Obama: America Not What It Once Was

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," August 7, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: girl supporter asked Barack Obama yesterday while why he was running for president. And the Illinois senator offered what, I guess, some are viewing as a scary response. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did you start running for president?

OBAMA: I'm running for president because of — because I got two daughters just like you. America is — is no longer what it could be, what it once was. And I say to myself, I don't want that future for my children. I want — I want America to be better, to be stronger, to be more unified, to be more prosperous, to be kinder, to be more tolerant.

That's the America I want for my daughters. That's what we're fighting for in this election.


COLMES: With us now is — for reaction former presidential candidate and former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee.

Oh my heavens, this 7-year-old girl must be hiding under her bed scared about America, right, Governor?

MIKE HUCKABEE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I don't know if she's hiding under her bed but what see saw here is a candidate who's exhausted. We saw a candidate who's off the prompter.

Video: Watch Sean and Alan's interview with Mike Huckabee

COLMES: Have you ever been in that position?

HUCKABEE: No. I was always full of energy, of course.

COLMES: Right.

HUCKABEE: This was a very, very serious tactical error, because it's that kind of comment that does come back to haunt a candidate.

First of all, he was groping and grasping for words. He couldn't find what he wanted to say.


HUCKABEE: But the worst thing he said was that America's best days were back there somewhere. And I'm thinking what days were those?

COLMES: All right, but let's.

HUCKABEE: The days that Bull Conner had a fire hose on people?

COLMES: Wait, let's say you're right, OK?


COLMES: Because you've been on the campaign trail, you ran a very energetic campaign as is Obama.

HUCKABEE: As is — right, Obama.

COLMES: You know what it's like to do day after day after day.


COLMES: Have you ever had a bad moment on the trail where you said, you know, I shouldn't have said that. I'm really glad the cameras didn't catch that.

HUCKABEE: But they did.

COLMES: They did catch it. They played it over and over again and Bob.

HUCKABEE: Over and over. And it was on YouTube. That's part of the danger that one has. It's also the reason that you've got to be at the top of your game every day.


HUCKABEE: But it's a human thing.

COLMES: First, I don't think he means anything terrible like his detractors would probably like to have people believe.

HUCKABEE: And he needs to clarify, he needs to do it right now, because, otherwise, people are going to get the perception that he really thinks that America is not that great a country right now.


COLMES: You don't think he really believes that.

HUCKABEE: I don't know. He has got to clarify that. I can't clarify it for him.

COLMES: You don't think — you know this subliminal message that his detractors put out that he somehow doesn't like America.

HUCKABEE: Oh I don't.

COLMES: His friends hate America.

HUCKABEE: I'm not going to say.

COLMES: He's got a radical.


COLMES: You don't believe that?

HUCKABEE: But, Alan, let's think about it. There's now more than one statement where he gives these inferences that it's not so good but it's going to be better when he gets there.

COLMES: How many times a candidate say, our best days are yet to come?

HUCKABEE: That's fine, but you don't say that our best days were back there and we're falling apart. America is not falling apart.

Let me give a couple of examples. Let's remember that — during World War II, for example, we lost the capacity to have Asian silk and rubber when we got into World War II.


HUCKABEE: We were up to 50 factories that develop synthetics. That's where we developed our capacity for nylon and plastics and suddenly we're building 6,000 fibers.

COLMES: Yes. Right.

HUCKABEE: Not 60. It happened because Americans went to work.


HUCKABEE: . and made things happen. This is a great country.

COLMES: And no one denies that.

HANNITY: Hang on a second.

HUCKABEE: No, but Obama needs to tell us what's great about America and what he can do to make it even greater Alan.

COLMES: He has been.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Hey, Governor, let me answer Allan's question. He does have friends that hate America. U.S. KKK.

COLMES: Here we go, here we go.

HANNITY: U.S. KKK of A, GD America.

COLMES: Do you think he hates — does Obama hates America.

HANNITY: William Ayers, who bombed the Pentagon.

HUCKABEE: I don't think Obama hates America but I think Obama.


HUCKABEE: . has got to clarify — he's got to clarify that what he loves about America is the fact that he has broken a lot of barriers to be the nominee. And it's really hard.

HANNITY: All right, I want to.

HUCKABEE: . for me or anyone else to say, boy, America has really been really tough on Barack Obama. I think America has been pretty darn good to Barack Obama and he ought to acknowledge that.

HANNITY: But he doesn't say it. And that's the point. This comment to this young girl, America is no longer what it could be, what it once was, first of all, contradicts what his wife said that she'd never been proud of her country and America is a downright mean country so I'm going to — Obama is having a little conflict within their own family about what — the state of the country.

It — I never hear the inspiring — where is the inspiring rhetoric about how great this country is. I never hear him talk about that.

HUCKABEE: I think one of the reasons this race is tightening up is because Barack Obama is not the same candidate he was during the primary when he would read the prompter and he would give glowing speeches of where we're going to do great things. He's now telling a 7-year-old that this isn't all that great a country. And you don't tell 7-year-olds that.

HANNITY: I want to talk about the prompter versus his extemporaneous speaking. It seems he gets away from the prompter, he's in trouble.

HUCKABEE: He's very good scripted. And he struggles when he's having to be extemporaneous. And I think that's one of the reasons that he has not been willing to go to the town hall format with John McCain.

You know what? I'm not sure that I blame him because John McCain handles that format beautifully.

HANNITY: And he doesn't speak as well on the prompter. He's just the opposite.

HUCKABEE: He's not a prompter guy.


HUCKABEE: . but can he converse with people in that one on one setting.

HANNITY: I'll tell you, your communication skills showed that, you know, when you connect with people you used a lot of humor.

Do you think they're using enough humor?

HUCKABEE: I don't think so, because right now the campaign is so intense and people need some levity to break the tension.


HUCKABEE: But they also need to be focused on issues that are about the people. You know what I fear both campaigns are doing? They are talking about each other. Who's talking about the people out there in America who sit at the dinner table tonight?

HANNITY: Very well.

HUCKABEE: Who's talking to them and for them? That's what we need.

HANNITY: The first lesson I learned in radio, and it was about from Paul Harvey, who you've been filling in for. You, meaning, you're talking to you, you, you, you, the audience.


HANNITY: Good to see you. Governor, thanks for being with us.

HUCKABEE: Glad to be here.

HANNITY: Appreciate it.

HUCKABEE: Thank you. My pleasure.

COLMES: Thank you, Governor.

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