Fox News Network
SHOW: FOX HANNITY & CO 9:12 PM EST
October 27, 2004 Wednesday
HEADLINE: How Important are the Missing Explosives?
BYLINE: Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes
GUESTS: Adam Smith, Peter King
HANNITY: Well, guess what? Just six days, less than one week until Americans go to the polls and elect the next president of the United States, John Forbes Kerry.
Congressman, you might disagree with that.
Even though some, like our first guest, say that there was no cache of explosives at the Iraq facility, presidential candidate John Kerry continued to use the story to attack the president today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The missing explosives could likely be in the hands of terrorists and insurgents who are actually attacking our forces now 80 times a day on average.
But now today we've learned even more. What we're seeing is a White House that is dodging and bobbing and weaving in their usual efforts to avoid responsibility, just as they've done every step of the way in our involvement in Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLMES: With less than a week before the election, is George W. Bush dodging this issue? Joining us from Seattle is Washington Congressman Adam Smith and here in our New York studio, Congressman Peter King.
Congressman King, good to see you once again.
REP. PETER KING ®, NEW YORK: Always good to be with you.
CHENEY: Nice to see you.
Look, Dick Cheney has said-he's accused John Kerry of criticizing the troops and hurting morale, of course, as a result. I don't see it that way.
John Kerry has been very clear, criticizing the administration that was supposed to be watching this. The IAEA warned them a number of times about these weapons even before the invasion of Iraq. We knew about this facility.
Was it not the responsibility of this administration to guard those weapons in every step of the way?
KING: They weren't there.
COLMES: Where they were?
KING: First of all, it's the responsibility of the troops on the ground to follow the orders that were given by their military leaders. No president of the United States gets involved in providing precise details as to what buildings to look into.
But far from that, yes, he has criticized the troops. What I find disgraceful...
COLMES: Where did he criticize the troops? Tell me when. Tell me how.
KING: Because it's the troops-How did he do it?
COLMES: When did he criticize the troops?
KING: By saying that the job was not done. It was the troops...
COLMES: He didn't criticize the troops. He's talking about the administration. He never criticized them.
KING: That's the exact nonsense of John Kerry.
COLMES: That's nonsense. Show me the quote. Tell me where he said that.
KING: That's the only time-you're too afraid to face the common sense...
COLMES: No, no. I think you've misrepresented John Kerry. You're absolutely misrepresenting him.
KING: No, I'm not. You are being blind. You are being blind.
COLMES: I'm not being blind. You're misrepresenting him. You're misrepresenting him every step of the way of the way here.
KING: No, I know exactly and precisely. I am following the logical trail of what he's saying. Do you think that George Bush or any president of the United States goes on the ground? No. It's the troops that are supposed to do it.
COLMES: Do you think John Kerry criticize-personally said the troops did a bad job?
KING: John Kerry has already talked about it (ph).
COLMES: It's was never their mission to do this. It wasn't their job to get these weapons.
KING: John Kerry-John Kerry doesn't know what he's talking about. That's the problem. That's what's the disgrace here.
The disgrace is that a U.N. official leaks a letter to "The New York Times" in a time of war. John Kerry is willing to take the word of a U.N. official over the word of the command in chief during war. That is absolutely disgraceful.
COLMES: When did the administration know about this? If the administration said they knew about it a month ago, shouldn't the administration have shared this, let us know about it? Shouldn't they have told the American people?
KING: Of course not. They were doing an investigation. A real commander in chief doesn't look for politics. He follows this out.
There's 400,000 tons of material that's been accounted for. This is material that there's absolutely no evidence at all that the administration knew about it.
HANNITY: Let me...
KING: And John Kerry is willing to side with you and "The New York Times." Absolutely disgraceful in a time of war. He should be ashamed of himself. He's an absolute disgrace.
HANNITY: Let me-let me shed some light here. And this is very important. There is not a single shred of evidence, not a single newspaper article or radio report, not a single television report.
As a matter of fact, Congressman, all the evidence is to the contrary that the weapons weren't there.
And to give you the quote that Alan was asking for, John Kerry said they failed to guard those stockpiles. The evidence now is that the stockpiles were never there.
And this is now where we are, Congressman Smith. Can you give this audience any proof that John Kerry is telling the American people the truth? That those weapons were there?
REP. ADAM SMITH (D), WASHINGTON: Absolutely.
HANNITY: You just heard from-you just head from a private that was there, and we now heard from the colonel of the 3rd Infantry that said that they're not there. Do you have evidence to the contrary?
SMITH: Well, here's what we know. We know that the 380 tons of weapons that we all are talking about existed. At some point they were there. At some point they were clearly in Iraq.
HANNITY: That's not the question.
SMITH: No one is disputing that.
HANNITY: John Kerry is saying that they failed to guard the stockpiles.
SMITH: Let me just finish the thought.
HANNITY: Do you have evidence that they were there when the troops got there?
