Hopeful Dems Are Strangers To Many

This is a partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, November 3, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: The Democratic candidates for president have been out on the stump for months and now along come some poll figures that will probably have them stomped.

It seems that many Americans have never even heard of them. Forget about where they stand on the issues. How come they still don't have name recognition?

Joining us now from Austin, Texas, Fox News political analyst Dick Morris, the author of Off With Their Heads.

Why should that be surprising, Dick? I mean, we're in a prime season. Most Americans don't really start paying attention until after the, you know, January -- Iowa and New Hampshire?

DICK MORRIS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: I suspect that most Americans understand that knowing the names of the nine Democratic candidates will someday be relevant to a game of Trivial Pursuit but not necessarily much else.

COLMES: That's a great line, but you know, Bill Clinton didn't get in until October of 1991. So we shouldn't be surprised.

MORRIS: Yes. What's going on now is, of course, that everybody in Iowa and New Hampshire knows their names, but most of the people in the later primary states don't.

And really, it's not yet a national contest. It's a contest in a number of small early primaries, where Dean has really staked out, in my judgment, a lead that may be insurmountable.

COLMES: Let's talk about what Dean said. Here's what he said. He said, "I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks."

Then he clarified it. He said, "I want people with Confederate flags on their trucks to put down the flags and vote Democratic. We all care about quality health-care, jobs, a good education knows no racial boundaries."

MORRIS: Alan, I'm sure you would agree that anybody that has a Confederate decal on his license plate, probably on the bumper sticker has something like "Support gay marriage," "Higher taxes now," "Pull out of Iraq." So if he's going to go after the Confederate decals, he's choosing an odd way to do it.

COLMES: He's saying he wants to be a candidate for all the voters, for all the people.

MORRIS: He should have thought of that before he signed the gay marriage bill.

COLMES: Well, he signed the gay marriage bill. But it's not actually gay marriage, it's domestic partnerships. And that was put out by the legislature in Vermont.

And furthermore, you know he's for states' gun rights. He balanced eleven budgets. You want to paint him, or maybe not you personally, but certainly his detractors want to paint him as a loony liberal, a leftist, a far left candidate.

MORRIS: Look, let me say...

COLMES: They'll do that to anybody who's got the lead here.

MORRIS: Let me say this about Howard Dean (search). I believe, first of all, being governor of Vermont, qualifies you to be head of a high school student government. I mean, it's 200,000 families.

COLMES: You can say this about Arkansas, too.

MORRIS: Yes, but that's 2.5 million. You know, Vermont's 500,000. Vermont's one congressional district.

And secondly, but on the other hand, let me say about Howard Dean that he has accomplished more by his candidacy, to reform the campaign finance laws than McCain or Feingold ever did. Because what he's proven, and this is his place in history. I don't think he'll have another, I don't think he'll be the president. I think he may be the Democratic nominee. But his place in history is that he showed it was easier to raise clean money online than dirty money.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Hey, Dick, it's Sean. I don't see with his positions that he's staked out in this primary that he has the ability to go to the middle as we discussed last week.

I want to go to the biggest issue on the political landscape today, and it's the economy. We had, economic growth, 7.2 percent in the third quarter, the biggest number in 20 years. Construction up 1.3 percent. Stocks now have hit a 17-month high. Manufacturing the best month since -- we've had since 2000.

The economy, if this keeps up, will not be an issue a year from now.

MORRIS: Well, it may be an issue on the other side. I think that Bush could really benefit from it.

HANNITY: That's what I mean.

MORRIS: Look, it makes sense. This is the first quarter economic growth after statistics after the Iraq war. So what happened was, America was just beginning to recover from the recession, you know, the usual recession, Bush has whenever he takes office.

Then 9/11 came and it scared the daylights out of everybody, killed the economy, stopped economic growth.

And then just as we were pull out of it, Bush began to go after Saddam Hussein (search). And everybody worried about oil prices and the economy coming to a standstill and a global Arab OPEC (search) oil boycott again. And the economy stood still. In the middle of a war it's going to stand still.

And then the first quarter after the war the pent up effect of these tax cuts and of the racing economy itself really hit it. And I think this is going to be a big positive for Bush.

HANNITY: Let me -- you know and you've had a personal relationship with Zell Miller over the years. You know him very well.

MORRIS: He was my client.

HANNITY: Here's a guy that has come out with this book. It will be a best seller, it's just a matter of, you know, where it is on the list. He writes a piece in the Wall Street Journal today, "George Bush and the naive nine," a national party no more is what he is saying.

I think he's basically laid out a prescription for better health for the Democratic Party, but they're not going to listen.

MORRIS: Right. The Democratic Party this year has been captured by the activists. It's going through much the same process that perhaps the Republican Party did in 1994, when the right wing kind of took it over for the Gingrich agenda.

And it's a process that ultimately is not healthy for a political party. It drags it so far to the left. I mean, it's as if this party were written and choreographed by Michael Moore (search). I mean, it is a party that's increasingly losing touch with the values of the average American.

And I think that also, it's a party that is too obviously betting on failure. Failure in the economy, failure in Iraq, failure in all kinds of sectors. And I think that American people are not happy about that.

HANNITY: Yes. And then, for them to succeed and get some power back, bad things have to happen. That is not a good position to be in.

MORRIS: Exactly.

HANNITY: And to attack the president, as he said, every single day.

MORRIS: One of the most interesting things in the most recent polling is that Wesley Clark's negatives have doubled. They've gone from 11 percent to 20 percent in the last four weeks.

COLMES: All right, Dick, we're just out of time. We thank you for being with us tonight.

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