This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," November 1, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Tonight's big talker story: Donald Trump is in trouble. The real estate mogul has offended his neighborhood or neighbors in the chic oceanside town of Palm Beach, Florida, by flying an American flag.

So is his patriotism out of style in exclusive Palm Beach? With me now live on the phone is "The Donald" himself.

Mr. Trump, welcome. Thanks for coming on. What is the flag beef all about in your neighborhood in Florida?

DONALD TRUMP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION CHAIRMAN & CEO: Well, I put up an American flag, John, on the front of the Mar-a-Lago Club, which is a great house, probably the greatest house in America that I turned into a private club very successfully in Palm Beach, Florida. And the flag is very proudly waving, and the town wants me to take it down.

GIBSON: Because?

TRUMP: Because they say I put it up without a permit and, frankly, had I gone to the town for a permit they wouldn't have given it to me, probably. But more importantly, I say that you don't need a permit to put up the American flag.

GIBSON: Well, is there a particular beef that the flagpole is too tall, or the flag is too big?

TRUMP: Well, I don't think they know what their beef is. I'm not sure they really understand what their beef is. They don't talk about the flag. They only talk about the flagpole because they're afraid politically to mention the word flag and the American flag and take it down.

And I'll say it's probably one of the most popular things I've ever done because we've had hundreds and hundreds of letters and thousands of requests for everything supporting the flag. Everybody wants it. Everybody wants it up. But the town wants me to take down the American flag, and I told them I'm not doing that.

GIBSON: Is this the town just deciding to be opposed to whatever Donald Trump is for?

TRUMP: Well, a little bit. This is probably the wealthiest town — it is the wealthiest town in America, in the United States, and frankly it's a town that wants me to take down a flag and they shouldn't be asking for that.

So it's been a very, very problematic situation. I'll be responding to them very shortly. And you know, I'm a big — I'm a very patriotic guy. I'm very proud of the country, and I don't want to take down the American flag. And I don't believe you need permits to put up the American flag.

GIBSON: Mr. Trump, you are a very successful businessman. The Republicans are running, in part, this midterm election on the economy. Should they get Americans' vote because of this economy?

TRUMP: Well, the economy has been strong. The war is a total catastrophe and people are going to see what they think. But as long as interest rates stay pretty much where they are and don't go any higher, I think the economy will continue to be strong.

GIBSON: What is it that you would say to people — and I hear this all the time, yes, the Dow is high, but that isn't any benefit to me, Mr. Working Man, out here on Main Street.

TRUMP: Well, you know, I just did a book and it went to the No. 1 best seller. And in the book with Robert Kiyosaki, I discuss exactly that. There is very little middle class left in this country. You have rich and you have poor.

And in the book — and the reason I think it became so successful — is we tell people how to get out of the poor and become the rich and go to the rich side of the equation. But, you know, it is a very interesting thing that's happening to this country and I don't say it's a very positive thing.

GIBSON: Donald Trump, we appreciate you taking the time to talk to us tonight. Good luck with the flag fight.

TRUMP: We need a little luck, but not too much. The American flag will fly. Thank you, John.

GIBSON: Donald Trump, thank you.

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