Did far-Left Dems Cause a Backlash Against Kerry?

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This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," Nov. 9, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the Factor "Follow-Up" segment tonight, the consensus is that people like Michael Moore (search), George Soros (search) and the Hollywood bomb throwers caused a backlash against John Kerry. Some of the Democratic Party are calling for a more moderate approach.

Joining us now from Washington is Senator Evan Bayh (search), considered a moderate Democrat and perhaps a presidential contender in 2008.

You know where I think it started going downhill for Kerry? At the Democratic Convention when the cameras caught Michael Moore sitting next to Jimmy and Roslyn Carter. Once the folks saw that, that connection between a former Democratic president and Michael Moore, hard to overcome that, was it not?

SEN. EVAN BAYH (D), INDIANA: Well, I think it's important, Bill, that we let the American people know that we can relate to their values, the things that they cherish in their daily lives — patriotism, love of family, faith in God, those kind of things — and that we're not cultural elitists. Clearly, we've been caricatured that way in some quarters, and we need to overcome that.

O'REILLY: Well, when you see a picture like that of Michael Moore, who most Americans loath, sitting next to Jimmy Carter at the Democratic Convention, pictures are powerful. They overcome words, Senator. And I don't know why that happened, do you?

BAYH: I can't speak to that, Bill. I wasn't in charge of or involved in planning the convention. But I do have some strong feelings about what we need to do, and some of them involve overcoming some of the stereotypes that have existed in the past.

O'REILLY: All right, but let me ask you one more question. Would you sit next to Michael Moore at any function?


O'REILLY: Would you?

BAYH: Well, look, I try and have a big tent. I'll sit down and talk to most people. I'm not sure that was the right political message to send the country, but...

O'REILLY: Yes. I mean, I don't think you would, with all due respect, Senator, because the people of Indiana — I don't think they're going to like that, you cozying up to Michael Moore.

Now talking to him — he's welcome here on “The Factor”. We talk to him. But there's — there are messages being sent.

And here's another message. Howard Dean (search) now wants to be in charge of the DNC. Do you want Howard Dean in charge of the Democratic National Committee, Senator?

BAYH: What I think we need to do, Bill, is to reach out to Independents and Republicans and have a season of progress to show that we stand for more than the sum of our resentments, that we stand for something positive, for hope and opportunity in this country, and, you know, I think the American people are tired of divisiveness and anger. We need to stand for something other than that.

O'REILLY: So I'm going to take that as a, no, you don't want Howard Dean to be a charge of the DNC...

BAYH: Well, I've never gotten involved in these internal party machinations. Howard actually is a — we were governors together. I'm first and foremost a governor, Bill, and I have a good relationship with him from those days, and so he's got a role to play. But I — we need a figure who can bridge the differences and reach out to a broader audience in America.

O'REILLY: That's right. And it's not Howard Dean. Howard Dean is a bomb thrower.

See, this is what I'm trying to get across to you Democrats. You guys have got to make a decision, and the decision is whether you're going to look down upon people who voted for Bush, as many of the columnists are doing now in the left-wing newspapers.

Saw another batch today. Everybody's stupid who voted for Bush. All these faith-based people are fanatics. If you keep doing this, Senator, you're never going to win another election in our lifetime, and you know that.

BAYH: Well, Bill, I agree with that, no question. Look, the people who say that the American people were dumb for expressing their opinion are themselves proving their lack of intelligence.

We need to stand for the things that have always characterized the best instincts of our party and country — economic growth, strong national defense, sound fiscal management and being in touch with the mainstream values that are important in this country — and, if we do that, the Democratic Party will be just fine.

And if we have this — this sense of moral condescension or intellectual superiority, that just isn't going to sell on Main Street where I'm from.

O'REILLY: It's absolutely not going to sell there.

Now you, if you decide to run for president, are going to be up against Hillary Clinton.

Now this is going to be interesting to see because Lieberman, who we're going to have on tomorrow night — he tried and got nowhere as a moderate Democrat with a strong anti-terror portfolio. He got nowhere in the primaries.

If you try it in 2008, you're going to be up against Hillary Clinton, and Hillary Clinton is perceived as being even further left than John Kerry. So that will be — do you think you can beat her?

BAYH: Well, I'm flattered that you would ask, Bill, but, you know, that's a little premature at this point. But suffice it to say, in public life, sometimes timing is everything, and sometimes it takes some adversity for a party to look deep into its soul and to understand what it's about and what it takes to lead the nation, and perhaps the Democratic Party has arrived at that point.

O'REILLY: Do you think it has? I mean — you know, you might be right because...

BAYH: Well, look, Bill...

O'REILLY: I mean, I don't think the press — the left-wing press speaks for the folks, the Democratic folks. I don't think they do. You might be right. But I'm looking at Howard Dean, left-wing bomb thrower, Hillary Clinton, very left, and then I'm looking at you and Lieberman, and I just don't know who's going to win that.

I'm going to give you the last word.

BAYH: Well, look, the future of our country and the future of our party lies in both the geographic and the ideological center of the country, not the far left, not the far right, and if we can nominate someone who stands for that center, I think we have an excellent chance.

We're the longest continuous party in history, not because we've allowed ourselves to be marginalized. We occasionally go through these periods in the wilderness, but I'm hopeful we'll have the fortitude and the intelligence to instead go to the center so that we can lead the country.

O'REILLY: All right. Now, if you run for president, you're going to come on “The Factor”? You're not going to diss us like Kerry, right? You're going to come on...

BAYH: I'll come on the “The Factor” in whatever incarnation I am.

O'REILLY: All right, Senator. We appreciate your time very much tonight.

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