This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," August 16, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: I guess there can't be legitimate questions about Kerry's war record without that type of ad hominem name-calling, and you can't even look at his record on the Intelligence Committee.
Joining us now, the author of the best selling book, "Treason," Ann Coulter, and Democratic strategist Michael Brown.
Michael, you condemn Senator Harkin for his remarks, calling the vice president of the United States a coward?
MICHAEL BROWN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: We're in a very aggressive election cycle, people say things, and that's not really what this is about.
HANNITY: Is it wrong? Is it wrong?
BROWN: It's about issues. That's how he feels.
HANNITY: Is it wrong for a United States senator...
BROWN: You have your opinion. I don't know if you can say whether you're right or wrong. It's his opinion; it's your opinion. So...
HANNITY: OK, so you won't condemn it, just like you won't condemn Kennedy calling him a liar, saying he concocted a war, or Dean advancing the theory he knew about 9/11. So you like this name-calling. You like this name-calling.
BROWN: It's their opinion. Name-calling, I mean, President Bush came in when he was governor during the campaign. He was going to bring civility to Washington and now you see these kind of ads.
HANNITY: All right.
BROWN: You tell me, Sean.
HANNITY: But the facts are the facts. And I have now gone on the record, because the Kerry campaign has dug himself a hole.
They say, "Oh, yes, we kind of did miss 76 percent of the Intelligence Committee hearings that were public." In the year after 9/11, I'm sorry, the year after the first trade center attack, he didn't show up to one meeting. Not one.
And they're saying, "Well, we went to the closed door meetings."
Well, I talked to somebody on the record that knows and he says he went to a lower percentages of the meetings that were behind closed doors.
So will you call upon me to have Kerry back up that number and give out his attendance record? Pat Roberts said he'd give them out.
BROWN: First of all, does it really matter? Anybody who knows civics and want to know Political 101, maybe they should have checked that before they did the ad. In the Senate, you get several chances, several bites at the apple. You get it in conference committee. You get it on the floor. You have several opportunities to give your input.
And you know Senator Kerry had staff there. He doesn't have to; senators don't have to be at everything. Has President Bush been at every single briefing, every single meeting?
Why are we focusing on this and not focusing on issues having to do with moving the American people forward? Because the guy has no agenda to move forward.
HANNITY: Here's why. I'm going to give you the answer. Here's why. It's because he wasn't even at the meeting.
BROWN: You're talking about some percentage. You're talking about some percentage.
HANNITY: He wasn't at any of the meetings involving the intelligence when they were going to pick the CIA director. He missed 76 percent of the public hearings. He missed even more of the private hearings. He didn't show up for a full year while he was on the committee.
And then he put forward the Kerry amendment that even Ted Kennedy couldn't support, which would have been $7 billion in cuts. This is scary.
ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, "TREASON": I think he was in Cambodia and couldn't make the meetings.
HANNITY: At Christmastime?
COULTER: No, but I mean, in response to Michael's point, what senators do is sort of a waste of time anyway. They have lots of hearings and no one needs to go.
Well, then maybe Democrats shouldn't have written all of these rules and regulations requiring that anything our intelligence agencies do has to go through Senate committees and hearings, which are useless and no one shows up for.
And I think that is really the issue with Kerry and with the Democrats generally in intelligence. They've spent 30 years hamstringing our intelligence agencies, hamstringing the CIA...
HANNITY: Kerry is worse than all of them.
COULTER: Yes, and Kerry is worse than all of them, but this is — there's one particular party that has put all sorts of regulations and rules and laws that make it impossible for the CIA to do its job. We have the worst intelligence agency in the world. And one party is responsible for that.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Ann, I'm very happy to have an open debate on this election. I think we should have a very honest debate. And this ad that we just showed is dishonest. It doesn't accurately represent what John Kerry did.
For example, in the year after the first World Trade Center bombing, they chose seven open meetings. There were 103 meetings altogether. There were 70 oversight hearings, seven business meetings. John Kerry was at a large percentage of those.
So this ad, will you acknowledge is disingenuous, because they are picking and choosing, extrapolating and not accurately representing the number of meetings Kerry was at?
COULTER: Well, two points: one is, I was defending Kerry by saying I think he was in Cambodia.
COLMES: That's very funny. Very funny.
COULTER: You should be addressing that to Sean.
Secondly, as with all of these disputes, how about Kerry won't release his records? He won't release his tax records. He won't release his records from the military, giving us a little more detail about his records and these alleged Purple Hearts.
And now he won't allow the intelligence committee to release what meetings he went to.
COLMES: You say "alleged Purple Hearts." Michael Brown, we have the...
COULTER: Release the records.
