This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," August 27, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: There you have it: just 67 days left until Americans go to the polls to elect John Kerry as the next president of the United States.
MONICA CROWLEY, GUEST CO-HOST: Not so fast, Alan.
COLMES: Well, we'll see what happens.
And to make that happen, some other American heroes are running to the senator's defense. Earlier today, I had the chance to speak with the one and only, John Glenn (search).
COLMES: Senator Glenn, thank you very much for being with us.
JOHN GLENN, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Glad to be with you, Alan. Thank you.
COLMES: What do you make of this? I know that you've been following the swift boat (search) story. It's unbelievable that this has become the centerpiece of the campaign.
GLENN: That's exactly what I talked about here in Columbus today. I don't think that should be the centerpiece of the campaign. You know, things have happened, whether right or wrong, 35 years ago are just not going to determine the future of this country for our kids and grandchildren 35 years in the future.
And I think the thing — I think we should get away from all this and be talking about the things that are going to form the future here, like the national debt...
GLENN: ... and the big expenditures and the tax cuts and all the other things that we know should be center — center stage now.
COLMES: Do you believe the Bush campaign is more involved in this swift boat issue than they've acknowledged?
GLENN: Yes, I don't — I don't have any doubt that it is coordinated some way, because yes, we have the person that's the biggest financing backer of the — started out with this, as I recall in the paper, some $200,000, Mr. Perry, I believe, out of Houston is throwing — he's the one backing the swift boat thing.
Still, I think, the biggest backer is having a fund-raiser there for Tom DeLay and some of the people down there. I think — Karl Rove (search), I think, is another one. I saw that announced in the paper.
So there's a connection here. This is a pattern that goes back through John McCain, when they smeared him when things weren't going well, and Max Cleland, the same way. So it seems to be a pattern that when they get into some difficulties, why, you go over into the smear mode. And that's not right.
I think we should be talking in these final eight weeks of the campaign about what's going to build the future, not what happened back 35 years ago.
COLMES: The president in today's "New York Times" discusses how he doesn't like any of these 527 groups and says he doesn't believe that John Kerry lied. But he hasn't specifically condemned these particular ads.
GLENN: Well, that's the difficulty, because I probably agree with him on doing away with 527s.
But we know that's not going to be done in the middle of a campaign like this. It would require legislation in the Congress to do away with them. And that's not going to happen now, not in the final stages of the campaign.
But the main thing is the president, I think, if he — he has said that John Kerry served honorably, as far as he knew, and the — but he refuses to say that these ads are unfair at the same time. And yet the ads say that John — imply, at least, that John did not serve honorably.
COLMES: You were very forceful today in discussing about how some of these statements have hurt veterans like yourself, but what about those veterans who themselves come forward and say that John Kerry was hurting them because of statements he made back in 1971?
GLENN: Well, after the war, you know, there were — by the time I think John Kerry was making those statements that I think there had been some over 40,000 people killed in Vietnam.
And we had thousands of veterans coming back that didn't like what they saw. Some of those things had been spelled out as to why they were unhappy in the book that McNamara did back a few years ago and things like that.
So I don't think the — these things are not going to determine the future of this country. That's the point I tried to make today. I think it's time we got on with what's going to build the future of this country, like taxes and debt and what our foreign policy is going to be and schools and No Child Left Behind.
These are the things that we're going to live with in the future. We're not going to live 35 years ago.
COLMES: What they do is they try to attack somebody's credibility. And they keep going back to this issue of whether atrocities were committed in Vietnam and whether John Kerry participated in atrocities.
And you know, I just wonder. You've been in wars. You've been in two wars, World War II, and then you volunteered to go to Korea. Are there rules of engagement such that those things are likely, and likely to have happened?
GLENN: You know, I went back and read John Kerry's testimony the other day, and what he said was there they'd had a meeting in Detroit where 150 Vietnam veterans were there giving testimony. They're the ones that told him about some of the things that they felt they knew had happened, and that's what he recounted.
Now, the ads that are on TV now indicate that as John Kerry saying he saw these things and that's not — it would imply that anyway — and that's not the way it all happened. That was not his testimony back there at all.
COLMES: Also, let's talk about the issue of how medals are awarded, because people are impugning how that's happened. And, you know, if you call into question John Kerry's medals, do we then have to be — does everybody who served have to be defensive about how they were decorated?
GLENN: That's the problem. That's the reason why a lot of veterans feel that this is so very unfair, because it casts a pall, a sort of a shadow of doubt over everybody who served, and whether the things they told or said or whether the awards they got, whether these were real or not. And that's what I don't like about this at all. I think that's unfair.
But whether it was unfair or not back in Vietnam, we're just still not going to live back there 35 years ago. I want to see us dealing in the presidential debates and with the — what the candidates talk about, talk about the things that are going to build the future of this country. Those are the things that are important. We're going to live in the future, not back there 35 years ago.
COLMES: Even if President Bush stood up right now and said — denounced the swift boat ads, would it be too little too late?
GLENN: Well, they've already done — already done the damage, and some of the polls have shown it, there has been an effect from these things. So they've had an effect.
And so I would like for President Bush to do exactly that. He calls for these, said he wants to do away with all 527s. At another time, I'd probably agree with that, but that's not going to occur in the last few days of a campaign.
COLMES: And finally, how should John Kerry be responding at this point? Did he respond properly, and is he responding — responding appropriately to this?
GLENN: Well, you don't — I don't think you win anything on the defense always.
I think that John Kerry should be on the offensive talking about the things that are good for the future of this country, on education and on our competitive position globally, as with business and commerce, and research that's going to build the nation in the future as it has in the past and what the tax policy is going to be, all — education. All of these things are things that I think John should stay on, stay on the positive side of it.
COLMES: One last thing. Does he make you...
GLENN: ... people get tired of this. I hope they are. I think we've stayed on this far, far too long on the Vietnam thing, and it's not going to determine the future.
What's going to determine is what the — what the two candidates say about the major issues that are going to build the future. And that's where I think John should concentrate on.
COLMES: That was earlier today, John Glenn, a true American hero.
CROWLEY: And a partisan Democrat.
COLMES: Well, a Democrat you'd probably think is always preceded by the word "partisan," right?
CROWLEY: And a Kerry supporter.
COLMES: Nothing wrong with that.
CROWLEY: All right.
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