere.
I believe when that 27 percent that you were just referring to who said, "I will not vote for a pro-abortion candidate, even if he is the standard-bearer," when that many people say it, elections are won or lost by very small percentages, Sean, and I don't believe that Giuliani can beat Hillary in the first place.
HANNITY: All right, Dr. Dobson, I interviewed last week Senator Fred Thompson, and I did ask the question about you and about this memo that had gotten out into the press — you know the one that I'm talking about — that was critical of Senator Thompson.
DOBSON: I do. Yes.
HANNITY: Here's the question, and here's the answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. SEN. FRED THOMPSON (R), TENNESSEE: A gentleman who has never met me, has never talked to me. I've never talked to him on the phone. I did have one of his aides call me up and kind of apologize the first time he attacked me and said I wasn't a Christian.
I don't particularly care to have a conversation with him. If he wants to call up and apologize again, you know, it's OK with me. But I'm not going to dance to anybody's tune.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Now, Dr. Dobson, the e-mail that we were talking about, this is the one that you said, "Isn't Thompson the candidate that is opposed to a constitutional amendment to protect marriage, believes there should be 50 different definitions of marriage in the U.S., favors McCain-Feingold, won't talk at all about what he believes, can't speak his way out of a paper bag on the campaign trail? He has no passion, no zeal, no apparent 'want to', yet he is apparently the great hope that burns in the breasts of many conservative Christians? Well, not for me, my brothers, not for me."
DOBSON: Well, Sean, first of all, there are two things that Senator Thompson said there at the beginning that are just flat-out wrong. Maybe he's forgotten. We did not call to apologize for anything. We called to say that I had been misquoted in the press. And I won't take the time to go into that, because time is so short, but I had been greatly misquoted.
And then he said again that we called to apologize, and then he says that he won't dance to my tune. I don't care whether he danced to my tune or not. He's the candidate. And if he doesn't want to talk to me, it really doesn't matter. I'm not trying to set the agenda. I'm just telling you I will not vote for a man who will not support the institution of marriage, who thinks every state should establish its own definition of marriage, which will destroy it, and who played such a key role in McCain-Feingold.
There are other things. My statement there was intended to be private, and it was leaked, and it is too harshly stated.
HANNITY: Dr. Dobson, you are a very influential man. You have a very strong following. If you say that — if the inevitable candidate is Senator Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, Senator McCain, and they're going up against Hillary — it appears Hillary is going to run away with this whole thing here — and you take this position, does it not concern you that, ultimately, at the end of the day, that Hillary is elected, that will take positions far more detrimental to the things that I know you hold near and dear to your heart?
What does that prospect mean for you? Because a lot of people are saying that, if you do that, you will ultimately, basically, be offering a half a vote to Hillary. How do you respond?
DOBSON: That's what I meant at the top of the program when I said that this is tough, this is hard. I don't like either choice. But I tell you, Sean, that I know what you stand for. And we have really been neck and neck, side by side on nearly all of these issues. And I think, by your supporting Giuliani and helping to get the nomination for him, you're about to see the contradiction of most of the things that you stand for.
DOBSON: You've got a few issues that you base this on, but I just don't agree with them.
HANNITY: Listen, we're friends, and we'll always be friends here. But just to defend myself a little bit here is, I think all three of these top candidates are infinitely better than what Hillary Clinton has to offer on the significant moral issues of our time.
I watched New York City in the case of Rudy get transformed. I believe him when he said — because he's best friends with Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito — I believe him when he makes this promise, as did Fred Thompson and as did Senator McCain and as did Mitt Romney. I don't want a Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the court for those reasons. We've got about 40 seconds for you to respond in this segment.
DOBSON: Well, Sean, we're just going to have to agree to disagree. I do see where you're coming from in regard to Hillary, but I've lived my life on principle. I haven't always lived up to them, but I have tried to since I was a kid. And now is not the time to bail out in the hope that somebody will be better than we think he will be.
