Sen. Zell Miller Covets Change In D.C.

This is a partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, October 30, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: More of my exclusive interview with Georgia senator Zell Miller.


HANNITY: You tell the story and Joe Biden (search) in the book and when you sit down with him and the three phases, I guess, that governors who become senators go through.

SEN. ZELL MILLER D, GEORGIA: I must have been over there frowning but whatever, Joe came over. I had been in the Senate maybe a week or 10 days.

He came over there, and he said, "I've watched a lot of you governors come up here and you invariably go through three phases. First of all, it's disbelief. You just can't believe what you have got into and how this place works."

And he was right. I got there during appropriation time, and I couldn't believe the feeding frenzy. And then he said, "The second phase is anger. You want to change it. You want to do something about it."

And then he said, "Finally, the third phase, I guess like in death, is you accept it."

Well, I'm still in that second phase. I still want to change it. I want to do something about this filibuster (search) rule. But I haven't reached that acceptance part yet and I don't think I will. I don't think I can change Washington. I wish I could. But I'm not going to let Washington change me.

HANNITY: No regrets about the decision to leave?


HANNITY: Because you want to change that filibuster rule and you have a chapter about it and now we have another case. We've got another talented woman on the Supreme Court in California. You see the mounting opposition, just like in the case of Miguel Estrada (search). You met with Janice Brown (search) and you spoke with her.

MILLER: She is the most impressive person that I have ever met up for a judicial appointment. And I did a lot of that back when I was governor. I appointed a lot of judges and I would interview three or five people before I named one. This woman, if she does not get to it, if she is not confirmed, it is going to be a national disgrace. Here is a woman born in southern Alabama.

HANNITY: Sharecropper daughter.

MILLER: That's exactly right. I went back, and I read some of her speeches and I went back and I read some of her opinions and they soar. They are strong and they are great. And this is the kind of woman that we need in the judiciary that has been swinging further to the left, as you know.

And so I do hope that we can confirm her and I hope that we can confirm these other good people. Our Founding Fathers never meant for the filibuster to be used in the confirmation process of judicial appointments.

HANNITY: Specifically, there is a proposal that would eliminate the filibuster. You support it. Republicans seem timid about pushing forward with it.

MILLER: Well, Majority Leader Frist (search) and I have a bill that would reduce the required number of votes. You would start off with 59. Then you'd go after a few days down to 57, and then down to 55 and 53 and finally until you get to 51, which would mean that the minority would have plenty of time to debate it and give their opinions and all that. But finally the will of the Senate would prevail. That's what we're going to try to get passed. But I think that will be filibustered.

There are some who think we should really go out and try to show the American people -- right now the American people don't realize what is happening because it's kind of low-key. We're doing what I call a filibuster light and that is it's kind of operating under the radar. If they could see exactly what was happening, how much time and money is being wasted, then I think you'd see more people rising up and saying, "We've got to have a vote up or down on these nominee."

HANNITY: Because there is a majority vote, as you point out, on all these cases. These people would be confirmed, there are enough votes.

MILLER: And I'm not the only Democrat. There are other Democrat votes out there for them, if we could have an up or down vote.

HANNITY: I was personally astonished and touched by one part of your book. You talk about how Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Al Gore, Dick Gephardt, their opinions on abortion evolved. They started out as pro life; they all became pro choice.

Zell Miller goes in the other direction. You started out as pro-choice although you struggled with it, you had limitations on it. And now you are passionately pro-life, and you actually cited that you had read my book and it had a little bit of an impact on your opinion.

MILLER: I think it was the thing that really swung me on over there. Because it was something that I had been struggling with for a long time. It's something that I had prayed over for a long time. Because I had started out as pro-choice, but I had these limitations for parental consent for notification, all these other things. First...and then finally partial birth abortion. When I was governor I signed the partial birth abortion bill.

But I think it was watching my grandchildren and my great- grandchildren coming along.

I remember when my grandson, who was very young, 20 years old at the time. But he brought in a photograph of a sonogram for his child, his unborn baby. And he was so proud of that. I think the debate...

HANNITY: I still carry mine. I still have it.



MILLER: You know, it gives new meaning to that Roberta Flack song, "First time ever I saw your face," because you can always be an expression on that unborn baby's face.

HANNITY: I've got this 4-D stuff. Now you actually can see it. It is amazing.

MILLER: I think that's what helped to change my mind.


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