SMITH: Sean, let me finish the thought. There were 380 tons of weapons there. Now the administration does not know where they are.
Were they at this particular location? They were at some point. Now the administration doesn't has no idea where they were at.
And this ties into John Kerry's overall point on the mission in Iraq, that we did a great job of toppling Saddam Hussein.
HANNITY: Let me go to Congressman King.
SMITH: But the president was not planning, was not ready to win the peace.
HANNITY: It's hard to have an argument, Congressman King, with somebody that won't answer the question, so I'll ask you. The point is John Kerry-hang on a second. Congressman...
SMITH: I answered the question. You can't just ignore me. The weapons existed. They were there.
HANNITY: All right.
SMITH: They are now not accountable. No one knows where they are.
HANNITY: I'm going to Congressman King now. Here's the point, Congressman, is that they are claiming-John Kerry is going around this country telling the American people something that he has no proof of, that they didn't guard the stockpiles. The facts-the facts now are overwhelmingly...
SMITH: That's not what he said.
HANNITY: He said, quote, "They failed to guard those stockpiles."
The evidence now is in that the overwhelming majority of them shows that they weren't there when they got there. They can't guard something they never had control of.
And just like he's lying about Social Security and just like he's lying about the draft, he is now not telling the truth. Why is he getting away with this?
KING: He's getting away with it because the American media is allowing this.
I get along with Congressman Smith. He's a good member of Congress. You can put that on the table. It's John Kerry that my real grievance here is with. Because yes, it's possible that these explosives were there before the war. They are not there now.
SMITH: It's not possible; it's an absolute fact.
KING: But to jump from that to say that the American troops or the American president is responsible for them not being there now...
COLMES: We're going to have to take a break.
KING: ... is a terrible leap to make and is wrong in a time of war.
COLMES: We're going to pick it up. We'll see exactly who is at fault here and where the responsibility is being directed.
Still to come the candidates are trying their best to win over voters in the swing states. Who has a better chance? Dick Morris has some insight.
Later, we'll bring you the latest poll numbers from those states. Could either candidate pull ahead? It's coming up.
HANNITY: As we continue on HANNITY & COLMES, I'm Sean Hannity.
Also coming up, do the poll numbers show a change in direction for the president one week before election day? We have the latest poll numbers from all the battleground states and one big surprise tonight.
But first we continue with Washington Congressman Adam Smith and New York Congressman Peter King.
Pete, this is my take on it. There is no proof that the weapons were there when our troops got there. And here's the problem with John Kerry, when he goes out without any evidence and says these troops failed to guard the stockpiles, that this is a blunder of monumental proportions. And he comes out with a campaign ad.
John Kerry's whole 30-year career is doing what he always does, trashing the military, undermining the military effort and the commander in chief without any proof. Why isn't he held accountable for this is my question?
KING: He's not being held accountable because the media is in collusion with him. I mean, this whole idea of it going from the U.N. to "The New York Times" to CBS to John Kerry, this is to me-this is another axis of evil. It really is.
These are people who are conspiring-I've never seen such an open intervention, shameless intervention by the media the way "The New York Times" is working with John Kerry on this. And him to run with the story, which has so many holes in it. And listen, maybe after a full investigation there'd be something to it. Right now, on the basis of what he has, he has nothing to be attacking the president of the United States.
HANNITY: Congressman Smith, let me ask you this question. You know, for a guy that, you know, says wrong war, wrong place, wrong time we have already-we talked about weapons destroyed. We've already destroyed over 400,000 tons of these weapons.
I find it a little bit ironic that John Kerry is so upset about this, because if John Kerry had his way, not only would the 400,000 still be there, they'd still be in Saddam's hands. Because Saddam would still be in power because all the danger that John Kerry is warning us about wouldn't have been resolved because John Kerry didn't have the resolve to fix it.
SMITH: Well, I have to try again to correct your mischaracterization of this whole event.
John Kerry is not saying that our troops specifically failed in their mission...
HANNITY: Yes, he is.
SMITH: ... to guard this. What there is absolute facts of is that there were these 380 tons of weapons. They were at this site at one point. Now we don't know where they're at. To me that's a little bit of evidence that we're missing these 380 tons of weapons.
HANNITY: How could guard-how...
SMITH: ... John Kerry to go from that...
HANNITY: Hold on, congressman.
HANNITY: How can it cause-if all the indications now are the weapons were gone before the troops got there, how do you hold-how do you hold the president and how do you hold our troops responsible for weapons being missing if they're gone before they got there? Can you explain that?
SMITH: The overall argument in all of this, which I tried to state earlier, is what John Kerry has been saying from the beginning, this administration did not have a plan to secure the peace.
HANNITY: Well, how do you guard weapons if they are gone before you got there? And if John...
SMITH: Can I get more than six words out?
HANNITY: But it's-answer the question.
SMITH: Well, I can't. I can't get more than five words out before you cut me off.
