SEAN HANNITY RADIO SHOW, FEBRUARY 10, 2006
HANNITY: He's agreed to do this program once a month, we hold him to it, he's keeping his pledge, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut is with us. How are you, Senator?
LIEBERMAN: Sean, I'm great, how are you doing?
HANNITY: I'm good. Now listen, before we get into all the stuff that we need to talk about, there's a lot of news here. I need to know, yes or no, do you want my public support, do you want my endorsement, do you think that hurts your re-election efforts, do you want me to come out in opposition of you, I want to do what's in your best interests, you gotta tell me what you want me to do.
LIEBERMAN: Yeah. Well, you know, it's good of you to ask me in private like this. (Laughter)
HANNITY: (Laughter) I'm thinking... I'm thinking Hannity Conservatives for Lieberman and I'll do a big fundraiser in Connecticut.
LIEBERMAN: Yeah, yeah. Let me just say, I appreciate your friendship, and I appreciate your support. Really.
HANNITY: So you want my endorsement?
LIEBERMAN: What can I... if you support me... Look, I've always gotten elected by people from all parties. Now if there's a Democratic primary against me, which there might be, I might ask you to come in and endorse my opponent. (Laughter)
HANNITY: (Laughter) If you want me to do it, I'll do it. And by the way, I was mad at you at Alito, and one day I'm gonna pull you aside, and I believe in my heart, I really believe in my heart that if the president really needed your vote, you would have been there.
LIEBERMAN: (Sigh) Well, OK, you pull me aside and we'll talk. (Laughter)
HANNITY: Alright, you don't want to answer that publicly, do you?
LIEBERMAN: (Laughter) Cause I voted no.
HANNITY: I know you voted no but...
LIEBERMAN: But I did vote against the filibuster cause I thought that, you know, it was time to move on.
HANNITY: Yeah. But are you concerned at all about... that your political situation... you are gonna have a primary it looks like?
LIEBERMAN: Well, yeah, I mean it's basically from folks in the Democratic party who are obviously angry at me about the war, and also don't like the fact that, you know, sometimes I work across party lines, but that's because that's what you do to get something done and, you know, I just don't think every issue has to be taken as a partisan issue. But I'm taking it... there's not a declared candidate... there's a guy from Greenwich who's looking at it, and I'm taking it seriously. It's a privilege to be a United States senator and it's nothing, you know, that comes as a grant, so you gotta earn it every time around and I'm ready to go out and fight for it.
HANNITY: You know, the problem is, is because I really respect your understanding of the greatest issue of our time, which is the war on terror, and you've had a... you know, frankly, your support has been very critical for the president in a lot of key moments here, and I know you've taken a lot of opposition for it.
HANNITY: I do have my disagreements with you, Senator Lieberman, let not your heart be troubled, I promise I'll oppose you at times...
LIEBERMAN: Alright, this is good, this will make our relationship all the more credible. (Laughter)
HANNITY: Well it will, but I admire...
LIEBERMAN: But that's natural, Sean, and you know that's what I say, just cause I disagree with the president on A, B, and C, if I agree with him on the war on terrorism, why would... would I not support him cause he happens to be the other party? That's not right, that's not good for the country.
HANNITY: Alright, you have these hearings going on today with FEMA, let me play a cut of this, I want to get your reaction to it.
[CLIP: INTERCHANGE BETWEEN FORMER FEMA DIRECTOR MICHAEL BROWN AND SEN. NORM COLEMAN (R-MN)]
HANNITY: It got very heated.
LIEBERMAN: It did.
HANNITY: You were on the committee today, you were there today. What did you think of that?
LIEBERMAN: Dramatic moment, that was Norm Coleman, my colleague, friend, from Minnesota, and, look, Michael Brown admitted some mistakes but he took a lot more credit than he unfortunately deserves. I do want to say that any attempt to describe the failures of the federal government just as a result of Michael Brown's failures is not... doesn't say enough. There was failures all across the federal government. I do want to tell you that the next time I got a chance to question... I did exactly what Norm Coleman didn't have the time to do, and I said here's a specific case, yesterday we had General Bennett Landreneau, who's the Adjutant General in the National Guard in New Orleans and Louisiana. He said to us, testified, that on Monday, after the hurricane hit landfall, they realized a lot of people couldn't get out of the city and they pleaded with FEMA for buses. Michael Brown told them, we're gonna send you five hundred buses, and if they had gotten them a lot of those people who were... who shocked and broke our hearts and embarrassed us really in the Superdome and Convention Center would have been taken out of the city. The buses don't come Monday night, they don't come Tuesday, the general keeps asking FEMA, but we find the first formal request from FEMA to the Federal Department of Transportation for the buses about 1:45 AM Wednesday morning, they finally start coming Wednesday night, and most of them come Thursday morning. So I said to Michael Brown today, how could this have happened? And he said, Senator, I tried my best, I just couldn't make it happen, there were nights that I went to my hotel room and cried because I couldn't get people to do what I wanted to do. But you know, that's just unacceptable.
