Fmr Dem/Actor Paul Rodriguez Begs Obama to Side w/ Farmers Over Endangered Fish

As FNC's Sean Hannity devoted his show Hannity on Thursday evening to the plight of California farmers who are suffering unemployment because the federal government is withholding water from their crops in favor of saving endangered fish, Hannity began the show, specially titled "The Valley That Hope Forgot," by interviewing comedian and former Democrat Paul Rodriguez, chairman of the California Latino Water Coalition. Rodriguez, who last year supported Barack Obama but famously turned GOP after Democrats refused to help him and other farmers obtain water for their crops, made a plea for help to President Obama on Hannity's show:

Mr. President, with all due respect, we pray that you will read our letter and look at our dilemma. We don't want you to give us a loan. We didn't do anything wrong. We did everything right. We grew more food than anybody else with less water. And for that, our reward was you cut the water off. Come on, what's up?

After Rodriguez observed that it is a "bad comedy" and a "bad joke" that unemployed California farmers are having to wait in line at food banks to collect food grown in other countries because America's government will not allow them to use the existing water supply to grow crops that could feed much of the nation, Hannity first brought up Rodriguez's past support for Obama:

SEAN HANNITY: Let me ask you this. There's a political side to this, Paul. And, by the way, we won't hold it against Paul, but you supported Barack Obama.

PAUL RODRIGUEZ, LAUGHING: You had to bring that up!

Rodriguez soon informed FNC viewers that a letter had been written for President Obama including the signatures of every mayor in the San Joaquin Valley:

We have, Sean, right behind you we have a letter that we wrote to the current administration saying we realize you came in at a time when you didn't have it all. You know, we understand you came in handicapped. We're giving you the benefit of the doubt. I still have respect for the office of the President. But behind me is a signed by every single mayor of every community here in the San Joaquin Valley. I think that should get some kind of attention.

After Hannity recounted Obama's appointment of Cass Sunstein, who is "such an environmental extremist that he wants to ban hunting and he says that animals ought to have human representation in court," Rodriguez acknowledged the blatant absurdity: "You know, you couldn't write this, right? You can't write this."

As the segment ended, Hannity again brought up the entertainer's  past support for Obama and invited him to speak to Obama through the show:

HANNITY: You voted for Barack Obama. Maybe there's-

RODRIGUEZ, LAUGHING: You're not going to let this go away!

HANNITY: I want you to look into the camera right there, and you talk to the President you voted for, the guy that's promised hope and change. What do you say to him?

RODRIGUEZ: Mr. President, with all due respect, we pray that you will read our letter and look at our dilemma. We don't want you to give us a loan. We didn't do anything wrong. We did everything right. We grew more food than anybody else with less water. And for that, our reward was you cut the water off. Come on, what's up?

Below is a complete transcript of the segment from the Thursday, September 17, Hannity show on FNC, specially titled, "The Valley That Hope Forgot":

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And welcome to this special edition of Hannity. We are live in the Central Valley in California. This is some of the most fertile farmland in the entire country and helps sustain the entire country in terms of food, and what has become ground zero in a battle between environmentalists and whether or not the farmers in the Central Valley here have water. Ladies and gentlemen, this has become a dust bowl. And we came here tonight with a message for Washington and President Barack Obama, please, for the sake of the farmers where unemployment is now near 40 percent, please turn this water on now.

BARACK OBAMA: Hope is in the future. We are hungry for change. We will transform this country. We are ready to believe again.

HANNITY: All of those promises, all of that hope. And, yet, in the San Joaquin Valley of California, hope doesn't spring eternal. This land was once considered the bread basket of America. Roughly 12 percent of our nation's agricultural output came from this valley between Bakersfield and Sacramento. But everything has now changed. Today, their water is gone, shut off by the government. And the same people whose cheers of hope and change echoed from this valley all the way to Washington have been abandoned in favor of a fish barely large enough to fit into the palm of your hand.

