Transcript: Senate Campaign Chiefs on 'FNS'

The following is a partial transcript of the Oct. 29, 2006, edition of "FOX News Sunday With Chris Wallace":

"FOX NEWS SUNDAY" HOST CHRIS WALLACE: With us now to handicap the battle for control of the U.S. Senate are the chairs of the two parties' Senate campaign committees, Democrat Charles Schumer, who joins us from New York, and here in Washington, Republican Elizabeth Dole.

Senators, welcome back to "FOX News Sunday."

DOLE: Good morning, thank you.


WALLACE: Senator Schumer, you said this week that Democrats are right on the edge of taking control of the Senate, but I want you take a look at the Real Clear Politics average of the key races. And as you look at them there, you can see, you're still behind in Missouri and Virginia, narrowly, but still behind. Montana is tightening up, and you're fighting to hold on to Democratic seats in New Jersey and Maryland.

Senator, isn't Democratic takeover of the Senate still something of a long shot?

SCHUMER: No, I don't think so. I do think we're right on the edge, Chris. Every week, things get better and better and better. We believe that we are head in every blue state — that is, seats where there are Democratic incumbents or were Democratic incumbents and that are now open seats — by double digits in all but one.

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For instance, in Maryland, which they say is close, today, a Washington Post poll showed it 54-43 for Cardin. And, in the red states, we believe we're ahead in five, even in two and down by a little in one.

And here's what's happened, Chris. This election, more and more and more, is becoming a referendum on George Bush, his failed policies, both overseas and here at home and the rubberstamp Congress. And the more it becomes a referendum like that, the better we do.

In fact, with the exception of one candidate, no other Republican candidate uses a four-letter word in his or her commercials, B-U-S-H. The Republican candidates don't use the four-letter word, Bush, in their commercials, because they're running away from him and they see this wind blowing at our back.

WALLACE: Senator Dole, let me ask you about that. The president held a news conference this week on Iraq and in it he said that the ultimate responsibility for what's going on in the war resides with him. Are you and your Republican candidates OK with this becoming a national referendum on Bush and his war policy?

DOLE: Well, first of all, Chuck, of course, is trying very hard to make it a national referendum. President Bush's name is not on the ballot.

But let me speak to Iraq. Each candidate must speak to Iraq from his own conscience. Obviously, it's a major issue. There's no question about that. But what we're trying to do is find a way to win. The Democrats appear to be convinced — or content, rather — to lose. And by lose, I mean...

WALLACE: You're talking about win and lose the election, or the war?

DOLE: The war. They appear to be content to lose. Losing is withdrawing before the mission is accomplished. In other words...

WALLACE: So you're happy to see this become a referendum on the president and the war?

DOLE: I just want to make a statement about the fact that if we were to pull out of Iraq, you've got Syria, you've got Iran. Iran obviously would love to fill that vacuum. And here's one of the largest oil supplies in the world. I think the Middle East would be in flames and what is likely to happen is that we would have to go back in, and that is certainly something that no one desires. So I just want to be very clear about this.

WALLACE: If I may press the point, though, I'm asking a political question, not a policy question.

DOLE: Yes, right.

WALLACE: Are you happy to see this as a referendum on the president and the war?

DOLE: In my view, what we're doing is changing that scenario, because our candidates are talking about issues that are important in their states, such as corruption in New Jersey. It's like Tip O'Neill used to say, all politics is local. So, in New Jersey, the issue is Tom Kean, who is a government reformer who has been trying to get rid of pay to play, whereas his opponent is involved in a federal criminal investigation.

You look in Maryland, and Michael Steele is doing a tremendous job there, talking about change that he feels is needed. But Ben Cardin, no way that he can discuss that, because he, himself, has been in government 40 years. And Michael would be the first African American to be elected senator in the state of Maryland, fresh, great leadership.

Michael Bouchard, in Michigan...

WALLACE: I'm not going to let you go through all the races, Senator, but let me bring...

DOLE: Michael is doing a great job on issues of economic importance to Michigan, which is really way behind in terms of the national economic...

WALLACE: So, Senator Schumer, let me ask you, is this a national race, or is this, as Tip O'Neill said, all politics is local?

SCHUMER: No, I think it's becoming a national race, with, of course, specific local overlays. On the war in Iraq, yes, it is becoming a national referendum on that, and people do not want the stay the course approach that the president and Elizabeth has just outlined. In fact, what's so interesting is Democrats are running ads on Iraq, and not just in traditional Democratic states like Rhode Island or New Jersey, but in places like Tennessee and Virginia.

You heard Harold Ford talk about it, and that's because people want change. They do not want to stay the course. They don't want to stay in the same place.

DOLE: Let me speak to stay the course. This is just — believe me, it's not a matter of stay the course...

WALLACE: Well, that is what the president and all of his top advisers said until this week, Senator Dole.

DOLE: The tactics have been regularly changed and adjusted. This is anything but conventional warfare. We know that. So, as the enemy changes this asymmetric situation, as they change, obviously we have to adjust, practically on a daily basis, an hourly basis and that adjustment has been made all the way through.

