This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," August 8, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Hillary Clinton (search) may not have 2008 on her mind just yet, but she better start thinking about 2006. A very credible challenger, Republican challenger, has now emerged. She is tough New York prosecutor Jeanine Pirro (search), the D.A. of Westchester County. Pirro says she wants Hillary's Senate seat and will formally announce her candidacy on Wednesday.
She joins us now here in the studio.
So, you are going to announce Wednesday. Congratulations. You are running.
JEANINE PIRRO, NEW YORK SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, I am running. And I will announce on Wednesday and then start traveling the state and to all of the various areas to get my message out and talk to the people of New York.
GIBSON: OK. So, is Hillary a strong opponent or not?
PIRRO: Well, you know, I don't think there is any question but that she is. But, you know, my life has been about challenges and not being afraid of them.
You know, for years, people said that women couldn't be prosecutors or try murder cases or be county judges. And I have confronted those myths. And I plan to do so in this race.
You know, the truth is, in this race, people from New York want a real senator from New York, not someone who is looking to the next race. And when Hillary Clinton came to New York, New York put out the welcome mat. But now she is using that welcome mat as a doormat to take her to the presidency. And that works against us, because we need a full-time senator who is going to focus on issues that are important to us in New York.
GIBSON: OK. So, is that the central theme of your candidacy: She is moving on; let her move on?
PIRRO: Well, John, you know, I had a great job. And I made the decision not to run for D.A., because I would only turn around and run for statewide office.
I felt that, in good conscience, I could not wink and nod and say, I am going to stay here, but I'm really not. And I think she has the same obligation, because the issues that New Yorkers are confronting are very important. And, if you have a senator who is in Iowa or New Hampshire, not only is she absent from votes, but you have got the interests of New York that may be contrary to other states. And if she is trying to appease other states in primary contests, then New York loses out.
GIBSON: You know, there is a vaunted Clinton political machine, which, among other things, chews up opposing candidates. What do you anticipate from the Clinton side, now that you have stuck your head up?
PIRRO: Well, you know, I know, because I have run for office four times in a county of a million people as a prosecutor and a judge, that politics is a blood short.
But I like to think that, at some point, people get down to the issues about you and your record.
GIBSON: New Yorkers evidently like her. Her approval ratings are pretty high.
PIRRO: Well, you know, they may be. But, at this point, I am not going to be dissuaded from that. I'm not afraid of a challenge. I have fought for victims my whole career and for the alienated and the disenfranchised.
And the bottom line is that there is only one women who really wants to be the United States senator from New York. And, in 2006, the people of New York will have a chance to vote for that woman.
GIBSON: So, if I got this straight, every time you go out and talk to New Yorkers, you say to them, go ahead, elect her president; that is what she wants; I want to be your senator?
What I am going to talk to New Yorkers about is me, that I have a record of achievements that I am proud of, that I am a New Yorker, that I understand there are issues that New Yorkers are concerned about. It's about terrorism and education and Social Security (search), making sure that it is there for us in our golden years, making sure that there are jobs in Upstate New York, making sure that there is an education that we owe young children to make sure that they are able to compete in this world.
I mean, that is what this race will be about. It will be about me and what I stand for.
GIBSON: Jeanine Pirro, former D.A. of Westchester County...
PIRRO: Oh, I am still the D.A.
GIBSON: Still the D.A, but not running again, going to run for Senate against Hillary Clinton.
Jeanine, thank you very much.
PIRRO: Thank you, John.
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