This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," Sept. 1, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Our first guest up tonight is the president's top political advisor; Karl Rove is on board.
Karl, you've got to be happy. It doesn't happen before a convention even starts you get a pre-convention poll boost. So you've got to be feeling pretty good about that.
KARL ROVE, BUSH'S CHIEF POLITICAL ADVISER: Yes. It's nice. A little surprising but nice.
Terry, I have to admit, I'm sort of a little — feel a little uncomfortable here. I've got Colmes sitting next to me, but I'm got McAuliffe behind my back.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: We got you covered.
ROVE: What can I say? What can I say?
HANNITY: Well, you're surrounded by, well, the other side. But I'm sure you can handle it, Karl.
Let me ask you this. This is an unnatural situation. I have had an opportunity to read Zell Miller's speech and it's embargoed. I can't talk about it. It is very hard hitting. It is very supportive of the president. And frankly, very damning of his own party.
You don't often see a Democratic senator giving a keynote at a Republican Convention. What do you make of it?
ROVE: Well, in effect, it's without precedent. I've read Zell's book. And if you've read it, you understand how powerful he feels about this president and how sad he is about the demise of the Democratic Party in which he grew up and held office, in which he came to adulthood, in which he served.
And he's a great friend of this president. It's really remarkable how over the last three or four years Senator Miller has gone out of his way to speak plainly to the president about where he's coming from and look for opportunities to work together.
He's asked the president sometimes to help to move a little bit in order to help attract other Democrats. He has really been motivated by a continuing interest in doing what's right for America.
HANNITY: Karl, I can bring in Terry McAuliffe here just a little bit. Because in every interview we've been doing, he said, "See, the president said the war on terror is not winnable."
The president didn't say that and now he's been on the record at least a half a dozen times that I know of, saying it absolutely is winnable.
ROVE: Well, certainly. And look, what the president was talking about was that this is an unconventional, different kind of war and tomorrow is the 59th anniversary of the end of World War II in the Pacific, V.J. Day.
And you remember the photograph of the U.S. and the allied commanders meeting with Japanese diplomats and Japanese military figures to sign terms of surrender.
We're not going to have a surrender from Al Qaeda. We're going to have to destroy utterly the Al Qaeda network and make certain that others do not step up and take their place. It's a different kind of war.
That was the point the president is making, and the president has always said, "I don't think there's anybody in America, maybe not even Terry McAuliffe who believes this president is not completely and fully focused and resolved and committed to victory in the war on terror.
HANNITY: I would argue Terry's comments have been quite reckless and I'll get into this with him in a minute, about accusing the president to be AWOL.
And similarly saying that somehow you were behind the Swift Boat Veterans' ads. You categorically deny any connection with it whatsoever?
ROVE: Absolutely. But that's not stopped Democrats like Terry and it won't stop them again.
But, look, if we're concerned about fairness in politics and all these 527 ads and activists that are in politics funded by soft money, ought to stop. And those for President Bush and those against Senator Kerry and those for Senator Kerry and those against President Bush, all of it ought to stop.
We ought to rely upon the political parties and the candidates and not these 527s, particularly on the Democratic side. Over a hundred million dollars has been spent by 527s against this president, including $63 million on ads.
A third or more of that money is coming from three individuals: George Soros who is for drug legalization, Peter Lewis of Progressive Insurance of Cleveland and John Sterling of the University of Phoenix a for profit university.
These men have contributed literally tens of millions of dollars to defeat the president. Why should there be one set of rules for rich billionaires and another set of rules for everybody else?
HANNITY: And 87 percent of the dollars that have been used in the 527s have gone against the president.
ROVE: Even worse than that. Even worse than that. I mean, for every dollar spent by a group boosting the president or opposing Senator Kerry, it's our estimate that there have been $25 spent on advertising by groups opposing the president.
HANNITY: What will we hear from the vice president tonight?
ROVE: He's in a unique position to talk about this president. Because they have not only a close working relationship but a close personal relationship.
And so he's going to be able to talk about how he's seen this man lead America up close and personal. He's also going to be talking about the big issues in the campaign, the war and the economy and the key big differences between the two tickets.
HANNITY: When we compare the two conventions here, and I look at the Democratic lineup. And I went back and looked at it again.
And for example, it's Al Sharpton and Howard Dean and Al Gore and the Clintons and the No. 1 liberal, Senator Kerry, the No. 4 liberal, John Edwards.
And you compare it to the lineup we have here. It seems, by far, when you factor in Rudy Giuliani and John McCain and Arnold Schwarzenegger and Zell Miller, that the Republican Party is a far more diverse party today than the Democratic Party.
Is that by design?
ROVE: Yes. Yes. And yet united over big issues and big principles. There may be disagreements on this or that issue, but our party is united in a common philosophy of compassionate conservatism, of strength and resolution in the war against terror.
And we may have disagreements over this or that issue but we're big enough to tolerate them and to find common ground and work together.
HANNITY: All right. So I'm going to be debating Terry McAuliffe in a few seconds here. What are the two questions you would most want him to answer as he's a big representative of his candidate?
ROVE: Well, you ought to ask him to explain why Senator Kerry should be trusted with the supervision of our U.S. military, if he voted for supporting our men and women in uniform in Afghanistan and Iraq in combat, under fire, and then voted against them. You ought to ask him why we should trust someone who has had record of opposing the weapon systems upon which our victory on the war on terror depends.
You should ask him why two years after the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 his candidate twice tried to cut the intelligence service budget by a total of 7.5 billion dollars. You also have to ask him why a man who was the most liberal member of the United States Senate, even more liberal than Ted Kennedy, could go around the country with a straight face, claiming he was a candidate of conservative values.
HANNITY: Well, I'll tell you what. If I get a chance, I'm going to get all those and some more of my own. But Karl Rove, good to see you. Appreciate your being on board.
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