Could Israel attack Iran before 2012 election?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 22, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: With only 76 days to go until the presidential election is held in this country, tensions in the Middle East are escalating as Israeli TV news reports that Israel is, quote, "closer than ever" to a military strike on Tehran's nuclear facilities.

This report comes just days after the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the supreme leader both called yet again for the destruction of Israel. So without question, this would be an October surprise that would dramatically change the race for the White House and without question impact U.S. national security.

Here to break down the very latest on what is a very concerning story out of the Mideast is Fox News contributor, Liz Cheney. Liz, good to see you. Welcome back.

LIZ CHENEY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Hi, Sean. Good to be back, thank you.

HANNITY: I want to ask questions through the prism of this comment of then-candidate Obama, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny. They are not like the Soviet Union. They are not a threat. Remember this?


THEN-SENATOR OBAMA: I mean, think about it -- Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us. And yet, we were willing to talk to the Soviet Union at the time when they were saying we are going to wipe you off the planet.

Iran, they spend one hundredth of what we spend on the military. I mean, if Iran ever tried to pose a serious threat to us, they would not stand a chance.


HANNITY: Here's our fearless, inexperienced leader. I mean -- it's -- now we find ourselves -- look at what he has done to Israel. How dangerous is this? We are on the brink of war with Israel. They don't really have a choice at this point.

CHENEY: Right. Well, I think what you just played, that has to be one of the more inane sets of comments by a presidential candidate in an awful long time. There is some competition there for inane comments.

But the notion that Iran is tiny and doesn't pose a serious threat to us, just simply is flat wrong. I think what you got going on now is news reports that the Israeli government is moving closer to a final decision, that they have begun according to the AP most recently, preparing the nation for war.

I think there is a sense on the part of the Israelis that they can't count on the United States. Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, said from the podium at the White House, don't worry, we will know when the Iranians get to the point where military action might be necessary.

Frankly, I think the Israelis look at that and say, well, you know, you missed it when the Iraqis were much closer than you thought to a nuclear weapon, you missed the Chinese and the Soviets. It's a very concerning situation. There is no trust between the Israelis and the U.S on this.

HANNITY: I've interviewed -- the first person to say this publicly was Donald Trump. He said that -- he felt if Barack Obama's back were against the wall that he would -- he would in fact engage in military action to maintain his position.

Now, we also -- we have seen a lot happen in the last number of weeks with the sleazy, slimy campaign. He's allowed the campaign to go out there and basically suggest that Mitt Romney caused cancer in a woman. They called him a felon. They have basically said he's -- he doesn't like women and dogs and that the Republicans want dirty air, water and don't care about kids with autism and Down syndrome.

Do you think it's possible that Barack Obama and his campaign, willing to say anything, lie about anybody, would they go as far, is it inconceivable to think they would do something militarily if they thought it would benefit them?

CHENEY: I wouldn't want to go that far, Sean. I would like to think that the president of the United States would take military action to prevent the Iranians from having nuclear capability. I do not believe this president will do that.

I think what is more likely is a scenario in which, if in fact the Israelis do have to take action, you will see a reminder for the American people about how dangerous this world is that we are living in and a reminder for the American people that the Iran issue encapsulates nearly everything that is wrong with the Obama foreign policy.

The extent to which neither the Iranians nor the Israelis believe we will take military action. This difference in language the Israelis don't want the Iranians to have nuclear capability. The president says we don't want them to have a nuclear weapon.

There is a difference there. The president is putting a red line that the Israelis think is too far. They think they can't live with that. It is unlikely he will take action solely for political purposes. I wouldn't want to go that far.

HANNITY: Could the Israelis in light of the way they have been treated by President Obama and the call to go back and return to the '67 borders and snubbing the prime minister at the White House -- this is a two-part question. One, could they count on the United States, if in fact, they need to take some type of action against the Iranians? That's part one.

CHENEY: No, I don't think so. And I don't think they believe they can. If we had a president in office who understood the importance of a strong America, who understood the importance of a strong military and of our relationship with Israel and our other allies in the region, then in fact we could be in a situation where we could say that the Israelis, we really do have your back, we will make sure this doesn't happen. We could be in a position where we would say to the other leaders in the region who are our allies, the Arab leaders, you know, we understand, we can't let this happen.

HANNITY: Let me ask this. The prime minister's a very smart man, his defense minister, Ehud Barak, very smart man. They certainly understand that Barack Obama has not been their biggest ally and supporter.

If anything, he has undermined things, we see now President Morsi of Egypt is meeting with the Iranian leaders -- that is not a good situation. Do you think that they understand that it would be better not to engage in something that could impact the election, hoping that the next president -- that Mitt Romney would win and be far more sympathetic to the cause of their security and their safety?

CHENEY: You know, for the Israelis, this is life and death, this is an existential threat. You just pointed out earlier in the segment that Ahmadinejad has threatened in the last few days, once again, to wipe Israel off the map. I would have to say, I suspect that they are hoping for a president who understands better the relationship between the two nations and how important it is.

I don't believe that the American election will enter into their calculation because it's a matter of the survival of the state of Israel. I believe strongly that they will act. They will not let the Iranians cross into what for them is a very dangerous zone where they would have the capability very quickly to put together a nuclear weapon.

HANNITY: All right, Liz Cheney, good to see you. Thanks for being with us.

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