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Rudy Giuliani on the Bush Victory

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," Nov. 3, 2004, that was rebroadcast on November 26 and has been edited for clarity.

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ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Joining us now with reaction to the president's big victory is former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Congratulations.

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Thank you.

COLMES: I know you worked hard.

GIULIANI: Yes, we did.

COLMES: Hard for the president.

GIULIANI: A tremendous effort, a great ground army also.

COLMES: Any words of condolences for people like me?

GIULIANI: Well, I noticed the last night you didn't call the election. You were careful. I was watching the two of you the night before and you look for tea leaves, you know, you read tea leaves. I saw you...

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: I called it.

GIULIANI: You called it for the president. And you...

COLMES: Well, I said on my radio show last week that I thought President Bush would be re-elected, and that angered many of my Democratic friends. I just saw it going that way.

I thought the people — those who were still unsure, because the race was so close, I felt, were going to keep the status quo.

GIULIANI: Right.

COLMES: "I don't want to make a change."

GIULIANI: Right.

COLMES: Was that your perception of what happened?

GIULIANI: Yes, I think that's right. And I think the war in Iraq, you know, people during a time of war look for leadership, very solid, strong, leadership, and that's what the president was running on.

COLMES: President Bush...

GIULIANI: You know, I think — we kept thinking this on the plane when we were traveling around campaigning different places. We think John Kerry staying on terror and Iraq, every time he would do it, even if he made a point against the president of some kind, it seemed that he was playing on our turf.

COLMES: Could John Kerry have won this?

GIULIANI: Maybe not. Maybe not. Might not have been possible.

COLMES: You're a political strategist as well as...

GIULIANI: He might not have been. He would have — he couldn't seem to shake the confidence the American people had in the president's leadership on the war. Even the debates where he won, the president would win on leadership. And you'd wonder, well, where is that all going to go?

COLMES: You know, I keep hearing words like mandate. I think that Dick Cheney may have used that word. I'm not sure I — clearly, I may not see it that way.

Doesn't this boil down to 135,000 votes in the state of Ohio? And I know that President Bush got more votes than any other candidate for president ever, but John Kerry got the second most votes, because so many people turned out this time.

GIULIANI: Right. He had a nice margin. I mean, in current elections, a three-point margin is a — is a strong one. He got to a majority, better than a majority, which Bill Clinton never achieved. I was...

COLMES: Right.

GIULIANI: I thought that was significant.

COLMES: Well, there was no third-party candidate like a Ross Perot.

GIULIANI: In a majority — in a democracy a majority is a mandate in the sense that there's no question that more Americans than not support his standing up to terror, his conducting the war in Iraq to a final successful conclusion.

COLMES: But this could have gone — not to take anything away. Clear victory. Could have gone the other way.

GIULIANI: Sure.

COLMES: A few votes in this state, a few votes in that state...

GIULIANI: Right.

COLMES: It could have gone the other way.

GIULIANI: Right.

COLMES: And so...

GIULIANI: I think — I think the popular vote ends up creating a mandate, 51 percent, when we haven't had a 51 percent president since — since his dad, since 1988.

COLMES: What advice would you have for Democrats? You used to be one. Right? You don't want a one-party system in America.

HANNITY: Who says?

GIULIANI: I think — I think the Democratic Party is in terrible shape anytime an election is going to turn on national security issues and on defense and military and — because going back to McGovern, which is when I started to change, going back to McGovern, they sort of abandoned that whole wing of their party.

COLMES: It's funny. Because George McGovern (search), pilot, World War II, and you have John Kerry, who's — who fought in Vietnam.

GIULIANI: I know. But then somehow, you know, George McGovern became a significant anti-war candidate, anti-military, and they sort of abandoned the Scoop Jackson (search) wing of the party. All of a sudden gone.

COLMES: Do Democrats have to reposition themselves on those issues?

GIULIANI: If they expect to win elections when America is under threat, then they've got to — they've got to have — the American people have to have confidence in them.

I don't even know who they would turn to as a candidate that could — that could represent that.

COLMES: You've got many liberal positions. You're pro-choice. You're for domestic partnerships. I mean, you have many positions that are not shared by many in your party.

GIULIANI: Right. I'm very similar to Schwarzenegger or Governor Pataki or — I mean, there are a group of us that I guess you'd regard as conservative on foreign policy, conservative on the economy and on the budget, but moderate on social issues.

HANNITY: I'm just going to have to fix you on those. You're doing perfect otherwise.

Good to see you.

Are you — you must feel a sense of pride. I feel a lot of pride for the American people here. And by the way, the margin in Ohio was bigger than what JFK won nationally with in his election, if you remember.