HANNITY: How do you guard weapons...
SMITH: I can't answer anything but yes or no.
HANNITY: ... if they're gone before you got there? How do you guard them?
SMITH: Well, it's a matter-we invaded the whole country not just that one site. Theoretically, if they're gone, they're somewhere in Iraq. And I don't agree that there is conclusive evidence at this point that they were gone.
Alan, I think, did a great job of pointing out, you know, yes, the 101st Airborne was there. It absolutely wasn't their job to look for those weapons.
COLMES: President-excuse me, senator, jumping ahead of myself a couple of weeks here. Senator Kerry said in Dover, New Hampshire, after being warned about the danger of major stockpiles of explosives, this president failed to guard those stockpiles. If he is criticizing the troops, I'd love to see the quote.
KING: How does a president guard weapons? It's the troops on the ground that do that. What he's trying to do...
COLMES: It's the president's job-it's the president's job as commander in chief to make sure that due diligence is done on the ground.
KING: There's no evidence that the weapons were there at the time the troops moved in. They could have been moved to Syria the way Saddam Hussein moved a lot of weapons around.
COLMES: Let me-this administration...
KING: It's wrong, though. You're missing the point.
COLMES: What's wrong? Tell me what I'm missing here.
KING: What's wrong is for John Kerry to make the presumption that because weapons were there before the war that America is responsible for what happened to after the war was over.
COLMES: You know what's wrong? It's wrong to keep mischaracterizing John Kerry.
KING: No, it's not.
COLMES: And telling things that he did not say. That's what's wrong.
KING: Alan, what you're doing-No, you're wrong. Then he has no case. If he's not saying that he knows the weapons were there when the war is over, then he has no case.
COLMES: All right. Let me...
KING: And it's shameless.
COLMES: The administration has done a number of different things. First of all, let me put up what Scott McClellan said on the 25th of October, speaking for the president.
He says, "Now, the president, upon hearing of this, directed the multinational forces and the Iraqi survey group to look into this matter, and that's what they are currently doing."
And then two days later he says, "Charles Duelfer, head of that unit, told CBS News Tuesday that he has not received any orders to go looking for missing explosives and doesn't think he should."
So did they get the orders or not? And why are we getting different stories from the White House?
KING: Sure. First of all, I'm sure they're all looking at it. The White House knows that they're doing this. They are examining it. Why wouldn't they be examining it? I mean, what are they trying to hide? If weapons are out there, we can find them. Obviously, we'd want to find them the way we found the 400,000 tons of weapons.
COLMES: Congressman Smith-you want to blame the media. Congressman King here said the media is the axis of evil?
KING: No. Not the media, the media, U.N. and John Kerry. Absolutely.
COLMES: Evil? John Kerry is evil? This is-they want to blame the messenger.
KING: It's not the message. It's distorting the message and taking an unsubstantiated report to attack the commander in chief.
COLMES: Congressman-Congressman Smith, I'll give you a chance to respond.
SMITH: Well, I'll go on a limb and say that George W. Bush is not evil. I think we can rise the level of debate a little bit above that.
I think John Kerry is making a valid point about the situation in Iraq, postwar. Did a great job of toppling Saddam Hussein. What did we do to prepare for what came next? And the answer time and time again-Paul Bremer has said it; General Sanchez talked about things that he didn't have. The answer is this administration wasn't prepared for that when they should have been.
COLMES: We also know the U.N. inspectors were guarding this before they were kicked out of the country. The weapons are actually-were under the control of the-the IAEA, International Atomic Energy Agency. They were guarding this, are going in there. That's what-we don't know what the time line is. We don't know when those troops-when those munitions went missing.
COLMES: We need to get the answer to that question.
KING: Exactly. And we have to get the answers, and you shouldn't be attacking the commander in chief until you get them.
COLMES: I'm not attacking the commander in chief.
KING: You are.
COLMES: I'm simply suggesting we haven't got the straight story yet.
KING: John Kerry is not attacking George Bush? He said it's his responsibility. You just admitted you don't know where they were.
COLMES: It is his responsibility.
KING: You don't know where they went. You don't know who took them. But John Kerry is blaming George Bush for it.
COLMES: George Bush is the commander in chief.
HANNITY: All right. We've got to run.
COLMES: It is his responsibility.
KING: You're like John Kerry, talking about...
COLMES: No, no. You don't like what I'm saying.
KING: I know, because you are.
HANNITY: All right, all right. Kerry rushes to judgment to undermine the military. There's no evidence that you can't protect weapons that you don't have in your possession. And we know better. Kerry got caught again.
KING: Let me say goodbye to Adam Smith. He's a good guy.
HANNITY: All right. And coming up next, President Bush was out stumping for Democratic votes today. Is that a sign that the Bush campaign has the full momentum?
And later we'll have brand new poll numbers from key swing states. It could mean some bad news for John Kerry. We'll tell you about it.