Heinz Kerry Wouldn't Be Surprised by UBL Capture

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," Sept. 24, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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TERESA HEINZ KERRY, WIFE OF DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE, JOHN KERRY: He believes that the promise of America, the promise of freedom, the promise of opportunity belongs to all of us.


JOHN GIBSON, HOST: She is no shrinking violet. Teresa Heinz Kerry (search) has a theory about Usama Bin Laden (search).

She says she wouldn't be surprised if Bin Laden appeared in the next month or so. The implication: President Bush is banking on a well-timed Bin Laden capture in October; surprise, in November, surprise, to help get re-elected.

Joining me now to talk about Mrs. Kerry and her theory, Republican Strategist Leslie Sanchez (search) and Democratic Strategist David Pollak (search).

David, first of all, here is Teresa saying, "Bush is cynically cooking up an October surprise. He's got Bin Laden on ice some place. He's going to trot him out at a propitious moment." Come on.

DAVID POLLAK, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Look, it's the middle of the campaign; she said something. It's probably not the smart thing to say. I'm sure Teresa Kerry, as well as every other Democrat, hopes we catch Usama Bin Laden tomorrow.

GIBSON: No they don't.

POLLAK: Yes, they do.

GIBSON: John Kerry said today, George Bush hasn't caught Bin Laden, I'll catch him. If tomorrow Bush catches Bin Laden, he hasn't got any argument left.

POLLAK: Well, guess what, because he isn't, because he's not pursuing the right strategies. But if caught him, that would be a great thing.

GIBSON: You don't know that. This guy's running all over Afghanistan.

POLLAK: I can you that we left Afghanistan to go into Iraq. That's not the way you catch the terrorist.

GIBSON: Leslie?


The reality is we're safer today because of President Bush. It's unfortunate that any American, and especially the Kerry campaign, would think it's a bad idea or it's a bad thing to catch Osama Bin Laden.

POLLAK: No one thinks that!

SANCHEZ: The reality is whether it happens today, tomorrow or 10 minutes before the election, a lot of American families are going to sleep better at night knowing this... .

GIBSON: OK, Leslie...

POLLAK: I defy her to find one Democrat that said it's a bad thing.

GIBSON: But wait a second. David, Leslie, David here and Teresa apparently think that President Bush is capable of — and I'll use my phrase again — cynically cooking up an October surprise by keeping Bin Laden — he's shaking his head — in Guantanamo Bay or some place until just the right moment.

SANCHEZ: That's another, I think, another aspect of a very desperate campaign. The reality is the President's done a very good job at keeping America safe. We do not know what Kerry would do in this situation.

GIBSON: Leslie, why hasn't he caught him?

SANCHEZ: That's the question everybody wants to know, including the folks that are out in the field every day trying to capture him. It is not an easy task, but I have a tremendous amount of faith in our armed forces and our president.

GIBSON: OK, David, John Kerry says that he'll catch Bin Laden. How?

POLLAK: Well, first of all, there's nothing cynical, right, about saying that you think there's another way that you go about this that's better. In my mind, it's a very easy answer: you beat terrorism with the global alliance; the same way you beat the Soviet Union, the same way you won World War II. That grand alliance of Western democracies has been what every parent has been relied upon, except this one.

GIBSON: What are the magic words that get the French to help?

POLLAK: Forget the French!

GIBSON: No, no.

POLLAK: I'm talking about the Brazilians, I'm talking about the Canadians, I'm talking about the Mexicans, I'm talking about countries all over the world that aren't supporting us now.

GIBSON: Leslie, can you drag the Canadians into this war on terror?

SANCHEZ: I think the reality is that it's everybody's war on terror and the president has built a coalition. And it's very interesting that you bring up Russia. If you look at Putin and the fact and the tragedy that you had in Russia just weeks ago, when you saw children being gunned down.

That is a reality that American families understand could happen there. The president has taken the war there and...

GIBSON: Let me focus, David, here.

David Pollak, today, Teresa Heinz Kerry says, "Well, I think they're holding Bin Laden to trot him out at a certain moment." Couple of days ago, it was naked children in hurricanes; before that she used a strange word for a potential first lady — and I can't even say it on the air here, to describe some of her political opponents.

POLLAK: She did not use it to describe her political opponents. That was taken totally out of context.

GIBSON: Is she a ticking time bomb for Mr. Kerry and for the Democrats?

POLLAK: No serious political analyst thinks that this race is going to be decided by either first lady. And I think as a matter of fact, some people are going to find her candor refreshing.

GIBSON: Leslie, do you find her candor refreshing?

SANCHEZ: I think for a lot of folks in the Kerry campaign, she's a loose cannon, she's an internationalist, she's somebody who has a European preference and that does not bode well with Midwestern voters.

POLLAK: Oh, what a terrible thing to say about Midwestern voters. Are you implying because she's educated and speaks six languages that somehow voters in the Midwest can't relate to her?

GIBSON: David, during the convention when she gave...

POLLAK: I have more faith in people in the Midwest than you do apparently.

SANCHEZ: You're missing the point, you are missing the point. When we're talking about who speaks to America's values, Teresa Heinz has a habit of saying things off the cuff that do not necessarily jive with American values.

POLLAK: And how about when George Bush off the cuff, referred to a reporter, another unmentionable word that you can't say at this show, and everybody said, "Oh, he's such a real man; says what he feels." That's great. But all of a sudden, a woman says it and she's a loose cannon?

SANCHEZ: Well, look at the fact that the President has closed the gender gap, the fact that you have more women supporting the President now than Kerry. Kerry's campaign is imploding and the reality is Democrats are trying to do whatever they can...

GIBSON: David, last word, wouldn't you at least recommend her to stop speaking French in public?

POLLAK: My last word is I'll see them on Election Day; get ready to count some chads.

GIBSON: David Pollak, Leslie Sanchez, thanks to all of you. Appreciate it.

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