GIULIANI: Oh, yes.

HANNITY: This was a massive — the largest by 3.5 million votes he beat the high-water mark of record...

GIULIANI: Right.

HANNITY: ... that Ronald Reagan had set in '84 in his re-election.

Are you as proud as I am of the American people, because there was a lot of temptation to go into retreat, pressure from the outside community, the international community, and Jacques Chirac and the United Nations and Kofi Annan. They stayed strong. They basically said we're not retreating in this war on terror.

GIULIANI: Yes. Well, there isn't a question about it. That — the president went to the American people on his conduct of the war on terror. If there's anything clear about this campaign, I think that's the clearest thing about it.

HANNITY: Yes.

GIULIANI: And the American people told him by margins they haven't told the president in a long time that they agree with him. So, I mean, there he certainly has a mandate, and to the extent that a majority gives you a mandate, he has one.

HANNITY: Yes.

GIULIANI: That was the clearest, most precise issue and the one that seems to be the most important to the people.

HANNITY: I totally agree with you. You were raising a point, one that I've often brought up, about Scoop Jackson and FDR and JFK and Truman.

GIULIANI: Yes. Absolutely.

HANNITY: These — these Democrats...

GIULIANI: Cold Warriors.

HANNITY: ... were strong on national security and national defense.

I'm looking at a Democratic Party that I think has — the only thing they ran own, it seems to me, was their anger at George Bush. And I think they risk being marginalized and being taken over and co-opted by the Michael Moores of their party.

GIULIANI: I thought their convention, which in many ways was very, very well orchestrated and very disciplined, I thought their convention didn't work, because it had no passion. It didn't — you've got to stand for something. And it was as if they were not running on what they really believe.

I don't know if they would have won, but I think it would have been a more successful convention had they done that.

HANNITY: Let me show this to our audience here, if we can pan in on this here. This is the county-by-county map here. This is — and I'm going to show this to you. This is the county by county, not just the states. It is almost 96 percent red. What does that tell you?

GIULIANI: Well, it tells me that the heartland of America is very much with the president and very much with the Republican Party.

I was in Europe a couple of weeks ago, and you go — tremendous interest in Europe in the American election. And frankly, you know, most of it on the other side of the president.

And they were telling me, "What's the president going to do to understand this better?"

And I told them that I thought the president did understand them and I thought that we've got very good and even better relationships now with Italy and England.

I met with — I met with Tony Blair (search) a couple weeks ago. But I said, "You know, this is a two-way street. You've got to understand us better, too. You understand New York and understand California"...

HANNITY: That's it.

GIULIANI: But we've got a big country in between New York and California, and it represents a lot of our values and a lot of how even American politicians react that you have to try to understand.

HANNITY: President Bush — he coined the term "misunderestimated," as we all know from Bill Sammon (search). Runs in 1994 as governor against a very popular governor and defeats her, runs again and four years later, gets the biggest vote turnout in the history of Texas.

Similarly here, he received more votes than any other presidential candidate in American history with the number of people voting here.

What is it about George W. Bush that people don't understand?

GIULIANI: I think — I think President Bush has some of what President Reagan had. They underestimate him. They underestimate the — maybe — maybe it's the media, maybe it's — maybe it's other politicians, but there's something about him where they consistently underestimate him, so he over performs.

HANNITY: All the time.

GIULIANI: Yes. And then I think you also — maybe people discount his tremendous skills as a politician.

COLMES: Good. We're going to take a break.

GIULIANI: He's terrific.

COLMES: By the way, those blue areas, a lot of people live in those blue dots on there. Some blue there.

We'll continue with Mayor Giuliani after the break.

Still to come tonight, some people have been warning the Democrats about their message. Maybe tonight they'll listen to Pat Caddell. He'll here tell us where they went wrong and his opinion.

Then, will Americans come together now that the nastiness of the campaign is behind us? Peggy Noonan will be here.

Plus, the Senate will have a whole new look in January. We'll tell you all about it.

(NEWSBREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: We continue with America's mayor, our good friend Rudy Giuliani. Have you spoken with the president?

GIULIANI: I did. He called me this afternoon right before he gave his speech and thanked me. I mean, he's just a wonderful guy. He called me on Sunday also while we were campaigning, just to sort of encourage and thank you for helping him.

There's a humility to the president that's really — that's really quite remarkable when you consider he's commander in chief, he's the busiest person in the world, and but he'll take time out and he'll do things like that.

HANNITY: You did a lot for him, though. There's no doubt about it. You went. You really campaigned hard. I think you had an impact, and I was glad you did it.

