This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," June 6, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Our top story tonight, the Republican candidates for president debated last night in New Hampshire. FOX's own Frank Luntz has some detailed analysis for us tonight, including real-life viewer reactions. Frank Luntz, the author of "Words that Work," now joins us, good to be here in person.

FRANK LUNTZ, AUTHOR: It's great to be here.

COLMES: So what do you think? Where do we start with last night's debate?

LUNTZ: Let me explain what you're going to see. We took 29 Republicans, all people who voted in the 2000 GOP primary in New Hampshire, and they watched the entire debate, from beginning to end, two hours. They had a device about the size of a remote control. They turn it up if they want to vote for the person; they turn it down if they want to vote against them.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: That means like, when I talk, they turn it up. When Alan — no, I'm kidding.

COLMES: Are you running?


COLMES: Second by second, as they're talking, right?

LUNTZ: In the Democratic debate, they were turning you up, so if that would make you feel better.

COLMES: Yes, that's nice to hear.

LUNTZ: And what you're going to see are lines on the screen. Fifty is the midpoint. Fifty is neutral. If the lines climb, you know you've got good sound bites. If the lines go down, you know that people don't like it. The first sound bite is John McCain on immigration. And you're going to watch as he responds, that they actually go negative. Now, remember, some of these people voted for McCain in 2000. When they hear what he says on immigration, they go negative.

COLMES: Here we go.

LUNTZ: Let's take a look.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: It does have an employment verification system, and it weeds out those who shouldn't be here, and it gives others a chance to remain in this country.

Look, this is a national security issue, first and foremost. Ever since 9/11, it's a national security issue. People came to Fort Dix, New Jersey, from across our southern border and tried to kill our soldiers. For us to do nothing is silent and de facto amnesty.


COLMES: Now, he, by the way, stood alone on that issue last night against all the other candidates.

LUNTZ: That's correct. And if viewers — we used the segment that didn't have the lines — that was one of the most negative responses that anybody had in the entire debate, and that's because there is a division within the Republican Party right now on immigration, and John McCain is taking the minority position within the GOP.

COLMES: And you say that's going to hurt him in a Republican primary?

LUNTZ: Not only is it going to hurt John McCain in a Republican primary, it's going to hurt other Republicans in 2008. I've been studying this now for 15 years. I've never seen such divisions within the Republican base as what's going on right now with immigration.

COLMES: And the president is on base.

LUNTZ: Absolutely.

COLMES: Now, we have more on immigration, right?

LUNTZ: We've got two other clips. Let's run the Rudy Giuliani clip. This is a positive, that people reacted very favorably to this language of Giuliani on immigration.


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: There are four or five different methods of identification, not one. It does not provide information about who exited the United States. Now, tell me how you're going to figure out who's in the United States if you can't figure out who's left the United States? And, finally, it doesn't provide for a uniformed database. Many countries have this. The United States doesn't have it.


COLMES: now he may be wrong but you know, the fact is that the Republican audience liked what he said about it.

LUNTZ: Yes, what he's saying about immigration is that, if Washington can't deliver your mail and has trouble taxing you, why would you trust them with yet another government program on immigration? The issue that Giuliani does well on is that he says that this bill is worse than no bill at all. McCain says we have to fix the problem; Giuliani says the fix is actually worse than the problem.

COLMES: McCain also said something tonight I thought was very good. He said, "Come up with your own plans. