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First Lady Laura Bush Offers Her Husband Some Advice

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," Sept. 2, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: It's a big night. So was it easier for you when you have to give the speech or when you know your husband has a big speech ahead of him?

LAURA BUSH (search), FIRST LADY: I think actually it's easier for me, because I get nervous. But — but I'm really looking forward to his speech tonight.

HANNITY: Well, have you had a sneak preview?

BUSH: I've had a sneak preview. Not of all of it. I haven't read the whole thing. But I've seen some of it, and I know some of the stories that are in it. And I know what he's going to talk about.

And it will be about a lot of things. It will be, you know, obviously what he wants to do in the second term. I mean, that's the whole point of the convention speech.

HANNITY: Does he seek your advice or counsel? Because when I write books, I seek my wife's — my wife's counsel a lot. She is the writer and editor in the family.

BUSH: Yes. No, not really. I mean, he has a lot of other people whose advice he seeks. But we'll talk about it. You know, we'll talk about different issues or stories that are going to be in it. It's going to be good.

HANNITY: You, as — as a family, as the president, he's been challenged in a way that few presidents have. Here's a man you've been married to all these years. You've watched him now have to deal with some of the most serious matters affecting war and peace and security and leading troops in harm's way. Have you noticed a big change in him?

BUSH: Well, in some ways, of course. I mean, we've all changed, and we all changed after September 11 (search). But in a lot of ways, he's exactly the person I married.

He has a lot of discipline. He's — he's very disciplined. He's a disciplined athlete. He's very focused. He's funny, still. And that's really important. I think it's especially important in times of anxiety to...

HANNITY: He makes you laugh.

BUSH: ... to be able to laugh and make each other laugh. And he's very compassionate. He's got a loving heart. And I tried to say all these things in my speech on Tuesday night, because I have seen him. I've been there with him when he's had to make those tough decisions.

And I know how tough they are to make. You know, I know what — how difficult those decisions are and how much courage it takes to move when you are faced with difficult decisions.

HANNITY: He doesn't seem like a worrier. He doesn't seem like he agonizes that much.

BUSH: I'm sure he worries. You know, we all worry some. But he doesn't agonize over decisions. He gets all the advice, you know, from — the best advice he can from people, and then he makes a decision, and then moves on at that point.

HANNITY: Walk us through a couple of the really tough nights that you had to deal with, the nights after 9/11, the nights leading up to two wars. Were they particularly different?

BUSH: Sure. Well, I mean, I know and I'm sure everybody in this town really remembers how we felt for weeks and months after 9/11, when you didn't know if it was going to happen again.

I remember we went to Camp David the weekend before he came back and announced that troops were going — on that Sunday afternoon, that troops were going to go into Afghanistan.

And when you make those decisions, you make them with a very, very heavy heart. I know he did. Because you just can't really — as much as you know about all of it, you can't say for sure what the outcome is going to be.

HANNITY: And you see him and you just watch and you know the...

BUSH: That's right. And you...

HANNITY: ... seriousness and the gravity of it all.

BUSH: You think about the young kids, those young people, those young men and women that are going there. And you think about their mothers and their dads and their husbands and their wives, and a lot of the ones who have lost somebody there I've met over the last couple of years. And you know how hard it is and what a huge sacrifice they make.

HANNITY: Do you talk a lot about the election?

BUSH: Sure, you know, we talk about that. We — not so much what's going to happen on November 2 as much as just what's happening today and how we're — what the plan is and how we're moving through the election.

And certainly this is the — one of the most important parts of it. This is the seventh convention I've been to. And you know, two of those other conventions, the nominee was somebody George and I love, his father. And we've seen this...

HANNITY: I got to meet him today.

BUSH: Good, great. Every time they're exciting and fun, and they're a very, very important part of American history.

HANNITY: Do you worry about the outcome?

