This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," Aug. 31, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: General Tommy Franks, good to see you.
GEN. TOMMY FRANKS, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Thank you, sir. Great to be here with you.
HANNITY: No. 1 New York Times bestseller. It's called "American Soldier." Congratulations.
FRANKS: Thank you very much.
HANNITY: Did you ever expect the crowds? I hear you have four, five, six-hour book signings around the country?
FRANKS: It's absolutely wonderful. And every one of them, Sean, is uplifting, because people do not stand in line a long period of time to buy a book from a guy they don't like.
HANNITY: They like you.
FRANKS: And so it has just been a wonderful experience. We've enjoyed it.
HANNITY: Here we are. We're on the floor of the Republican National Convention (search).
FRANKS: Can you believe it?
HANNITY: Can you believe it?
FRANKS: Yes. Apolitical guy. You know?
HANNITY: You are an apolitical guy.
HANNITY: But maybe not any longer.
FRANKS: All right. You know, I think about some of the great quotations of history and a lot of them have to do with choice. And the fact of the matter is that there are periods in American history when it's really important to make a choice.
And that's why Cathy and I are here. That's what this is about. We've made a choice.
HANNITY: And that choice is?
FRANKS: George W. Bush (search).
HANNITY: You are here to support the president.
HANNITY: Have you ever endorsed a candidate in your...
FRANKS: Never. Never even thought about it. Always voted, never, never endorsed.
HANNITY: Why at this time? Why this president? What is it about him?
FRANKS: I've seen this president when it was dark outside, when the times were hard.
What we've wrestled with is trying to think our way through, how close are we to the end of this threat, to our nation from terrorism? And I've convinced myself that we're in this for the long haul. This is not going to be over tomorrow.
And so I thought about things like consistency. I thought about things like persistency. I thought about unswerving, unwavering character. And the longer I thought, and the more Cathy and I talked about it, the more convinced we became that we had to speak up.
HANNITY: You almost sound to me like a guy that's been in a war with him, like hand in hand. And really, that's really what you have been, in a bunker together, battling...
FRANKS: Many, many — sometimes early and sometimes late and sometimes with great frequency. And I — I don't think we have had a period, Sean, in American history, not in my lifetime, when the stakes were as high as they have been.
Can you imagine shouldering the burden of 9/11/01, as a new president of the United States of America and taking the decisions that he had to take? And I have high respect for that.
I mean, in the military, we used to kid one another about unhooking the backup lights. And there has been no backup in this president. And I respect that.
HANNITY: I think one of the differences between this president and John Kerry (search), and I think the American people are beginning to focus on this part now...
HANNITY: ... he's never wavered. The day that he got on that pile of rubble with that fireman and said, "The world will hear from us..."
FRANKS: That's right.
HANNITY: ... he has not changed in spite of enormous pressure to get...
HANNITY: ... to get in...
FRANKS: Enormous pressure.
HANNITY: And this is where you agree with him?
FRANKS: I absolutely agree with him. I really do believe that we fight them over there, Sean, or else we're going to fight them over here. nd when I think about my 7-year-old granddaughter and a 4-year-old grandson, look, I'm not interested during this election spin-up and understanding what people are against. I'm interested in understanding what these candidates are for.
And the more I thought about George W. Bush, and the more I thought about this critical time in American history, as I said, the more convinced I became that I had an obligation to speak up.
HANNITY: You talk a lot in this election and this campaign about an old war, Vietnam.
FRANKS: Yes. Yes.
HANNITY: I think one could argue that the cornerstones of the Kerry campaign...
FRANKS: I was there.
HANNITY: That his four months of service, you have 64 guys on the record in this book, "Unfit for Command," 250 swifties. They with the ads, they are telling their story.
FRANKS: Look, I respect those guys. And I believe that one of the more sacred obligation that any military leader has is to his troops. And so while I don't know what happened during this particular piece of Vietnam, with Senator Kerry, so I don't talk about that, Sean.
What I look at is what has happened since the senator returned to the United States of America. What have we been all about? What has he been for?
And I believe that one of the more sacred things we have is an issue of loyalty. And at the end of the day, George W. Bush has been loyal to not only to me personally, but loyal to both veterans and to those actively serving the United States of America right now. And I have respect for that.
HANNITY: Was John Kerry disloyal when he accused these guys in '71 of all sorts of atrocities?
FRANKS: I don't know. I've weighed that. I've thought about it — I've thought about it an awful lot. And I think one owes loyalty up all the way to nation. And I believe Senator Kerry has had a view then that he owed that loyalty up. I believe from the perspective of a foxhole soldier that one also owes loyalty down. And I am very sensitive about that. I write about it in my book.
