This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," May 7, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: But joining us now a former vice-presidential nominee and McCain supporter, Jack Kemp.
Secretary Kemp, welcome back to our show.
JACK KEMP, FORMER VP NOMINEE: Alan, thank you.
COLMES: Thanks very much.
KEMP: Good to be with you.
COLMES: Now you've been in that presidential race as a VP nominee. What would you do? Should she get out? Should she stay in? Or do the people of the states to come have a right to cast their vote and make their voices heard?
KEMP: Yes, they do. That's her decision, obviously, to make. Being a Republican, I doubt if Hillary can take advice from Jack Kemp, but I think for the good of their party and to keep it from vulcanizing any further, you would think that she would be willing to pull out and endorse Barack Obama, who, by the way, is an amazing story in and of itself.
• Watch the interview with Jack Kemp
So, well, she'll make up her own mind, but as far as I'm concerned, it's going to further, as I mentioned, polarize, vulcanize — these centrifugal forces should not be allowed to compete.
COLMES: Well, you know, for many years it was the case, that you wouldn't know until the convention, maybe even on the second or third ballot, who the nominee would be. I know that's what the Democrats wanted to avoid this year, but it's not unheard of to go to the convention before you get a nominee.
KEMP: Yes, you could do that. I think Barack was pretty smart last night because his whole speech — and I watched it in my living room — his whole speech was aimed at McCain, and it was an awfully good speech. He wrapped himself in the American flag as he is wanton to do, but if you dissect what it is he's talking about, he's suggesting that higher taxes, higher tariffs and walking away from the Middle East is good economic and good foreign policy. I don't think the American people are going to buy it.
COLMES: Who is the tougher candidate for Republicans to face?
KEMP: Pardon me?
COLMES: Who's the tougher candidate for Republicans to face in the fall?
KEMP: Well, I — as an old professional football player I've always had tremendous respect for my opponent irrespective of where they stood in the NFL standings. In my opinion Barack is going to be all that the Republicans can handle. He's very able, very thoughtful, he's going to wrap himself in the American flag, but look, he's also going to wrap himself in the mantle of John F. Kennedy.
With all due respect, John F. Kennedy ran in 1960 on getting America moving again. No such pro-growth message is coming from Barack Obama. Kennedy cut tax rates, Barack wants to raise them, and Kennedy was for free trade in Latin American and throughout the world, and Barack wants to repeal NAFTA, renegotiate it, stand in the way of a Colombian free trade act, which would be a terrible blow to our allies.
COLMES: Right. By the way, on taxes, he's only talking about the top 2 percent and rescinding the Bush tax cuts for those people, not raising them across the board.
But what about the issue of — you know, this has come and it comes up night after night, the pastor, Bill Ayers? I know that you and Mr. Hannity.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Wait, you stole my question here.
COLMES: Wait. Wait. I know you and Mr. Hannity have talked about — you know, other people can mention that.
KEMP: And leave that for Sean, will you? Leave it for Sean.
COLMES: You don't own those words. But you've gone on with Sean a few times whether they're relevant issues, but they appeared not to hurt Barack Obama in yesterday's contest?
KEMP: I think they will hurt him more in the general than in the primary because with all due respect there's a lot of Democrats who probably don't worry about those things. I think when you get to the general population there would be a far more concern about those issues that Sean raises and I think rightly so.
HANNITY: Wait, wait, wait. I don't like the way that smile was sneaking out there.
KEMP: No, no, no, no.
COLMES: That is a great smile, Jack. That's a great smile.
KEMP: My wife and I have a bet, Sean, of how long it would take for you to get to Ayers and...
HANNITY: Well, look, in fairness — in fairness to you, when I first raised some of these issues, Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, you know, you — I remember right on this very program you used the term "no guilt by association," but I think these are really troubling issues that have emerged, and am I right that you have kind of agree with me?
KEMP: Yes, you're right. Yes, you are right. It's how you bring it up that matters, and very frankly, I think the American people are quite aware of both Ayers and...
KEMP: ...Reverend Wright, and I frankly think that I agreed with the end results. I thought tactically speaking, it was not wise to bring this up in such a, excuse the word, ad hominem way. The American people's values are far different. They don't want Bill Ayers anywhere near the candidate for the Democratic Party, and he's going to have this hung around his neck or around his ankles...
KEMP: ...for the rest of the general election.
HANNITY: Well, I — can I say in — and I'm just going to speak for myself here. And I don't know what everybody else is doing, but I don't think we brought it up in an ad hominem way. I — there are still unanswered questions. And I'll give you an....
KEMP: Yes, there are.
HANNITY: ...example. Bill Ayers, he's still unrepentant. We have a picture of him stomping on the American flag. Nobody's asked the question: why did you sit on a board with a guy that bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol, New York City Police headquarters? Why would you give speeches with this guy? You wouldn't do it, Jack Kemp, and nor would I.
KEMP: No, I wouldn't. And let me take a minute to answer that. There is no doubt that that is right and that is of concern to the American people. All I'm suggesting is his foreign policy views, his views on the economy, his views on destroying — or renegotiating NAFTA.
KEMP: .turning our back on Colombia and Latin American, raising — raising income tax rates to 52.5 percent. Those are issues that, I think, far outweigh the other issues, albeit these are issues that I think you've brought wisely to the forefront...
KEMP: ...and it's going to be part of the general campaign.
HANNITY: I want this to be about the war in Iraq, about immigration.
HANNITY: I want it to be about lower tax rates, about energy independence, about free market solutions to health care, I'm with you on all those...
KEMP: I know you are.
HANNITY: ...substantive issues, Jack, but I want to bring up one question about John McCain that has come up in the minds of conservatives just in the last week...
HANNITY: ...when he criticized the North Carolina Republican Party for their ad that mentioned Jeremiah Wright. It got conservatives angry. When he was bragging about the Gang of 14, it got conservatives angry. In spite of what I thought I understood from my interview with him, he talked about once again the need for comprehensive immigration reform, which I know he was telling me that he had gotten the message, and a lot of people are thinking that means McCain-Kennedy again.
KEMP: Well, Sean, with all due respect, he has suggesting that...
HANNITY: Uh-oh, that's when I'm getting hit.
KEMP: ... we close the borders, number one, and make sure that's certified by the governors on the border state. So that's number one. Number two, he suggested that eventually we're going to need some form of a guest worker program, and I think most men and women of goodwill believe that as well, and what you do with 12 million people who are here, how do you — we're not going to send them home. It would take a fascist-type police effort to throw them out of the country.
So what do we do? Do we keep them under the table? Do we keep them in the shadows or do we find, over 12 years, a way to integrate them and then throw out the rascals, throw out those criminal elements, and I think John is right on that, and he has a great chance, by the way, of picking up tremendous support in the Latino-Hispanic community, whose values — Sean, are not that different than yours.
HANNITY: No, I can only tell you I'm getting a lot of reactions from conservatives in the base, and there is concern over his conservative credentials, and it was brought into — brought up to light once again this week with those issues. But I think this is an ongoing debate that two friends are going to have for a long time. Thanks for being with us.
KEMP: Thanks, Sean. Thank you, Alan.
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