Frank Luntz Focus Group on McCain's Accomplishments

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," May 1, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: The latest Mason-Dixon poll out of North Carolina shows Senator Barack Obama only ahead seven points against Senator Hillary Clinton. Many voters in North Carolina said it was the Reverend Wright issue that had impacted their vote.

In a new Rasmussen poll out of Indiana, Clinton, well, she leads Senator Obama there by five points, 46 to 41 percent. In both states Obama leads with the younger vote and among African-American voters, even after the Reverend Wright media tour.

Joining us now for analysis, our own Frank Luntz is with us. It's getting interesting. He was up in North Carolina by a tremendous amount. The question is, can she catch up?

FRANK LUNTZ, POLLSTER: She doesn't have to beat him in North Carolina.

HANNITY: Nobody expected that.

Click here to watch the video

LUNTZ: But if she did beat him in North Carolina...

HANNITY: It would be huge.

LUNTZ: You would be on the air 24/7. And it would be a collapse. And we don't even know what would happen at that point. Everything would be brand new. And the fact that she's now got that five-point lead in Indiana, she's got to win by five points or more to be able to show that distance. And she's got to keep up with Barack Obama.

HANNITY: You've got the latest focus group. You've been doing great work all year for us. Tell us what you got.

LUNTZ: What is special about this is we've been focusing on Democrats up to this point. Now we're bringing John McCain into it. And something happened that we never expected. We had swing voters, undecided voters.

Some of these people you're going to hear from right now leaning towards Barack Obama, and when we asked him your question, Sean, can you name one accomplishment, they couldn't for Obama, but they could for John McCain.

HANNITY: Let's watch this.

LUNTZ: Watch this.


LUNTZ: Name me a John McCain accomplishment.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stability. Government stability.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His experience and more.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That he was a prisoner of war, and he had to get through all of that and still come out and go into Congress.


LUNTZ: Name me a Barack Obama accomplishment.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's been able to...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He can't have accomplishments. He's been nowhere, nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have, I have no idea.

LUNTZ: How many of you can name an accomplishment of John McCain? Raise your hands if you can name an accomplishment of John McCain. Almost all of you.

How many of you can name a Barack Obama accomplishment? Four of you. I think that says a lot.


HANNITY: Of every controversy we've talked about, Reverend Wright, his comments in San Francisco, this is the most telling. Nobody knows anything about him. Thin resume. Nothing spectacular.

LUNTZ: And they know so much more about John McCain. Now make no mistake. These are still undecided voters, and you still can't call this election.

HANNITY: But they're even laughing at your question.

LUNTZ: Yes, because they realize, "Oh, my God, I might lean towards Barack Obama, but I can't tell you why." It's a feeling. It's more than a feeling. Who's the — it's actually the Boston theme song, "More Than a Feeling." You do not want me to hum anything.

HANNITY: But you know what? It's — the fact that they laugh — and by the way, I love focus groups, because there's honest. I think it's an "ah-ha!" moment, it's a realization moment. It's the truth settles in: boy, I like this guy, but I really don't know why, and I've never thought about it.

LUNTZ: And I had people afterwards that came up to me and tugged on my jacket and said, "You know what? I actually — in listening to all of this here..."

HANNITY: They changed.

LUNTZ: ... they changed their point of view.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: The focus groups are — let me ask you a question.

LUNTZ: If only the economy was better, we could do it better.

COLMES: If you would have asked — if you would have asked that question about George W. Bush eight years ago.

LUNTZ: They would named absolutely nothing.

COLMES: Nothing. All right.

LUNTZ: Al Gore should have won.

COLMES: That's true.

LUNTZ: Everybody knew about Al Gore. They knew about his accomplishments. I want to answer your question. Let me. They did not want Al Gore into their living rooms every day. They thought that Al Gore won the debates, but they still voted for George Bush. Why?

COLMES: They couldn't name an accomplishment.

LUNTZ: But they just didn't like Al Gore.

COLMES: Let's look at some of the answers you got. Accomplishment. Immigration. Well, that immigration Bill didn't pass. That was not an accomplishment.

LUNTZ: Right. But John McCain, in immigration, now has the opportunity to win states like New Mexico and Nevada which would be very tough for Republicans.

COLMES: But they named that as an accomplishment. That was not an accomplishment after John McCain.

Taxes is not an accomplishment of John McCain. He's flip-flopped...

LUNTZ: At least they can name something. Alan, at leas they can name something.


LUNTZ: They didn't do...

COLMES: You want me to name something? I'll name the Lugar-Obama initiative enhancing U.S. ability to destroy conventional weapons. The Reed-Feingold...

LUNTZ: You don't have to look at your notes. You don't have to look at your notes. Talk to me.

COLMES: He passed what the Washington Post called the strongest ethics legislation. They reduced the conventional and nuclear weapons. He has hundreds of pieces of legislation.

LUNTZ: Is this now the Alan Colmes show?

HANNITY: It's aggravating, isn't it?


COLMES: You were the host; you're asking me a question. I'm giving you things that he accomplished. The things that John McCain had not accomplished...

LUNTZ: Do you know what they're most impressed with? That this man spent five and a half years in prison.

COLMES: That is impressive.

LUNTZ: And he never broke. He didn't break. They tried everything, and he didn't break. And you know what they said at the end? If he can withstand North Vietnam, then he can withstand Washington. If he can absolutely stand firm against that kind of pressure for five and a half years, he can stand firm in Washington.

COLMES: Nobody can take that away from John McCain, but to say — to say, Frank, that Obama — when it's never been discussed in this campaign, has no accomplishments — let's not forget that Hillary Clinton still has a real chance to win this nomination.

LUNTZ: She's got the most accomplishments.

COLMES: And she has accomplishments.

LUNTZ: Yes, she's incredible. And for Obama, I'm not going to dismiss the fact that he's inspirational, that young people are voting for the first time that never did. And by the way, Sean, that's an accomplishment.

COLMES: How about the first African-American who's got a real shot at being president of the United Stats? How about that for an accomplishment?

LUNTZ: Fantastic. Fantastic. But when you compare that to someone who's a genuine American hero. That's all I'm saying.

COLMES: You even compare it. No one — you cannot take that away from John McCain. The question is, who would be a better president of the United States, based on where they stand on policies? And at this moment, most of the American people. With all due respect to whatever John McCain experienced that made — people may have different answers.

LUNTZ: And the American people have not yet made up their minds, but what looked like an Obama victory...

HANNITY: They don't know anything about him.

LUNTZ: I was the first one to say that Obama was going to win.

COLMES: They don't know anything about him, because the campaign has not been about issues yet.

HANNITY: He's been on the stump a year and a half.

COLMES: Because we're talking about a pastor and a guy who was his neighbor.

HANNITY: Only in the last two months. And his polls have been up...

LUNTZ: You've got to take over your show here.

COLMES: He had his turn. Wait a second. I get to talk too, Frank.

LUNTZ: I don't get to talk. That's — you brought me here.

COLMES: You're going to do that when we get back. It will be the Frank Luntz show when we get back in a moment.

Watch "Hannity & Colmes" weeknights at 9 p.m. ET!

Copy: Content and Programming Copyright 2008 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2008 Voxant, Inc. (, which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, LLC'S and Voxant, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.