This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," Oct. 26, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
COLMES: Democrats are addressing more serious issues, like the war in Iraq. Earlier today Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) spoke at Georgetown University in Washington. I caught up with him for an exclusive interview after the speech.
COLMES: Do you expect indictments to come down toward the White House?
SEN. JOHN KERRY: I don't have a clue. I read what everybody else reads. Honestly, I don't know.
COLMES: Do you think there should be resignations, with or without indictments?
KERRY: Well, I said about two years ago that I thought Donald Rumsfeld should resign because his management of the war has really been inexcusable. Every prediction made has been proven to be wrong.
He neglected the most important thing, which is do all you can to protect the troops. And still, there are problems with up-armored Humvees or armor. I think it's a disgrace, and I think he should have long ago resigned.
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COLMES: Your speech today at Georgetown was well received. And you used the phrase "shared responsibility." How responsible are Democrats, including yourself, for giving the president the imprimatur?
KERRY: We're partly responsible, and I accept that responsibility. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't open our minds and our eyes to see the way forward. I believe that a change in our policy is a way to be successful, to be able to get our troops out of there while still standing up the Iraqis and while providing for the transformation that we need in terms of their responsibility and their ability to run the country.
Right now, the large presence of American troops, according to General Casey, according to Melvin Laird, Richard Nixon's secretary of defense --
COLMES: Who spoke out for the first time in 30 years.
KERRY: -- are part of the problem. And many of us have felt that for some time, that so many American troops in this aggressive fashion on the ground are not helping what we're trying to achieve. If you pulled our troops back more and pushed the Iraqi forces out more -- after all, they're not going out to fight World War II.
They're fighting against IEDs, explosive devices in the streets. They're fighting against terrorists who are suicide bombers. So you've got to have people who have the ability, by and large, to show force, to show a presence, but to safeguard the reconstruction, to safeguard the local population. It doesn't take 2 1/2 years of training to get an adequate number of people out to do that.
COLMES: You spared no words today. You actually referred to this as one of the greatest foreign policy misadventures of all time.
KERRY: Absolutely I believe it is.
COLMES: Those are pretty strong words.
KERRY: It's what it is. The idea of the way they've managed it, angering 1.2 billion Muslims and giving so much opportunity for the Muslim world to organize behind an inhuman person like Usama bin Laden.
I mean, the fact is that on Sept. 11, 12, 13, the world was united behind us. You saw headlines in the newspapers of foreign newspapers saying, "We're all Americans now." And what's happened is, the administration has pushed many of those people away. The administration has allowed events to occur that have even insulted the Arab Muslim community, which is the very community we need to pull more to our side with our public diplomacy.
I think they have laid out today mistake after mistake after mistake: Not putting in enough troops, not bringing our allies officially to the table, rushing in a way that they didn't even protect the ammo dumps. You can run down a long list. That list has put our troops at greater jeopardy, it has cost Americans billions of dollars more, and it has prolonged the agony of this effort.
COLMES: Do you still want to be president?
KERRY: I think being president is obviously a tremendous job from which you can get great good accomplished. I don't think there's a member of the Senate if you said to them, "Would you like to be president?" they'd say, "No," tomorrow. Whether I want to go through a race or not, whether I'm going to run again or not --
COLMES: You look a little more rested than the last time I saw you.
KERRY: Well, I'm getting to sleep and eat. I'm getting a little exercise, and I feel terrific.
But you know, the important thing for all of us is not talk about races, it's to get the policies right. A lot of families across this country are desperate about their loved ones who are over there or people who suffered the greatest loss there is, the loss of a husband or son, a daughter. They want us to get it right.
Our job is not to fight with each other. Our job is to find the common ground and get good policies in place. And I think there are a lot of people of good will, here in the Senate, here in Congress, who are prepared to do that, but we need to have an administration that really wants to work in concert with us. As I said, I'm prepared to work to help get leaders in other countries, to help push -- we ought to have a bipartisan delegation that goes over there on behalf of the president and helps to make these things happen. But we've never been asked.
COLMES: On my radio show at night, people will sometimes -- conservatives will call and say, "You know what, I'm really sorry I cast my vote for President Bush. And we play Brenda Lee and "I'm Sorry" and ask them to sing along.
COLMES: Do you find sometimes the people you meet express to you buyer's remorse?
KERRY: Yes, sure people come up to me. But look, again, I don't want to go backward; I want to go forward. We've got some big issues. We've got a country that desperately needs to be energy independent. There's so much we could do to create new jobs in America, to put people to work, to reduce the cost of gasoline for people. We're not doing it.
There's so much we could be doing to bring other countries to the table to help us in this effort. There's so much we could be doing to still fix our schools, to create new jobs. And yet the big fight in Washington is whether or not people earning more than a million dollars a year are going to get $32 billion worth of tax cuts next year.
When people talk about morality and values, we ought to apply a little morality and values to the fundamental choice that what goes into our budget and who is represented by it.
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