Wesley Clark Seeks Presidency

This is a partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, September 17, 2003 that has been edited for clarity.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Earlier today, the field of Democratic presidential hopefuls grew by one.


GEN. WESLEY CLARK (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My name is Wes Clark. I am from Little Rock, Arkansas. And I'm here to announce that I intend to seek the presidency of the United States of America.


COLMES: So how will general Clark's announcement affect the run for Democratic presidential nomination? Joining us now, the author of the new book, Treason, Ann Coulter. Her book, Slander, is just out in paperback. Congratulations.


COLMES: And also, Democratic strategist Richard Aborn.

And Ann, let me start with you, give you the opportunity to call Wesley Clark a traitor. Or somebody connected to…You know, guilty of treason. Go ahead if you want to make that accusation. Get it out of the way.

COULTER: I'm just trying to place him in the Democrat…which one is he again? This is just...

COLMES: You'll see lots of him. Don't worry.

COULTER: I think it will be a lot of fun. And your co-host, Sean, really caught him in a pretty stunning lie. I mean, this is…this is...

COLMES: The attacks already beginning, the vicious attacks.

COULTER: No. It's just a statement of fact. But as long as you guys…I used to make a big point about how it's just about sex. It's just about sex. Lying about how the president of the United States after a terrorist attack on America.

Wesley Clark went on Meet the Press and told Tim Russert…It's so stunning. I looked it up on Lexus Nexus…and told him after the attack of 9-11 people in the White House, close to the White House told me to go on TV and to say that Saddam was behind the attack.

Under cross-examination by Sean Hannity, which I also looked up on Lexus Nexus, he backed down and said it was a Middle Eastern peace group in Canada.

So we've gone from the White House to close to the White House to Canada.

COLMES: You know what's really amazing, Richard? Is the guy announces and immediately they're going to call him a liar. They're going to throw him down the stairs. They're going to try to slander him.

We have a president, who is now backing off the idea of WMD's and al Qaeda (search) and the links to Saddam Hussein (search) and Usama bin Laden (search), because you have Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and the president himself backing off their earlier assertions. And they want to sling mud at…you'll be up in a second. And they want to sling mud at Wesley Clark the minute he announces for president.

RICHARD ABORN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: And when we don't attack on substance and we sling mud, what does that tell us?

COLMES: Right.

ABORN: We're scared.

COLMES: And they get all upset...

ABORN: And they're scared because this is a substantive guy. Takes away their trump card. Who can speak very well to a whole host of issues and suddenly you have a sentence with the words, this is a liberal Democratic general. That's scary.

COULTER: You know, I just ask, that is substantive. This isn't…I mean, you can't say it's just about sex now. He is claiming that the president of the United States and people working for him told him to go on TV and lie days after a terrorist attack.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: And then he had to admit he was wrong. He told a lie. He told a lie. I know that doesn't matter to you Democrats, but I mean...

ABORN: It matters a lot. And to parse this out, we don't know if he told a lie or not because we don't know what the White House told him.

HANNITY: Let me move into a more...

ABORN: But you've also got to say, you've got to comment on Bush now reject the fact that Saddam...

HANNITY: Show me the quote where he said it. Show me one quote where…Show me the quote where George W. Bush said with certainty that that was…his...

ABORN: They said numerous times.

HANNITY: Where? Where? Give me a specific instance. No, he did not. He never did.

ABORN: 9/11...

HANNITY: He never...

ABORN: Sean, they were talking about terrorism, Iraq, al Qaeda...

HANNITY: You keep saying this. But you never present your evidence.

ABORN: Let's do a show in 72 hours and I'll come in with quotes.

HANNITY: OK. You come back in 72 hours. We're now on Saturday night.

COULTER: What about him? Why can't he do it?

HANNITY: Let me move on here. I think there's a broader scheme here. We now know that it was Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton that encouraged Wesley Clark to get in. Their closest ally in New York, Charlie Rangel, is in fact supporting Wesley Clark, and they've got 30 other people they've lined up here.

Now, look, I know the Clintons. There's nothing altruistic about them. What is their motivation here? Because I have my theory. I believe that there is a grand plan that Hillary and Wesley Clark in one way or another to hook up in this race. And that one is going to be the president, one is going to be the vice president. That's what I think happens.

COULTER: Yes, I think there's definitely something afoot. An alternative theory is that Hillary wants to run in 2008. The Democrats see that they are not going to beat Bush in 2004. And Clinton is just trying to encourage as many Democrats as possible to jump into this race to knock them out.

HANNITY: So in other words, he maliciously pushes him in so he can hurt him.

COULTER: "Why don't you run for president, Wesley? This is a good year for you."

He's going to…Wesley Clark will be a trivia question in 10 years. In two years.

ABORN: I actually don't think so. I think you're seeing President Clark. I think this is going to work. He's really going to catch on.

HANNITY: Really?

ABORN: I think he has a lot of attributes the Democrats are looking for. And again...

HANNITY: He's a Bush basher. He's one of 10 Bush bashers who has been entirely wrong on the Iraqi war and the Afghanistan war.

ABORN: Who was wrong?

HANNITY: Wesley Clark. Wesley Clark on his predictions.

All right, back to this idea about Hillary here. There's got to be a motivation.

ABORN: Why don't you want to talk about...

HANNITY: I'm not obsessed. I'm not obsessed.