HANNITY: Yes, you do.
FRANKS: This issue of loyalty. And so that's the thing that helps me make my decision.
HANNITY: This really bothers you...
FRANKS: It does, yes.
HANNITY: That '71 testimony.
FRANKS: Yes, it does.
HANNITY: You know, you served in Vietnam, and you have led a lot of boys into battle.
HANNITY: If one of these boys ever admitted that they had, quote, in their own words, committed atrocities, if they have ever admitted they violated the Geneva Convention, or if they have ever admitted they burned down villages of people, do the American people need an explanation for what John Kerry has admitted?
FRANKS: I think it's one thing, Sean, I think it's one thing to admit something that I did, or that you may have done, or that Senator Kerry did. That's one thing. It's entirely a different issue, however, to talk about the things that subordinates and associates did.
That then talks to this issue of loyalty that I'm talking about, and I'm not suggesting that we ought to ever cover up anything. That's not my point. But it has to do with what we perceive to be our obligation to those with whom we serve and I'm serious about that.
HANNITY: You're more concerned about what he said about others than about himself?
FRANKS: Absolutely. That's absolutely correct.
HANNITY: When you look at his 19-year record, I interviewed Terry McAuliffe earlier today on my radio show. He'll be on "Hannity & Colmes" tomorrow night.
And I said, "Was it wrong that John Kerry wanted a nuclear freeze when Reagan was confronting the Soviet Union?" He couldn't give me an answer.
HANNITY: Does that reflect on the man, that understanding evil in his time?
FRANKS: Perhaps but without talking about the specific event of the nuclear freeze or without talking the specific event of intelligence budgeting or body armor for troopers.
I think that when one is on the outside looking in, it's easy to criticize. I think when one is on the inside having the responsibility to lead, it is necessary to stand for something rather than against things.
HANNITY: When you look, for example, in 2003, John Kerry said we cannot leave Saddam unfettered with nuclear weapons. His WMDs represent a real and grave danger to America — these are his words.
Votes for the war, authorization of force. Didn't fund the war. Said he's an antiwar candidate at one point. And now finally he has come back all the way around and said, "Well, I guess, based on all we know, we'd still do it."
FRANKS: Consistency, persistency, character, leadership, during one of the more important periods of American history. That's why I support George W. Bush.
HANNITY: Have you told the president you're supporting him?
FRANKS: No, I haven't.
HANNITY: You don't think he'll find out about that today?
FRANKS: I think he'll probably see your show. He'll know today.
HANNITY: He'll know today that you are.
Now, you are also going to be speaking here?
HANNITY: And you were added to the roster.
FRANKS: Thursday night. Right. I'm looking forward to it.
HANNITY: What are you going to say to the American people?
FRANKS: Well, I'm going to keep that a big secret. You know, it's sort of like Sean Hannity...
HANNITY: Just a little preview.
FRANKS: We're going to talk about consistency and we're going to talk about character. And we're going to talk about leadership. And I very much look forward to it. And I'm actually very high about the opportunity to do that.
HANNITY: It's going to be a lot of people watching.
FRANKS: Well, I hope so.
HANNITY: A lot of former military leaders throughout history. You can name a few.
FRANKS: I can name a few.
HANNITY: As an old person that studied Sun Tzu yourself. And you mentioned him in your book and "The Art of War." Had also gone into the political arena.
FRANKS: Right. Right.
HANNITY: Will we ever see a political future for General Tommy Franks?
FRANKS: I don't think so, Sean. I think we'll see a period in our future where we're together more with our family than we have been in the past and I look forward to that very much.
It's sufficient for me to support a good man and a leader at a point in the war on terrorism where leadership for the next few years is really what this is about.
That's my view. Leadership to move America through a very, very dangerous time in our history.
HANNITY: Well, General, I've to tell you something, you've helped liberate 50 million people between Afghanistan and Iraq.
FRANKS: I hope my country is proud of that, Sean.
HANNITY: I'm proud of that. And I know a lot of our viewers are. We owe you a debt of gratitude.
FRANKS: We owe our troopers.
HANNITY: All those men, absolutely. And I loved your book, "American Soldier." Congratulations for making No. 1 on The New York Times list. That is a great accomplishment. And it's a great honor to get to know you.
FRANKS: Thanks a lot, Sean.
HANNITY: General Tommy Franks. We'll see you Thursday night.
FRANKS: God bless you. Look forward to it.
HANNITY: Thank you, my friend.
FRANKS: Thank you.
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