How Many Tickets Out of N.H.?

This is a partial transcript of "Special Report with Brit Hume", Jan. 26, that has been edited for clarity.

Watch Special Report With Brit Hume weeknights at 6 p.m. ET


PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE HOWARD DEAN: They call it a dead heat. Now, I'm not sure it is a dead heat but it is close, and it has closed very, very fast. And we need all of your help because we have every intention of winning the New Hampshire primary in tomorrow morning.




BRIT HUME, HOST: Howard Dean expressing his hopes today.

Every political season has its favorite buzzwords. One of this year's is "ticket," as in how many major candidates will get a ticket out of Iowa? The answer there was three, with Dick Gephardt (search) dropping out. Now the question is how many get a ticket out of New Hampshire?

To help answer that, we are joined by veteran Democratic strategist and Fox News contributor Susan Estrich.

Susan, how many tickets out of New Hampshire in your estimation?

SUSAN ESTRICH, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it depends. How many are we going to give, the media in general, or how many are they going to take? You know, I think of this as an elimination contest. Who gets eliminated? Who doesn't get a ticket?

I don't think Joe Lieberman (search) is going to get a ticket. He has been talking about Joe-mentum. You've heard that one? I don't think he's been going to get a ticket. Wes...

HUME: He has ticked up a little though.

ESTRICH: A little bit. He's ticked up maybe seven, eight points. Unless he gets Independent vote...

HUME: Up to seven or eight points.

ESTRICH: Up to seven or eight points. Exactly.

Wes Clark, I think he's been a terrible candidate. I think the idea of his candidacy was great, he got a lot of money. He skipped Iowa to run here in New Hampshire. And right now I think he is running fourth.

And I don't know how he gets a ticket out of New Hampshire running fourth. I don't think he's going to admit that he failed, but I think that is a failure.

HUME: But if you take Clark and Lieberman out, you're down to three tickets.

ESTRICH: Well...

HUME: You're down to Kerry, right.


HUME: Dean and Edwards.

ESTRICH: Kerry definitely gets a ticket. Obviously Edwards is moving up. A lot of the polls, right now, have him third. And so the big issue is how Dean explains his second place finish?

HUME: You think that's likely to be the outcome? You don't think he's coming on fast enough?

ESTRICH: No, no. I have been looking at polls today and the one poll that has him close is Zogby (search). And I think of that -- in every campaign season there is one poll that's sort of the sore thumb, sticks out like a sore thumb.

Our poll has him way behind in second. While he certainly stabilized his ticking up...

HUME: This is the Zogby poll. Now, what Zogby did was he tried to assign the undecided voters that he'd been talking to based on what they were saying. We did the same thing in ours. We came out Kerry 38, Dean 26. So there's a...

ESTRICH: I think ours is much closer to what I am hearing from the campaigns. I have been talking to some of the campaigns looking at internals; I think Dean is going to be...

HUME: Yes, that is ours without the assignment of the undecideds. But you know, it does not change anything.

ESTRICH: Dean is going to be a distant second, I think. And then the question is how does the guy who said he was going to win Iowa and win New Hampshire get a ticket? Up to him.

HUME: All right. Now, we always look in the closing days for the kind of thing that can change a race. We saw it happen very late in 1988 on the Republican side, when a late Bush ad on taxes rallied him from behind. He beats Bob Dole. We saw it in the closing days with Gary Hart in 1984, when he came from behind to beat Mondale. Have you seen anything to happen, over the last couple of days that might really change the shape of this race?

ESTRICH: Watch for an Edwards surge. Watch to see if Edwards can move here the way he moved in Iowa.

HUME: One thing we are seeing consistent with Iowa, his huge crowds and an enormously, enthusiastic response. You know, as Major Garrett was trying to do his comments to me, at the end of that piece tonight, the candidate walked in the room. And the poor guy, you know, he had to practically put the microphone in his mouth because he was drowned out by this tremendous roar. Could he come on and finish second in your view?

ESTRICH: I don't think so. But if this lasted another week, he might. Same thing in Iowa; a lot of people said if Iowa had gone another week, he might win. So Edward surges, then he goes to South Carolina. And what the Edwards people want is a shot at Kerry one on one. But a lot of people in the Democratic Party are saying, Kerry-Edwards, that's our ticket.

HUME: That's the ticket.

Now, out of here comes -- we have got what? Seven states next week. Big prizes being: Arizona, Missouri...

ESTRICH: Don't forget Missouri. And then...

HUME: New Mexico and South Carolina.

ESTRICH: Right. But then you get Oklahoma. I mean these guys are running around.

HUME: Right. Well, who goes where, in your judgment? Does Kerry go to South Carolina or does he go to Missouri?

ESTRICH: Kerry is going ... South Carolina and go to Missouri. Kerry will do a debate in South Carolina so it looks like he's doing a 50- state campaign. But the money is going to go into Missouri. And what Kerry is going to do is say, look at the delegate count. OK? Because he is not going to win South Carolina, I don't think. And if Edwards...

HUME: You figure Edwards wins there, right?

ESTRICH: Edwards wins South Carolina. But Kerry will say, I'm running a 50-state campaign. Delegates are what count.

HUME: We've got about three seconds. What about the two western states, no way to tell?

ESTRICH: No way to tell.

HUME: Susan, you're wonderful.

Copy: Content and Programming Copyright 2004 Fox News Network, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2004 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.