This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes ," Feb. 10, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Can Social Security (search) be fixed? We will talk to a Republican congressman who will reveal his brand new plan.

But first, will the 2008 presidential race turn into a battle of the sexes? That may all depend on whether or not Senator Hillary Clinton (search) decides to toss her hat into the ring.

According to the most recent Gallup poll (search) among Democratic voters, 40 percent favored Clinton while last year’s Democratic nominee, John Kerry, trailed with 25 percent and his running mate, John Edwards, had 17 percent.

In her home state of New York, a Quinnipiac poll shows that voters are split on whether or not they would like to see her run for president. Forty-six percent saying "yes," and 48 percent saying "no."

And maybe the most surprising poll is the most recent Suffolk University poll that shows that 51 percent of Massachusetts Democrats would rather see Hillary run for president compared to 34 percent who want Kerry to run again.

Will these new polls persuade the senator to enter the race? Joining us now, Democratic strategist and president of Hattaway Communications, Doug Hattaway.

Doug, nice to see you.

DOUG HATTAWAY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Good to see you.

COLMES: You know what’s really interesting in some of these polls? Seventy-four percent say that Hillary Clinton has strong leadership capability, more than Bush has. She has a 51 — well, he has a 51 percent approval rating. She has much higher than that now, as a senator from New York.

HATTAWAY: Sixty-five, yes.

COLMES: Sixty-five percent say that she cares about their needs, and 64 percent say she is honest and trustworthy. These are pretty good numbers.

HATTAWAY: Yes, those are really good numbers. Some numbers we didn’t talk about here is that she’d beat Giuliani or Pataki if they ran against her for the Senate, which nobody’s saying they’re going to do. But it shows that she has done a really good job representing a very diverse state. She has given a strong portfolio on national security and homeland security issues, on the economy, working for jobs in upstate New York.

And people in New York are saying they like her. And I’m not surprised that she has parlayed that and her work over the years into a prominent position in the party.

COLMES: You know, every position she takes, you know, conservatives are going to say, oh, she is a phony. She doesn’t mean it. She’s just taking these positions to position herself to run for president, whatever she says is geared toward ‘08, we can’t trust her. How do Democrats, and how should Democrats respond to that?

HATTAWAY: Well, I think Democrats should do the right thing and focus on the policies they support and, you know, draw the contrast with the Republicans. Of course, there are going to be — and Hillary particularly has always been a target for the right-wing. And, you know, that’s not going to stop.

I think she has a lot of class, a lot of grace, and a lot of smarts. and she is not afraid to say what she thinks. I thought that speech she gave on abortion, talking about common ground between the two sides, is where she has been for a long time.

COLMES: Right.

HATTAWAY: Since 1992, she has talked about abortion being safe, legal and rare. And that’s what that speech was about. It drives them crazy on the right-wing, but it’s the right thing to do.

COLMES: And they say she changed her position. She did not change her position.

You have written a piece where talking about the Democratic need for marketing and branding. How should the Democratic brand be defined?

HATTAWAY: What I’m talking about there is the — that was the op-ed about the DNC in the future. And I was sort of looking at it from the operational level, that the DNC should, I think, take a page from the RNC and run more on a business model that’s working to get out a message between election cycles and not just wither on the vine when we don’t have a presidential election running.

I think millions and millions of people who come out and vote for Democrats, but the party between elections has done very little to drive a message to cultivate that market, if you will, for progressive ideas and Democratic policies. And I think now we have a chance for the party to get down to work and do that better.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Hey, Doug, good to see you, my friend.

HATTAWAY: Hey, Sean. Good to see you.

HANNITY: I have got to admit, and I will be the first to say it, these numbers are great for her.

HATTAWAY: Yes.

HANNITY: But she’s also — we’re also dealing with one of the most liberal states in the country right now, which is New York state. And you know, that’s fine. I’m a minority. I’m actually a political orphan here, because Chuck Schumer (search) and Hillary won’t talk to me, Doug. Maybe you can help me out in that?

HATTAWAY: I’m shocked.

HANNITY: Here is the one weakness that I see in her, in the poll that just came out — I only saw one. I will be honest — do you think of Hillary Rodham Clinton as more liberal, moderate, or conservative? And actually the polls go back from 1999 all the way through 2005.

And when you go back — the starting number was, how many view her liberal? In April of 1999, 52 percent of respondents thought her liberal. And now, 2005, six years later, 52 percent see her for what she is, a liberal. This effort to convince people she is something she is not is not working. That means she will have a much tougher time getting elected nationally.

HATTAWAY: Oh, I think part of it, if she were to run a national campaign, you would see what has gone on in New York, that people forget what the — how people were trying to label her and listen to what she has to say.

I think that’s been one of the secrets of her success, if you will, in New York, which isn’t a big secret. It’s doing a good job, being articulate about what she believes. And call it liberal, call it moderate, whatever, I think she is going to have better ideas than the other side.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Look, I’ve got to be honest. I’ve got to give her credit, in as much as I’m watching her party go off the deep end. She obviously is watching her party go off the deep end. And they have just now — the hard-core left-wing, your friends, basically have taken over and co-opted the party. Howard Dean is going to be initiated there on Saturday as the DNC chair, you’ve got Ted Kennedy (search), Barbara Boxer, Kucinich, Pelosi, Reid, all out there on the front lines is the most liberal in the party, and she is the only one that’s moving right. She’s the only one that’s trying to moderate her tone. She is the only one that has enough sense to do that, which tells me she is probably the strongest politician you have in your camp.

HATTAWAY: I think there are going to be — I think we will see other strong candidates emerge.

HANNITY: Who?

HATTAWAY: People are talking about John Warner running for governor of Virginia.

HANNITY: You’ve got Bill Richardson (search).

HATTAWAY: There’s a lot of talk of Bill Richardson. I think we’re going to have a strong field of candidates. Kerry may decide to run again. Edwards, if he doesn’t. So I think it’s going to be a really strong field of candidates. I disagree that people are being positioning themselves as crazy left-wingers as you put it.

HANNITY: I could say wacky, if you prefer. Wacky, crazy, extreme.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Not you, Doug. You’re friends.

COLMES: Howard Dean is a moderate, by the way.

HANNITY: Oh, stop it.

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