This is a partial transcript of "Special Report with Brit Hume," July 30, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.
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BRIAN WILSON, GUEST-HOST: Ah, the balloons, the hoopla, the long speeches are all over in Boston. So are Democrats satisfied with the outcome? And how are Republicans responding?
For answers, we turn to the sharp-eyed analysis of Michael Barone, senior writer for "U.S. News and World Report" and co-author of the "Almanac of American Politics." He is also, it goes without saying, a Fox News contributor and a pretty decent guy.
MICHAEL BARONE, SENIOR WRITER, "U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT: Oh. Well, thanks, Brian.
WILSON: Thanks for coming in. This...
BARONE: You are too.
WILSON: This is the 17-convention you have attended.
BARONE: That's right. In one capacity or another going back to 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
BARONE: Which wasn't at all, like this convention.
WILSON: Yes. I don't think it was anything as what I — I barely remember that. And it was not — it was very different. Tell me what your assessment is of this convention. How did it compare to others?
BARONE: Well, this convention, like the last couple of Democratic and Republican convention, has not been about the uniting a party that is divided. Not trying to get the candidate — the Democrats who love the losing candidates to love the winning nominee. It was the Democrat — it was a convention that was really united, as Ed Markey, the congressman said George W. Bush united the Democratic Party.
It was a convention united by hate, hatred of George W. Bush. It was thick in the air. Anytime that any zingers against Bush, whether expressed or implied were made, that crowd went wild.
WILSON: A lot of them were very implied.
BARONE: A lot of them were implied. In John Kerry's speech, for example, the "I will not mislead the nation into war," he said. Well, what was he saying there? Of course, it's a charge that George W. Bush misled the nation into War. A charge that seems to have been refuted by partisan Senate Intelligence Committee on the 9/11 Commission, but nonetheless it was there.
And the delegates loved it, they cheered wildly for that. When he called for more American military strength, they were silent.
WILSON: Yes. That was very interesting.
I want to read this quote. It comes from a guy by the name of Thomas Oliphant, who writes in "The Boston Globe." On the editorial page he said and I quote, "Kerry essentially blew an opportunity he may not get again until the debates with Bush this fall. He and his advisers can and will argue that the cold facts of economic and foreign policy life will denominate political opinion in the weeks ahead. Nevertheless," he says, "a golden opportunity has slipped away."
That comes from Kerry's hometown paper.
BARONE: Well, that's Tom Oliphant is a liberal columnist for "The Boston Globe." He's a big fan of John Kerry and he's very close to him, a big fan of Edward Kennedy as well.
WILSON: And that's why it's more surprising that it comes from him.
BARONE: Yes. Well, I think Tom has — he's also a smart guy who is well worth reading whether you agree him or disagree with him. And I think what he was referring to here is No. 1 the sort of hurried delivery that John Kerry did. He had 55 minutes up there but he seemed to have to talk very fast to get through his speech and talking over applause. So, some of his points were simply lost on viewers, and indeed, on people in the hall.
WILSON: From communications standpoint, many people have said that it seemed a little rushed.
BARONE: It was a little rushed. John Edwards, the night before, was a little rushed during most of his speeches. Well, and you can lay some of this down to campaign in discipline. They knew all along that they had 55 minutes or whatever it is that they allotted for this speech. You can figure out how long a speech is going to take. Evidently, they were still working on the speech during the day Thursday.
BARONE: Last-minute changes. And you had to meld some of the Bob Shrum lines, the brilliant speechwriter who works for Kerry. And I think the opening line — I'm here — "I'm John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty," pure Shrum. You have — throwing a little zinger at President Bush there, obviously. And you have also the stuff that Kerry put out on the yellow pads. So, I think there was a certain amount of indiscipline.
On the domestic side, they gave a whole laundry list of — John Kerry gave a whole laundry list of stuff. And as an old political consultant, one of the rules is that when you talk about everything, you talk about nothing. More disciplined candidates, like Bill Clinton in '92; George W. Bush in 2000 limited their domain. You know, we've got two or three points we want to emphasize. And they emphasized those and those were communicated over the course of the campaign.
WILSON: Let me ask you about the Bush campaign, which came out swinging today trying to differentiate the things that are different between the Kerry and Bush positions.
BARONE: Ah, yes. They came out swinging. Obviously, they expect that John Kerry is going to get a bounce from this convention. And I think he probably will. I think the number of voters available to bounce, who are undecided or movable, is probably smaller than in previous cycles. So I'll be surprised if John Kerry gets a bigger bounce than candidates have gotten in previous...
WILSON: Is that bad? Is that a bad sign?
BARONE: It's a bad sign for George W. Bush and a good sign for John Kerry. But we'll have to — the numbers are not out yet.
WILSON: That's right.
BARONE: There's been no opinion surveys yet of people who actually saw that speech Thursday night.
WILSON: Michael Barone, thank you so much. Good to have you here.
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