Ann Coulter on Iraq, Midterms

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," October 25, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: "The Big Story" is bringing you the latest big politics coverage, from new polls to the closest races to the hottest issues. In 13 days, voters will head to the polls to decide which party will control the 110th Congress. President Bush says that although Democrats are already "dancing in the end zone," the GOP is going to win this one.

Ann Coulter is with me now. She is the author of "Godless: The Church of Liberalism."

Ann, about the Iraq war, what the president said today was — he is off the "stay the course" thing, but we have to stay there to get the job done effectively. Is there any difference?

ANN COULTER, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: I always thought "stay the course" was a stupid slogan. We don't want to keep things the way they are. We are changing things, but it's a process. And this is a difficult war. I mean, I've said many times I think it is going very well. People are — I think people are not appreciating what a difficult thing it is we are trying to do.

We were not, as Democrats keep reminding us, attacked by the country of Iraq. You can't just go through and carpet bomb cities. We didn't win the war. Now it's a matter of killing terrorists, killing the insurgents, many of them foreigners who would be in New York City otherwise. But that's a lot harder than going after Japan or Germany.

GIBSON: He said no deadlines, that would be defeat. On the other hand, Gen. Casey said, hey, we're giving the Iraqis 12 to 18 months to get it together or "dot, dot, dot."

COULTER: Yeah, the Democrats have been pushing in that direction. They'll just say whatever we're doing, we either need more troops or we need fewer troops. We want to have a small footprint.

What the Democrats seem to be claiming now is that we weren't brutal enough oppressors and imperialists. And they want to tell the Iraqis, well, we're going to divide up your country and we're going to give you this deadline and that deadline. Well, part of the reason we haven't been doing — and I think correctly — that is because we don't want to be the Great Satan imperialist superpower bossing them around.

GIBSON: Look, the election is what, whatever that number of days away, it's not very many and here's the latest CNN/Gallup Poll, USA Today/Gallup poll. Republicans are generally behind and Democrats generally ahead. Meantime, we notice a little surge in some races. What do you make of these polls? Just that it's close?

COULTER: Is this poll a generic?

GIBSON: Generally Republicans or Democrats.

COULTER: So it's not done seat by seat. I don't think that sort of poll means as much, right?

GIBSON: It's a general view of Democrats vs. Republicans.

COULTER: I don't think that doesn't mean as much. You need to do the Michael Barone poll where you look at each individual race. People may say because Republicans have been in office for a long time and been winning everything — the point is, if the Democrats do not win 60 or 70 seats in the House, a dozen seats in the Senate, they may as well go away as a party. This is their year. We've been winning everything. We can't keep winning everything.

The average of the midterm election pickup since World War II is about 40 seats. They lost seats in Bush's first midterm election. So they ought to be picking up 60 or 70 seats and I don't think they will do that and Americans do think we have to win the war in Iraq.

GIBSON: We'll take a look at specific races and particularly the three Senate races that seem to be most important to the Republicans: Talent in Missouri, Allen in Virginia and the third one is, well, Tennessee, Corker and Harold Ford.

COULTER: I'm glad you picked those three.


COULTER: Those are the three of about six or seven that are highly contested that I actually think we're going to win. In Talent's case, I just can't believe he is in trouble. He is a magnificent senator. If anyone should be in trouble, it shouldn't be Jim Talent, though Missouri is a very weird state. It seems to be like half Tennessee, half Massachusetts. They voted for Adlai Stevenson in 1956. It is kind of a nutty state. They voted for Clinton twice and but they also voted for John Ashcroft.

Allen I think is ahead and Ford I think is also an interesting case in Tennessee because I hate to say this but Ford is my favorite Democrat and I wish he were running in Rhode Island against Chafee and I would support him. If he were running in Connecticut I would support him.

GIBSON: But these Senate races...

COULTER: But he is a Democrat. I just want to get that in. I do not support the Democrat in Tennessee. You must always vote for the Republican, because as good as Harold Ford is, he still belongs to a rotten party. He ought to become a Republican.

GIBSON: These particular Senate races are more a mirror of how the president — what people think about the president than the House races. The fact that Talent is in trouble, Corker could beat Ford...

COULTER: I think we're going to win those three. I think we're going to lose three others so I'm glad you didn't mention them.

GIBSON: There's Santorum, DeWine and Chafee.

COULTER: I'm not talking about those.

Oh, Chafee, I will be happy to lose. I only wish his Democrat opponent were as good as Harold Ford is. But I would rather wait until after the Tennessee election to tell you how much I like Harold Ford. I just wish he would become a Republican.

GIBSON: Let me talk to you about one more thing.

COULTER: That does show how great the South is, by the way. Even the Democrats are good in the South.

GIBSON: Vice President Dick Cheney interviewed by Sean Hannity last night, talked about one of your favorite subjects, the current senator from New York, Hillary Clinton. Take a look.


DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.: With respect to the other candidates, how the Democrats are going to do, I don't know. I think it is going to be very interesting here on both sides, both parties, because it's going to be wide open obviously. I think Hillary Clinton is a formidable candidate.


CHENEY: I think she could win. I hope she doesn't. I disagree with her on all the issues. But nobody should underestimate her. She is a very serious candidate for president.


GIBSON: Serious, nobody should underestimate her, she could win. She is formidable. Do you agree with the vice president?

COULTER: Yeah, I mean I think it's a good idea to hedge your bets and not be like these idiot Democrats we told us for 12 years, oh, we hope you nominate Ronald Reagan, we hope you nominate him, OK, and then we nominate him and it didn't work out so well for them. He is a better poker player than the Democrats are.

GIBSON: But what about her?

COULTER: I think Cheney is right. She will be formidable and you shouldn't take anything for granted and it would be a disaster if she became president. I agree with him on all those points.

GIBSON: But do you think that you or he should take her seriously at this point?

COULTER: Well, she has so much money she has to be taken seriously. I don't know that she has a lock. I think I may be the only person who thinks she doesn't have a lock. But she has a lot of money and any upstart who beats her, I mean, it would be...

GIBSON: Explain to me why just this week we witnessed, if Hillary Clinton is that strong, we witnessed Barack Obama-mania?

COULTER: I think you're right. I think what you see happening is basically the same thing that happened to Howard Dean. There was all this enthusiasm for him, it's going to be Dean, Dean, Dean three weeks before Iowa, the week before, the day before the Iowa caucus. And we thought it was going to be Dean and then people were allowed to vote. And then you sort of saw The New York Times turning against Dean, deciding now he is actually insane and can't win and so they started promoting Kerry.

And I think you see — I think you're right about that. You see the same sort of thing with Hillary, but she does have all the money so the Democrats are hedging their bets and they are not completely knocking her out the way The Times did with Howard Dean.

GIBSON: Lastly, Ann, today's New York Post cover, take a look at it, it sort of refers to what the president was talking about: "Curtain call. President warns Dems, don't measure for the drapes yet." Do you think that's what the Democrats are doing?

COULTER: Oh, yes. This is supposed to be their 1994 election. They are not crazy to do that. I thought this was going to be a good year for Democrats since last year and it doesn't have to do with Foley and it certainly doesn't have to do with the war in Iraq. The reason they will not pick up 60 or 70 seats in the House is because people know that Democrats can't be trusted with national security.

GIBSON: Ann Coulter, she is, of course, the author of "Godless: The Church of Liberalism." Ann, as always, thank you.

COULTER: Thank you.

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