Obama Campaign on Palin Attacks

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," September 3, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: And we're coming to you live from the Republican National Convention. We're in St. Paul, beautiful Minnesota.

Now Barack Obama's criticism of McCain's abortion stance has intensified and picking pro-life Governor Sarah Palin as a running mate has only increased the attacks.

Take a look at this new ad released by the Obama camp.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: John McCain's out of touch with women today. McCain wants to take away our right to choose. That's what women need to understand. That's how high the stakes are.

As president, John McCain will make abortion illegal. McCain says, quote, "I do not support Roe vs. Wade, it should be overturned."


HANNITY: And joining us now is Obama communication director Robert Gibbs is with us.

Mr. Gibbs, thanks for being with us.


Video: Watch Sean and Alan's interview with Obama's communications director

HANNITY: Well, we appreciate it. Wish you were here.

All right, now, as soon as the announcement came about John McCain's choice for VP, your campaign put out today John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience, a heart beat away from the presidency.

The McCain campaign has responded, sir, and they are saying that, well, Governor Palin's executive experience as a governor, oversees, 24 state employees, 14 cabinet agencies, a $10 million budget, compared to Barack Obama's experience — a community organizer. She'll talk about tonight.

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My question to you. What executive, specific experience does Barack Obama have?

GIBBS: The same executive experience that John McCain has. I don't think this is a race about executive experience. If it is, then Sarah Palin is going to run for president and John McCain would be an excellent vice president for you.

But, look, when they pick Governor Palin, this race wasn't about experience anymore. It's about who can deliver the change we need in this country. Who's got a plan to create jobs, cut taxes for the middle class, and make health care more affordable? I think even your viewers, Sean, know that that person is Barack Obama.

HANNITY: Well, no, I don't think that's — we'll find out in November which is a good sign.

Now there's been a lot of issues raised about the attacks against Sarah Palin, and I think they've been unfair, and even Barack Obama said that they were unfair. He had a very similar experience on the issue of pregnancy his own mother.

But let me — let me ask you this. Barack Obama has attacked me personally by name on a number of occasions, as have Father Pfleger and Reverend Wright. And I want to ask you, he specifically talked about me mentioning his wife.

Is it unfair that I ask a question that when Michelle Obama says America is a down right mean country in 2008, is that over the line in your view?

GIBBS: Well, look, Sean, what Senator Obama said very forcefully and very eloquently is that the families of these candidates are out of bounds and the children of these candidates are way out of bounds.

We think that even you can respect that. We think that John McCain can respect that.


GIBBS: Mitt Romney is not going to respect that tonight. But, look, he finished third or fourth in this whole thing. So we're not real concerned about him.

Sean, I think what we need to get back to is talking about the issues.


GIBBS: This isn't about personalities.

HANNITY: Well, I think — but this is — wait, wait.

GIBBS: It isn't about people.

HANNITY: Wait a minute. Robert, are you saying.

GIBBS: It's about jobs.

HANNITY: Robert, are you saying that if the candidate's wife is out saying, now this is the country that beat back fascism and Nazism and totalitarianism and communism, and she said only for the first in her adult life is she proud of her country, but if Michelle Obama's on the campaign trail, and says America is a downright mean country in 2008 — are you saying that's not a legitimate question, sir?

GIBBS: Sean, you saw Michelle Obama's speech just last week at the convention in Denver. I think you would be proud of her. She gave an amazing speech and she's proud of her country every day she gets up.

HANNITY: What does she mean by that statement then?

GIBBS: But let's talk about the issues, Sean.


GIBBS: Let's not focus on the families. Let's not focus on the spouses. Let's focus on the real issues in this race.

COLMES: Robert, it's Alan Colmes. Thank you for being with us tonight. A little loud in here.

GIBBS: Nice to be here.

COLMES: We'll try to hear each other the best we can.

GIBBS: It is loud.

COLMES: It's interesting, you know. They don't want to talk — they get upset when you mention families. They went after Michelle Obama. They even went after the paper she wrote at Princeton. They criticized her for that.

And don't forget, wasn't it John McCain who made a Chelsea Clinton joke for which he had to apologize at one point?

GIBBS: He did. He did.

But, look, I think, Alan, what's important is that we get back to talking about the issues. You heard speakers last night at the Republican convention. Nobody mentioned the plan to cut taxes for the middle class or a plan to get this economy going again or even a plan to make ourselves less dependent on foreign oil.

I think the whole campaign would be better served if we started talking about those issues again.

COLMES: Yes. We have Rick Davis coming on in a moment with the McCain campaign. He said earlier today this campaign isn't about issues. What's your response to that?

GIBBS: Well, look. If I was going to pick up the baton that was passed last night from George Bush to John McCain, I wouldn't think this was about issues either, because we know the direction that George Bush led this country over the last eight years.

It's why we have record unemployment. It's why we have seen record inflation and a dip in personal incomes. I wouldn't talk about issues either because the American people know that the plans that John McCain have are the very same plans as George Bush.

If I was John McCain, I probably wouldn't want to talk about that either.

COLMES: All right. By the way, the big round of applause here. All the noise behind us, the excitement, it was Mitt Romney finishing his speech.

Do you expect McCain to get a bump out of this convention? I mean Obama is up in most of the polls. What do you expect will happen poll-wise after this?

GIBBS: Look, I think we're going to have a very close election in November. We got a little bit of a bump out of Denver, if you pay attention to national polling. I'm sure John McCain.

HANNITY: Tiny bump.

GIBBS: . and Governor Palin will get the same thing.

COLMES: All right there, Robert, thank you very much for being on "Hannity & Colmes" tonight. I appreciate it very much.

GIBBS: Thanks for having me, guys.

COLMES: Thank you very much, sir.

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