This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," Sept. 9, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Hi everybody. This is THE BIG STORY. I'm John Gibson.
Democrats are playing the "Guard card," hitting hard at the President's record in the Air National Guard. Right now, President Bush is at a rally in Johnstown, Pennsylvania delivering his pitch on the economy. Meanwhile, the White House is accusing Senator Kerry and his surrogates of instigating this latest attack on the President's National Guard service…
The President's lead in the polls appears to be shrinking. Our latest FOX News opinion dynamic poll shows him with a two-point lead over John Kerry (search) in a head-to-head race…
Let's find out what these latest poll numbers mean for the campaigns. I'm joined by Republican Consultant Dylan Glenn (search) and Democratic Strategist Jamal Simmons (search). They're both in our Washington Bureau.
Let's take a look at one of those numbers that Carl referred to. This is the head-to-head without Nader in the equation, and that's because Raph Nader (search) isn't on the ballot in a lot of key places. Bush holds a two-point lead which is well within the margin of error over John Kerry.
So, Dylan Glenn, this is the incredible shrinking bounce, I guess, is what you'd call it out of the Republican Convention.
DYLAN GLENN, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: You know, John, there'll be polls over the course of this week — I understand CBS is coming out with a poll; we had the "Time" magazine" poll: had the President up 11 points. We had the "Newsweek" poll; it had him up 11 points. The Gallup poll had him up seven points.
The Bush campaign has always thought that this would be a close race. I think what's interesting is that the Democrats arguing going in to their convention was that there wouldn't be a bounce because there were so few undecideds.
Clearly there was a bounce for the President out of this poll, and I think it's clear that the bounce became as a result of his message. He is the one candidate in this race that has got a record; he talked about his record during the convention. And he's also the only candidate in this place that has a vision of where he wants to take this country.
GIBSON: All right. Jamal, take a look at this other one, though.
We're looking at George Bush live in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
Let's take a look at the polling. This is about Veteran support and among Veterans — and this was taken just in the last couple of days, probably before this National Guard attack from the Kerry side on Bush — but you can see that George Bush has a....
JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: That was "60 Minutes."
GIBSON: ... a big — yeah, the attack by the people who support John Kerry, Jamal. At any case, there's quite a lead among Veterans for George Bush. You think this attack on his Guard record can close that gap?
SIMMONS: Well, I don't know about an attack. I think people are finally telling the truth about his Guard record and they've been talking about it for a while.
But you know, this isn't about the National Guard, this is really about George Bush making these wrong choices for America. And I think we saw that when he made the wrong choice about getting out of Guard duty. I think we see it about him making the wrong choice to get out of Afghanistan before we finish the job and found Usama bin Laden, whom he never mentioned in his speech.
And so over and over again, we find out that "w" stands for "wrong way". You know, we need to really get a president that's going to take us on the right direction.
GIBSON: Jamal's got show and tell today. Jamal, good work! All right.
But Jamal, take a look at this. This is one of the other polls and it's really interesting: it's about are you for the candidate or are you against the other guy. Bush voters: 82 percent are for Bush. And when you look at the other side, the Kerry voters, only 41 percent are for Kerry and 51 percent are against Bush. Is that really the secret to winning is: you know, "I hate Bush and I'm going to vote for anybody but Bush."?
SIMMONS: I think it's troubling when you have so many Americans that are against the direction the President is leading the country. The President is taking us in the wrong direction. And I think Americans are figuring that out.
GIBSON: But Jamal, I would think it would be troubling that your Kerry voters, half of them, more than half of them, don't particularly like John Kerry, they're just against Bush.
SIMMONS: Look, George Bush is applying for his job again. Americans are saying, either I don't know or no. And that's troubling for the President. He should be a resounding yes. This is a wartime president and Americans are at war. And I think they're tired of looking at that...
GIBSON: Dylan, what do you make of that business about: are you for or against, where Kerry seems to have his voters, half of them are just against Bush.
GLENN: John, you know, there's no question that this country is more divided than probably — certainly in my lifetime, than it's ever been. I think that's why this President's the right president for the right time. He's got a message that transcends parties, that transcends sort of, vitriolic attacks; he's got a vision. When he talks about an ownership society, when he talks about homeownership being up at historic levels in this country, but an economy that's survived a recession; that's come through the events of 9/11, that is beginning to grow at a rate fast enough to create jobs. That's a vision for the American people versus just talking down your opponent.
I think that's why the Kerry campaign has stalled the way it has, is because this is a man they call the President of the United States a thug, you know? That type of rhetoric is beneath the people. This latest round of attacks that have been ferreted out by Democratic operatives out of Texas and folks who...
GIBSON: I've got to run and I've got to thank Dylan Glenn, the Republican Consultant and Democratic Strategist Jamal Simmons. I'll see both of you guys on another day.
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