This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," Nov. 10, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If people are interested in knowing the kind of judges I'll pick, look at the record. I sent up a lot of judges, well qualified people who know the law, who represent a judicial temperament that I agree with, and who are qualified to hold the bench.
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JOHN GIBSON, HOST: President Bush says he won't nominate any judges, who'll put their own beliefs above the letter of the law. Those nominees will have to go through the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter (search) is on that committee and is in line to become its new chairman. Senator Specter joins me now from Capitol Hill
Senator, my understanding is at the moment we're talking, right about now, the Senate Republican leadership is in a conference call talking about you and your leading the Senate Judiciary Committee (search).
If you could speak to them directly, hoping they're watching, what would you say to them at this hour?
ARLEN SPECTER (R), SENATOR, PENNSYLVANIA: I would say to them that I have supported every one of the President's nominees in committee and on the Senate floor. That I made 17 speeches supporting nominees like Miguel Estrada (search) and opposing the democratic filibuster that when a question was raised as to whether I would try to block pro-choice nominees is simply untrue.
I've always been against a litmus test and my votes prove it. I supported Chief Justice Rehnquist for confirmation after he voted against Roe vs. Wade (search). I supported Justice Scalia, Justice Kennedy, Justice O'Connor. And you may remember my participation in the confirmation proceeding as to Justice Clarence Thomas (search), where I took the lead.
And he's strong pro-life, but that taking the lead almost cost me my Senate seat. So, my record is plain and I think I've got a very strong case on it.
GIBSON: Senator Specter, it's known nonetheless, that you are basically a pro-choice Republican. Why shouldn't other Republicans, who are very strongly pro-life suspect that those feelings would influence your guidance of the committee, which is going be choosing judges?
SPECTER: Because of my record. Because I've never had a litmus test. Other of my colleagues who are strong pro-life Senators answer the question that they're not for a litmus test. President Bush laid it on the line squarely in the third debate that he does not favor a litmus test.
Look back at the proceedings that I've chaired. Remember Ruby Ridge, the very contentious matter where the FBI went after Randy Weaver on the mountain. It was controversial, lots of fire. And when it was all over, Randy Weaver said he wished he'd known he would be treated so fairly when he came off the mountain. And FBI Director Louis Freeh (search) was pleased and actually changed the FBI rules of deadly engagement.
That's only one illustration as to my record of 24 years in the Senate, where I have been fair and impartial. And nobody has ever doubted my integrity.
GIBSON: Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Senator, apparently they're having a conference call. Maybe they turned up the sound. We appreciate you coming on.
SPECTER: Glad to be with you, John. Thank you for the invitation.
GIBSON: Thanks very much.
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