The scene here today is more reminiscent of the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Farms that once fed the nation are barren. The parched and cracked earth. It's right out of the Grapes of Wrath. Thousands have lost their jobs They line up each and every day at unemployment offices for the chance merely to put food on their table. With all the money being spent on a failed stimulus, health care reform and bailing out Wall Street banks, the solution here is relatively simple -- turn the water back on.

Tonight, we tell you the story of how a government has failed its own people, how radical environmentalists threaten the American dream, and how a liberal agenda that promised so much has left so many great Americans behind. Welcome to "The Valley That Hope Forgot."

And, ladies and gentlemen, you are looking live at the thousands of people who have shown up here in the Central Valley of California. They want their farms back, they want their jobs back, and they want the water turned back on.

Now, tonight, you're going to hear from some of the politicians who are fighting on behalf of the citizens in this region. We will also talk to California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. And we'll even hear from an environmentalist who is actually defending the government's decision that are responsible for drying up this once fertile area. But first. [RALLY MEMBERS BOO]

First, we're joined by two people who have gone to great lengths to shine the light on this crisis. Comedian, activist, Paul Rodriguez. Radio talk show host from KMJ, from KERN, Inga Barks. Thanks for being here.

PAUL RODRIGUEZ, CALIFORNIA LATINO WATER COALITION: Thank you, Sean.

HANNITY: Thanks for being here. They told me they're seven miles back they can't even get, folks. Well, first of all, you, Paul, you've been in this now, in this fight, this battle that has been going on for far too long. There has been a natural drought. But they have all this water that they are sending to the ocean rather than to the farms because of this little delta smelt. Can you explain what's going on?

RODRIGUEZ: Sean, I'm glad you're here because less than half a mile away from us right here there's a canal that's full to the brim of water. Come here and you see that. Right next to it you see fields that are dry that should be fertile right now. You know, I know in my heart that when the American farmer realize in Iowa and the other parts of America, they realize that we need help, they'll come to our aid simply because whenever our enemies get into trouble, if North Korea right now were to have an earthquake, I know that the first plane would be an American plane with aid there if they would allow us to land, right?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

If we would have that kind of generosity towards our enemies, what would we do for ourselves?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

HANNITY: And, by the way, I think, wait, and I think, you are the farmers that have sustained the entire country for decades. We have generations of farmers here, Inga. And they're losing their farms. We have hundreds and hundreds of thousands of acres. We literally have -- I met people earlier that now are on food lines because their farms have been shut down.

INGA BARKS, TALK RADIO HOST: No, that, to me, is the part that is the most immoral thing about all of this. We really are in the bread basket of the world. We feed the world. Our food goes to Third World countries and helps people. We are their main staples, we feed everybody here. And yet we have our own standing in food lines?

HANNITY: Yeah.

BARKS: And the food is coming in crates that say "Products of China"?

HANNITY: Yes.

BARKS: I mean.

(BOOS)

BARKS: It's stunning. It's stunning.

RODRIGUEZ: It's a bad comedy. It's a bad joke. You know, there is no need for this. We're not asking the government for a rebate. We're not asking for a handout. We don't want to turn in our trucks, because our old trucks work just fine.

HANNITY: Yeah.

RODRIGUEZ: We want to farm.

BARKS: That's right.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

HANNITY: Let me ask you this. There's a political side to this, Paul. And by the way, we won't hold it against Paul, but you supported Barack Obama.


RODRIGUEZ: You had to bring that up!

(LAUGHTER)

HANNITY: All right, but listen, I would like to put aside politics because if Barack Obama allows -- tells his environmental extremists in his administration to stand down and turn the water on, he'll get the first credit from me, okay? So-

RODRIGUEZ: Likewise.

