A self-described liberal talk-show host known for his disdain of the Bush administration called for the death penalty for the president and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for “war crimes,” according to an audiotape.

Mike Webb, who has a late-night show on KIRO radio in Seattle, denied a report last week by Talon News, but the Internet site said yesterday it has a tape that proves the host make the statements on the air.

The prison abuse in Iraq “is a war crime, committed by the president of the United States,” Webb declared on his show. “And do you know what the punishment for that is? Death!”

Webb, who often mentions on the air his homosexuality, compared the president with death row convicts in Texas, Talon News said.

“So, I say if this man has committed a war crime, and they can prove it, let’s let George Bush get the final justice that he has meted out as governor of Texas, laughing at people who have been sent to the death chamber, let him face the death penalty for the war crime he has committed,” Webb contended.

Webb insisted administering the death penalty to the president is “constitutional,” Talon News said, and included other administration leaders who “should get the death penalty,” including Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney, because they are all “war criminals.”

The host said the Geneva Conventions back his beliefs.

“If this is proven to be true, that he knew what was going on [at Abu Ghraib prison], it’s a violation of the Geneva Conventions,” Webb stated. “When you commit a war crime, which is punishable by death.”

Webb then asked: “Should George Bush get the death penalty? I say yes.”

Talon said many listeners to Webb’s show have inquired about how to report his comments to federal authorities.

KIRO, one of Seattle’s leading stations, is owned by Entercom Communications.

In a previous story, prior to acquisition of the audiotape, Talon said Webb denied the news service’s claims, decrying “lies told by right wing websites.”

Webb admitted, however, he received many “e-mails and phone calls from very angry listeners” who claimed he was “calling for the death of the president.”

He told Talon News last week these listeners simply misunderstood what he said and it is “absolutely not true” that he called for Bush to be put to death.

In a letter to the editor regarding the Talon News story, Webb said he “would never call for the death of anyone, let alone the president.”

“I simply reviewed the War Crimes Act of ’96 in conjunction with Sy Hersh’s New Yorker piece and the Newsweek expose of a memo warning Bush in 2002 about adhering to the Geneva Conventions.”

Talon said, in its story last week it did not accuse Webb of making death threat statements but reported he was accused of that by one of his listeners.

Webb said he has been bombarded by “every nutcase and his grandmother” since the Talon News story ran.

“I stand by my words: No death threat, just a sensible review of the facts surrounding culpability during wartime,” Webb contended.

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