This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," January 25, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, D-N.Y.: In the three years since President Bush took office, eight states have seen an increase in abortion (search) rates and four saw a decrease.
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JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Hillary Clinton (search) implying that President Bush's policies are responsible for higher abortion rates since he took office, but she told a pro-choice group, we need to find more, quote, "common ground on the abortion issue," admitting it is a tragic choice for many women.
Is Senator Clinton trying to appeal to moderates and position herself to run for president? Let's ask former Arizona Senator Dennis DeConcini and Republican Strategist Jim Dyke.
Senator DeConcini, the big question: so, is Hillary setting herself up for a presidential run?
FORMER SEN. DENNIS DECONCINI, D-ARIZ.: Well, of course, I'm not close enough to be able to give you an absolute answer, but my judgment is yes, she is. Number one, the Clintons are very smart political people. And, number two, they know that for a Democrat to pull off an election, you have to be more in the center. You can't be far out.
And she's a very smart, capable senator and politician. And I do believe she really believes that. Many, many who are pro-choice — and I happen to be a Democrat that is pro-life — there are many pro-choice people that really want to do something about abortion other than abortion; and want to do through education. And that's true on the pro-life side, too.
There are many who want to find educational approaches, abstinence, and what have you. Then there are the radicals, on both sides, that only want it their way and can't interfere, or you must stop it or what have you.
I think she's got something going there by approaching that. How believable it'll be from the center and on the right side, I don't know, because she's a lightning rod, you know?
GIBSON: Well, let's find out. Yes, well we do know that.
Republican Strategist, Jim Dyke. So, Jim, this sounds like the old days of Clinton triangulation. Are Republicans worried that Mrs. Clinton is going to start going after these faith organizations which elected President Bush.
As she said, just to this crowd a day or two ago, "I've always been a praying person."
JIM DYKE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I think you'd have to be up for an Oscar to come on here and say that after yesterday that she's not running for President.
Look, she proved yesterday that the Clinton magic is not actually magic, it's strategically planned, it's tactics and implementation that have the impact of us coming on today to talk about the Democratic Party being in the center. Senator DeConcini talking about the fringe of the party.
The reality is if you look back at the presidential election that just took place, all of the candidates for the democratic nomination voted against a ban on partial birth abortion. They went to the National Abortion Rights League after their vote and talked about partial birth abortion as not being an issue.
Howard Dean, who's running for head of the Democratic Party, is someone who doesn't believe that partial birth abortion is an issue and opposes any sort of ban. Barbara Boxer, who's sort of become the face of the Democrats in the Senate.
The list goes on. You saw the Tim Roemer, who's up for DNC chairman, who probably has a similar view to the Senator and immediately was slapped down by those who don't tolerate.
GIBSON: Senator, if Howard Dean ends up running the DNC, which one's going to be the outsider: Hillary Clinton or Howard Dean?
DECONCINI: Well, it's all speculation, John.
But let's speculate Howard Dean does become the chairman of the Democratic Party — and I hope he doesn't. I have great respect for the Governor, but I have to agree with Mr. Dyke, the Democrats got to move to the center if they want to win. And that's what they did it with Clinton, and the Republicans can't stand it when a democrat moves to the center, because they want them all over to the left so they can paint this picture.
But if he does become chairman, you will see candidates not being so close to the Democratic Party. And that's a natural phenomena.
GIBSON: Including Ms. Clinton?
DECONCINI: And yes, Ms. Clinton will be one of them, I predict. And also, you see that in the Republican Party. When the Republican Party's way off to the right, you see some people pulling away from it.
Now, sometimes they get their hand slapped like Arlen Specter did, but that's the reality. These parties go to the extremes. And the center usually prevails.
Now in this last election, I must say, I don't think the center prevailed, I think the right prevailed because of the religious involvement.
GIBSON: Jim, I'm sure the Republicans are hoping that they can do flip-flop part deux on Hillary Clinton, but if you go back and look at her statements and records over the year, are you going to be able to accuse her of being a flip-flopper on an issue like this?
DYKE: Well I don't know if flip-flopper — I don't know what the tactic wills be, it's a little early — but she did vote against the Laci Peterson Law; she voted twice against a ban on partial birth abortion. So, I think, that there's no doubt she is who she is.
Again yesterday was a strategic triumph for her and for what may be the first flourish in a long campaign on the democratic side.
GIBSON: Senator DeConcini, just so we all know where we are geographically, what would common ground be?
DECONCINI: Well, having served there on that issue and being a Democrat who is pro-life, is difficult in the Democratic Party. It just happens to be the case. But there are many of them, including the minority leader in the Senate today.
But when that occurs — the common ground — and it has been found with pro-life and pro-choice people, it's through education. Get away from the birth control and that sort of argument because of the religious and convictions that people have.
But when you get into education and prevention, demonstration through the schools and through the through the churches, abstinence and what have you, pro-choice people are not opposed to abstinence, most of them. But that's where the common ground is.
And I think that's what Hillary Clinton is reaching out to. Whether anybody will bite or they'll take on to it, I don't know. But, to me, it's a good thing. If you are pro-life, as I am, and a good part of the Republican Party is, it's a good thing because that's worth doing something because you're improving the situation: you're reducing abortions.
And that's really both sides want to do that. Now there are the extremes that don't.
GIBSON: All right. On that note, former Arizona Senator Dennis DeConcini and Republican Strategist Jim Dyke, thanks to both of you.
DECONCINI: Thank you.
DYKE: Nice talking to you, John.
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