BUSH: Sure. Of course. I mean, you know, you think about the outcome and what it will be. And then really — there are great things about political races. One of the great things is there's an end. You know the campaign's over at some point, and at that point you find out. Last time we didn't find out quite as soon as we thought we would.

HANNITY: You hope that that changes this time?

BUSH: Exactly. But — but what happens on that day, you know, then determines what happened for the...

HANNITY: For your future.

BUSH: ... for your future.

HANNITY: We have — the girls now for the first time have stepped out politically.

BUSH: That's right.

HANNITY: And they gave — they were there, giving their speech the other night. Were you happy with their speech?

BUSH: I was. I thought they were very funny and very lively. I knew what was in the speech, you know, of course. I had seen them — their talk beforehand.

HANNITY: They love their dad.

BUSH: They adore their dad. They really adore him. And I think that came out.

They love their grandmother, and I think that also came out. They also, of course, love to harass her, and she loves to harass them, as you can tell.

HANNITY: Would you, if — because now we have two generations here. Would you want for your daughter ever maybe to be running for president? Can you ever see a day that any one of your daughters would run for president? Would you encourage it? Would you want them to do it?

BUSH: Sure, if they wanted to. If they want to be involved in politics, I think that's great. I don't think they think they will at this point, but I'm sure when my husband was 22, he didn't think he would be involved in politics either.

HANNITY: Let me ask you about the tone in Washington. Your husband said one of the...

BUSH: Disappointing things.

HANNITY: ...disappointing things he has had — because he was able to work well with Democrats in Texas. Zell Miller last night said, "Where is the bipartisanship when we need it the most?" He said, "There is a manic obsession to bring down our commander in chief."

He said, "They are motivated more by partisan politics by — than our nation's national security. Today's Democratic leaders see America as an occupier not a liberator."

Very strong words.

BUSH: Those were very, very strong words. They were very strong words. And I don't know that I would — I mean, I don't know that I would say that. I actually think that both sides of the aisle want what's best for the United States.

But it is so evenly divided, both the House and the Senate are so close that I think that — that keeps it from — neither side really has to compromise, because they are so close to each time having the number of votes they need on whatever is the most important issue for them.

HANNITY: Let me ask you this question and then ask the question in a different way.

I know, for example, your husband reached out, and some conservatives got mad at him when he wanted to get this education Bill passed with Ted Kennedy. And he reached over across the aisle, and they came together and they put a Bill together.

But Ted Kennedy has been out there a year now, accusing your husband of being a liar. He came up with a conspiracy theory that he had concocted a war in Texas for political gain.

Howard Dean advancing the theory that — that your husband knew about 9/11 ahead of time. Al Gore screaming that George Bush betrayed America.

We're not talking about pundits on radio or television. These — these are the leaders of the Democratic Party that have said very terrible things here. How — how troublesome is that to you...

BUSH: That's troublesome, of course. I mean, that's one of the reasons that I think it's difficult to have a lot of bipartisan work.

And certainly in this year, the fourth year of any term is the term when it's very hard to get a lot of bills passed, because neither side wants to give the other side the credit.

HANNITY: Right.

BUSH: And I think that's what they're afraid will happen, that the president would get credit for a good Bill that went through now. So that just doesn't happen.

HANNITY: It's not good timing. They can't do it now, because he might be re-elected.

BUSH: That just is what happens. Sure, I'm sorry. I actually don't even really think they truly believe that. I think this is partisan rhetoric that just happens in an election year where people get fired up, and obviously we saw how fired up they got.

HANNITY: I guess this is a natural competition. And there it is, it's George W. Bush and it's John Kerry.

You've had an opportunity to look at Senator Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry. What do you think of them and what do you think of — when you compare the president with John Kerry's views, what are your thoughts on that?

BUSH: Well, I don't know them. I have never met either one of them. And, you know, of course, I think George ought to be re-elected. I mean, I know George and I know what he's like, and I know what resolve he has and what a discipline he has. And I think what character he has. And I think that's very, very important, especially now, under the circumstances. So that's who I'm supporting.

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