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Dick Morris on New Clinton Books

Hannity & Colmes

COLMES: Welcome to "Hannity & Colmes." I'm Alan Colmes.

We get right to our top story tonight. Democrats running for president gathered in Manchester, New Hampshire, last night for their second debate of the campaign season. And the clip that has gotten the most attention today is that of Senator Hillary Clinton, departing from her party line, actually giving President Bush some credit for something.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: I am a senator from New York. I have lived with the aftermath of 9/11. And I have seen firsthand the terrible damage that can be inflicted on our country by a small band of terrorists who are intent upon foisting their way of life and using suicide bombers and suicidal people to carry out their agenda. And I believe we are safer than we were; we are not yet safe enough.


COLMES: Joining us now with more, former Clinton adviser Dick Morris. By the way, you can view Dick's latest columns at

Hannity hates when I ask you this question.


COLMES: Can you be objective about Hillary Clinton's performance in the debate last night?

DICK MORRIS, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Yes, sure I can. I said the last debate, I thought she won. She defeated Obama because she was tougher, and she was good on abortion, from the liberal point of view, and her ratings rose in the polls.

This time, I think she did badly. I think she was defensive, brittle, tense for the first 45 minutes. She loosened up later in the debate, but when you listen to that clip, obviously, we're safer than we were before 9/11 because there's been no other 9/11.

COLMES: Well, there have been terror around the world, and I think we can debate whether or not the world is safer. But, you know...

MORRIS: Yes, but there's been no attack. There's been no attack in the United States. Obviously, we're safer.

COLMES: More Al Qaeda problems in Iraq, bigger, broader terrorism.

MORRIS: Yes, but we don't live in Iraq. We live here.

COLMES: We keep hearing they're going to get us any second.

MORRIS: But I think that Hillary's performance shows a real problem, which is the basic problem she faces in winning the Democratic nomination, which is the Democratic Party is way over to the left on Iraq, and Hillary wants to try to do a centrist position. And I thought Edwards really got under her skin.

Now, what Blitzer should have done is say, "Five weeks ago, you said you'd never vote to cut off funding, and you just did." How do you explain that? But, you know, it's CNN, so give them some license.

COLMES: I see. Nice way to poke at the competition like that.

Look, she was asked toward the end of the debate, what would you do first day as president, first 100 days? End the war in Iraq. Can she be any more clear than say, "I will end the war in Iraq"?

MORRIS: Well, that is true. That's what she said. On the other hand, she told the "New York Times" in early February that she considers that consonant with ending the war in Iraq, we have to keep troops for intelligence, logistic training, air support, police the border with Iran, which is 500 miles long, and hunt Al Qaeda through the provinces, a set of missions that have been identified as costing about 75,000 soldiers.

My bet is that Hillary Clinton will not end the war in Iraq. My bet is that she is going to get there and she is going to say, "I'm a woman. I have to show toughness. I have to show firmness. And I can't pull out now."

I've just been reading Robert Dallek's book "Nixon and Kissinger." And you see how they wanted to pull out of Vietnam, but they couldn't. And I'll bet that's what will happen if Hillary's president.

COLMES: Look, you know, here's a woman -- she's 22 points pretty much ahead in the polls. I don't think this debate last night is going to hurt her. Some people disagree with your analysis, think she did very well last night.

MORRIS: It will cost her a few points.

COLMES: Why is she doing so well, if everything you're saying is true? The American public is not stupid. They are favoring her at this point in the Democratic primary.

MORRIS: Well, she has tremendous advantages. Her base is a demographic base. And, you know, people's opinions go up and down of Obama and they go up and down of Edwards, but...

COLMES: She keeps going up.

MORRIS: But women are basically still women, and she has a very strong base of single women.

COLMES: Are you saying that women can't think for themselves, they're going to just vote because she's a woman, women aren't going to vote for somebody on the issues, but simply going to go for the woman vote?

MORRIS: No, no, because married women tend not to vote for her. But single women, who are for the most part poor, and need childcare, and worry about abortion, and worry about educational quality and all of those issues, or Social Security, tend to be overwhelmingly Democrat. And because her base is demographic and everybody else's base is political, she has a lot more tensile strength in her base.

