This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, July 21, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, it was just a matter of time. Today was the time. Democrats launching an ad campaign turn those 16 words by the president into a 30-second on-air attack.
Take a peek.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED VOICE ACTOR: In his State of the Union address, George W. Bush told us of an imminent threat.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.
UNIDENTIFIED VOICE ACTOR: America took him at his word, but now we found out that it wasn't true.
"White House says Iraq claim was flawed," New York Times 7/8/03.
"The CIA knew it," New York Times 7/6/03.
"The State Department knew it," New York Times 7/6/03.
"The White House knew it," NBC News 6/26/03.
It's time to tell the truth.
Hold President Bush accountable with an independent, bipartisan investigation. Go to www.Democrats.org/truth to sign the petition.
Because America deserves the truth.
ANNOUNCER: The Democratic National Committee (search) is responsible for the content of this advertising.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: Well, the ad comes at a time when public opinion polls on the president have been eroding a little bit. While still high at 59 percent approval, it is down from 71 percent in recent weeks.
But it does not seem like this intelligence flap, or whatever you want to call it, is fazing his campaign to raise dough.
Joining us now from RNC headquarters in Washington, Ed Gillespie (search), the new chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Mr. Gillespie, thank you for joining us.
ED GILLESPIE, RNC INCOMING CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Neil.
CAVUTO: What do you think of this Democrat attack?
GILLESPIE: Well, the Democrat attack, first of all, is blatantly misleading and false.
People have talked about the 16 words. The Democratic ad leaves out the first five words, which is that "The British government has learned." The British government continues to stand by its intelligence assessment. So taking those words out make the ad patently false.
Fortunately, it's not really an ad. It is actually a video fund-raising appeal that has been sent to a million donors from the Democratic Party.
I think what happened here is the DNC saw the success that Howard Dean (search) had in raising money off the Internet by appealing to anti-war activists at the core of the Democratic Party and decided they wanted to try to get some of that money, too.
And it's part of a continuing pattern of Democrats playing politics with our policy against Iraq, and I think that's very unfortunate. I don't think that...
CAVUTO: But you are a little concerned, are you not, that an issue that used to be the president's trump card now might not be?
GILLESPIE: The president has a policy of securing our homeland, of rooting out terrorist activity abroad, making sure that we are fighting the war against terrorism in Kabul, not Kansas city, in Baghdad, not Boston.
And what the Democrats are increasingly finding themselves drifting toward is a policy of dealing with terrorism not up front, not dealing with terrorist activity or weapons of mass destruction as we confront them when provided with evidence in the case of Saddam Hussein — universally agreed-upon evidence across the globe, the United Nations, not only the United States and Great Britain, but even France, former President Clinton.
All agree that Saddam was pursuing a weapons of mass destruction program. What Democrats seem to be saying now is that we'll respond to terrorism or weapons of mass destruction in its aftermath, not do anything to prevent its use from occurring. I think that's a...
CAVUTO: So what are you going to do...
GILLESPIE: ... frightening policy.
CAVUTO: I'm sorry, sir. But what are you going to do in the meantime? The president has built up this huge war chest. We're told that before the general election, he'll have upwards of $200 million. Now, if you want to respond to that, how will you and will you?
GILLESPIE: Well, first of all, I don't know that those numbers are accurate. I've seen $170 million reported.
But, regardless, what we're going to do is respond by pointing out the choice that Americans have when it comes to which party are you going to entrust with the foreign policy.
CAVUTO: But when will those ads come, Mr. Gillespie? I mean the Democrats have the ads out now.
GILLESPIE: Let's be clear about this. That's my point. The Democrats don't really have the ads out now. You've done them a great favor for airing it on your show, but that's more air time than it's probably going to get anywhere else.
It's running in one market, a less-than-$15,000 buy over two days in Madison, Wisconsin, which is a university town, most likely to be receptive to that kind of message.
CAVUTO: Well, actually, we're told it's going to spread to 11 major markets, Ed, over the next two weeks.
GILLESPIE: Well, I know you're being told that, Neil, but let's see what the buy looks like.
In any event, we know that it was sent via e-mail to a million donors to the Democratic National Committee. But, again, I think that the more that we can have this debate over who is best suited to protect America's security in this war against terror and to prevail in the war against terror, that's a debate I welcome, and it's a debate that Republicans welcome.
But whether or not we're going to buy ads in July or August of '03, I can't tell you right now, although I suspect that that's doubtful. I think we'll husband our resources for future and more relevant debates than what the Democrats are trying to engender with this ad right now because it's misleading.
CAVUTO: Okay. Mr. Gillespie, thank you very much for joining us. Appreciate it.
GILLESPIE: Thank you.
CAVUTO: Ed Gillespie, the man who runs the RNC.
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