Do Sean Penn's Latest Comments Go Too Far?

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," September 15, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

BOB BECKEL, GUEST CO-HOST: Actor Sean Penn took aim at President Bush in a television interview, suggesting Bush may bring fascism to America. Penn also charged that Bush has, quote, "devastated our democracy and has done enormous damage to this country and mankind."

Joining us now is radio talk show host Stephanie Miller and Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez.

Leslie, it's not the best use of words, to be sure, but what is it about this administration and Republicans? Every time anyone says even a little thing bad about George Bush, you all get excited. What's the deal? It's a free country. You say what you want.

LESLIE SANCHEZ, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Bob, I think the only thing you and I are going to agree on tonight is that this is one big publicity stunt on the behalf of Sean Penn.

I mean, isn't the guy that played Spicoli in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High"? And wasn't he stoned during most of those history classes? I really find it hard to believe that this is an honest observation of what's happening in America. And I cannot take this seriously. I don't think anybody can.

BECKEL: We can — we can try. And by the way, I do think he was stoned, but anyway let me — let me ask — well, I don't know that. Sorry, I don't want to get sued here.

But let me ask Stephanie. Stephanie, what's your take on this? Do you think he was trying to get publicity or do you think it's sort of a statement he believes in, and that's free speech and why should everybody give — put the heat on?

STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Bob, first of all, let me give you two a little tip out here from Hollywood. He's an actor. He was acting in "Fast Times." He wasn't really stoned.

BECKEL: Oh, no.

MILLER: A little tip from the left coast.

BECKEL: Oh, man.

MILLER: You know, it's amazing to me, Bob, with the damage that this president truly has caused around the world, that every time a liberal says something, it's a topic du jour here on FOX News.

Look, when you have John Boehner, the Republican House majority leader, saying basically, you know, the Democrats, they want to help protect the terrorists, not Americans. I mean, what kind of democracy is that? Literally, that is their talking point, that you are not patriotic, you hate America, you're morally confused.

BECKEL: Exactly.


BECKEL: Not that we want to get off of Sean Penn, but let's ask you about Boehner. That statement came from the chief majority leader of the House of Representatives, a Republican, and that was essentially saying that we were all traitors.

MILLER: Exactly. Or pick anything that Pat Robertson or Ann Coulter says on a nightly basis, and I don't think frankly this is that bad, you know. Many, many people think the president is damaging democracy. He has a secretary of state that's calling us morally confused if we disagree with him. That's not democracy.

SANCHEZ: The difference — with all due respect, the difference is Sean Penn is trying to compare President Bush to being fascist. I mean, not only do I not think he understands what that truly means, but I think it really — it shows how liberal Hollywood is and how they're trying to take advantage and use this platform that they have to promote a liberal agenda. Nobody really talks about that.

I think he should be really confined to words that are written for him as an actor, as opposed to promoting a speech.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Hey, Stephanie Miller, my old friend. Hello, Stephanie.

MILLER: Hi, Sean, you big hunk of conservative stud meat.

HANNITY: Oh, thank you very much. I understand you say that quite often. I take that as a compliment from you. All right. Now, you know what it is?

MILLER: You're really, really wrong about everything, and that's why God made you pretty.

HANNITY: OK, thank you, Stephanie. I could say the same about you.

Now, let me — let's talk about Bush derangement syndrome, because you're actually suffering from it, as well. You know what? First of all, Sean Penn, when he could string two sentences together, doesn't obviously understand fascism.

And here's the facts, Stephanie. Not only are you guys, as Don Rumsfeld said, morally confused, you are weak as a party. You are wrong on the issues of our day involving terror. You are confused, and you have a pre-9/11 mentality. It's just that simple.

MILLER: Thank God you called me pretty first. You know what — Sean...

HANNITY: Thank God — thank God the country is being defended despite you guys.

MILLER: I didn't hear anything after you said that I'm pretty. But you know, here's the thing. You might want to read something. There's been a piece written called "The 14 characteristics of Fascism". Well, a lot of people agree are indeed what they are. If you go down the list...

HANNITY: Is George Bush a fascist? Do you want to call him a Nazi? Do you want to say what Rosie O'Donnell said, that Christianity is like Islamic fascism?

MILLER: Sean, the sad fact for you and I — the sad fact for you and I as Americans that love our country is a lot of people around the world agree with what Sean Penn said. If you look at what the 14 characteristics...

HANNITY: But that doesn't make it true, Stephanie.


MILLER: Calling people that don't agree with it...

BECKEL: Think about what Dan (ph) said.

HANNITY: Wait a minute, Stephanie. If you look at the history of fascism, totalitarianism, Nazism, people, millions of them were murdered, slaughtered, and killed. Now, here America...

MILLER: I'm not killing George Bush a fascist.

HANNITY: Let me educate you, you might learn something. The worst attack in American history, and we are defending our country, and that's the part that you guys on the left don't understand. And that's why we say you're weak on defense and homeland security, when you don't want the Patriot Act, the national security surveillance program, the data mining program, et cetera.

MILLER: OK. All I say, go home and Google "14 Characteristics of Fascism". You'll find it's calling people that don't agree with you unpatriotic. It's — let's see — rampant cronyism and corruption.


BECKEL: Leslie, a question. Leslie, do you think we're traitors?

SANCHEZ: Not at all.

HANNITY: You're misinformed, Bob.

SANCHEZ: Misinformed. That's a great — thank you, Sean. That's exactly the right word here. I mean, it's true. There are people that are trying to do us harm, and to blindly put our head in the sand and ignore that is basically what — what Sean Penn is trying to promote.

BECKEL: But you...


HANNITY: Wait a minute, Bob. Hang on a second.

SANCHEZ: This is not — truly, this is not a police state. He was allowed. He had open speech. He was allowed to make these comments. I don't think anybody was beating on his door. He didn't get one phone call from jail. This is America. And I think he does tend to forget that.

HANNITY: All right. Let me tell you what the problem is. And Stephanie, I'll throw this to you. You know something? I don't really care what Sean Penn says. In the sense that you say he's an actor, no one pays attention to him or Rosie O'Donnell or Alec Baldwin or any of these guys.

MILLER: Right.

HANNITY: Hang on a second. Here's the problem.

MILLER: But if you're a celebrity, you can get elected governor and you get made the head of the NRA, and if you're Charlie Daniels you get on FOX News every night.

HANNITY: Here's — after you go in the arena of ideas and you get voters to vote for you.

But here's the problem. When Nancy Pelosi, your wannabe speaker, calls the president mentally unstable. When Harry Reid, your wannabe, says...

MILLER: Sean, you're doing your list again.

HANNITY: ... is a loser.

SANCHEZ: It's true.

BECKEL: You've heard this list, haven't you, Stephanie?

HANNITY: When — when Howard Dean says the Republicans are evil, dark, mean, and hateful.

MILLER: When John Boehner says the Democrats want to help the terrorists. When Ann Coulter says they shot the wrong Lincoln, about Lincoln Chafee, who's Republican.

HANNITY: Ann Coulter's not elected. Ann Coulter's not president. Take that up with Ann Coulter.

You are electing these people, and you want them to be in power. They're undermining the president, the country, and the troops while we're in harm's way. And that's the problem, Stephanie. That's a serious issue.

MILLER: You know what puts the troops in harm's way, is condoning torture, and that's why the Senate stood up to the president.


BECKEL: Just remember, will Rogers never met Ann Coulter.

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