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Hannity

Zell Miller Kicks Off 'Democrats for Bush'

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes", March 24, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

PAT HALPIN, CO-HOST: It's official. Georgia Senator Zell Miller issued his formal endorsement of President Bush and his bid for re-election. What's compelled the senator to cross party lines and start Democrats for Bush (search )?

Joining us now from Washington is the author of "A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat," Senator Zell Miller.

Senator Miller, thanks for being with us.

SEN. ZELL MILLER (R), GEORGIA: Thank you, Pat. Good to be with you.

HALPIN: Senator, I have to ask, what compelled you to do this? I saw a quote from you that you gave just two years ago to Jefferson Jackson ... then in Georgia ... where you had some mighty nice things to say about John Kerry. You called him one of the nation's authentic heroes for his bravery that he demonstrated in Vietnam. You went on to say that he fought the balanced budgets against waste and accountability in government.

He sounds to me like your kind of Democrat. Why aren't you backing him?

MILLER: Well, first of all, he is an authentic hero. There's no doubt about it. And I thank him for his service in Vietnam. He's an authentic hero just like Max Cleland of Georgia is an authentic hero.

But you've got to look at the votes. And just because you examine a person's voting record does not mean that you are smearing their patriotism or questioning their patriotism.

And the fact of the matter is this man has voted to increase taxes 350 times since he's been in Congress.

This man has not done, as I thought he should do, with voting the way that you should if you really want to protect this country. He voted against the Homeland Security Bill. He voted against the $87 billion that would go to rebuild Iraq and help our troops, as far as healthcare, and combat pay and protective armor.

There's just too many things about his record over the years: voted seven times against abolishing the death tax, for example. There are things in his...

HALPIN: But senator -- senator, look. You're a former governor. You know something about balanced budgets. I mean, you've got to be concerned that these huge tax cuts, like eliminating the estate tax and the tax cuts that have gone to the rich have wiped out the biggest surpluses we've ever had. And now we've got the biggest deficits in history.

You've got to be concerned about what's happening to Medicare. We just heard that we lost seven more years of solvency. In about 15 years that will be broke.

And what about the deceptions in Iraq? I mean, we're now learning that from the very beginning the president was determined to go into Iraq, whether or not it was related to 9/11 and al Qaeda. I mean...

MILLER:Let me tell you why...

HALPIN: What about that record?

MILLER: Well, let's talk about that record. Let's talk about the record of past Democrats, the kind of record that John F. Kennedy had when it came to tax cuts.

When he did his tax cut in 1963, and the Democrats supported him, it was about two percent of the total economy at that time. When Bush did his tax cut, it was about 1.2 percent of the economy.

And yet the Democrats today say, "Oh, that will gut the federal government." Baloney.

Also, whenever Harry Truman was president, the United States was thought of as being a beacon for liberty, and he stood up against the communists in Iran. And he stood up and brought in the Berlin airlift to West Berlin.

And he did those kinds of things that made you know that if this Democrat Harry Truman were president that when he was on the watch, that the people who wanted to be free and who wanted to fight tyranny had a person in the White House that would be their supporter and that they could depend on.

That's the kind of Democrat I am. And I can promise you this.

There are thousands -- I'm not talking about thousands, I'm talking about hundreds of thousands of Democrats out there who will support George Bush, because they do not agree with John Kerry and his positions that he's taken.

The biggest myth right now that has been perpetrated in this election year is that the Democrats are united. That's not true. The Democratic wing, as Howard Dean called it, may be united, but there are a lot of Democrats out there, common sense Democrats out there who support this commander-in-chief, because they believe that he's the man to be in this office during this time of threat.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Senator, how can other Democrats join you? Because you just started this today, Democrats for President Bush. How can they help you?

Well, they can go to the George Bush Website ... And part of that, you'll see where you can become a member of Democrats for Bush. I have sent out a letter this week to Democrats all over the country, asking them to join, asking them to find five others to join.

There's a lot of Democrats that are going to support George Bush.

HANNITY: Let me -- I've got to ask you, we've been watching these 9/111 hearings, senator, and I frankly find them quite disturbing. I found Charlie Rangel's remarks and the attacks in the hearing against Condoleezza Rice, an outstanding national security adviser, frankly are very disturbing to me.

Here you have a guy that has turned -- A guy that is now criticizing the president on the release week of his book, that is saying the direct opposite. We have an e-mail to Condoleezza Rice that contradicts what he's saying now. We have the tape that we played in my interview with her, that contradicts what he's saying now.

We have in the case of this guy, we've got -- what else was it? This other resignation letter to the president contradicts what he's saying now. I mean, it's frankly amazing to me that this guy is getting away with these smear attacks and has actually gotten a pass by the media.

MILLER: I know it. And today he apologized, and he ought to apologize, because this man is the one who's really covering his you know what, because this man was in charge of counterterrorism during the period where we probably had the wimpiest and weak-kneed foreign policy towards terrorists that we've had in recent times.

I mean, think about the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 and the Khobar Towers bombing. And the Kenya embassy bombing and the Cole. And nothing was done.

It was -- I mean, it's no wonder that terrorists thought that they could get away with doing what they did, because they had not been opposed before.

HALPIN: Senator Miller, thanks for being with us.

HANNITY: Thanks, senator.

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