Tea Party Activist Defends Obama Confrontation: 'You Are Not a King. We Still Elected You'

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 16, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: I don't think I'm the only one who's wanted to call "The Anointed One" on his blatant hypocrisy. Well, one man had a chance to do just that yesterday at a town hall in Iowa. Now, here is Tea Party activist Ryan Rhodes, picking his bone with the president.


RYAN RHODES, IOWA TEA PARTY LEADER: When you're talking about civility, how is your vice president calling us terrorists?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Sir, sir, look.

RHODES: I would like to understand that.

OBAMA: OK, OK, I will, I will explain it right now. He did not call you guys terrorists.

RHODES: He said we were acting like terrorists. Hostage-takers.

OBAMA: No. What he said was that for us to be willing to take the economy to the brink was irresponsible. And it was. Now, the truth of the matter is, considering what's said about me consistently.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: He's the second person in your administration to call the right wing people terrorists. Janet Napolitano did it first!

OBAMA: No, no, that's not --


HANNITY: Now, our own Ed Henry was on the scene. He caught up with Rhodes right after that confrontation.


RHODES: He said, some people say I'm Mr. Reasonable. I will never accuse him of that. The fact is, his words do not match up with his actions. Actions will always speak louder than words. And we've seen that. We were taught that growing up. But the actions of the people he employs, the actions of people in his party have demonstrated that they don't want to work.


HANNITY: And joining me now with the inside scoop on his highly charged exchange with the president of the United States, that's Iowa Tea Party chairman Ryan Rhodes. Ryan, how are you?

RHODES: I'm great Sean, thanks for having me. And I guess I better get an accent so Dana Perino will like me.


HANNITY: Listen, I watched it. And I'm thinking, you were being respectful. Let me just first get out of the way, did you -- were you heckling during the president's speech or town hall in any way? Because you probably have seen those reports by now.

RHODES: Well, the first thing I said was -- he had all of his speech, he had all of his questions. It got to the point where it was the last question. You know, these events a lot of times get staged, these questions don't get asked, and so, I did stand up and one of the final question came, and I said, hey, I'm going to ask this, because I'm getting sick of the entire taxpayer funded listening town hall tour was simply a way for him to attack the Republicans and try to perfect his talking points. It was like his own personal Frank Luntz poll group.

HANNITY: Well, I'm glad you are a regular watcher. But you would only know that if you are watching the program. When we appreciate it. Look, I think --

RHODES: I love Frank. And you.

HANNITY: -- the president lectures a lot on civility. A lot. I mean, we saw after the Tucson shooting, et cetera, et cetera. And yet, the vice president now, there's multiple witnesses that said in fact, he said that, the president denied it. What is your reaction to that?

RHODES: Well, yes. I said it actually on the news. How can you actually have a conversation with someone who is just going to look in your face and absolutely deny it? I mean, beyond just Joe Biden, Harry Reid has been calling us hostage-takers for how long? I heard the Rush montage, I've heard the Hannity montage. Those are his voices unless you've got some serious distortion tools over there.

HANNITY: Yes, you know, it's interesting but he never, you know, in any way, criticizes his own party.

There was actually I though a moment where he could have said to you, and I think this would have helped him -- you know, what? You're right, he shouldn't have said it. But he didn't have the courage to do that. And I thought it was a missed opportunity.

Look, the Tea Party has been attacked, you know, it is unrelenting, it's every day, racist, terrorist, you now, on and on and on, as you pointed out. And we've mentioned this a lot on the program. You know, you're a Tea Party member. And I like what you guys stand for. You want limited government. You want to balance the budget. You want to preserve the blessings of freedom for our kids and grandkids. Where do you think this hostility is coming from?

RHODES: Well, look, it is coming from stuff like -- Barack Obama says, he wants civility, he wants his nature. But then he sends his supporters out and says, you need to get in their face.

HANNITY: Good point.

RHODES: Well, this is, the -- if you want people to confront other people, then you better be ready to be confronted. You are not a king. We still elected you. And we still want to hold you accountable. And if you are unwilling to go to the people or answer these questions, come on shows like yours, Sean, then you know, what, it is going to take things like this. It is going to take people going out there and saying, Mr. President, I want to know what you think. He could have shut the entire exchange down by just simply saying, I disagree, I challenged my entire party to stop this rhetoric.

HANNITY: I think it would have been almost the equivalent of a Sister Souljah moment as we call it here.

You had this confrontation, it has made a lot of news. And I'm glad you did this. Because I think what has been said about the Tea Party is so over-the-top. And so obviously contrary to what he's lecturing us about. You walk away with this with what? What do you think about the president? What do you think about his answer? You know, has your perception, feelings about him, opinion of him changed?

RHODES: The beautiful thing about America is we can actually have these conversations. And as long as we do it without physically attacking somebody, you know, and going after them, you know, we can have these and we can walk away. I mean, the president walked away smiling. That might be because I read his book. But you know, we're out there and we need more people. I mean, I got a lot of great training for how to be able to get out there and talk to these people and be able to confront President Obama in a civilized manner from the leadership institute. And it is things like these I hope more people can get train by them and get out there.

HANNITY: You know, it's amazing. I said in 2008 that journalism, media in this country died. But I think it is going to be citizen journalists like yourself that will ask the questions the media should have been asking. So, I applaud you for what you did here. And I think you were right, it is a fair question. The president I thought gave a pretty lame answer. Thanks for being with us.

RHODES: Well, thank you for having me. And it was good seeing you at the State Fair and good being on your program.

HANNITY: We met at the State Fair?

RHODES: We did. I was the guy who handed you the paper written note.

HANNITY: I have it. Thank you. Now I know who you are, all right.

Well, it's good to see you again. Thank you. Did you have one of those fried Twinkies on a stick?

RHODES: No, but I should have.

HANNITY: You should have. That and the pork chop on a stick.

RHODES: That and the pork chop, the pork on a stick. I did get that.

HANNITY: Oh, it's great. It's the best I've ever had. All right. Ryan, thanks so much for being with us. I appreciate you all being here tonight.

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