HANNITY: Look, like everything else, Senator... I mean, I actually have a whole series of quotes here in front of me... you know, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the day after the hurricane hit, he blamed Bush and the CO2 gases and the not supporting the Kyoto accord. You have Paul Begala said, well the money was spent to fund Iraq. Ted Kennedy said, Bush is the one who poisoned the air and water. Here's what bothers me about this whole thing, the government made terrible mistakes.
HANNITY: But for 35 years, New Orleans knew this was coming. They had a thousand schoolbuses sitting five feet away from them, and the governor and the mayor didn't have enough sense to go put a key in it and get a thousand drivers and help these people out that needed help.
LIEBERMAN: Yeah, there can't be... you know, listen, some people are trying to scapegoat Michael Brown, some people are trying to scapegoat President Bush. The reality is, two things, one is that the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina was a result of a failure of government at all levels, federal, state, and local, to do what was necessary to prepare and respond and rescue, and it goes back, as you say, in our history, this was no shock, I mean, it was predicted for years, there was a mock hurricane exercise a year before Katrina called Hurricane Pam which told every agency, state, federal, and local, that they weren't ready for it, they had to do this and that. They didn't do it. The weekend before, Dr. Mayfield, the weather service hurricane forecaster was telling, not just the inside the government, but the whole world on radio and television, this is the big one, and we didn't get it together. It's a sad story, and it's particularly sad because we created the Department of Homeland Security after 9/11 to make sure we were more ready in a disaster, and it's just a big warning. I think they're taking steps to fix it, and that's what's important.
HANNITY: I want to move on, Senator, if I can. If you're just joining us, Senator Joe Lieberman is with us from Connecticut. I want to get into the issue of these cartoons and the world reaction to the cartoons about the prophet Mohammed. You had the leader of Hizbollah, a terrorist organization, speaking in front of a crowd of about 700,000 people, telling the world that George Bush and Condoleeza Rice should shut up, he went on to say they'll continue to defend the right all over the world, we will uphold the messenger in God not only by our voices but by our blood, he said, which I guess is an advocation of the violence that has ensued, people have died, embassies have burned, and all sorts of violent protesting is taking place. Between that and the election of Hamas, how concerned are you?
LIEBERMAN: I'm real concerned, Sean, and look... you know, looking back, I know you agree with this, a lot of warnings during the decade the '90s of Osama bin Laden and the rise of radical Islamist terrorism. They actually hit us a few times, as we know, at Khobar Towers and U.S.S. Cole and the embassies in Africa. Then 9/11 is the wake-up call, we declare the formal war on terrorism. I think sometimes people in the rest of the world, including particularly Europe, felt that somehow it wasn't them, it was us. But this, if you look at what's happened, with the fanatic who's now in charge of Iran and the election of Hamas and the over... violent overreaction to these cartoons, we are in a war where people have a very different view of the world and of life. But the cartoon was offensive, President Bush said that. Secretary Rice said that.
HANNITY: I think it was. I understand people being angry over it. But you know something, Senator Lieberman, I have in front of me a whole series of cartoons that have appeared in some of the Arab newspapers. You can go to the Jewish Center for Public Affairs, they have a website, JCPA.COM, and they have anti-semitic cartoon after anti-semitic cartoon that...
LIEBERMAN: Yeah, the most grotesque. And so, you want to be consistent about it, if you're offended by a caricature of the prophet Mohammed, you ought to apologize for the terrible caricatures of Jews and Christians that appear, unfortunately, regularly in newspapers, some of which have direct government sponsorship, the newspapers in Islamic countries. But the... it's an offensive cartoon, in a free country, you believe people have a right to be offensive. What they don't have a right to do is respond to that with violence as has happened in all these countries. And these are the moments when, you know, the triumph of evil only happens because good people remain silent. And where are the good people, we want to hear from the good people in the Islamic world.