COLMES: We have the most secret administration now ever. We have Dick Cheney who has not released who he had energy meetings with and helped write legislation.
It took forever to get Bush's military records. And all of those have not been released. We don't have all the full story of what he did in 1972.
So there you have a double standard, Michael. Do you want to comment?
BROWN: It's a double standard. It always happens during an election cycle. When a Republican Party or their candidate does not have issues to run on, this is what they do.
Alan, you and I see this every four years. It's nothing new. It's nothing different. When you don't have a domestic policy agenda, when you don't have any answers on how to make sure there is peace in Iraq, then what you do is you turn negative.
Every four years, it's nothing new and nothing different.
COLMES: On “Meet the Press” yesterday, Pat Roberts, the Republican on the Intelligence Committee, was asked if John Kerry was at those meetings. He was asked, “Was John Kerry there?”
Roberts said, "I'm not going to comment on that one way or the other." Why wouldn't he answer the question?
COULTER: I believe because he's not allowed to unless Kerry says, "You can release the records."
So have Kerry say it, "Please release the records."
COLMES: He could say he was there or not there.
COULTER: And as for running on issues, I mean, Michael is saying let's talk about the issues. OK, let's talk about the issues.
You two speaking for the Democratic Party here, would you be willing to overturn FISA and all of these requirements coming after Watergate and the Church Committee?
Would you be willing to say that these agencies do not have to treat foreign enemies in America the way we treat Martha Stewart facing an insider trading charge?
COLMES: No one is suggesting...
COULTER: What's the answer to that? That's an issue and you guys won't talk about it.
BROWN: I'm not saying that.
COULTER: What do you say, Michael?
COLMES: Go ahead, Michael, respond.
BROWN: No one is saying that's not important. But I think people...
COULTER: Well, what's the answer?
COLMES: Let him respond.
BROWN: I care a little more about, "Are my kids getting educated? Am I going to have a job next week."
COULTER: Oh, so you don't want to talk about it?
COLMES: Michael is up.
BROWN: Those — I mean, I'm not saying...
COULTER: We're talking about intelligence.
BROWN: I'm not disagreeing that those aren't issues, but there are other issues. They're called kitchen table issues...
COULTER: But you won't answer anything. You just say discuss the issues issue, and I just threw an issue out and you won't give an answer. You said...
BROWN: Ann, you pick one issue that you may have a wonderful answer for. I'm asking for the president to put forward...
COULTER: No, that's what we're talking about right now.
BROWN: I'm asking you to put forth a domestic policy. Well, I'm asking you forth a domestic policy agenda. Is there one? Or are you going to talk about these kind of ads and negative campaigning?
COULTER: OK. I'll go with the domestic policy agenda. But I just want the viewers to understand that the Democrats are both admitting that, in fact, Kerry is bad on intelligence.
BROWN: We haven't admitted anything of the kind. Alan has asked you specifically...
HANNITY: It's called tax cuts and it's called winning the war on terror. Those are the two issues.
COLMES: Let's get the record straight about who did what about terrorism. You want to attack Kerry for what he did or didn't do or meetings he didn't attend.
And this is what was reported just a few months ago, what his administration did. In the early days after 9/11, "the Bush White House cut by nearly two-thirds an emergency request for counter terrorism funds by the FBI, John Ashcroft, working within the White House limits, cut the FBI's request for items such as computer networking, foreign language intercepts by half, cyber-security request by three quarters, eliminated entirely the request for collaborative capabilities."
That's the record of this White House on issues like intelligence and counter terrorism. Do you want to run on that?
COULTER: It's a very impressive source you have. The "Washington Post" says so.
COLMES: Is it true or not true? Do you want to demean the "Washington Post?”
COULTER: I will believe the Kerry campaign quote on that first.
No, I'm not the one who came up with the number of meetings. I'm the one who keeps trying to bring this back to the issue that I think matters. How about you guys just agree to stop criminally prosecuting intelligence agents when they do their job and stop an attack?
COLMES: I think...
COULTER: Could we get the panel to agree on that?
COLMES: I want to agree that this administration...
COULTER: Because the Democrats have spent 30 years hamstringing and making it impossible for intelligence agents to do their job.
I mean, the FBI had Mohammed Atta and the two of the 19 hijackers who flew the plane into the Pentagon. They had them. They wanted to search their computers. They wanted to get a warrant, but they couldn't because of regulations put into effect by the Democrats.
COLMES: Michael, they don't want to acknowledge that this administration...
COULTER: That is an issue and you people won't talk about it.
COLMES: ... cut funding in a memo that came out in August of 2001. Top priorities — counter terrorism was not one of them listed by Ashcroft, had been one previously by Janet Reno.
