FNC Shows Obama's Iran Flip-Flop, Colmes 'Might' Talk to Hitler

Wednesday's Hannity and Colmes showed viewers clips of Barack Obama making contradictory statements from Sunday and Tuesday about whether Iran was a serious threat, with the Illinois Senator on Sunday saying "they don't pose a serious threat to us," but on Tuesday saying "Iran is a grave threat." Pollster Frank Luntz also sparred with FNC's liberal co-host Alan Colmes over whether it would be wise to meet with dictators like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Adolf Hitler, and got Colmes to admit that "I might" meet with Hitler. Luntz: "Would you talk to Hitler?" Colmes: "It would depend upon the circumstances. ... I might." (Transcript follows)

The segment began with a clip of Democratic Governor and Obama supporter Bill Richardson talking about Obama's desire to "talk to the Iranian leaderhip," and the clip of Obama talking about Iran were soon played, as they had been played on the previous night's show:

BARACK OBAMA CLIP #1, DATED MAY 18: Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us.

OBAMA CLIP #2, DATED MAY 18: Iran, they spend 1/100th of what we spend on the military. I mean, if Iran ever tried to pose a serious threat to us, they wouldn't stand a chance.

OBAMA CLIP #3, DATED MAY 20: Iran is a grave threat. It has an illicit nuclear program. It supports terrorism across the regions and militias in Iraq. It threatens Israel's existence. It denies the Holocaust.

GOP pollster Frank Luntz appeared as a guest and reported that he had found that "90 percent of Americans actually see Iran as a threat," and contended that "what Obama just said is absolutely opposed to what the vast majority of Americans -- Republicans and Democrats alike -- would support."

As he and Colmes argued over the wisdom of Obama talking to Ahmadinejad, Luntz asked: "Would you have talked to Adolf Hitler?"

Colmes resisted answering the question directly as he focused on denying that Hitler and Ahmadinejad are comparable. Colmes: "I don't buy the Hitler analogy. ... Iran does not have expansionist powers. Iran hasn't taken over Czechoslovakia. Iran hasn't taken over other countries."

Luntz later returned to the subject, and got Colmes to admit that he "might" be willing to meet with Hitler:

LUNTZ: Yeah, but Alan, it sounds to me like you'd talk to Hitler.

COLMES: I didn't say that, Frank.

LUNTZ: Then deny it. Then say you wouldn't.

COLMES: Hitler had expansionist ideas. Hitler was given Czechoslovakia. Iran has not gone into other countries. Iran has not shown a desire to expand.

HANNITY: Iran's threatening to wipe Israel off the map.

COLMES: And I don't buy that every tin pot dictator gets to be Hitler.

LUNTZ: Alan, yes or no. Alan, yes or no. Would you talk to Hitler?

COLMES: It would depend upon the circumstances.

LUNTZ: So you might? So you might?

COLMES: I might. I'm not there. I can't answer that. I'm not in that situation.

Below is a complete transcript of the segment from the Wednesday, May 22 Hannity and Colmes, with critical portions in bold:

GOVERNOR BILL RICHARDSON (D-NM), FROM THE MAY 21 FOX AND FRIENDS: Throughout my career, I've talked to a lot of bad guys. You know, I have talked to Castro. I think you don't talk to Ahmadinejad, you talk to some of the moderate clerics. But, you know, I'm going to be in Puerto Rico and-

STEVE DOOCY, FOX AND FRIENDS: But, Governor, doesn't, Governor, doesn't Senator Obama want to talk to Ahmadinejad?

RICHARDSON: He wants to talk to the Iranian leadership, he wants to talk to North Korea, but he wants diplomatic preparation before doing that.

ALAN COLMES: That was New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson sounding like he might be distancing himself from Barack Obama's recent comments on Iran and Cuba, and critics are calling Obama's plan to meet with these rogue world leaders, they're calling it appeasement politics. But with all this back and forth, has the Illinois Senator lost track of his position? Well, I'll explain in a moment, but take a listen.

BARACK OBAMA CLIP #1, DATED MAY 18: Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us.

OBAMA CLIP #2, DATED MAY 18: Iran, they spend 1/100th of what we spend on the military. I mean, if Iran ever tried to pose a serious threat to us, they wouldn't stand a chance.

OBAMA CLIP #2, DATED MAY 20: Iran is a grave threat. It has an illicit nuclear program. It supports terrorism across the regions and militias in Iraq. It threatens Israel's existence. It denies the Holocaust.

COLMES: With us now, pollster Frank Luntz. By the way, the next sentence was Barack Obama saying, "It's because of the Bush and McCain policy of fighting an endless war in Iraq and refusing to pursue direct diplomacy with Iran. They're the ones who have not dealt with Iran wisely." I don't see a contradiction there. As Kirsten Powers pointed out last night, in the first statement, he was comparing the threat of Iran to what had been the Soviet Union.

FRANK LUNTZ: Well, let's take a look at both statements. First, Bill Richardson and then Barack Obama. The public wants diplomacy, and that's where Obama's in the right place, that they want you to talk first and negotiate before shooting. But when I say talk, they want you to try to use the international community to reach out more than this administration has done, to try to find some sort of common ground. And that word "diplomacy" is very important, because the American people don't think that they've had that much with this administration. However, what Obama just said about Iran not being a threat, we finished a survey for the Sega Foundation not long ago. And we found that 90 percent of Americans actually see that Iran is a threat. And among those, the vast majority believe that that gentleman that you're watching right now on the screen would absolutely use nuclear weapons at least against Israel, our most important ally. And so what Obama just said is absolutely opposed to what the vast majority of Americans -- Republicans and Democrats alike -- would support.

