This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," November 13, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: This is a "FOX News Alert." We are following a developing story tonight. The Obama administration is asking potential appointees about any associations that might be embarrassing throughout the campaign when questions were raised about people like Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers.
The Obama campaign frequently responded by saying such questions were nothing more than guilt by association.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL-ELECT: What I hope is that the American people will trust that what I believe, my values, my ideals, what I have spoken about in terms of bringing the country together, that all those things override a guilt by association.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLMES: Now this morning the New York Times reported about a questionnaire being circulated to those seeking presidential appointments.
The questionnaire asks for financial disclosures, text of speeches, even the contents of a private diary, but Section 3 called relationships and affiliations caught some interest from us especially clause 20, which reads, quote, "please provide the names and details of any individuals and organization with which you or your spouse have been associated which might present a conflict of interest with your proposed federal office or have the potential for embarrassment."
So has the new Obama administration changed their tuned about the importance of associations?
Joining us tonight, FOX News contributors Bob Beckel and John Kasich.
Now, I know, John, I repeat, you know — you're laughing already about how crazy this is, right? Conservatives going crazy, how dare he ask these questions? Look, a little vetting wouldn't have been for John McCain in terms of his vice presidential pick, huh?
JOHN KASICH, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Alan, my question is, I guess, I can't tell anybody that I know you because I might get disqualified.
COLMES: Well, in fact, we never met. We never had this conversation, right?
KASICH: Alan, here — the problem with this is we got to have quality people to go into the government. We got massive problems. We see what the problems are in treasury. We know what the problems are in defense, in the state department.
KASICH: I mean there's — you've got to get good people and what we're doing, Alan, and not just this questionnaire from Obama but across the board, we're basically disqualifying people unless they're — you know, they're working with Mother Theresa.
COLMES: But wait a minute.
KASICH: . they can't go to work in the government.
COLMES: You don't.
KASICH: And we're not going to get quality people.
COLMES: . know what the reaction is going to be to these questions.
Bob Beckel, I mean, you know, a little vetting isn't necessarily a bad thing. Why shouldn't they go out of the way to make sure that something doesn't — because the minute anything untoward would come up, you know, conservatives would be going ballistics about it and blaming the Obama and blaming Obama personally.
BOB BECKEL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, I think there's something to be said about that, Alan. The vetting is OK. But let's just — believe it or not, I'm going to take John's — a little bit of John's position on this.
You know, we've — we have been in the last 10 or 15 years driving very good people away from office who don't want to be put up with the scrutiny that they get from the press and from interest groups and from others.
I think there's a line you have to draw here. I mean if I — if I looked at that questionnaire, if I had to fill that thing out, and I'm not looking for a job. But I'll tell you one thing, I would never pass those things.
COLMES: Didn't we see, though, during the Clinton administration people like Lani Guinier have to step down from a potential appointment because of something to do with someone who worked in her house and whether or not there was — and that's one of the questions, did you ever have any illegal immigrants.
BECKEL: Yes, but.
COLMES: I mean, isn't this avoiding those kind of problems?
BECKEL: . what is the connection between that and who's on your Facebook? And what kind of e-mails you may have sent that may be embarrassing? I can't remember all the e-mails I sent but I'm guaranteeing you some were embarrassing.
COLMES: Let's put them up on the screen. I'm just kidding.
KASICH: But, but, Alan, listen. Let me even get — let me give you a personal experience. When I hired a 14-year-old girl to watch my dog, I had to pay her Social Security taxes. OK? I did it. Cost me $100 when you add up the accountant and the lawyer fees.
COLMES: Yes, right.
KASICH: But the problem with it is, I don't want somebody disqualified who can help solve.
KASICH: . an economic problem because they didn't pay the dog sitter's Social Security.
COLMES: But in this political environment.
KASICH: It's become gotcha politics on both sides. It's wrong.
COLMES: You know, I mean, there was no Facebook four years ago. There was electronic communications are not as advanced stage they are today. We're living in a new world, the digital world, and that's why you've got to ask these questions.
There are instant messages. Look what happened to Mark Foley. You've to go through this vetting process.
KASICH: The question is, Bob Beckel said it right there. There's limits to it. But, I mean, to get into who did you know and when? What is your nickname, your alias whenever you sign on to your — you know, when you sign on to your Web site?
I mean these things are — they're way beyond the pale. I'm sure Obama doesn't even support this.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Hey, Beckel, by the way, you were — you were gone at question eight where it said describe any controversial matters you've been involved in in the course of your career. That's it. You're done.
BECKEL: Yes, well, that — that one goes (INAUDIBLE) I know Sean Hannity very well.
HANNITY: Right. He's taking my heart.
BECKEL: But listen, seriously, I mean, seriously, think about that. If I wanted to be — which I don't — but if I want to be in an Obama administration I have plenty of experience. I've been in government at very high levels before.
But I would bet you that my association with you or my association — the fact I'm a recovering alcoholic. I mean those are the things — I mean who makes the judgments of what's — this is my real problem.
HANNITY: I agree with you.
BECKEL: Who decides — who decides what embarrassment means? And it says what would be embarrassing to the president-elect? Who makes that judgment?