HANNITY: Hey, Dick, by the way, welcome back. Good to see you.

MORRIS: Thank you.

HANNITY: This is my interpretation of the debate last night. It's very simple: No global war on terror. We lose and retreat in Iraq. We're going to raise your taxes, national health care.

MORRIS: Yes, by the way, when we say raise the taxes, we ought to just explain what we mean by that. We don't just mean that you will go from 35 percent to 40 percent in the top bracket. What she is going to do, any of them are going to do, is they will eliminate the $99,000 cap on Social Security taxes.


MORRIS: So if you're self-employed and you make $200,000, you're going to have to pay 12.5 percent between $100,000 and $200,000.

HANNITY: Twice the largest increase...

MORRIS: You're talking about almost a one-third increase in everybody's taxes.

HANNITY: It's amazing. I want to ask you -- your latest column deals with the poll numbers. Just listening to the agenda last night, does that help them in a general election? I know they're trying to outflank each other for the nomination and appeal to the extreme base. But how does that play in the general election?

MORRIS: There was one big problem with the debate last night for Hillary. The abortion word was never mentioned. It dominated the Republican debate, but it wasn't even mentioned last night.

HANNITY: Why is that a problem?

MORRIS: Because that's her base. That's her base issue. The reason she went up in the polls after the last debate I think was because of the partial birth abortion decision. She needs to convince the Democratic electorate that the right to choose is on the line, that Roe v. Wade is going to be repealed, and that she can turn it around. She made a big mistake is not forcing the debate over to abortion.

HANNITY: You exposed last week on this very program this controversy the Clintons have about where the source of their income is coming, InfoUSA. There's been a follow-up to that, that they've had nearly $1 million worth of free jet use from this corporation.

MORRIS: A million dollars, and $3.3 million of personal income to Bill Clinton from a company that makes its living selling companies elderly with Alzheimer's so they can be fleeced by direct marketers.

HANNITY: Slate reports that, on page 93 of one of these new books coming out, the Gerth-Van Natta book, that they literally talk about Hillary and describe a scene where she would listen to recorded audiotape conversations taken by her operatives.

MORRIS: Right.

HANNITY: Now, this goes back to a lot of what you have described as secret police.

MORRIS: The whole secret police, yes. Hillary was in charge of the secret police. Hillary was in charge of the eavesdropping, the damage control operation. Betsy Wright, who was her person, was in charge of that. And the Bimbo Patrol, they called it, but it was more than that.


MORRIS: By the way, we do a disservice when we say "these Clinton books." One of them is a cream puff, Carl Bernstein's book. The other one is a tough, incisive, accurate piece of investigative reporting.

HANNITY: It's interesting you say that.

MORRIS: Jeff Gerth's book, "Her Way."

HANNITY: Well, Gerth's book -- it's interesting. Matt Drudge just put up on his Web site, just up there right now, that editors of the "New York Times" are set to publish a highly critical review of the book. These are two of their best, most well-respected reporters.

MORRIS: Right. And the "Times" just serialized it in their magazine last week.

HANNITY: Well, and what was fascinating about that, we have, on "Hannity's America," on my radio show, right here on this program, shown the inconsistencies and the evolution of Hillary on Iraq, culminating with what you referred to just a few minutes ago. Five weeks ago, she said she wouldn't de-fund the troops.

MORRIS: That's right.

HANNITY: She voted for the war. She bragged about capturing Saddam. They capture that in detail in this book.

MORRIS: I know. I know. It's great. And, by the way, Jeff Gerth, just so people realize who he is, is the one that broke the Whitewater scandal back in the early '80s.

HANNITY: Hardly lacking in credentials.

COLMES: Not exactly fans of the Clintons. And, by the way, this idea of them having a 20-year plan to take over the presidency has been discredited by the very source that they use in the Gerth book, which she said it's not true, didn't happen. They never had that plan.

MORRIS: I was never privy to that conversation, but I do know that very clearly, in 1990, Hillary retained me to poll her running for governor of Arkansas. So, obviously, the idea of her going into public life...


COLMES: She said over the years she flirted with it very briefly and then decided not to run.

MORRIS: That was not a flirtation. It was a poll.

COLMES: Thank you for being with us. That's how you flirt, with polls.

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