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CNN Larry King Live - Transcript

Location: Unknown



KING: We're discussing ad campaigns in Campaign 2006.

Joining us from Columbus, Ohio, is Senator Mike DeWine, Republican of Ohio. As the incumbent, his opponent is Democratic Representative Sherrod Brown. We invited Congressman Brown to appear, but he has a scheduling conflict. Paul Begala and Michelle Laxalt remain.

Senator, you and your opponent have both been airing some tough ads. Let's watch an example here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 1993. The World Trade Center is bombed. Months later Congressman Brown votes to cut intelligence funding.

1996. Al Qaeda kills 19 U.S. servicemen. Brown votes again to slash intelligence spending.

1998. Terrorists strike U.S. embassies. Brown votes against the intelligence budget.

After 9/11 a bipartisan Congress gives law enforcement tools to fight terrorism, but Congressman Brown votes no.

The record is clear.

SEN. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): I am Mike DeWine and I approve this message.


DEWINE: No questions, Mr. Chairman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like your style.

DEWINE: Yes, sir.


KING: How do you react, Senator, to your opponent's ad?

DEWINE: Well, Larry, I couldn't see it, but I will tell you...

KING: I guess you know it, though.

DEWINE: Look, the basic facts are in this campaign -- and you saw the ad that we ran -- Sherrod Brown has never denied those facts. The facts are that here's a man who voted during 1990s ten different times to cut intelligence spending. He was in the minority of his own party most of those times.

Then after September 11th, when we all came together, Democrats and Republicans alike, to pass the Patriot Act -- it passed, Larry, 90-1 in the Senate. Ted Kennedy voted for it, John Kerry voted for it. But when it got to the House, Sherrod Brown, he votes no. And he's one of 66 members.

KING: Is that...

DEWINE: When it comes up, he votes no again. Those are basic facts that I think shows he's got a pre-9/11 mentality and this is an important issue. National security is an important issue.

KING: Senator, Congressman Brown issued this statement for us.

"In order to keep money from a national Republican party flowing to his sinking campaign, Senator DeWine agreed to abandon the issues and legitimate personal false attacks by Sherrod Brown" -- I can't read this word -- "It's clear that he's doing everything he can to avoid talking about how his record has cost middle class families in Ohio."

How tough is this race for you, Senator?

DEWINE: It's a tough race, but you know, when Sherrod Brown talks about running from a record, he's the one that's running from his record, Larry.

Here's a man in 14 years in the United States House of Representatives, who's passed four bills. Four bills: one to rename a federal building and the other three to help the country of Taiwan go to a conference in Switzerland.

And that compares, frankly, fundamentally different to my record. First ad I ran, Larry, in this campaign was about a problem that Chris Dodd and I found out about when we found that 80 percent of the new drugs that come on the market are never tested for kids. We haves forced the drug companies to test these drugs and now over 120 new drugs have been tested for kids.

KING: Do you...

DEWINE: The second ad I ran had to do with support that Chris Dodd and I got, again, working together, Democrat and Republican, for our fire departments. It's brought $100 million back to the state of Ohio. So I've got a long record, Larry, of working with Democrats and Republicans. Sherrod Brown, on the other hand, has been called partisan and on the fringe, on the fringe by the "National Journal".

KING: Michelle, how does that race look to you?

LAXALT: Well, I agree with Senator DeWine on this one. I think that the difference between the other ads and this one is that you have two candidates, both of whom have records that can be calculated and can be checked.

In the case of Congressman Brown, his voting record is very, very clear and he's been in Congress and, therefore, the facts are not in question, as they say. Whereas I think that the ad that the Congressman ran against Senator DeWine is one of the oldest, warmed over, empty chair ads, very unoriginal, whoever paid for that should get a refund because it's been run many times before.

KING: Paul Begala, what do you think?

BEGALA: Well, my test on these things is the Jean Friday (ph) test, she's my mother-in-law in Austin. And I think, OK, what would Mom Friday think? And I think if she those ads we showed before in the Harold Ford race, which were personal and nasty, I think she would kind of recall from that.

But I think both of these ads, I think Mom Friday would think, well, those are important issues. Whether someone's voting for or against intelligence funding is a legitimate issue. And whether someone shows up in Intelligent Committee hearings, those are legitimate issues. They have a much higher ground that both Sherrod Brown and Senator DeWine are fighting over in Ohio. I suspect their voters are probably a little more proud of them than some of the others in the other states we've seen.

KING: Nicely said.

Good luck, Senator. We'll be talking to you, and that's a week from Tuesday.

DEWINE: Thank you, Larry. Thank you very much. KING: Senator Mike DeWine, a Republican incumbent of Ohio.

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