Let me ask this question. John Kerry said today apparently he spoke with the president, warned the president of the danger of division, the need for unity.

First of all, I'd like to see him repeat those statements when the president makes his first Supreme Court appointment, which is doubtful.

I'm having a hard time getting over the rhetoric that's been used in the campaign, the — the final weeks of this campaign, knowingly manipulating old people and young people, draft fears, Social Security fears, munitions stories that we know were false.

GIULIANI: You got — you got to get over that if you're going to govern. You've got to get over it, and then you start fresh. And then you figure out who really wants to work with you and who doesn't.

And I mean, I was in several close elections. And then I had to govern a city that was, you know, 5-1 Democratic with a city council that was 45 Democrats and six Republicans. So, of course, they were going to call me names during the election.

HANNITY: I remember that.

GIULIANI: Then I found there were some people I could still work with. Everybody put it aside. They were professional. We fought a real tough battle like the speaker, Peter Vallone (search), speaker of the city council, was always a good friend.

HANNITY: He's a good guy.

GIULIANI: We had some — we had some bitter exchanges.

HANNITY: Right.

GIULIANI: But he was always a good friend and he was always somebody you can work with. Then there are some people that you can't. But you know, you start fresh now, and you figure out who — who can you work with so you can get something done.

HANNITY: Didn't the president try this? I mean, honestly, he went — Ted Kennedy was invited over for movies.

GIULIANI: So try it again. Try it again. A fresh start.

HANNITY: Ted Kennedy has been out there — but he's been calling the president a liar for a year and a half. Now you're going to go work with him. You just put that aside.

GIULIANI: Well, you have to. He's the president of the United States. The other — the other...

HANNITY: You're a bigger person than I am.

GIULIANI: The other guy is the senior Senator from Massachusetts.

HANNITY: You're much bigger.

GIULIANI: And if it — and then if it doesn't work, well then, OK, it doesn't work. But you try.

COLMES: You know, if Hannity was president and then going into a second term, it would be so acrimonious. He's going to have a very hard time working with the Democrats, I can tell it right now.

GIULIANI: And the language gets out of control. But, you know, you've got to work your way through it.

COLMES: On both sides. I mean, to say that only the Democrats are guilty when you had Dick Cheney talking...

GIULIANI: No.

COLMES: You have to put that aside now.

GIULIANI: We get pretty passionate. I've gotten passionate myself. I understand it. And you get — you get worked up in one of these campaigns and sometimes — sometimes you go further than you want to go.

COLMES: Negative campaigning works, doesn't it? It was this idea that people had fear, and I think in my view some of the Republicans played into that fear by saying vote for the other guy, more likely to be attacked. How do you respond to that?

GIULIANI: See, I don't think — I guess you always see it from your point of view. I didn't see it as fear. I saw it as this is the reality. We're at war.

To me, John Kerry's — the way in which he would handle the situation would put America in more jeopardy than George Bush.

COLMES: We don't need to refight the campaign, of course, but what can the president — shouldn't the president — we keep hearing about how he reached out to Bob Bullock when he was the governor of Texas and the Democrat in the legislature. Doesn't he have to do similar things now?

GIULIANI: Yes. He has to make another — he has to make another very strong good-faith effort, which I think he — which he said he's going to do today.

COLMES: It's really his responsibility.

GIULIANI: The winner should be the one that does that. But then, I mean, Sean is right, then they have to reciprocate. You can't open your arms and say, "I want to work with you, Senator Kennedy," and Senator Kennedy says, "You're a liar."

You got to say, we're going to put it aside now and we're going to work together. We're going to try to find common ground.

COLMES: OK. But does that mean you have to agree with the president?

GIULIANI: No.

COLMES: What if you honestly think his agenda is wrong. You don't believe in the tax cuts for the middle class, you don't believe in...

GIULIANI: Then oppose him but don't call him a liar. Oppose him, but let's not make it personal.

If — Let's say the president wants to do more tax cuts and Senator Kennedy is opposed to that, fine. That's a philosophical difference. There's no reason why you can't work together, then on healthcare. And there's no reason why you can't work together on other issues where you can find common ground.

And I think the president is very capable of that. He did it — he did it in Texas. He did it for the first year, year and a half of his administration before things started to kind of rip apart.

HANNITY: Right.

GIULIANI: And I think it's going to get done again because I think that a lot of this happened because of the partisan nature of the campaign.

HANNITY: Mr. Mayor, you're a good friend of the president. I think you had a very big impact on this race. Good to see you. Thanks for stopping by.

GIULIANI: Thanks.

HANNITY: I appreciate you being with us.

GIULIANI: Thank you. Thanks, Alan.

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