This is a partial transcript from the October 26, 2004, "Hannity & Colmes " that has been edited for clarity.
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SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Let me ask you in this sense — nobody thought what happened on 9/11 could ever happen here...
HANNITY: You get to see things that we will never get to see. That's your job. You have to look at the intelligence briefings every day. You have to assess the nature of the threat that is facing this country. Is it possible — is it a reality that we could turn on our television sets one day — FOX News Channel I hope — and find out that America is — that a nuclear weapon has gone off here — that a biological agent has been released or a chemical agent — is that a reality?
BUSH: Yes it is. That's the biggest threat we face and we know that a terrorist organization like Al Qaeda wants to acquire a weapon of mass destruction of some kind or another to kill on a larger scale than they did. You see, it's very important, Sean, for the American people to understand that — when I talk about terrorists I'm talking about people who have embraced an ideology — I would call it an ideology of hatred but it is an ideology. It is a worldview based upon a — kind of a very narrow and negative view of a great religion — in other words they've hijacked their religion to justify their killing. These people have no conscience. You cannot negotiate with them.
BUSH: You know sometimes you kind of hear of a theory that well maybe only if we didn't — weren't on the offensive perhaps these terrorists would change their way. I think that is naive thinking. These people are bent upon — acquiring territory — to like they were trying to do in Afghanistan — they are bent upon creating a foothold in the Middle East. They are bent upon destroying free societies and so the nexus of weapons of mass destruction and these terrorist organizations is a very real threat and that's why it's essential we stay on the offense, deny them sanctuary, deal with threats before they fully materialize. And when I say comprehensive strategy on the war, that is what I'm talking about.
HANNITY: Do you or when you think of, for example, what happened in Spain prior to their last election there was an article recently that showed that you were presented with the possibility by your CIA director and others that — I think September 15th they presented this to you -- it was written up recently -- that this is a potential threat here but we still have area vulnerabilities so we — is that always going to be the case? Is that something we are always going to have to live with?
BUSH: Yes, because we have to be right 100 percent of the time in disrupting any plot and they have to be right once. We're better. Much better. As a matter of fact the 9/11 Commission reports that America is safer under the course of action we've taken but not yet safe. Whether or not we can be ever fully safe is up — you know, is up in the air. I would hope we could make it a lot more safe by staying on the offensive. We have no actionable intelligence. I mean, if I knew that there was a plot getting ready to happen, we would be all over it. We have no actionable — but we do believe that they have — because of what happened in Madrid — that they do think about whether or not they can try to disrupt our elections. Again, I don't want to alarm anybody because I don't — I just — there's nothing specific at this point in time — a kind of general intent.
HANNITY: I guess what it comes down to is that national security is the number one pressing issue in our time and you are talking extensively about staying on the offense to secure American cities here. When you look at your vision — the Bush doctrine, if you will...
HANNITY: And you compare it to the Kerry doctrine, what would be the difference? What would be the — as you see it...
BUSH: Well taking Senator Kerry's own words in our debates and on the campaign trail — he has a limited vision. He basically says this is primary intelligence and law enforcement. That — he says that Iraq is a diversion from the war on terror. I think Iraq is an essential front on the war on terror. We are fighting terrorists and Mr. Zarqawi, who had been in Afghanistan training with others to kill was routed out of Afghanistan by our troops and moved to Iraq. And he's in Iraq now. And he is confronting us. And I would rather defeat Mr. Zarqawi there than face him here and — as I say to people in these speeches, I say what do people think Mr. Zarqawi would be doing if we weren't in Iraq, do they think he would be kind of a peaceful small business owner? A shopkeeper? No. He would be plotting and planning and trying to hurt us.
HANNITY: Your faith has been the subject of a lot of press. You've spoken openly how important it is in your life. Explain to — in terms of a daily basis — how you go about keeping your faith strong — what do you do?
BUSH: Well, I pray a lot. And — first of all my faith is a very personal matter and I am very mindful that a person in public life like me should never try to impose my religion on anybody. One of the great things about America is that we can choose to be religious or not religious and be equally patriotic and if you choose to believe in the Almighty, you can be a Jew, a Christian or a Muslim and be equally American. That's the wonderful thing about our country. Personally I get great strength from prayer, not only my own personal prayers but also knowing that people are praying for me and my family and so I am — this year I am reading Oswald Chambers (search), "My Utmost to the Highest," — it's a way for me on a daily basis to be in the word.
HANNITY: Last question. You saw John Kerry in Ohio, all-important swing state, he put on brand new camouflage.
BUSH: He did.
HANNITY: Said he's a hunter. I understand the gun he had — I'm not sure if it was one of the ones he proposed to ban and he said he — of course — he wants to tax guns. When you see something like that is...
BUSH: My reaction was when it comes to taxes — he can run even in camo but he cannot hide. When it comes to healthcare — it was just a moment in the campaign...
HANNITY: Mr. President, good to see you. Thank you for giving us, being so generous with your time. We appreciate it. Thank you very much.
BUSH: Thanks Sean, great. Good to see ya!
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