Ayers College Speaking Engagement Cancelled Out of 'Safety Concerns'?

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," October 17, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: This is a "FOX News Alert." Keep Bill Ayers away. The University of Nebraska is now canceling the speaking appearance by Bill Ayers, the radical co-founder of the Weather Underground. That's what they're saying is, Keep him away. Ayers had been scheduled to speak at the university on November 15, but the appearance has just been called off. The stated reason, due to safety concerns.

Coincidentally, earlier today, the governor of Nebraska publicly called for the university to cancel the invitation. Nebraska governor Dave Heineman joins us live. Governor, boy, it seems like a weird coincidence that you publicly say, "Cancel the appearance," and they say they have safety concerns. Should we buy this? Or do you buy this?

GOV. DAVE HEINEMAN (R), NEBRASKA: Well, Greta, I'll just say this. I'm glad they canceled the event. Earlier today, I called upon them to do it. Nebraskans were outraged by this. They were very, very angry. And again, I'm just pleased they called it off for whatever reason they want to give.

VAN SUSTEREN: Who did you speak to?

HEINEMAN: I spoke to the president of the University of Nebraska about the middle of the afternoon, after I had issued my release. I encouraged them to immediately rescind the invitation. I told them it would be in the best interests of the university and the state to get it done as quickly as possible. And about 7:00 o'clock tonight, they canceled the event.

VAN SUSTEREN: What did the president of the university say when he got this call from the governor?

HEINEMAN: The president of the university and I are good friends. He understood that this was a very difficult situation. Yesterday, he had called it incredibly bad judgment, poor judgment on their part to extend the invitation. And I just told him that it's time to correct that poor judgment by withdrawing the invitation. And again, I can tell you, Nebraskans are glad they did that.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So basically, I can tell you I don't buy it, the security concerns. If you have the governor who says it's bad judgment, calls the president of the university and says bad judgment, then at 7:00 PM tonight for the first time, we're hearing security concerns. That seems like a lie.

HEINEMAN: I understand exactly what you're saying. I'm not saying I'm buying into it, either. But the bigger issue was we wanted this event canceled. Nebraskans, again, they were just angry that a well-known radical like Bill Ayers was being invited to the college of education. There are hundreds of other nationally known experts who can come and speak about urban education reform. And I'm sure that's what they'll do.

VAN SUSTEREN: Whose idea was it to invite him?

HEINEMAN: The dean of the college of education, as far as I know.

VAN SUSTEREN: What was the purpose for inviting him? You know, is there a particular expertise that he is thought to have? Or, I mean, what was the point of this?

HEINEMAN: My understanding of it was they wanted to invite him because of his expertise regarding urban education issues. Now, I got to be quite honest, I don't know why they didn't go out to Google or Yahoo. They could have done a search and they'd find out just how controversial he is. And again, you know, here was a guy who advocated public bombings -- or advocated bombings of public institutions. This was not appropriate to invite him to the University of Nebraska.

And again, I can tell you, donors to the university were outraged. Citizens were threatening to withdraw their kids from the university over this. So I'm glad they acted as quickly as they did.

VAN SUSTEREN: What I don't get is that you would even think that the dean would have to Google him. I mean, a dean of a school of education, I mean -- I mean, if he doesn't -- if he doesn't know who Bill Ayers is or read the paper, whether he's for him or against him, and has to Google him, I mean, what's he doing with his time?

HEINEMAN: Well, I understand what you're saying. I will say the dean is a she.

VAN SUSTEREN: She. All right. Sorry.

HEINEMAN: As I understand it, they had -- they knew about some of this controversy. Why they went ahead is beyond me. Again, I think it was insensitive. It was inappropriate. And they should have known this was going to happen.

VAN SUSTEREN: Just out of curiosity, how does your state look? Which way is it going in terms of this election? Does your state look like it's going Republican or Democrat for president?

HEINEMAN: I'm pretty sure the state will vote for Senator McCain.

VAN SUSTEREN: What was it last time around?

HEINEMAN: You know, we've been -- pretty much since 1964, we've voted Republican. There's just an overwhelming conservative view out here among our citizens. So I think that'll prevail in this election.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, Governor, thank you very much. Thank you, Governor.

HEINEMAN: Thank you, Greta.

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