This is a partial transcript from "On the Record" with Greta Van Susteren, July 16, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.
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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: He's been an indispensable man for three presidents, chief of staff to President Ford, Secretary of Defense to the first President George Bush, and of course a partner to President George W. Bush and one of the most capable, experienced, intelligent and steady vice presidents this country has ever had. In short, my friends, Vice President Cheney is not just another pretty face.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREG KELLY, GUEST HOST: Senator John McCain stumping for the Bush-Cheney team and taking a shot at his colleague John Edwards. That's the pretty face he must have been talking about.
Now there's been some suggestion Cheney should be replaced by McCain on the Republican ticket. Meantime, President Bush was in Tampa, Florida, a key battleground state.
Joining us from Los Angeles, former Dukakis campaign manager Susan Estrich. How are you? And here in New York is the editor for the National Review Rich Lowry. Both are FOX News political analysts.
First to you, Rich, on Dick Cheney. You know, Dick Cheney says this is not going to happen. He's not going to be dumped. The Republican administration says it's not going to happen. Everybody in D.C. who is a Republican says it's not going to happen but, hey, reporters want it to happen. We want to write this story.
RICH LOWRY, NATIONAL REVIEW EDITOR: That's right. It's the silly season. It's the middle of July. There's not much going on, so we're going to have this talk even though it's totally ridiculous.
And the fact is, if you look at Cheney, he's just not a liability. His favorability, unfavorable rating is about 46/43, which is exactly where Al Gore was at this time in 2000.
And the fact is vice presidents just usually have pretty neutral ratings because it's only partisans who pay any attention to who's vice president in the first place and they're going to have split opinions about whoever that is.
KELLY: Susan, it doesn't look like you guys are going to get your wish on this. I'm sure if Bush dumped Cheney, you would have a field day with it for a long time but, in the meantime, it looks like you're having fun, not as much fun maybe since the talk of dumping Quayle in '92, what do you think?
SUSAN ESTRICH, FMR. DUKAKIS CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I'm actually happier if he keeps Cheney. See, the bad thing would be if he dumped Cheney and had somebody better but I think what's really going on here is Cheney is not going to be dumped.
Picking a vice president is a major production and, as we saw with the Democrats, you don't just go out and, you know, change vice presidents overnight. You would need a whole process and Cheney is far too entrenched. After all he was the guy who ran the process, how Bush would need him to run it this time.
But I do think Republicans, what this does reflect, is there's a lot of Republican unease out there and Rich would have to agree with me on this. Republicans are not feeling their usual confident selves at this point in the campaign, so it gets reflected and so what are we going to do? How about dump Cheney? Stupid idea but real concern.
LOWRY: Right. It's a very stupid idea but it's not Republicans that are talking about this, Susan. It's mostly the press and it's mostly Democrats. And, although you say you'd be, you know, you want him to stay on the ticket, you'd be glad if he stayed on the ticket, I think a lot of Democrats realize that if President Bush dumped Cheney, it would be a huge political problem.
One, it would be a signal of weakness and panic. Two, it would dispirit his conservative base. Three, depending on who he picked, if it was someone like Powell or McCain, it would spark a bloodbath within his own party, so that's why Democratic strategists are the ones talking this idea up.
KELLY: One thing, though, it's not inconceivable. Dick Cheney has been having heart attacks since he was in his 30s, I mean four or five. It could happen and then the inconceivable for you would become probably likely.
LOWRY: Sure. Well that's a totally different scenario and one that's totally hypothetical.
KELLY: But it could happen.
LOWRY: Sure. But, look, if the most important thing that Bush and Kerry are trying to broadcast to voters is strong leadership, strong leadership qualities and that's one of the major assets Bush still has remaining. If he dumps his vice president, those numbers for him would decline dramatically and it would be a huge, you know, shoot himself in his own foot.
ESTRICH: But, Rich, you can't have, you can't convince everybody that it's only Democrats and only the media when you've got John McCain out there answering it and the president out there answering it. I mean that kind of answer only comes when it's Republicans themselves who are pushing the story. It's the truth.
LOWRY: No, Susan. You know what, Susan when it comes...
KELLY: Actually, Rich, you know what -- I'll give you one in a second.
LOWRY: OK. Susan -- OK.
KELLY: I want to move on real quick because I want both of your take on NAACP -- actually, not the NAACP. Let's talk about Hillary. You know, Susan, just when I think the Democrats have their act together the ultimate political faux pas, whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, not inviting Hillary was probably a mistake.
KELLY: Is this a sign of things to come?
ESTRICH: You know, maybe she's just a soldier. I mean I certainly think that her name must have come up. It was not the case that they sat around and because she didn't, you know, make a phone call they forgot to think about whether to give Hillary a speech.
I think it's a signal that, you know, we've moved on to a new generation in politics and they considered here the junior Senator from New York and what they underestimated obviously was that they were going to take so much flack about it.
So, if she wants to speak so badly, she can introduce her husband and have that role of former first lady but she is not being set up as the future of the Democratic Party because she isn't anymore for them.
KELLY: Just a quick, a Cheney point I was going to make very quickly. It was on the front page of the New York Times. That's what drove the conversation about Cheney, Susan, and that was the media and Democratic strategists.
On Hillary, it seemed a very odd omission and I think there are only a couple reasons that could account for it. One, they're just trying to calibrate and get exactly the right amount of Clinton, you know, just enough but not too much and they figured Bill was just enough.
But now, obviously there is an uproar and some stirring so they've put here there and we may see, you know, as Susan kind of I think you're implying, Susan, we may see some Edwards' tension, Edwards-Hillary tension here already.
KELLY: All right, Susan, we're going to have to leave it there but I tell you what, Rich, Susan, you are two of the smartest political people around, disagree or agree with you.
ESTRICH: We have fun.
KELLY: Thank you both very much.
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