Now, maybe we haven't done as good a job as we should in explaining that these tactics are constantly adjusted and changed.

WALLACE: Let me, if I can, switch from Iraq to social issues, which are again on the front burner. And let's look at the exchange this week over stem cell research.


MICHAEL J. FOX, ACTOR: As you might know, I care deeply about stem-cell research. In Missouri, you can elect Claire McCaskill, who shares my hope for cures.



RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO PERSONALITY: He is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He is moving all around and shaking.


WALLACE: Senator Schumer, the polls show that most people favor embryonic stem-cell research, but it also is an issue that clearly energizes the Republican social conservative base. So how does this issue cut politically in your Senate races?

SCHUMER: Well, I think it cuts very positively. And, once again, you have Republicans — Jim Talent put an ad on where he's saying he supports funding for stem cell research even though he voted against the bills. I think that shows you where the winds are Missouri.

Tom Kean, Jr., in New Jersey voted against funding for stem cell research and is now putting an ad on that says he's for it. I mean, just look at what their candidates are doing and they will show you where things are at.

Here's the bottom line on this issue, Chris: There are millions of Americans who have kids with diabetes, who have parents who have Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer's, and the scientists tell us that embryonic — not adult, but embryonic — stem cell research is the best is the best...


WALLACE: Let me bring in...

SCHUMER: I just want to make this point, Chris.

WALLACE: Senator Dole, go ahead.

SCHUMER: If there are people who don't believe in it, that's fine, but shouldn't impose their views on us.

DOLE: Thank you for asking my views, Chuck. First of all, let me say that Jim Talent supports medical research, without a doubt and certainly...

WALLACE: He doesn't support embryonic stem cell research.

SCHUMER: He voted against it. He supported the Brownback bill, which is against it.

DOLE: What he opposes is cloning a human embryo, the same for Michael Steele, opposes cloning a human embryo. Michael Steele is for stem cell research.

WALLACE: Embryonic, Senator Dole?

DOLE: We're talking about stem-cell research without cloning...

WALLACE: I'm asking about embryonic stem cell research.

DOLE: ... without cloning a human embryo.

SCHUMER: You see, Chris, if I might say something here.

DOLE: No, Chuck, let me finish my answer, please, because both certainly believe in research that's going to help with these terrible illnesses. You saw a wonderful ad with Michael Steele's sister explaining that, yes, he's for research. Yes — she has M.S. And, Chuck, you and Jim Talent, I believe, co-sponsored legislation on sickle cell, and he is a leader in cancer research.


SCHUMER: Chris, I just have to answer that. She has had most of the time here. Now let me answer it.

WALLACE: You've got 10 seconds, now.

SCHUMER: There is a difference between cloning and embryonic stem cell research. Jim Talent has opposed it, Michael Steele has opposed it and so has Tom Kean. And the reason that they're trying to obfuscate and use the issue of cloning is they know they're not on the people's side.

WALLACE: All right, we've got about — less than a minute left. You each get 30 seconds and it's on the question of voter turnout operations.

Senator Schumer, in 30 seconds, why are you going to be able to win on the voter turnout, when Republicans always win on voter turnout?

SCHUMER: We know they won in 2004. We've been preparing since early 2005. We have built voter turnout operations. We've created a voter file, for instance, for the first time in Montana and Missouri. We spent $25 million. Our voter turnout is going to equal the Republicans for the first time in a long time, come this election.

WALLACE: Your 30 seconds is up.

Senator Dole, you get the last word.

DOLE: Yes, and let me just say one thing about Harold Ford. He's been misrepresenting himself. He is for protecting gay marriage. He voted against the morning-after pill. There were a lot of misrepresentations.

WALLACE: No, he's voted — no, wait a minute.

DOLE: I need my 30 seconds.

WALLACE: That isn't fair. He voted against gay marriage.

DOLE: He voted against the morning-after...

WALLACE: He has voted against gay marriage.

SCHUMER: He has, he voted against it. That's right.

DOLE: This was actually to help...

WALLACE: He's voted for the ban on gay marriage, both on the state and the local level.

SCHUMER: That's correct.

DOLE: On gay marriage, he voted against a state having the right to decline a license from another state that permits gay marriage. So that's...

WALLACE: All I know is he's voting for the Tennessee amendment.

I mean, we have to be fair here, Senator Dole.

DOLE: Well, the morning-after pill and the foreign companies. Let me just say that he did receive money. I have to correct the record there, but please let me have my 30 seconds.

WALLACE: No, you've already used your 30 seconds.

DOLE: No, here's what's going to happen. If, indeed — and the Democrats are not going to take over the Senate. We're going to maintain the majority.

WALLACE: All right.

DOLE: But if they were to take over the Senate, it would weaken our economy — tax increases.

WALLACE: All right, there we go.

DOLE: It would weaken our security and it would weaken our shared values...

WALLACE: Senator Schumer, Senator Dole...

SCHUMER: Thank you, Chris.

WALLACE: You better allow me to be fair. Thank you both for coming in and spending your Sunday with us. We'll see you out on the campaign trail. It must be getting down to the wire, here.