February 3, 2004 Tuesday
HEADLINE: Interviews with Bill Bennett, Senator John Kerry
BYLINE: Alan Colmes, Sean Hannity
COLMES: We are being joined now by Senator John Kerry.
It's Alan Colmes, Senator. Thank you for being with us on this special edition of HANNITY & COLMES.
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hello, Alan.
COLMES: Congratulations on a great night tonight.
KERRY: Thank you very much.
COLMES: We're just talking about this North-South issue and...
KERRY: I heard you.
COLMES: ... how the Democrats proceed. And you know, all these whispers about a possible Kerry/Edwards ticket-something you've given some thought to?
KERRY: No. It's inappropriate for me to do anything except keep fighting for the nomination, and I'm doing that here in the state of Washington tonight, and I'll be heading back to the East Coast tonight and then heading to Maine and Virginia and Michigan and other states.
COLMES: Do you have any plans to reach out to people like Howard Dean or General Clark and maybe urge them to kind of step aside, unite the party at this point?
KERRY: No. No, that's not appropriate for me, either. They deserve all the latitude that they want, whatever decisions they want about their own campaigns. I'm campaigning and worrying about my own campaign and reaching out to voters across the country.
COLMES: You know that Republicans use the "L" a lot, as if the word "liberal" is something to be run away from. How do you plan to deal with it?
KERRY: Straight on. I don't care what the-you know, the country doesn't want labels. They don't want silly politics. They want the truth and they want common sense and mainstream American values. Look, if balancing the budget is considered liberal, terrific. If being fiscally responsible and putting people to work and doing a better job of making American safe in the world-you give it any label you want. I call it American, and I call it important to the security of our country.
So I want to talk about the real issues. You know, Americans are sick and tired of the slogans and of the cheap politics. What they want is somebody who's going to deliver health care. What they want is somebody who is going to put people back to work. What they want is somebody who can build our respect and influence around the planet and actually make us safer in the world. What they want is somebody who fixes our schools and doesn't walk away from children and promises about leaving no children behind.
They're going to try to label everything because they don't want to talk about their own record, which, frankly, is miserable on all of those subjects.
HANNITY: Hey, Senator...
KERRY: And I look forward to a great debate in this country.
HANNITY: Senator, I look forward to the debate, as well. Sean Hannity here, as your good-your favorite...
KERRY: Hey, Sean. How are you?
HANNITY: ... conservative on all of TV. Good to see you. By the way, congratulations. A very big night for you...
KERRY: Thank you very much.
HANNITY: ... and your campaign. And I know you've worked very hard. And I bet you've got to be tired. It's a pretty grueling schedule you've been keeping lately.
KERRY: I am. I'll acknowledge it.
HANNITY: Well, thanks for making time for us. We appreciate it. Let me-let me just ask you this because I think you're right, I think this campaign is going to come down to very different competing visions. I've listened to a lot of your speeches. I've had the opportunity to interview you a number of times. And your positions are very different than the president's. What are you going to say to people that say, All right, here's a guy from Massachusetts. He has nearly an identical voting record with Ted Kennedy. He's a Massachusetts liberal. You know that's going to come up in the campaign. Ho ware you going to respond to that?
KERRY: Well, you have to look at the things, the votes that really matter, and you look at things where people sort of have a sense of priority. I have differed with Senator Kennedy on some things. I'm very proud of his support and involvement in this campaign. He's a good friend. I think he's a great legislator and a great champion of people's interests in America. But we have differed. I voted for Welfare reform, for instance. We chose different routes on that. We've chosen different routes on other things.
What's important is I want to balance our budget and I want to be fiscally responsible, and we Democrats have done that.
KERRY: We did that in 1993 with Bill Clinton. The Republicans talk about it, but they are driving up the biggest deficits in modern American history again.
KERRY: And I don't think there's anything conservative about this administration on deficits, on trampling on civil liberties, on crossing the line of division between church and state. I think Americans want an administration that's prepared to advance...
KERRY: ... education, health care and other issues in the country. And we're going to have a great debate about how we do that.
HANNITY: We're going to-we're going to have a very big debate, and there are competing visions, and I think there's very great distinctions that'll all come out in the campaign. I want to ask you-you know, I remember back in 1992, I think almost single-handedly, because of your war record, you really helped Bill Clinton on the issue of Vietnam. The issue about the president's National Guard service has come up quite a bit.
HANNITY: Do you think the comments that have been made by some in your party are fair?
KERRY: Well, I don't know the facts on it. What I've always said is-and I defended Bill Clinton's position, and I would defend the president's choice with respect to going into the Guard. I've never made any judgments about any choice somebody made about avoiding the draft, about going to Canada, going to jail, being a conscientious objector, going into the National Guard. Those are choices people make.
But there is a question that's been raised about whether-about what his service was. And I don't know the answers to those questions.
KERRY: I haven't raised them. I'm not. But I don't know the facts about that.
COLMES: Senator, we appreciate your time tonight.
HANNITY: Thanks, Senator.
COLMES: We hope to have you on soon...
KERRY: Thank you.
COLMES: ... as we watch the campaign evolve. Thank you so much for being with us tonight.
KERRY: Thank you very much.
COLMES: We will come right back. Dr. Bill Bennett once again. Don Fall (ph), a former head of the DNC, and more to come on this special edition of HANNITY & COLMES.
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