HANNITY: I agree with you, and Senator, this is why I am very appreciative of the positions you've taken in the war on terror in the last number of years. And I know you've taken a lot of political heat from it from within your party. You've heard of Howard Dean's comments about you, for crying out loud.
HANNITY: I mean he could barely come out and support you. And, you know, Karl Rove said that Democrats have a pre-9/11 worldview, and he said, it doesn't make them unpatriotic, but it makes them wrong.
HANNITY: He believes, profoundly consistently wrong. And I think the latest example of this is, we can kill members of Al Qaeda, but we've got Democrats up in arms over the idea that if Al Qaeda calls into the United States from an outside country, that, boy, we'd better get a court order to listen to them. It's absurd to me.
LIEBERMAN: Yeah, here's where... this may not be a big disagreement... I totally want those programs to go on. I think in America we don't like to give authority without some minimal screen. And you know, it was very interesting at the Judiciary Committee hearings this week, you had a bunch of Republicans, who are I'd say conservative Republicans, like Lindsay Graham and Sam Brownback, saying we've got to figure out how to work on this. Nobody should want to stop this program, nobody should even want to impede it, cause we want to be listening to Al Qaeda-related phone calls, we want to be reading their emails, but I think we want to work with the administration to come up with some kind of promise, not for, almost for the future, that in our country, you know, you need some kind of court approval from a secret court, FISA court, or something else. And I think we can work this one out. This is really an unnecessary debate, and and unnecessary fight and it distracts us from the war on terrorism.
HANNITY: The New York Times this week had a piece, and the headline was "Some Democrats are Sensing Missed Opportunities," "Democrats heading into this year's elections are in a position weaker than they had hoped for, stirring concern that they're letting pass an opportunity to exploit what they have seen as widespread Republican vulnerabilities."
HANNITY: And it goes on, it starts listing some of the Democrats that have become the most outspoken. And we saw, for example, during the Alito hearings we saw Ted Kennedy and Biden and Chuck Schumer. Hillary Clinton is a loud voice for the Democratic party these days, as is John Kerry. We saw, for example, the way the president was treated down at Corretta Scott King's funeral, by Jimmy Carter. Do you fear that the Democratic party has really been co-opted by a pretty hard-left element?
LIEBERMAN: Well this is the great challenge to us. I mean, if Democrats ever want to get back in power, they're gonna have to move back toward the center, and are gonna have to reassure the American people on the baseline question, which is what government, particularly the federal government, is about before anything else, which is security, that Democrats will use the power of our government to protect people's security in a dangerous age. Unless we do that, the public's never gonna listen to us on everything else, including a lot of the stuff on which I think they agree with Democrats, like education, healthcare, et cetera. And you know I heard an interesting talk the other day by a guy named Marshall Wittman, who used to work for John McCain, he's an independent and he now works for the Democratic Leadership Council, a centrist group. And he said his advice to Democrats is remember that there's a 22nd Amendment, and George W. Bush can't run for president again. So stop complaining, and just focusing on this president. Come up with a positive program that'll give the American people something they affirmatively want to vote for, because it's, there's no question, you read the polls, the president's down, congressional Republicans are down. But, we've got to come up with a positive, constructive program, particularly on security, or we're not gonna become a majority party again.
HANNITY: You know something, it's amazing, I say that on this program all the time, Senator Lieberman. No, but you know something, if they would listen to you, you would have a real opportunity to get back into power. But thank god they're not listening to you.
HANNITY: Your voice is not being heard. I don't anticipate it's gonna be heard in the future. And the only hope for you is to just leave the party, and become a good cons... see, I've, I'm not even, I'm re-registering as a conservative. I'm a Reagan conservative. So you can join the conservative movement with me, and we'll start a third party.
LIEBERMAN: America may be ready for a third party, Sean. An independent party.
HANNITY: Last question. If you ever want me to do anything, for you and your re-election, I think we ought to have Conservatives for Lieberman, a big fundraiser in Connecticut, and if I could ever do that, I'd make it the biggest blowout celebration ever.
LIEBERMAN: Thanks, pal. You're a great guy. It would just be fun to be with you. My wife, my daughters, my sons...
HANNITY: I don't know why they like me.
LIEBERMAN: You know, you're... well, you're a straight talker, that's one thing they like.
HANNITY: Alright, Senator.
LIEBERMAN: And you're a good to their... husband and father, so how could they not like you?
HANNITY: You're a great American, Senator.
LIEBERMAN: You too, pal.
HANNITY: Senator Lieberman. "Oh Hannity, you never like Democ..." Yes I do, I like Democrats. There's one good guy.