Could Democrats Face Jeb Bush in 2008?

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," June 2, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.


HOWARD DEAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: We suffered a couple of serious defeats, but we're energized because we know that our vision for America is much better than the dark, difficult and dishonest vision that the Republican Party offers America.


JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Ouch, Democrats looking to pounce on any possibility that they can to "Take Back America." That's the catchphrase at a conference in D.C. where party chairman Howard Dean (search) and others are trying to figure out how to win back Congress and the White House. But will they have to go up against another Bush in 2008?

Joining me now is Brad Blakeman, Republican strategist and former deputy assistant to President Bush, along with Mary Anne Marsh, FOX News political analyst and Democratic strategist.

Mary Anne, you first: H.W. Bush, Bush the elder, suddenly, out of nowhere, throws out this, I don't know, trial balloon, I guess, well, maybe Jeb will run. Wouldn't that be the scariest thing for the Democrats?

MARY ANNE MARSH, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Not at all, John. I mean, I think George Bush's comments have more to do with parental pride than it does with political reality because when the rest of America sees how kids have been treated in Florida with Jeb Bush (search) as governor, they are never going to trust him to be president of the United States.


BRAD BLAKEMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: A lot of baloney. We have Jeb Bush — let me remind folks about Florida: In 1992, the Democrats controlled the governorship and both houses of the legislature. Governor Bush was the first Republican to be reelected. And today, both houses are controlled by Republicans. Jeb Bush cut taxes, tort reform, performed outstandingly on the devastating hurricanes last year, restored the Everglades. He has got a great record. He's a great governor. And they should be scared of Jeb Bush.

GIBSON: Mary Anne, if there's a kids issue here, it's about Jeb Bush being a son of a president and a brother of a president, isn't it? I mean, is the main impediment to him dynasty?

MARSH: No. It's...

GIBSON: He said himself he doesn't want to be part of a dynasty.

MARSH: No, it's more than that. If he could run this year, he absolutely would and his family would back him.

But the fact is, kids have done worse under Jeb Bush as governor. They're being killed and kidnapped at a stunning rate. The foster care system...


GIBSON: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Mary Anne, are you sticking him with Jessica Lunsford?


MARSH: All of them, because if you look at the system down there, that foster care system loses track of kids. They're missing. They end up dead. You look at all the kids who are under siege under there. Kids are becoming an endangered species in Florida.

GIBSON: Well, Brad, maybe she's got an issue here. Is that a little scary? Jeb is bad for kids?

BLAKEMAN: That is probably the most irresponsible statement that I have heard out of the Democrats. She should be ashamed of herself. Jeb Bush has been in the forefront...

MARSH: Just stating the facts.

BLAKEMAN: No, no, wrong.

He has been in the forefront of creating legislation to stiffen penalties. He just signed a very tough law protecting kids down there. Let's not be irresponsible. Let's be fair. And to be fair and balanced, Jeb Bush has been very, very good to children, the elderly, the poor. That's his record.

GIBSON: I hate to get off a good fight. But, Mary Anne, what about Howard Dean? This is the guy who was supposed to save the party. At this moment, the Republicans got $26 million in the bank and the Democrats have $7 million. Howard was supposed to be a fund-raiser. What is going on here?

MARSH: Well, he is. I mean, look back to 2004. The fact is, the Democrats weren't outspend. Money wasn't our problem. But we got beat across the board. The reality here is, we got on the ground war, the grassroots. So, Howard Dean is spending a lot of time fund-raising at grassroots, which is a good investment. That said, however, you have to be able to do both. And he has got to be able to do it soon, even though he's only been in office a little over 100 days.

GIBSON: Wait a minute. Do I detect a whiff of criticism of Howard Dean from Mary Anne Marsh?

MARSH: No. What you notice is that, even though it has only been a hundred-and-change days, in any campaign, you have to do both, the grassroots and the big money. So, if he's having a problem, this is a good time to ask folks for help. It's always better to ask sooner, than later.

GIBSON: Brad, what is Howard Dean's problem? What is he doing wrong?

BLAKEMAN: Well, he is mean. And he is out there screaming for attention, instead of trying to be a uniter in his party and have plans and tell folks why they should believe in the Democratic Party.

He is out there calling Republicans dishonest. Look at what Ken Mehlman (search) is doing Thursday in California, reaching out to Hispanic business folks and new prospects for our party and giving them hope. You know, the Democrats' same-old same-old is not going to work and it shows.

GIBSON: Brad Blakeman, Republican strategist, Mary Anne Marsh, FOX News political analyst, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.

MARSH: Thank you, John.

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