HANNITY: Right. But.
BECKEL: And whoever does it as a human being who ought to be very careful about what they determine to be embarrassing.
HANNITY: Well, I — but, you know, John, there's a little irony here for me. And that is, let's see, let's go to 20 here. You know provide the names and details of individuals and organizations with which you and your spouse have been associated that might present a conflict of interest.
I thought Tony Rezko.
HANNITY: For your proposed federal office or potential embarrassment. Wright, Ayers, Pfleger, Million Man March. I'm figuring Obama can't pass his own test.
I figure, you know, look at his radical associations. So we've told for two years, John, these things don't matter but it matters if they want to hire you? Come on, what hypocrisy.
KASICH: No, it's not — it's not a little irony. It's a lot of irony. And Sean, this is just patently absurd. Of course you want to find out if somebody has a conflict. Of course you don't want somebody to get in there and try to enrich themselves.
But this is so far beyond the pale. And it is ironic that this administration that.
HANNITY: But John.
KASICH: . would impose this test.
BECKEL: John, but, John, this is reflecting what we've seen — first of all, it's reflecting Obama's own experience. He kind of, hell, he went through on those things.
BECKEL: And, in the last five or 10 or 15 years, as I said, a lot of people, before Obama was even on the scene, we're getting picked on for things that were miniscule and would not have heard..
HANNITY: Wait, wait. Wait, Bob, let's not forget here. This guy admitted to using cocaine.
HANNITY: It was a big deal in 1992 when Bill Clinton said, look, I just — I tried it but I didn't inhale. You know, that was a big deal. Now all of a sudden he could admit to the use of hard drugs and there were no questions in the campaign just like I would argue all the radical associates that I mentioned.
And by the way, I understand, Ayers, you know, Wright, Pfleger, Farrakhan, Bernardine Dohrn, and now Ayers will speak on "Good Morning America" tomorrow morning with Chris Cuomo. Now they're all coming out and talking when they've been quiet now for the better part of the year.
BECKEL: Yes, but Sean, you're not.
HANNITY: . while the media ignored them. .
BECKEL: You're not suggesting — you're not suggesting somebody who happens to be had used cocaine or hard drugs at a previous time in their lives and don't anymore, I mean, there's 15 million people that would be ruled out of contention as a result of that.
HANNITY: But Bob, let me make my point. I'm saying the bar has shifted. You know, and — look, if somebody is going to give an explanation. But he wasn't even asked about it. It used to be a question that you'd always ask the candidates. What's your past drug use, for example.
Look, I would argue and I know you hate, this Bob. But I would argue that Barack Obama, were he not elected president, based on these issues that I have brought up, that I don't think he could get a basic security clearance. I don't think he could work for the CIA. I don't think he could work for the FBI, Bob.
BECKEL: Well, look, he's going to get those clearances so obviously they think he can. One of the things about this is, is if put this out on the table and something you can't be blackmailed over, it ought to be something that keeps you out of government.
What worries me is who are the people between Barack Obama and the acceptance procedures that are going to make these decisions?
HANNITY: Wait a minute. Are you not — that's fair. Just like with the censorship doctrine, who's going to decide, you know, what's a conservative thought or liberal thought on the radio.
BECKEL: Right. Exactly. Right.
HANNITY: But, wait a minute. So you're — saying that Obama no responsibility? Bears no responsibility for this questionnaire?
BECKEL: No, no. He bears responsibility for it, I'm sure, from his own experience. Some of which I think practically came from his interaction with you. But.
KASICH: He ought to withdraw this, Bob.
BECKEL: But listen, listen...
KASICH: He ought to.
BECKEL: . I've looked at some of these people who are going to be transition people. And believe me I used to party with some of these people. If they can pass through.
HANNITY: Let's give John the last word.
KASICH: Bob, really, what Obama should do is withdraw this and restore some sanity to this, because, you know, Sean is right. I mean, you know, here is saying it doesn't matter but on the other hand, we've got a test here that is beyond the pale.
He should withdraw, restore sanity and don't even add more restrictions to getting quality people to get in the government.
BECKEL: Yes, I bet that he would like to do that.
KASICH: . and help us to fix this country.
HANNITY: All right. I got to say one thing, that my associations with Alan would disqualify me.
COLMES: I'm sorry I have limited you the way that I have.
BECKEL: Alan is in much more trouble.
COLMES: I'm a big.
KASICH: Alan, if I'm ever president, you can.
HANNITY: Thanks a lot, Beckel.
KASICH: If I'm ever president, you can come into my administration.
BECKEL: But I go down with you. I really would.
HANNITY: Beckel, I defend you.
BECKEL: I wouldn't hide from it. I wouldn't hide.
HANNITY: I defend you to all my conservative friends. I want you to know, I stick up for you. I say you are a nice guy.
BECKEL: And I stick up for you, too. So — but that doesn't mean they'd let me in government.
BECKEL: I wanted to say here is the person who's going to send a letter of recommendation, Sean Hannity. How far do you think in that process it would get?
HANNITY: I think, you know, this is a bipartisan era. We've been told the world is changing.
COLMES: I would like to end — I would love to end this segment.
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