COLMES: The problem is, the man we just saw on the screen, Ahmadinejad, isn't the guy who makes those decisions. It's the ayatollahs. It's Khamenei. And Ahmadinejad is a figurehead there.

LUNTZ: Alan, you don't know that. This man was duly elected. We haven't complained about, even Carter didn't complain about those elections. This person was chosen. He is the public face of Iran. He has made all those statements, not just against Israel, but also against the United States. He's talked about the death of the United States and Israel at the same time. Alan, don't dismiss it.

COLMES: I'm not.

LUNTZ: I'm telling you. Obama is correct when it comes to the word "diplomacy," but he is not correct in dealing with that man on the screen. [Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] He is frightening. He is dangerous, and if he can get nuclear weapons, he's going to do damage.

COLMES: It is the clerics who make the decisions. And by the way, let me show you what James Baker said on this show just a little over a year ago.

JAMES BAKER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: My view is that you don't just talk to your friends, you talk to your enemies as well, and the diplomacy involves talking to your enemies. You don't reward your enemies-

COLMES: Right.

BAKER: -necessarily, by talking to them, if you're tough and you know what you're doing. You don't appease them. Talking to an enemy is not, in my view, appeasement. I made 15 trips to Syria in 1990 and 1991 at a time when Syria was on the list of countries that were state sponsors of terrorism. On the 16th trip, guess what? Lo and behold, Syria changed 25 years of policy.

COLMES: Was he wrong?

LUNTZ: He was wrong. Syria changed that policy right back against Israel. They're funding Hezbollah. They're responsible for the war that took place in Israel. Absolutely. The problem is talk is cheap.

SEAN HANNITY: Hey, Frank-

LUNTZ: And I'd ask you one other question, Alan. Would you have talked to Adolf Hitler? Yes or no?

COLMES: I don't buy the Hitler analogy.

LUNTZ: Would you have talked, just answer the question.

COLMES: Iran does not have expansionist powers. Iran hasn't taken over Czechoslovakia. Iran hasn't taken over other countries.

LUNTZ: Alan, just answer the question.

COLMES: I just did.

HANNITY: Hey, Frank, this is important, because he played James Baker. Remember, Reagan didn't speak to Gorbachev until he instituted, unilaterally, a military build-up, a pursuit of strategic defense, the deployment of Pershing II missiles in Europe, prior to sitting down with, with Gorbachev. And I didn't hear Jim Baker say without preconditions. The Obama doctrine was, is about preconditions. And this is where the contradiction is, and he sounds a lot like John Kerry. And I want you to analyze this. He said, "Iran, Cuba are tiny. They don't pose a serious threat." He said that Sunday. The next day he said, quote, "Iran is a grave threat." I'd put that together and make an ad out of it. It sounds like he's backing off, doesn't it?

LUNTZ: Well, the American people in this case, you're correct that they're more focused in general on these flip-flops, on candidates that would say and do anything to get elected. We don't even understand where they stand, because they've taken both sides of every issue. On this case, hearing the words "Iran is not a threat," the public would say absolutely not, it is a threat.

HANNITY: If you ran the ad, though, that, quote, "Iran, they don't pose a serious threat," and you put the date on Sunday. And then Iran is a grave threat on Tuesday. Don't you think that would be an effective ad?

LUNTZ: But I would take it one step further. I would take the exact words and phrases of Ahmadinejad-

HANNITY: Yeah, that's true.

LUNTZ: -because there's some powerful ones. I've tested this stuff, Sean.

HANNITY: Yes.

LUNTZ: And this man frightens the United States because his words, you could replace Hitler with those words.

HANNITY: Absolutely.

LUNTZ: And I use that deliberately.

HANNITY: But let me tell you, if he used the term that Israel is a "stinking corpse" that ought to be "annihilated," "wiped off the face of the earth," the denial of the Holocaust, all of those, you know, interspersed with his very naive and irresponsible comments, I think, could be an effective ad that shows that he doesn't have a clue on foreign policy, right?

LUNTZ: Here's the challenge for the Republicans, is that foreign policy has been less important over the past few months as Americans focus on the economy. And I'm surprised that Barack Obama seems to want to make foreign policy an issue, because that's where he is weakest. And you heard from right here, his language is very problematic for him on this very issue.

COLMES: It helps him because it's the opposite of Bush's foreign policy, which is not sitting well with the American public.

LUNTZ: Yeah, but Alan, it sounds to me like you'd talk to Hitler.

COLMES: I didn't say that, Frank.

LUNTZ: Then deny it. Then say you wouldn't.

COLMES: Hitler had expansionist ideas. Hitler was given Czechoslovakia. Iran has not gone into other countries. Iran has not shown a desire to expand.

HANNITY: Iran's threatening to wipe Israel off the map.

COLMES: And I don't buy that every tin pot dictator gets to be Hitler.

LUNTZ: Alan, yes or no. Alan, yes or no. Would you talk to Hitler?

COLMES: It would depend upon the circumstances.

LUNTZ: So you might? So you might?

COLMES: I might. I'm not there. I can't answer that. I'm not in that situation.

HANNITY: I wouldn't. We should have learned from history.

COLMES: But I don't compare Iran, which has no expansionist powers, to what Hitler was doing.

LUNTZ: You guys need to go to a commercial. When you come back out, answer the question. Would you or wouldn't you?

COLMES: When you want to host this show, Frank, I'll be happy to answer your questions.