HANNITY: -have you reached out to the President and-

RODRIGUEZ: We have, Sean, right behind you we have a letter that we wrote to the current administration saying we realize you came in at a time when you didn't have it all. You know, we understand you came in handicapped. We're giving you the benefit of the doubt. I still have respect for the office of the President. But behind me is a signed by every single mayor of every community here in the San Joaquin Valley. I think that should get some kind of attention.

HANNITY: But wait a minute, but he just appointed this guy that -- Sunstein that is such an environmental extremist that he wants to ban hunting and he says that animals ought to have human representation in court.

(BOOS)

RODRIGUEZ: You know, you couldn't write this, right? You can't write this.

BARKS: No, you can't. You can't.

RODRIGUEZ: This is why I know that people who look more into the issue -- [they think] they are making that up. Ladies and gentlemen, we're not making this up. I'm so glad you're here because the very person -- you know, Senator Feinstein came here and had David Hayes, the undersecretary of-

BARKS: Interior.

RODRIGUEZ: -of the Interior.

HANNITY: The Interior Secretary Salazar came out here.

BARKS: Salazar came.

RODRIGUEZ: Right, came on here and said.

HANNITY: Nothing happened.

RODRIGUEZ: Nothing happened. Look at our fields.

BARKS: And let me add, Sean, I'm sorry, President Obama never visited here when he was running, and he never visited here since. He knows what's happening here. He sends his people out. He makes his promises.

HANNITY: The big issue here is-

BARKS: Would he not have gone to Katrina the day after?

HANNITY: But this really comes down to -- and I don't know if we've explained this well enough -- but in the course of this program we're going to get into the specifics of this. Literally, the environmentalists and the Interior Department, they have all made a decision that, for example, the water can be pumped here.

BARKS: Yes.

RODRIGUEZ: Through here.

HANNITY: To defend this little two inch delta smelt fish. They have decided that the farmers come second and the delta smelt comes first.

RODRIGUEZ: I, in my heart, I can't find another reason, in my heart, I believe that maybe the President hasn't seen this. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt.

HANNITY: How long does he get the benefit of the doubt?

RODRIGUEZ: We don't have much time. But I still hold hope that at least he would look at a document. You know? I mean, but if that doesn't happen, we have no other choice but to scream loud.

HANNITY: But we've got literally, we've got, we have the evidence of farmers now that have been providing food in some cases for generations, passed on from generation to generation, they're waiting for food. How much longer do we have to wait before they turn the water on?

BARKS: In fact, ironically, environmentalists who hate development and growth, guess what farmers do with their land when they can't farm on it anymore. They sell it to people to build houses on. And it's, this is what we're doing to these people, we're putting them out of business, and the only way they can make money is selling their land.

RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, this is where you want to live, with no water. I can't wait to buy a house.

(LAUGHTER)

This is the San Joaquin Valley. Without a doubt, the most fertile, this is Canaan. This is the land of Canaan. This is the most fertile valley on the planet. This valley would feed the world.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

RODRIGUEZ: All we want is water.

HANNITY: I have some numbers. You guys grow more, if you look at the actual-

RODRIGUEZ: We're the capital of everything. The capital of cantaloupes is here.

HANNITY: Almonds, cantaloupes, artichokes, olives.

RODRIGUEZ: Keep talking.

HANNITY: Nectarines, grapes, strawberries.

BARKS: Lettuce.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

RODRIGUEZ: Now the only thing that grows here is despair. We got a good crop of that.

HANNITY: All right, I want you to call -- you voted for Barack Obama. Maybe there's-

RODRIGUEZ: You're not going to let this go away!

(LAUGHTER)

HANNITY: I want you to look into the camera right there. And you talk to the President you voted for, the guy that's promised hope and change. What do you say to him?

RODRIGUEZ: Mr. President, with all due respect, we pray that you will read our letter and look at our dilemma. We don't want you to give us a loan. We didn't do anything wrong. We did everything right. We grew more food than anybody else with less water. And for that, our reward was you cut the water off. Come on, what's up?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

BARKS: Thank you, Sean. Thank you for doing this.