Retired Gen. Colin Powell is encouraging Fox News host Sean Hannity to give up his obsession about President Barack Obama's former relationships with Bill Ayers and Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

"I find him one of the most divisive figures in -- that I've witnessed in politics today," Hannity told Powell during an interview on Tuesday.

"[T]hat's a term that's being used rather freely," Powell noted. "I don't think he's that divisive an issue. ... What could have been more divisive than, when President Obama was inaugurated, for a number of Republicans, friends of mine, and a number of commentators to say, 'We're going to destroy him. We're going to destroy him'?"

"I wasn't out to destroy him," Hannity insisted. "I was critical about Bill Ayers and Rev. Wright."

"Bill Ayers and Rev. Wright are just passing things," Powell pointed out.

"Twenty years in his church?" Hannity interrupted. "Twenty years? An unrepentant terrorist giving speeches, starting your political career in his house. That didn't impress you at all?"

"At the time, it was a guy who was living in Chicago and happened to have a friend by the name of Bill Ayers," Powell replied. "But I don't see Bill Ayers as having that kind of longstanding terrorist influence on the president."

"I mean, it's ancient history now. Why are we fooling with this?" former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under George Bush added. "Guess what? The American people heard it, they heard all the things that were said about the Rev. Wright issue. Then-Sen. Obama gave a speech on it. And the American people took it in stride and they elected him president."

"Yeah," Hannity sighed. "They didn't listen to me."

Watch this video from Fox News' Hannity, broadcast May 23, 2012.

(h/t: Media Matters)