Former Rep. Bob Livingston on Sen. Dick Durbin's Controversial Remarks

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," June 17, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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First, there's more fallout today from Senator Dick Durbin's comments about Guantanamo Bay. Take a look at what he said after reading an FBI report detailing some of the conditions at the base.


SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL), MINORITY WHIP: If I read this to you and didn't tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have happened by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime, Pol Pot or others, that had no concern for human beings.

Sadly, that's not the case. This was the action of Americans in treatment of our — their own prisoners.


COLMES: Late today, Senator Durbin issued a statement saying, in part, "I have learned from my statement that historical parallels can be misused and misunderstood. I sincerely regret if what I said caused anyone to misunderstand my true feelings. Our soldiers around the world and their families at home deserve our respect, admiration and total support."

Will this appeal his conservative — appease, I should say, his conservative critics?

Joining us now for reaction, former Louisiana congressman, Bob Livingston.

Congressman Livingston, he never badmouthed the military. He badmouthed interrogation techniques. I don't think he owes an apology. What say you?

BOB LIVINGSTON, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Then why did he make that statement?

COLMES: Because it wasn't an apology.

LIVINGSTON: You're right, it wasn't an apology. He was apologizing because people apparently misunderstood his words.

But by his own words, he is comparing the actions of American soldiers to those of Hitler, in which six million Jews and roughly nine million people were killed. To Pol Pot, who killed off a third of his country, and to Stalin, who killed off 30 million people.

I mean, really, these remarks — I like Dick Durbin. He's a nice guy, but these remarks are so far over the top that they are outrageous.

COLMES: Will you renounce Rick Santorum for comparing Democrats to Hitler?

LIVINGSTON: Wait a minute. Excuse me. You jumped down Trent Lott's throat about two years ago for remarks that were...

COLMES: I did not. I defended him.

LIVINGSTON: ... so minute compared to this.

COLMES: I defended him, sir.


COLMES: I did not. You don't know what I said.

LIVINGSTON: Well, you know, a lot of people did jump on him, Alan, and I assumed that you did.

COLMES: I did not. Don't make that assumption.

LIVINGSTON: I apologize.

COLMES: Let me ask you this...

LIVINGSTON: That's what Dick Durbin should do. He ought to apologize.

COLMES: Will you — will you rebuke Rick Santorum for comparing Democrats to Nazis?

LIVINGSTON: I looked carefully at Rick Santorum's words. And I would tell you that Rick Santorum was talking about tactics. He wasn't talking in any way, shape, or form about the — about the activities of American soldiers. And...

COLMES: Dick Durbin was talking about tactics.

LIVINGSTON: And I might say that Rick Santorum apologized. He apologized unequivocally. And Dick Durbin needs to apologize or else he needs to rethink...

COLMES: He was talking about tactics, sir.


LIVINGSTON: ... leadership in the Senate.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: He ought to resign. Any United States senator — we've got to understand, Congressman, that Al Jazeera is repeating these words. Every bit of media in the Middle East is repeating these words. It is offering aid and comfort and rationalization and justification for the conduct of those who want to hurt us and hurt our troops. It has put them in harm's way.

I think there ought to be a demand — more than an apology here, that he's the number — he's the number two guy for the Democrats in the Senate. He must resign that position, at least, immediately.

LIVINGSTON: Well, I think that he should as well, because words have consequences under any forum. But in this war, we know that people die.

Look, these are murderers and assassins down there in Guantanamo. We are housing the worst type of people that are trying to kill American citizens. We're housing them. We're clothing them. We're feeding them. And for our soldiers to be compared to Pol Pot and Josef Stalin and Hitler is just out of this world. It's beyond the pale.

HANNITY: Yes. What — it is beyond the pale and worse than anything I've ever heard, because it puts our troops in further jeopardy.

And beyond which, it is a lie. It is a lie that will be used by the enemies of our troops and the enemies of this country to justify what they want to do.

But more importantly in the bigger picture, when you have Howard Dean, I hate Republicans, Republicans are evil, brain dead, they don't work, et cetera, what is happening to the Democratic Party? What is happening to Harry Reid saying, you know, the president of the United States is a loser before school children? What's going on with this party?

LIVINGSTON: Well, when the Republican Party was the minority party in the Congress over 10 years ago, the Republicans were forced to come up with better policies, better programs. I haven't seen any Democrats really do that, other than Mr. Wexler, who came up with his own Social Security plan, and I commend him for it.

But otherwise, most Democrats that are in leadership and are speaking for their party can only attack and say the most outrageous things to get attention. That's not the way to take the majority.

COLMES: We should have the same concern about Rick Santorum, sir. I do appreciate your coming on to talk to us.

LIVINGSTON: Rick apologized.

COLMES: Thank you very much. Well, you heard what Senator Durbin just said.

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