ABORN: What are you going to do when you don't have Hillary to kick around anymore?

HANNITY: Because…is she leaving? Do you promise?

ABORN: Wesley Clark...

HANNITY: Because here's the deal.

ABORN: It's the Democrats running against Bush. You don't want to talk about it.

HANNITY: I know you worship at the altar of the Clintons, but those that really know them understand that they don't do anything out of altruism. And for them to go out there and encourage this run and build up this support for Wesley Clark, I'm sorry, I don't believe it was done just for the reason that they like Wes and he's a nice guy.

I think there's an ulterior motive here.

COULTER: I'll give you another ulterior motive. Or altruism, to support my liberal friends.

And that is, Clinton has sort of ended the Democrats' trick of running a phony southern white male for their faux patriotism. That's the only way they've been able to sneak a Democrat in the White House.

HANNITY: Sort of a phony tough guy on terror?

COULTER: Clinton ended that. I mean, he does sort of owe the Democratic Party. Now they need phony military guys.

HANNITY: Because he...

ABORN: Ann, is this the slander part or the treason part? Which portion is this now?

HANNITY: The point is, he was wrong every step of the way in every prediction that he made.

ABORN: We won't find weapons of mass destruction?

HANNITY: Richard, wait a minute.

COULTER: ... in a quagmire.

HANNITY: He said we were going to…thousands were going to die. It's going to be a disaster.

COULTER: It's a quagmire here.

HANNITY: We've never gone so far, so fast with so few casualties. And he was wrong, and Bush was right.

ABORN: Bush was right about Iraq?

HANNITY: That's correct.

ABORN: Come on. Everything that we've seen has proven them wrong.

HANNITY: Do you read anything beside The Nation's Paul Krugman? Is there anything else you read?

ABORN: I read the same things you read. But do you understand what you're reading? Bush was wrong about weapons of mass destruction; he was wrong about the resistance.

HANNITY: And The New York Times and CNN.

COLMES: All you have to read is his own speeches. In fact, Bush said in the State of the Union address…this is one of the quotes…that Saddam Hussein aids and defends terrorists, including members of al Qaeda.

It was clear the implication was a link to…between Saddam Hussein and Usama bin Laden. That was what they said time and time again.


COLMES: On numerous appearances, on Meet the Press and other shows, Cheney and Rice said similar things. And now they're backing off a link between Usama and Saddam Hussein all of a sudden.

So you want to get immediately and call Wesley Clark a liar, question his patriotism, a man who achieved the highest honor, Medal of Freedom, Silver Star awardee, Bronze Star and Purple Heart. You want to sit here and impugn his patriotism.

COULTER: No. I cited specific facts. The quote you gave from the State of the Union address is, in fact, true. Saddam Hussein has harbored, promoted, helped, sheltered al Qaeda members. We know that.

COLMES: We could debate that. But isn't that suggesting that there's a link to Usama bin Laden? Isn't that what you're saying? That's what he's saying. And you're in denial about that. Richard, it's unbelievable to me.

COULTER: Let me ask you a question. Who do you think…how would you define the enemy that did attack us on 9/11?

COLMES: I would say the enemy was a specific group and they worked out of Afghanistan and there was very little opposition to going into Afghanistan to go and get al Qaeda. But what they do, they try to give a three-card Monte...

COULTER: So your position is all we have to do is kill Usama bin Laden and 10 guys running around in the desert.

COLMES: No, that's not my position.

COULTER: And America will be safe. That absolutely is your position.

COLMES: You know what, Ann? You're doing what you claimed I did to you. You asked me a question and I start to answer it, and then you interrupted me.

COULTER: Because you continued beyond the question. The question was...

COLMES: No, I didn't finish answering the question.

COULTER: You said al Qaeda and specific people. So you're saying that's the only ones we have to kill.

COLMES: Ann, that's not what I'm saying.

COULTER: That is not the case.

COLMES: You're doing what you typically do is you're taking what I'm saying; you're misrepresenting it and turning it around. That's not what I said.

COULTER: We were attacked by a group of terrorists, al Qaeda, who are fund, supported, sheltered by Saddam Hussein, by others like him. This is a big war and you keep acting like...

COLMES: But now they're backing off…Richard, it's amazing.

COULTER: That's exactly what you just read in Bush's speech.

COLMES: It's amazing. They can't…Hold on. Let's get the other guest and get him actually a chance to speak. You don't want to let other people speak, let Richard speak.

ABORN: The war was...

COLMES: Unbelievable.

ABORN: It is absolutely unbelievable. The war was fought on false pretenses. The American people are slowly coming to that conclusion.

COLMES: Right.

ABORN: It's going to hurt the president very badly. What has happened to Blair may well happen to Bush.

COLMES: Right. We're seeing it happen. We're seeing it happen.

ABORN: ... lose respect for him. I think you're headed for a very bad defeat. I think Clark is going to bring it home.

HANNITY: I think you're dreaming. And by the way, Ann Coulter, never accused Wesley Clark of being a gang leader. That's what they accused George Bush of.

Thank you both for being with us. Appreciate it.

Good luck with your paperback.

Oh, that's right. You said, "I bet you $100 that her book wouldn’t become number one." You were wrong.

ABORN: I was wrong, and I'll pay that back.


ABORN: I will pay that back.

HANNITY: Where's the money?

ABORN: Back in the green room.

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