This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," Oct. 8, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: When he talks about being fiscally conservative it's just not credible. If you look at his record in the Senate, he voted to break spending — the caps — the spending caps — over 200 times. And here he says he is going to be a fiscal conservative all of the sudden? It's just not credible. You cannot believe that. And, of course, he's going to raise your taxes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLMES: Welcome back to a special edition of "Hannity & Colmes." I'm Alan Colmes live from Washington University (search ) in St. Louis, the site of the second presidential debate.
Joining us now is senior adviser to the president, Karl Rove (search).
Karl, thank you so much.
KARL ROVE, BUSH ADVISOR: Alan, great to be here.
COLMES: What advice did you give the president between the last debate and this debate?
ROVE: None worth repeating, Alan.
COLMES: It's all just secret, classified information, is that it?
ROVE: Well, look, he's a very competitive guy. And he was intent upon doing a great job tonight, and I thought he did.
COLMES: But was there some talk about how to perform differently than he did last time?
ROVE: Now, look, I thought he did good last time. I thought he did great tonight.
COLMES: Well, look, a lot of people thought he didn't do as well last time, but there was a moment tonight when he kind of got angry at Charlie Gibson (search), it seemed, and it seems — it gets under his...
ROVE: I didn't see it.
COLMES: You didn't see that?
ROVE: No, no, I think you're misreading. I think he had a lot of fun tonight.
COLMES: Did he really?
ROVE: Flashes of humor.
COLMES: You didn't see a flash of anger there at any time?
ROVE: No, no, and believe me, I know anger.
COLMES: You do? Well, you're never an angry guy, are you?
ROVE: No, but I'm on the receiving end of it. I'm prone to make a few mistakes.
COLMES: People say a lot of things about you. Does it get to you? Does it personally bother you that people bring you up, and as you just said, you're the object of people's anger.
ROVE: Well, there's nothing I can do about it. So you worry about the things you can do something about, and if I'm a convenient punching boy, so be it.
COLMES: The president today talked about sanctions working or sanctions did not work in Iraq. [Secretary of State] Colin Powell (search) himself said back in 2001 that Saddam had not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to get conventional power against his neighbors and the sanctions were working. Colin Powell said that.
ROVE: Well, we know now through the — in the aftermath of the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime, we are beginning to understand how the sanctions were not working. We literally — the Duelfer Report (search) pointed out that, literally, he was taking as much as $350 million a year out of the Oil-for-Food (search) program and using that money to keep intact all of his weapons scientists and engineers and technicians and the dual-use facilities so they can restart these programs when the sanctions were fully undermined. And they were being undermined.
COLMES: The rationale for war was not that he might one day restart programs or that he had the intent or desire. We were told he had...
ROVE: And that's what the world community thought. The world's unified belief, of all of the intelligence services in the world thought that he had these weapons, and why not? Because remember, all he had to do to get rid of the sanctions was to say I've given up these weapons, I've destroyed my stockpiles and I'll never do it again. And, clearly, by subjecting himself to these onerous sanctions for the better part of a decade, he was maintaining his interest in...
COLMES: But here's the deal.
ROVE: But let me make one more point. Let me make one more point.
Two years ago tomorrow, John Kerry stood up on the floor of the United States Senate and as a former member of the Intelligence Committee said, "Saddam Hussein has nuclear weapons. Saddam Hussein has chemical weapons. Saddam Hussein has biological weapons. He has links to terrorists. He could give these bad things to those terrorists and we could stop it, we need to remove him from power."
COLMES: But the Duelfer Report said, though, if we had just waited a little bit longer...
ROVE: No, it didn't say that at all.
COLMES: ... let the sanctions continue and if we let the inspections continue...
ROVE: Duelfer did not say that at all. This 1,500-page report says nothing to that at all.
COLMES: We might very easily have not had a reason to go to war based on that...
HANNITY: The Duelfer Report did not say that. You're absolutely right. Something happened here, though, tonight and that is that John Kerry's 20-year record, I think, really, for the first time in this campaign, came front and center.
ROVE: You bet.
HANNITY: Why was it missing up to this point?
