This is a partial transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume," Aug. 31, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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SEN. ZELL MILLER (D) GEORGIA: The Republicans have delved in cynicism and skepticism. They've mastered the art of division and diversion. And they have robbed of us our hope.

NARRATOR: Let's remember what Zell was and forgive him of what he's become.

NARRATOR: The Georgia Democratic Party is responsible for the content of this ad.


BRIT HUME, HOST: That is a message from Georgia Democrats to Republican's keynote speaker at this convention, who is of course, not a Republican at all. He is Georgia Democratic Senator Miller (search), who will speak tomorrow night. Senator Miller joins me now.

Welcome to you, sir.

MILLER: Thank you. Good to be with you.

HUME: How does it feel now to be addressed that way by your fellow Georgia Democrats? You've been a Democrat in the state of Georgia a long time, Senator. How does this feel to you?

MILLER: And I have never voted for a Republican. I've voted for hundreds of Democratic officials, state and local. I have voted for 13 straight Democratic presidential candidates, all the way back to '52 when I voted for Adlai Stevenson (search). It's all right. This is America; they have freedom of speech, thank God. This crowd will be around come next election cycle wanting me to endorse them.

HUME: You think?

MILLER: Of course. It's OK.

HUME: Really? Does it hurt your feelings at all to have these guys so angry with you?

MILLER: Well, no. It's America. They have freedom of speech.

HUME: Let me ask you about your relationship with President Bush (search) and your decision to — I mean this is a pretty momentous decision for someone who's had the career you've had in Georgia politics, as a Democrat for so many years to appear here in this capacity.

I know you've said many times that 9/11 was an important turning point. But you knew then Governor Bush back in the days when you were governor of Georgia and he was governor of Texas, right?

MILLER: That's right.

HUME: And what kind of relationship developed then?

MILLER: Well, when I first met him I was very impressed with him. And I came to respect him and admire him very much. I liked the kind of governor he was of Texas. I had a good friend named Bob Bullock who was lieutenant governor of Texas. We were lieutenant governors together.

HUME: Right. And Bullock was a very close ally of President Bush.

MILLER: That's exactly right, a Democrat. And he and I talked about Governor Bush at that time. He says, "This is man that you can do business with."

I remember that phrase. He says he's a man whose word you can count on. And I found that to be true.

HUME: Now, he consulted you right after his election, didn't he? And called you up. Did you all have a meeting?

MILLER: Well, I went with a few other Democrats and Republicans out to Austin. He wanted to talk to me about No Child Left Behind. And we talked about that and I told him that I was for that piece of legislation. I had done a lot of things in education when I was governor and he knew that. And as we were leaving, he thanked me. And I said, "Mr. President, I'm with you on a lot of your issues. I'm with you on your tax cut."

And so a few days later...

HUME: Now, this was exactly when now?

MILLER: Oh, this was after he had been elected. It was before Christmas.

HUME: Before he was inaugurated?

MILLER: Before he was inaugurated.

HUME: And he, of course, proposed the tax cut and talked about it during the campaign. And No Child Left Behind was an idea that he had proposed, right?

MILLER: Right.

HUME: So then what happened?

MILLER: Well, so later I heard from him. And I became a co-sponsor of the tax cut in the Senate.

HUME: I remember that very well. You and Senator Phil Graham of Texas, somebody who was even more disliked than you may now be by the Democrats in Washington.

MILLER: Right.

HUME: Did you have a sense then that you were more in sync with the Republican Party as it was then, than you were with your own party?

MILLER: Well, it took me a few months to really realize how out of sync I was with the Democrats in Washington. I mean I can...

HUME: Because you were a newcomer, right?

MILLER: I was a newcomer. But I've always been a very conservative Democrat. And I thought that there was room for conservatives in the Democratic Party. But after I got up there and saw what legislation they were pushing and saw how they were trying to obstruct pieces of legislation that I thought the country needed, particular of the Homeland Security bill. When I saw that they would put collective bargaining ahead of passing a bill...

HUME: Tell me what you mean by that. What happened there that...

MILLER: Well, as you may remember, the president had a Homeland Security bill that he wanted to pass.

HUME: Right. To create the department, which...

MILLER: Creating a new department...

HUME: It was originally a Democratic Party idea too, wasn't it?

MILLER: Yes, taking 22 agencies that were scattered throughout the federal government, putting them together under one department. And I was very much for that. But I was the only Democrat who was for his bill. And they wanted to hold out. I'm talking about the Democrats hold out for a strong provision about collective bargaining rights for the federal employees. And it went on for four months, 11 votes. And I was the only Democrat for 11 votes that stuck with the president and stuck with that piece of legislation.

The election of 2002 came along, Gene Carnahan was defeated, Max Cleland was defeated and the Republicans took control of the Senate and the Democrats lost the majority, I think over that issue.

HUME: Really? In the end, of course, the bill passed.

MILLER: Finally, but it was delayed for over five months just because they were putting collective bargaining for federal employees ahead of the safety of the nation.

HUME: Now, let's move forward now. At that point now, you feel further alienated?


HUME: And beyond that were there further steps in this growing relationship between you and this administration?

MILLER: Well, most of these pieces of legislation that I voted for, that they say I voted with the Republicans, was because they were conservative pieces of legislation. If the Democratic Party had come with any conservative programs, I would have voted with them. But they didn't. And I began to see more and more that they were way out of sync from where I was and how I thought.

HUME: And of course you've been asked many times if you wouldn't consider joining the Republicans. And the question, of course, has always been well, why not?

MILLER: Well, because I'll soon be 73 years old and I've been a Democrat all of my life. And I think I'll go out of this world a Democrat, but a conservative Democrat. I was a tax-cutting governor whenever I was governor of Georgia. Put in two strikes and you're out, not three strikes and you're out. Did a lot of things like that. And I just didn't realize how far to the left the national Democratic Party had gone until I got to Washington.

HUME: And your message tomorrow night?

MILLER: I will tell them about the kind of man that I know the president to be. And I'll tell them about the kind of world that we live in right now that's dangerous and need his kind of leadership.

HUME: Senator Miller, a pleasure to have you, sir. Thank you very much.

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