This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," June 4, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST:The political world is buzzing tonight about the new book by former Kerry campaign manager, Bob Shrum. Now it's called "No Excuses", and it does not pull any punches, especially when talking about Kerry's former running mate, John Edwards.
Now in the book, Shrum discusses how he basically talked then Senator Edwards for into voting for the Iraq use of force resolution in 2002 over the senator's objections and those of Mrs. Edwards.
Shrum describes how he made the decision to join the Kerry campaign instead of the Edwards campaign, describing Edwards as a lightweight and saying about Edwards that he's a "Clinton who hadn't read the books."
He also recounts a scene in 1998 when Edwards said, in a discussion about gay marriage, that he wasn't, "comfortable around those people."
Mrs. Edwards now disputes that her husband ever said that.
Shrum is the veteran of more than a few presidential campaigns. His frankness about the once and current presidential candidate has taken some people by surprise. And he joins us in the studio.
How are you?
BOB SHRUM, AUTHOR, "NO EXCUSES": Good. How are you?
HANNITY: Well, I love the book. Your life is phenomenal. I mean, your experiences are phenomenal. Pretty harsh words about what we just described, about you saying about John Edwards, because you started with it early.
SHRUM: This that was a big rollup. And when I first met him I called my partners in 1997 and said, "I think I just met a future president of the United States."
SHRUM: And I still believe that may be true. And I think the Frank Luntz data you had on just now said that he should be taken very seriously as a candidate.
HANNITY: Is he a lightweight?
SHRUM: I think he wasn't ready to run for president in 2004. I think the voters made that judgment.
Since then, he's done a huge amount of work on poverty. I think it's great that he's brought the issue of poverty back to the Democratic Party. He's got a serious health care plan.
But I was — I was writing, not a book about stick figures and papier mache people, which is what so much of politics is about but about people who have flaws, including my own flaws which, I'm very Frank about, I think, at least I tried to be.
But, you know, take the comment, for example, that you mentioned about gay rights.
SHRUM: He did say. I was sitting in the room. "I'm not comfortable around those people." The first reaction from Harrison Hickman, his pollster, was, "That remark was taken out of context." I usually take that comment as a confirmation.
Mrs. Edwards' explanation — and I have a lot of respect for Elizabeth — but Mrs. Edwards' explanation was that there was a whole back story that I didn't know about. I used the word uncomfortable, or I had heard the word uncomfortable but I didn't understand the back story.
HANNITY: What I love about the book, and I'm halfway through it now, is I love the fact that it takes you behind the scenes of some pretty interesting decisions that happen. Not least of which is you talk about the decision Kerry, you know, choosing his vice president.
HANNITY: There are two sides of this. One he considered Hillary Clinton, and I thought you told a very brutal story about John Edwards. Now, he had lost his son.
HANNITY: And can you go into both those issues for me?
SHRUM: Well, Senator Clinton didn't poll particularly well as a vice presidential running mate. Senator Kerry had told me that during the discussions about the vice presidents, he was talking to Senator Edwards. He talked about after the death of his son, told Senator Kerry he was going to tell him something he never shared with anybody else.
HANNITY: Never before.
SHRUM: That — I'm just telling you the way it was told to me. — That he'd never shared before, had gone into the funeral home, and he'd basically pledged that he was going to do something to make a difference in life.
And what really stunned Kerry about this was that he had heard almost the exact same story from John Edwards, in the exact same words, a year before.
Now, I want to make it clear. I have no — I have no idea whether John Edwards knew he had ever told that story to John Kerry before. I do know that he never talked about this politically. I never heard him talk about it politically.
HANNITY: What did it tell you, though? It talks about his ambition.
SHRUM: You know what it tells me? People are mixtures of ambition and idealism, hope and maneuver. And the vice presidency was on the line. He was trying to get to know John Kerry better. Just like gay — the whole gay rights question we're talking about.
COLMES: By the way, not surprisingly...
SHRUM: He's clearly evolved on that. I think his evolution is genuine.
COLMES: Not surprisingly, the Edwards camp disputes much of what you say about him in this book. And Harrison Hickman, the pollster you just mentioned, according to The Boston Globe a few days ago, he said he doesn't recall Edwards saying he was uncomfortable around "those people".
And should point out Elizabeth Edwards said she was there; he never said it.
SHRUM: Well, its a kind of shifting set of reactions. The first thing he said, which was quoted very early on, was "that quote was taken out of context." That's all a long way from that was taken out of context to he never said it.
Elizabeth Edwards actually said yesterday on television that the word "uncomfortable" had been used, but I hadn't understand it because it was a back story about a gay person she had introduced Senator Edwards to...
COLMES: Do you have any doubt now that now when he says he supports civil unions, to give gays the same rights as straights? He supports the Employment Nondiscrimination Act and the Ryan White Care Act. You have no question about his support?
SHRUM: I know no one will believe this. The Edwards campaign doesn't believe it. This wasn't an attempt to write a gotcha. I described the evolution of other people in this book on a whole set — on all sorts of different issues.
John Edwards himself said a few months ago up in New Hampshire that the background he came from — came from made it very difficult for him to come to terms...
COLMES: Gay marriage.
SHRUM: His daughter was quite comfortable with it, and he had evolved. I think he has evolved. I absolutely believe it.
COLMES: Why was there not a faster response in the Kerry camp to the swift vote attacks?
SHRUM: I think we — well, first of all, I think we made a mistake. And I take a lot of responsibility for the mistake, because I had real influence with Senator Kerry.
The polling the first week, basically said it was having no impact. Our pollster kept telling us that. And we actually gained 2 points nationally in the tracking. And held a lead of about 6 to 7 points in the battleground states.
And that wouldn't have mattered except we made a decision to take federal funding that decision to take federal funding meant we had the same campaign money for 13 weeks that George Bush had for eight weeks so. So in August we were going to be off the air. You know what we did? We paid attention to the polling.
We set a rule we are not going to go on the air in August and we held to that when everybody should have listened to John Kerry's first instinct, which is you have got to respond to this right away.
COLMES: There's a great scene in the book. You're going to his Louisburg Square town house on Beacon Hill. Getting ready for, you think you're going to win. The polls are now coming in exit polling. Now you're hearing all of a sudden about Florida and Ohio.
You think you've got this thing in the bag, and it turns out not to be true.
SHRUM: Well, actually, you know what? The exit polls said we were going to win. We went back to the house to go over the victory speech.
There was this extraordinary Dutch master painting on the wall that belongs to Theresa Heinz called [Note: UNDECIPHERABLE] — It's about the futility of human ambition.
And in the middle of this, Mary Beth Cahill, who was a consultant; got a call saying you better come back. Nobody said you better come back, it's all beginning to slip away. They said you better come back.
I knew that meant trouble. We got back. The people who were doing the numbers first said Well, Florida is a little shaky, but it's going to be OK. Then Florida went away. It didn't matter. We had Ohio. Well, Ohio is a little shaky. Then Ohio went away about 2:15 in the morning,.
HANNITY: I was celebrating at that moment.
SHRUM: I know you were.
HANNITY: I'm kidding, I'm kidding.
SHRUM: You were celebrating. You were celebrating.
HANNITY: Yes, I was.
SHRUM: I was crying. I think it would have made a big difference to this country.
For all the criticisms of John Kerry, what I saw was someone who, in deep adversity, especially in the fall of 2003, stayed the course and went through a very long, lonely campaign, where no one gave him a chance. His back was against the wall, and he performed superbly.
COLMES: It's a great book. It's a really great read. No matter what side you're on. It's called "No Excuses."
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