This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes ," July 18, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Some of the '08 presidential candidates are talking health care. And in the case of John Edwards and Barack Obama, they both want to offer universal coverage for abortions. Now, the proposal is not sitting well with many conservatives and pro-lifers. Joining us now, former Tennessee congressman, FOX News contributor Harold Ford, Jr., and Republican strategist Karen Hanretty.

Congressman, explain to somebody — I guess we could have a disagreement on abortion. Explain why somebody that finds that morally repugnant and reprehensible should see their tax dollars go to pay for something that they believe, in many instances, is murder?

HAROLD FORD, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, oftentimes — first of all, good evening. Thanks for having me on. And I happen to agree with Steve Emerson from the last package that you guys had on. But there are a lot of things that Americans and we, unfortunately, as a taxpayer, I have to pay for that I may not agree with.

I think the larger element of what both Senators Obama and Edwards are referring to when it comes to universal health care probably will be what will provoke the most debate: how you pay for helping to lower the burden on small business owners as they try to provide health care for their workers. How you help hospitals in rural areas struggling to offset the costs associated with uncompensated care, which is on the rise in communities all across Tennessee and the country, for that matter.

HANNITY: Let me ask you this. Congressman, you're known to be a little bit more moderate in terms of your views as a Democrat. All the presidential candidates now, the leading candidates for your party, they want universal health care. They're all on record saying they're going to raise taxes. They all want to get out of Iraq, which I think would be a disaster. None of them are for building a fence and securing our border. Do you think the leaders of your party now are out of the mainstream with the rest of America? Do you think your party is going too far to the left?

FORD: Well, by no means. I think in many ways, if you look at the money race for president, Democrats have clobbered their Republican counterparts in raising money. Enthusiasm...

HANNITY: No, I'm asking about their positions, nationalizing health care, raising taxes, not willing to build a fence at the border.

FORD: I would differ with you. Half of the Democrats running are for a stronger immigration policy than we — as a matter of fact, they are to the right of President Bush on this issue. When it comes to raising taxes...

HANNITY: Amnesty.

FORD: ... I know that Senators Edwards and Obama have both indicated that they would raise taxes to pay for their health plan, but Hillary Clinton has not. And Democrats across the country would be the final arbiters on that in terms of whom we choose and whom they choose to be the leaders of the party. But I think it's unfair to make the case, particularly when the leader of the Republican Party has been the biggest proponent of amnesty.

HANNITY: Well, it actually was Ted Kennedy and all the Democrats were the ones supporting it. Karen Hanretty, welcome back to you, too.

FORD: But President Bush supported the effort, too, though.

HANNITY: Look, I look at the Democrats, all of them want to raise taxes, all of them want universal health care, and then we saw the big slumber party that went on last night, the pajama party, the pizza party, which they knew had no chance of passing. It was a show to placate the extreme left of their party. I see, when they get to the election, the general election, they're going to have some problems, aren't they?

KAREN HANRETTY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Oh, they have a lot of problems. I mean, let me tell you what. Talk about a strict adherence to political ideology, the Democratic candidates are really demonstrating that right now.

It's not just a matter — and I'll tell you what, this is just the tip of the iceberg with the problem of their universal health care proposals. It's not just a matter of the government funding abortion. But is the government going to be out there funding partial-birth abortion, which even a lot of Democrats find morally reprehensible?

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: By the way, don't you guys like pajama parties and pizza parties? Where's the fun in your party? I mean, come on. What's wrong with that?

By the way, a new poll out, 65 percent say the U.S. should provide national health care, 59 percent want troop reductions in Iraq. The Wall Street Journal poll, 52 percent to 31 percent of Americans say they want Democrats to win the presidency, so I think it's Republicans out of sync. In fact, I think the Democratic Party, to a large extent, is behind where the American people are on many of these issues. They should be standing up to this president to a greater extent.

HANRETTY: Actually, let's have this great debate then. Let's have this debate about universal health care. I'd like to hear what Senator Edwards and Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton, what they have to say about some really controversial issues that would arise out of universal health care.

For instance, let's say you're a chronic alcoholic who needs a liver transplant, and it's the government that is going to decide whether or not you should get that liver transplant. Or perhaps you're dying and you would like a bone marrow, a controversial, experimental bone marrow transplant to save your life, and it's going to be big government, the Department of Motor Vehicles government, that's going to decide whether or not you should live or die.

COLMES: And all these specifics are things to be worked out.

HANRETTY: I don't want the government making those life-and-death decisions about my health care.

COLMES: Harold Ford, Jr., many civilized countries have a national health care plan. People have options often between the national plan and seeing private doctors and doing it privately. We're really behind the eight ball in terms of where other countries are on this. And the issues that Karen raises are good questions, are issues that can and will be worked out. But, eventually, we're going to move towards more people being covered.

HANRETTY: We fund all the medical research, too.

COLMES: Senator Ford? Or Congressman Ford? I elevated you to the position you were running for.

FORD: I think that Ms. Hanretty's points are all valid and ones that deserve to be answered, but the reality is, the biggest burden on Americans today, frankly, rest with two entities. One is small business people, who I believe, if I'm not mistaken, the Republican Party has claimed to be a great champion for. And if we're serious about health care, we have to help those who are making things, building things, and providing services afford what's been the most expensive...

HANRETTY: The Democratic plan would destroy small businesses.

FORD: ... expenditure on their line item. Well, for the last 12 years, the Republicans have had a great opportunity to do much on this and, in fact, the opposite has happened.

HANRETTY: Democrats want to require small businesses to provide health care. And if they don't, they want to tax them.

HANNITY: All right, Congressman, thanks for being with us. Karen, good to see you.

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