HANNITY: Dr. Dobson, as we were going to the break here, you mentioned the issue of standing on principle. I share your values. I agree with you on abortion. I've been pro-life my entire public career. I stand with you on the definition of marriage and a lot of the positions on the family that you've taken.
Maybe part of our disagreement here stands on this belief system. I don't see — for example, Rudy Giuliani is now against partial-birth abortion and he's for parental notification. He said he'd appoint these justices like Scalia, Thomas and Alito. Hillary will give us Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
But do you agree with this premise, that the only way, the major way a president can impact abortion is at the court level? And if you have a choice of a promise of an Alito, of a Scalia, versus a promise of a Ruth Bader Ginsburg, does that not impact your thought process at all?
DOBSON: Sean, I don't agree with that position. There are many, many ways that a president can influence a country. He has the bully pulpit. He can talk to it. The appointments that he makes to Health and Human Services, to the Centers for Disease Control, to the National Institutes of Health, the Mexico City policy, there are so many factors that a president can influence. And I don't see Rudy being supportive of any of them or very few of them.
HANNITY: I've interviewed Mayor Giuliani many, many times, and I've brought up the issue of you and your op-ed, and I've brought up the issue of abortion and the courts. And here is what he had to say specifically about the type of justices he would appoint.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: Three of the five alleged finalists for attorney general that President Bush just considered were on my judicial advisory committee, Ted Olson, Mike Mukasey, who he selected, and Larry Thompson. And when you look at the other people on that list, like Estrada, I mean, these are the kinds of people that I look to for advice. They generally look at the legal issues the way I do. I myself am a strict constructionist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: And then he went on to say he'd look for somebody like Alito, Clarence Thomas and John Roberts.
DOBSON: Sean, if he feels that way, why didn't he do it when he had the opportunity to appoint conservative judges in New York? And let me just tell you that this is a very important point. You may not agree with this, either. But if Rudy Giuliani wins, I'm telling you the pro-life, the pro-family movement is gone.
If it's Hillary, as bad as she is, there will be a mobilization to fight what she's trying to do. If he is put in office by conservatives and by those who are pro-life and pro-marriage, pro-family, I'm afraid that we will not recover from it.
HANNITY: You mentioned earlier that you thought that, well, we still have a year from now. There could be another candidate that emerges. And certainly, I would say Mike Huckabee probably has the best chance, if you look at the polls in any way.
DOBSON: He's one of them.
HANNITY: I like Duncan Hunter. I like a lot of these guys. I like Mike Huckabee a lot. But the reality is, is this process has now been expedited, and we will probably know the candidates by February 5th. That's just about 100 days from now. So, at the end of the day, you are now saying that the only top-tier candidate you would support would be Mitt Romney?
DOBSON: Sean, I don't agree with that statement, either. We have reports that were given in Salt Lake that indicated that it is highly unlikely that anyone is going to capture the nomination the first week of February. They're just not going to be able to get that number of votes. And who knows what will happen?
If you can take time, can I share one thought with you?
HANNITY: Yes, we've got about a minute.
DOBSON: OK, I was at USC School of Medicine in 1976, it may have been '75. And late in the afternoon, the mail came one day, and I opened it. And there was a postcard supporting a guy named Jimmy Carter. And I didn't even know who he was, and I looked at that, and I said, "What a waste; somebody spent money to send that to me." And shortly after, he was president. You do not know what's going to happen in a presidential election.
HANNITY: I agree with you there, but certainly, with the primaries and the caucuses moved up to the extent they were, this is a far different environment than it has been in past presidential seasons, where it goes all the way potentially to June or the conventions, June in California and then the conventions thereafter.
But, Dr. Dobson, we always appreciate you being on the program. And I have no doubt that this is going to be part of an on-going dialogue throughout the year. Thank you for being with us today.
DOBSON: Sean, this is a matter for prayer. I'm sure you agree with that.
HANNITY: I pray every day, and I absolutely agree. Prayer and fasting, that's all the help I need. Thank you for being with us.
DOBSON: All right, OK.
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