This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 23, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And Muammar Qaddafi is losing control of Libya tonight as fiery protests continue in the North African nation.

Now according to Al Jazeera, protesters are beginning to claim control of cities all around Libya from the nation's western half all the way to the coastal east.

And while pro-Qaddafi forces still claim to have a hold on Tripoli, the capital city could be the next to fall.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no retreat. No retreat. We will continue until even we have to confront you with our bare hands.


HANNITY: Now Italy says as many as 1,000 people may have been killed since this revolt began. What is America's response? Well, after days of remaining shockingly silent on the crisis, President Obama finally issued a statement earlier this evening.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We strongly condemn the use of violence in Libya. The American people extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of all who have been killed and injured. The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous and it is unacceptable. So are threats and orders to shoot peaceful protesters and further punish the people of Libya.


HANNITY: And here with reaction, nationally syndicated radio talk show host, Fox News contributor, Monica Crowley and speechwriter to Condoleezza Rice, Elise Jordan is back with us.

Guys, good to see you. Thanks for being here. It is so timid, it's so late, too little, too late, so Obama.

MONICA CROWLEY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I mean, listening to that statement today, could he spare it? This seems to be fitting a pattern, Sean. He did this again a couple weeks ago when the Iranian people went back into the streets.

He did this nearly two years ago when the Iranian people first went into the streets. Incredibly tepid, weak response. And look, if there are two examples that are crying out for presidential leadership, American presidential leadership, it is Iran and Libya.

You've got enemy regimes of the United States, state sponsors of terror, heads of those regimes that are themselves terrorists, and yet he cannot give a clarion call of moral support to the people who are trying to overthrow these dictators.

HANNITY: And it's interesting because we can compare and contrast now his response with Hosni Mubarak. Certainly not perfect, but, you know, he's a preacher compared to Muammar Qaddafi who is now using warplanes to kill citizens.

ELISE JORDAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: And what's amazing was the speech to Egypt about Mubarak was pretty similar all in all to what he said today about Qaddafi, which aside from Al Qaeda and Hezbollah, Libya has the -- Qaddafi has the blood of so many Americans on his hands. And it's just absolutely ridiculous that there is no moral leadership here.

CROWLEY: You know what? President Reagan called Muammar Qaddafi the mad dog of the Middle East. Well, the mad dog of the Middle East just met the Chihuahua of the West in President Obama. Remember, in 1986 --

HANNITY: I think that just made Media Matters. Go ahead.

CROWLEY: I hope so. In 1986, Muammar Qaddafi ordered the bombing of a West Berlin disco that was frequented by American servicemen. It killed hundreds of people. In 1988, the Pan Am Lockerbie. This is a terrorist in word and deed and yet for nine days, the American president could not summon even the barest of statement, never mind ordering action, which we should be doing.

The United States should be calling for an economic blockade, economic sanctions, have a fleet or at least an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean to deter this kind of activity, no-fly zones in parts of Libya. This is outrageous.

JORDAN: I'm really baffled by the excuse that we can't take strong action because we still have American citizens there. Certainly, I want every single American out, completely unharmed. But that only seems like it is incentivizing, hey, pro-Qaddafi forces, let's try to kidnap Americans --

HANNITY: Let me ask you the broader picture here. We got Egypt. We've got Jordan. We've got Morocco. We've got Yemen. We've got Bahrain, all across the board, Tunisia, all these countries now and all this turmoil in the Middle East.

And a prediction in Bloomberg News today was that in fact oil could go to $220 a barrel, which means, will double the price of gasoline and then some,because it is just over $100 now. For the first time since the Iranian revolution, you got warships of Iran going through the Suez Canal.

When you look at the broad picture, everyone seems to think this is the greatest thing that has happened. I think no, this is the radicalization in the Middle East. Israel is not going to be surrounded and after Israel, is worldwide domination by radical Islamists a possibility?

JORDAN: I actually don't think is radicalization so much as -- I think it's been --

HANNITY: But who will emerge -- who will fill the power?

JORDAN: I think the problem is we haven't been focusing on our pro- democracy agenda and we don't have any opposition leaders to go to. You look at -- Qaddafi has been in power for 42 years. It wasn't going to last forever.

HANNITY: But do you think that the vacuum that is now open can be filled and probably is likely to be filled by more radical elements in a lot of these countries?

JORDAN: I think there's a possibility, but if we show leadership now and we get in there before, you know, further bloodletting and bloodshed, I think there's a possibility that we could turn this to our advantage.

HANNITY: You do.

JORDAN: Yes, and I think we have for so long we have no credibility in the Middle East --


-- we have a chance to reset it.

HANNITY: If you are right, how does Obama have the moral authority to do it when I think he's perceived as extraordinarily weak? He won't even blow up a pirate ship that kills, you know, four missionaries.

CROWLEY: Right, this has been a complete abdication of presidential leadership. Nine days without a single word, Muammar Qaddafi slaughtering,strafing his own people with his own military. He blames it on a scheduling conflict? That's outrageous.

Look, I hope Elise is right. I hope that the seeds of democracy and human rights flourish in the sands of the Middle East. While we hope for the best, Sean, we have to prepare for the worst. And what I think is that there is the dark hand of Islamist influence going across this region. They are stoking --


JORDAN: I do think this is different from 1979 -- in 1979 it was an Islamist movement. I think now that there are, hopefully, the base level seeds of democracy that had the grass roots movement that -- it is more of a youth movement than an Islamist movement at this point and let's hope it stays that way.

CROWLEY: I just think that when you look at the Middle East, the bulk of Muslims in the Middle East are devout enough that if they are given the chance to vote, they will select Islamic government.

HANNITY: Eighty five percent of Egyptians support the death penalty, Sharia for apostates. That's pretty frightening. All right, guys. Good debate tonight. Thanks for being with us.

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