ROVE: Well, look, as the president said — the president has been talking about his agenda and there have been some issues on the stage. But as the president said tonight, Senator Kerry can hide but he can't run from his record.
And he's got a record of 20 years in the United States Senate of voting consistently to cut defense, raise taxes, expand government. And you know what, tonight I found out was extraordinary. He says, "I'm for tort reform." There's not been a single tort reform bill, legal reform bill on the United States Senate that I think he's voted for. In fact, he's voted ten times against the medical liability reform...
HANNITY: John Kerry and John Edwards really have an impressive Senate record for major legislation with their name and in the case of Kerry it's 20 years, but something else happened here. When John Kerry repeatedly says, "I've never changed my mind..."
HANNITY: But you're a political operative. You've got to be thinking, "Wow, I can put that in with this, this, this and this."
ROVE: Well, and look, particularly when tonight he started off by saying, "I've only had one position in Iraq." Even Alan would have to admit he's had about a dozen over the course of — I mean, for the war, against the war, said on CBS News...
HANNITY: Anti-war candidate.
ROVE: I'm the anti-war candidate. You know, war was brilliant, I supported the president...
HANNITY: I'm sensing a political ad is (UNINTELLIGIBLE) birth right here.
ROVE: Right here, right in front of you.
HANNITY: Right here and now. What's important and the other thing I want to ask Bob Kerrey (search) about this in a few minutes. I looked at Bob Kerrey's attendance record when he was on the [Senate] Intelligence Committee and Bob Kerrey, after the first [World] Trade Center attack, showed up often, about 90 percent of the time. John Kerry didn't show up for a year. What credibility can he have when he says he wants to reform intelligence?
ROVE: That's bad, but what's worse is in the immediate aftermath of the first attack on the World Trade Center (search) in 1993, he stood up and twice tried to slash the defense — the budgets of our intelligence services. He was attacked in doing so by Senator DeConcini, a Democrat from Arizona.
HANNITY: Senator Inouye.
ROVE: Senator Inouye from Hawaii. He couldn't even get Ted Kennedy's vote it was such a radical proposal.
I don't know if you've read his book, "The New War," which supposedly he wrote as a member of the Intelligence Committee. He said the number one threat we faced was the Italian Mafia, and the number two threat we faced was the Japanese Yakuza. And this is a guy who claims to have an understanding of what the war on terror is all about.
HANNITY: But is this the defining moment, because you pointed out some of the quotes John Kerry had only in 2003. We cannot leave Saddam unfettered with nuclear weapons and WMDs.
ROVE: Tonight he said we should have left the sanctions in place. Do you remember what he said about sanctions? He said leaving the sanctions in place would be a disastrous policy.
This guy is a political — he's suffering from political amnesia. He forgets all of these statements that he said before that contradict...
HANNITY: So basically then what he's saying is even though he said after we disarmed Saddam and captured Saddam that it was the right thing to do and he bragged about voting for it. But basically what he is saying tonight is that Saddam would still be in power.
ROVE: Absolutely. In fact, if he had his way — remember, he voted against the first Gulf War. So if he had his way Saddam Hussein would not only be in power in Baghdad, he'd control the oil from Kuwait, he'd be threatening Saudi Arabia, and he'd be a much bigger danger to the world for the decade of the '90s.
HANNITY: All right. Now back onto the issue of spending. He has raised taxes 98 times in his career.
ROVE: Voted for higher taxes. Voted to raise taxes 98 times.
HANNITY: Ninety-eight times.
ROVE: He actually voted a number of times against tax cuts, and voted a number of times to take the smaller of a tax cut.
HANNITY: So you've got a lot of momentum tonight.
ROVE: A lot. It was fabulous.
COLMES: And he voted as number of times to lower taxes.
ROVE: No, not in a significant — you want to make the case that this guy is a consistent...
COLMES: You are such a good political operative. Will you take a place in the Kerry administration?
ROVE: No way, because there ain't going to be one.
HANNITY: There's not going to be one.
ROVE: I want a job in the second administration of Bush...
COLMES: Karl, thank you for being with us.
ROVE: Great to be with you, Alan.
HANNITY: Thank you very much.
ROVE: You bet.
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