This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," August 2, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: What about the big post-convention bounce that John Kerry (search) was supposed to be enjoying? Well, according to the new "Newsweek" poll, Kerry's post convention bump, well, has been less than expected. He leads Bush 49-42, but it is only a four-point bump, which is the smallest in the history of that poll after a convention.
And ABC/"Washington Post" poll also shows a four-point bump for Kerry, and has the senator leading Bush 50-44. But ABC News described the bump as tepid. And the new Gallup poll actually has Kerry losing ground. The first time that a candidate has lost ground after a convention in that poll since George McGovern in 1972.
President Bush actually leads in the Gallup poll 50-46. With Kerry having dropped four points, he also lost one point in the Rasmussen poll.
So what happened to Kerry's buzz? Joining me now is Kerry campaign senior adviser Michael Meehan. How are you doing, Mike?
MICHAEL MEEHAN, KERRY CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Hi, Sean. How are you?
HANNITY: All right. I don't care, if you balance them out, you've got Rasmussen and Gallup-"USA Today" versus ABC and "Newsweek." So bottom line is, if you measure them together, no bump. None. It can't make you be feeling too good there?
MEEHAN: Well, we actually came into the convention with a galvanized Democratic base. Our nomination was essentially sewn up in March. So when you come in with the Democrats already energized, there is not much room.
Each one of those polls you just put up shows there is only about 5 percent undecided. So the room for growth isn't great.
We did make gains on some important dynamics. One is, in that "Washington Post" poll, 52-44 think John Kerry is better trusted to be commander in chief of the country against the sitting president during wartime.
HANNITY: The ABC internals showed just the opposite. On the war in Iraq, on the war on terror...
HANNITY: On the war in Iraq, on the war on terror, and issues of national security, by far the president has a significant lead over Kerry. More importantly, the internals of that poll and an internal poll in Massachusetts show that John Kerry is not viewed as somebody that takes positions and sticks by them.
Sixty-four percent show the president is a guy that has convictions and stands by them. Only 24 percent see John Kerry that way. Isn't that a big part of his problem? People think he's just doing whatever is politically expedient?
MEEHAN: No. Actually, in the "Washington Post" poll, Kerry leads by 8 on “who do you trust as commander in chief,” the very same poll you're quoting. And on Iraq and on terror, since the beginning of the convention, in the seven days later, we've gained double digits on Iraq, double digits on terrorism. We have a 20-point lead on health care. We have a 20-point lead on education...
HANNITY: Michael, when you got a bump in the one poll, the "Newsweek" poll was the smallest in the history of that poll. You lost 4 points in the Gallup poll. Four. How do you lose points — wait a minute — historically, it was the lowest bounce since 1972. You can spin all you want, but you've got to admit if you're honest that you're not happy that you didn't get a bigger bounce. Why can't you just be honest and admit yes, we wish we had a bigger balance? Why don't you admit it?
MEEHAN: If the election were held today, we've got 52 percent of the vote. That means George Bush would lose and we would be in the White House.
HANNITY: Michael, why can't you admit...
MEEHAN: We are very happy where we are on August 2.
HANNITY: Why can't you answer a question? Are you unhappy you didn't get a bounce? Admit it?
MEEHAN: We're very happy to be defeating an incumbent president in the poll by six or eight points.
HANNITY: Can't you be honest?
MEEHAN: Actually we're ecstatic, Sean.
HANNITY: I know. You're ecstatic. I know, everything is perfect. Let me ask you this. We were just talking about national security issues, and I brought up this quote of Howard Dean (search). Now, Howard Dean is a supporter of John Kerry. He's out on the campaign trail for John Kerry. And he went on this interview and suggested that this terror alert that came out and this announcement by Tom Ridge over the weekend may be about politics.
He did it without any evidence, proof or substantiation. This deals with our national security. As a friend, supporter and spokesman for the Kerry campaign, shouldn't John Kerry come out publicly and say that what he said is wrong?
MEEHAN: He did. Today, actually. On the record.
HANNITY: He said Howard Dean was wrong to say that? He said that?
MEEHAN: Yes. He completely disagreed with him. Yes, and in fact...
HANNITY: He said it publicly?
MEEHAN: ... the first guest on your show verified that. Yes. Your first guest on the show tonight when you asked them, verified that.
PAT HALPIN, GUEST CO-HOST: Mike Meehan, by the way, we should remind Sean that Howard Dean is not the nominee. He lost ever primary he was in. By the way, congratulations on the great convention. It was awesome.
MEEHAN: Thank you.
HALPIN: But don't take my word for it. Republican pollsters, Sean knows this guy.
HANNITY: Dean did win Vermont, by the way.
HALPIN: OK. He won Vermont. That didn't count. Frank Luntz (search), the Republican pollster had a focus group in Cincinnati watching the Kerry speech. And he had 20 undecided voters in that focus group, who were randomly selected. Fourteen of 20 undecided voters in the room gave John Kerry very high marks. And four who said they actually voted for Bush four years ago, changed their minds and said they are voting for John Kerry. That sounds to me like you're on a roll.
MEEHAN: Well, I agree. I think it's because of the type of case that John Kerry put forward in his own voice in that speech on Thursday night. People saw somebody who is ready to be president. He's the right man for the right time.
The kind of energy we're getting on the road, Scranton, Pennsylvania, 20,000 people. Twenty-five thousand people in Grand Rapids today. These are places George Bush beat Al Gore by 10, 15, 25 points.
So we're going right into the heart of Republican territory and turning out a lot of people excited about John Kerry and John Edwards.
HALPIN: You know, Sean has made a big point that hasn't gotten the — that Kerry hasn't gotten this big traditional bounce. But that same poll, that ABC poll said that only 7 percent of those people polled said they would actually consider switching who they are currently planning on voting for. That's a very low number, isn't it?
MEEHAN: Yes. And this far out, too. I mean, people are more intensely paying attention to this election. It's because we've got the war on terror, the war in Iraq. A lot of Americans have tuned in. A lot have made up their mind. Nearly 90 percent have already said who they are deciding for.
And we're searching for these episodic voters. People who tune in and tune out of the process. Over the next 92 days, I think you are going to hear John Kerry keep telling his plan to put America back on the right track, to keep our nation safe and strong, to give men and women over in Iraq the kinds of equipment they need to do their job over there. And the real support that they have and a plan to win the peace.
HANNITY: All right. Michael, no bounce. I know you're upset. Don't worry; we haven't gotten up to bat yet. We're getting up to bat in three weeks. We'll see you then.
MEEHAN: We look forward to it.
HANNITY: Appreciate you being here.
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