This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," September 22, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: A new book sheds light on the Obama campaign and on the dynamics of the president's relationship with the first lady Michelle Obama.
Now, according to the author, it was apparently Michelle who convinced her husband to adopt the campaign slogan "Yes We Can" and also vetoed Hillary Clinton as vice-presidential candidate.
Now, she reportedly asked her husband, quote: "Do you really want Bill and Hillary just down the hall from you in the White House? Could you live with that?"
Now, the book that reveals all of this in detail is "Barack and Michelle: A Portrait of an American Marriage." And the author of that book, who joins us now, Christopher Anderson.
Chris, thanks for being here. Good to see you.
• Video: Watch Sean's interview
CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON, AUTHOR, "BARACK AND MICHELLE": Good to be here.
HANNITY: Appreciate it.
First of all, did you — how did you get all this information about their relationship? You talk about their troubled times.
ANDERSON: Right, right.
HANNITY: They apparently had a rocky marriage at one point.
ANDERSON: Absolutely. And they've been open about that, actually. I talked to people who knew them in Chicago, knew them in Hawaii growing up.
All the back ups, couple of hundred people who really were there during this genesis. They've only been in the public eye for, what, four or five years nationally. So it was interesting getting this story firsthand from these people.
And the rocky time you speak about is the time when they really were conceivably headed for splitsville. She said, you know, he was a state legislature in Springfield. She's back in Chicago.
HANNITY: He was politically ambitious, and she — and he felt she was nagging him about — and that's how you describe it.
ANDERSON: Well, and here's a woman who's a Princeton and a Harvard Law graduate.
ANDERSON: She had been his boss at one point. And she's left stuck with the kids. So she said, "Oh no, this is not what I signed on for and you better do something about it."
HANNITY: Well, you describe a Michelle that has enormous influence on him. "Yes We Can," he rejected it.
ANDERSON: David Axelrod.
HANNITY: You described him smoking a cigarette.
ANDERSON: That's right. And didn't like...
HANNITY: Between drags of a cigarette, I think, is how you put it?
ANDERSON: Right. I talked to the people who were in the room, and they said he thought it was too corny. He didn't think people would get it. He thought it was kind of childish.
And she was the person who finally brought in to say, "This is what's going to work. Trust me." And he did. I think it was one of the most important decisions he made earlier in that campaign.
HANNITY: Yes, and not picking Hillary was another big influence.
ANDERSON: Absolutely. Once again, Barack has said over and over again when I make an important decision, she is the person I go to. She is my chief counselor, my chief adviser. And he asked her opinion and she told it to him.
HANNITY: Look, the thing that fascinating me, and I read this at some other point I don't remember exactly where. You describe — you write a lot about Bill Ayers and Reverend Wright. And Reverend Wright even weighed in on the "Yes We Can" slogan very positively. You write about that page, 210. I just happen to remember it.
But Bill Ayers helped him with his book, and you actually pick up — you found the literary devices and themes bear a jarring similarity to Ayers' own writings.
ANDERSON: That's true. And they were good friends. And during the campaign, of course...
HANNITY: They were good friends.
ANDERSON: Yes, of course, they were.
HANNITY: So he denied it.
ANDERSON: It was kind of — yes, he did. It was like a literary cabal there that was interesting in Chicago. They were all giving each other quotes, you know, the blurbs to promote their respective books.
HANNITY: So Sean Hannity was right when I said that they were close friends. He started his political career at his house.
HANNITY: He, you know, sat on boards with him, gave speeches with him. They were good friends.
ANDERSON: Yes, they were.
HANNITY: So he lied — he lied to the American people.
ANDERSON: I think — well, let's face it, during that campaign I think he was doing some backpedaling, I'll be honest. And I think that, you know, Michelle probably recommended that he not emphasize their relationship with — with Ayers.
HANNITY: Bill Ayers was more than happy, because he wanted him to be president.
HANNITY: And so Bill Ayers went underground, no pun intended.
ANDERSON: Right. But you know, one thing that I think is fascinating about Michelle is that she is so pivotal, not only in all of these decisions you're talking about. But she really made him what he was.
I mean, don't forget: he wasn't connected to anybody in Chicago. She's the person who connected him through her — the law firm she worked with, through her job through city hall when she worked for Mayor Daley. And she's the guy — she's the person who taught him how to speak to African-American audiences. Because he was considered to be rather stiff.
HANNITY: Even as it goes to Reverend Wright, Reverend Wright was involved in a lot of decisions. And the person that was closer to Reverend Wright, you say...
HANNITY: ... that was, quote, in awe of him, to use your phrase...
ANDERSON: Right. Yes, yes.
HANNITY: ... was Michelle.
ANDERSON: Exactly. And you have to realize what he helped them with. He did help them get through some of the personal crises. You know, her dad died of M.S. his — at the age of 55. Barack's mom died, of course, as we know. And all these kind of emotional things drew her closer to Jeremiah Wright.
I think she was a little bit more reluctant than he was to kind of say, "Look, these statements that Wright is making do not reflect us."
HANNITY: Let me ask you a last question, because I find these things — some would say it's politically expedient.
HANNITY: You describe a couple that is very ambitious.
HANNITY: But they seem to be willing to skirt the truth quite often in pursuit of that ambition. Now, I'm just using what you are saying.
ANDERSON: Yes. Right. I would say...
HANNITY: You are describing dishonesty in your book.
ANDERSON: I think it's politics in America. Look, I think we should just be damn grateful that we don't have the Clintons in that White House from the standpoint of a marriage. Because a marriage, you know, the state of a marriage is an important thing in this country. And I think you want to have a solid couple.
HANNITY: But you're — you're kind of ducking. You describe blatant dishonesty. Why — but why are you so unwilling — you kind of say it, but you don't say it.
ANDERSON: I give the facts and let people make up their mind about what is expedient and what is allowed in the campaign. Whether or not people bend the truth to serve their purposes. Hey, let's face it. Both parties do this thing.
HANNITY: Not all — there are honest people in the world. I don't believe in these broad sweeping generalizations.
ANDERSON: There are. But I don't think one would not get elected president if they were painfully honest and perfectly honest about everything.
HANNITY: Was he honest about Ayers and Wright?
ANDERSON: Not totally. And I think...
HANNITY: Fair enough. I won't push it any further.
HANNITY: It was a fair assessment. I've got to be honest. I enjoyed the book. I really did. I thought it was a fascinating portrayal. I learned a lot. Thank you for being here.
ANDERSON: Thank you. I enjoyed it.
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