NBC News Transcripts
SHOW: NBC News Special Report 3:00 AM EST NBC
November 3, 2004 Wednesday
HEADLINE: Commentary and analysis following acceptance speech by President Bush
ANCHORS: TOM BROKAW
REPORTERS: TIM RUSSERT
TOM BROKAW, anchor:
President George W. Bush as he prepares to begin a second term as president of the United States, doing what candidates always do in these circumstances: thanking his running mate, his family and his friends, and then speaking directly, as he described it, to every person who voted for my opponent, 'I want to earn your trust. A new term means a new opportunity for America.' Very mindful of the fact that this is his opportunity to set his place in history. He talked at the beginning about the outdated tax codes, Social Security, education, valleys, family and faith, and also about continuing the war in Iraq and the war on terror.
Tim Russert is here with me.
TIM RUSSERT reporting:
Tom, I thought Vice President Cheney used a very interesting word in introducing the president, he said "consequential presidency." George W. Bush believes that his presidency is consequential and potentially historic if he can bring democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan-two challenges that are in their-in their fledgling stages, we should say-but also, reform the tax code and reform Social Security, reform Social Security in a way that is going to set off a seismic debate in this country...
RUSSERT: ...about that program.
BROKAW: The whole entitlements program beginning with Social Security and what's going to be done because the arithmetic simply is not there. Both parties know that.
As we watch the president and Mrs. Bush drink in the adulation of their admirers, their supporters, their friends, their family members, their twin daughters in the background, let's bring in now Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who is in Greenville, I believe.
Senator LINDSEY GRAHAM (Republican, South Carolina): Yes, sir.
BROKAW: And at the Democratic national headquarters in Washington, DC, one of his former members of the US House of Representatives, the Democratic leader of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
Let's begin with you, Senator Graham. There's so much talk about the healing that is required in this country, closing the deep divisions in America. How do you begin that with differences so stark?
Sen. GRAHAM: Well, these two gentlemen have set the tone. I thought Senator Kerry did an excellent job in his speech. And the president, I think, is trying to reach out. But 51 percent of Americans have endorsed this-this president's job performance, and we'll just have to work with our Democratic colleagues to find common ground. But in the South particularly, this was the first time in my political lifetime that the Republican Party won vs. the Democratic Party losing. People really love this president in this region of the country.
BROKAW: And, Nancy Pelosi, there's a big message to the Democrats here. You lose the White House, you have a smaller number of people in the House of Representatives representing your party, you lose seats in the United States Senate, as well. What do the Democrats have to do to find common ground and to reach those people who are going now consistently to the Republican Party?
Representative NANCY PELOSI (Democrat, California): Well, Tom, as we congratulate the president on his victory and hope that this time he will keep his promise to be a unifier and not miss an opportunity again, we have to do what cong-Senator Graham said, is find our common ground. But where we can't find it, we have to stand our ground in the Congress. The Democrats in the House of Representatives, of which I am proud to be the leader, have put forth our partnership for America's future with six core values that we have unified around. So we know who we are as Democrats.
It's almost liberating to have this election behind us so that we can go into this Congress and to show the American people the difference between the Democrats and Republicans. The American people did not subscribe to the president's economic agenda of losing more jobs than any president in seven decades or diminishing the number of people who have access to health care, or-or starving No Child Left Behind, or turning back 30 years of bipartisan support for the environment-and the list goes on. They were-campaigned on the issues of-of values, as you know, and that's what most people said was de-what determined their vote. So now we will see the record. The public now knows the Republicans control the House, the Senate and the White House. If we have jobs and access to health care and better education and a cleaner environment, then-then the Republicans will have succeeded. But we will make sure the public knows the difference.
BROKAW: All right. You can't think of anything it's going to be extraordinary or exceptional that you're prepared to do?
Senator Graham, you didn't hear much from Nancy Pelosi in which she was reaching across the aisle.
Sen. GRAHAM: Well, I don't think Nancy has learned a whole lot.
Rep. PELOSI: Find our ground.
Sen. GRAHAM: Well, I admire her for wanting to stand her ground, but there's a way to do that to be effective. This old idea that if you cut taxes, class warfare is the answer, that you're rewarding the rich at the expense of everyone else, demagoguing our solutions to Social Security without a solution of your own. It's one thing to stand your ground. It's another thing to filibuster 13 judges the first time in the history of the Senate. So I hope our Democratic friends will understand that you can stand your grand, but you cannot obstruct and be successful. That's the message of this campaign.
BROKAW: Nancy Pelosi and Senator Graham, thank you very much for being with us here today.
Rep. PELOSI: Thank you, Tom.
Sen. GRAHAM: Thank you.
BROKAW: All right.
Rep. PELOSI: Good luck to you, Tom.
BROKAW: Oh, thank you very much.
Sen. GRAHAM: Thank you.
BROKAW: Thank you very much. Congresswoman Pelosi of San Francisco and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
So we've heard from the president now, his speech in which he spoke directly to John Kerry's supporters, the people who voted against him, saying he wanted to earn their trust and he does see this as an opportunity to change things in America. That's always a noble sentiment. It's been expressed by both parties. But when you go beyond that, in both instances they say, 'Look, this is not an easy job.' It's not just a rhetorical exercise. It is going to take an exceptional effort, leadership on the part of both parties, as well.
On behalf of all of here at NBC News, we want to remind you that there's continuing coverage on MSNBC. You'll see Tim and me again, whether you want to or not, tonight on "NBC Nightly News." We'll have a special one-hour edition at that time on this historic chain.