Dean's Mark on the Political Continuum

This is a partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, December 19, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Does Howard Dean have Democrats running scared? Several prominent Democrats have gone on the record, saying that they're concerned that Dean's candidacy is forcing the party so far to the left that they won't be able to challenge President Bush.

Joining us now, two Democrats on opposing sides of Dr. Dean's candidacy, New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone, who's endorsed Dr. Dean, and New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, who has endorsed General Wesley Clark.

So let me start with you, Congressman Weiner. Are you -- Is it true you are afraid that Dr. Dean is so far to the left ... going to move the party too far? Is that...

REP. ANTHONY WEINER D, N.Y: First, let's make it clear. Governor Dean on his worst day is 10 times better than George Bush on his best day.

COLMES: So you will endorse him if he gets the nomination?

WEINER: Certainly. And I'm supporting Governor -- General Clark because, you know, frankly I believe that nowadays that politics in the United States is really the providence of that 20 percent that's the common sense middle in the country and that's what ... who we have to appeal to and ....

COLMES: You know, conservatives will make the case that Dean -- I think they make these cases to try to position the Democrats, which we need to do for ourselves.

They want to say that, you know, he's a lunatic leftist. He's way out there on the fringe. He doesn't represent the mainstream Democratic Party. We're talking about Dean.

Here's a guy who backed the invasion of Kuwait. He was for the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia. He was for the action in Kosovo. He was for the ousting of the Taliban. He reduced taxes, income tax.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: He was for the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia?

COLMES: Yes, he was. And he lowered taxes as governor and supported the NRA. So he certainly is not way out there on the left.

WEINER: Well, listen. There isn't a great deal of difference between the actual positions of many of the Democrats and like I said, there are certain Democratic...

COLMES: Not for the ethnic cleansing, but for our actions...

HANNITY: I was trying to help you, Alan.

COLMES: Thank you. But go ahead.

WEINER: They're -- and there are baseline principles that we all support.

But the concern is that many of us have, particularly those of us who are supporting General Clark, is we need someone who's near the middle on foreign policy, near the middle of national defense, near the middle on anti-terrorism things.

And yes, you're exactly right. This is largely the function of the Republicans trying to position our future nominee. They're obviously scared to death of Dean the way they're in such a shriek right over there.

But I do believe there is a concern for our party that we want to figure out what the Clinton formula was for grabbing that moderate voter in this country. And I think that frankly General Clark is the man to do that.

COLMES: Congressman Pallone, do you have any reservations about Dean taking the party too far to the left, as conservatives are saying and some Democrats are saying?

REP. FRANK PALLONE, D, N.J: No. None whatsoever. I saw in your news clips there, you had the endorsement this morning in New Jersey where I was at ... of Governor McGreevey endorsing Governor Dean.

And the fact of the matter is that Governor McGreevey is a member of the Democratic Leadership Council. He actually supported for the most part...

COLMES: Isn't Dean farther to the left than Joseph Lieberman, for example?

PALLONE: No, I don't think so. I think he's very moderate if you look at his record in Vermont. And today in New Jersey, we had not only the governor, who's pretty moderate, but 37 members of the legislature. The whole political spectrum from the left to the right within the Democratic Party.

And I think that is a testament to the fact that Dean really has support across the...

HANNITY: Congressman Pallone, let me read what Joseph Lieberman said about your candidate. "If Howard Dean had his way, Saddam Hussein would be in power today, not in prison. The world would be a more dangerous place and America would have a lot more to fear."

And I'll even take it a step further. If Howard Dean were president, Moammar Gadhafi (search) never would have taken the action he took today, because he wouldn't have had the fear and the understanding that this president means business.

PALLONE: Well, I saw...

HANNITY: That's why Howard Dean would be a disaster for this country.

PALLONE: Well, I heard what you said earlier about Gadhafi and I'm glad that Gadhafi did what he did today. But I don't think that you should link it in any way to what happened in Iraq. And I also think that the bottom line is it's great that we caught Saddam Hussein.

HANNITY: No help from Dean. None whatsoever.

PALLONE: I don't think it has anything to do with whether or not we're more safe. I mean, Dean said that we're not more safe than...

HANNITY: You don't think so? You don't think we're more safe?

PALLONE: No. Because the problems continue in Iraq. An American soldier was killed yesterday in Iraq and that continues. The war continues.

HANNITY: Do you believe -- Do you believe it is an interesting theory, as Howard Dean does, that the Saudis warned this president about 9/11 and he knew him ahead of time?

PALLONE: I don't know what the Saudis did, but the bottom line is not only...

HANNITY: Your candidate said that.

PALLONE: Well, he said that, and...

HANNITY: Are you embarrassed?

PALLONE: No. Not at all. I think there's no problem with what he said. I mean, the bottom line is that Saudi Arabia is very dangerous and probably more dangerous in the long run than Iraq.

HANNITY: Suggesting the president knew ahead of time is an absolute despicable disgrace.

PALLONE: I don't agree -- He wasn't suggesting that the president was intentionally doing anything wrong.

HANNITY: Whatever you say. Let me ask you a question.

WEINER: I'm really surprised you're raising Saudi Arabia in the context of your president coddling Saudi Arabia for reasons that are mystifying.

HANNITY: Coddling -- your President Clinton had three opportunities to get Usama bin Laden (search), was offered on a silver platter by the Sudan, and he didn't take him. So don't start lecturing me about...

PALLONE: He had the bill that was called the Saudi Arabia Accountability Act...

HANNITY: I want to ask you a question about Wesley Clark.

PALLONE: And the bottom line is that bill should be passed, but it's not happening right now with the Republicans.

HANNITY: Here's Wesley Clark's problem. You just said we need a guy who's going to be just like Clinton and go to the middle. So you really want somebody like Clinton who doesn't have core values and beliefs. And Wesley Clark, I think, is that man. And I'll tell you why.

Because he said, "I would have supported the legislation to go into Iraq. I wouldn't have supported it. I may have supported it. I could have supported it. I would have, I should have."

PALLONE: That's Dean?

HANNITY: No principles.

WEINER: First of all...

HANNITY: That sounds like...

WEINER: ... there was a focus on this set, I don't know, about 50 times talking about his opposition to the war. And I frankly think it is pretty outrageous to...

HANNITY: When I quoted him directly?

WEINER: What is that?

HANNITY: When I quote Wesley Clark directly?

WEINER: You must be the last person in America that doesn't know that General Clark has real problems with the war, was supportive of the war...

HANNITY: He said he would have supported it and then rescinded it.

WEINER: No. That's not true.

HANNITY: It is true. You want to bet? I'll bet you $1,000.

WEINER: I would be glad to bet you $1,000. What he did do is he did offer some candidates political advice.

HANNITY: You just lost $1,000.

WEINER: In districts like some of your colleagues...

HANNITY: You lost $1,000.

COLMES: I'll tell you what. I'll hold the grand while you guys work it out.

Thank you both very much for being with us.

Copy: Content and Programming Copyright 2003 Fox News Network, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2003 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, Inc.'s and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.