They don't want to run on their record. They want to pick meetings that Kerry attended or didn't attend, based on whether he spoke at those meetings. He may well have been at those meetings.
BROWN: And obviously, Ann is trying to figure out how to be very careful, because she's basically saying it's really Democrats' fault for why 9/11 occurred.
I mean, obviously, you need to very careful and ...
COULTER: Not only 9/11, but the Cole bombing and the embassy bombings.
BROWN: Because that's basically what's happening, because all the things that have built, all the things that have built up is because Democrats didn't do what they were supposed to do. And they did this; they did that.
That's what you're going to run on. It's extremely dangerous. It has nothing to do with what's going on. Clearly, we all were asleep at the wheel. We all can do a better job. We all want to be safe.
HANNITY: Let me jump in here for a second.
BROWN: And to stand up and say that the reason 9/11 occurred is because Senator Kerry may have missed some votes makes no sense. And if that's what you're going to run on, that's too bad.
HANNITY: All right, let me go to Ann Coulter. This is the record — I guess this is why John Kerry keeps going back to Vietnam. He wanted a nuclear freeze. Reagan, confronting the evil empire.
He says he's going to reform the intelligence committee, but when he's on the committee, for all the time he's there, he missed 76 percent of the hearings.
I have a source telling me at these closed-door meetings, he missed an even higher percentage of those. We know that he was absent for the entire year. He didn't go to a single one of the meetings after the first trade center bombing.
And that he wanted $6 billion in cuts. That is his record. He had his opportunity, while we were being the victims of the attack and he did nothing. You can't dispute that.
COULTER: Right, his record as a senator was that he really enjoyed walking around, having people say, "Hello, Mr. Senator." And that was about the extent of his duties.
But I just want to clarify to Michael: I'm not blaming the Democrats for 9/11 alone. I'm blaming them also for the Cole bombing, for the embassy bombings, for 20 years of attacks that have not been stopped.
It is indisputable that it is because of regulations that came post- Watergate when Congress was made up of two parties, Democrats and radical Democrats and...
HANNITY: Let me bring Michael in here.
COULTER: And, you know, to pretend that Kerry is not part of this would be like us running a Republican president and saying...
HANNITY: Hang on, Michael. Michael, hold on a second.
Mike, Mike, Mike, hold on a second.
I want to read to you something. This is important.
When Kerry proposed the cuts to the intelligence community, the $6 billion that the Bush ad talks about here, Dennis Deconcini, Democrat, said the following. He said, "The world remains a dangerous place. We continue to face challenges in the nation, interests all around the world.
He said there are still nuclear weapons out there, which are targeted at the United States and whose control we worry about these countries, and he goes on to say, are not friendly. We cannot have this cut.
Senator Inouye said the same thing. He could not support the Kerry cuts. Ted Kennedy could not support the Kerry cuts.
John Kerry. Doesn't that show that he's even out of touch with his own party, to the left of his own party and his own party wouldn't support these radical cuts of his?
BROWN: Yes, but that's what democracy is all about. A particular member of Congress or a senator has a particular opinion about a bill.
HANNITY: Ted Kennedy?
BROWN: Ted Kennedy or whoever.
HANNITY: Kennedy thought it was too radical.
BROWN: John McCain thought that the ads that Bush ran a few weeks ago were bad. I mean...
HANNITY: Bush didn't run those ads, by the way. Let me correct the record. He didn't run them and he said he didn't want them.
BROWN: But Sean, clearly if the campaign said pull them, don't run them, they would not have run.
HANNITY: Michael, Michael, Michael, you're wrong. It's a private group.
BROWN: And that's....
HANNITY: Please don't lie to the audience. That's not true. It was a private group that George Bush has no control over.
BROWN: No, no, Sean, if George Bush said, please don't run them, they would not run. Clearly, the campaign did not mind them running.
HANNITY: But you support Harkin calling Dick Cheney a coward and you won't condemn him. Who are you to lecture anybody?
BROWN: What I supported was his opinion, which this is America. He has his opinion. To Ann's point...
HANNITY: So the Vietnam vets have their opinion.
BROWN: ... relative to the ads, don't run those ads that are just running now, just run ads saying basically that Senator Kerry is at fault for 9/11. Just do that. Don't beat around the bush...
HANNITY: Not what they said.
BROWN: ... just do that.
COULTER: The Democrats are at fault.
COLMES: The Democrats are at fault for everything, right?
BROWN: That's the Republican opinion.
COLMES: Isn't that right, Ann?
COULTER: Not everything, but they are definitely at fault for hamstringing the intelligence...
COLMES: I think we should stop the finger pointing, quite frankly, on both sides.
Thank you very much, Michael. Thank you, Ann, for being with us.
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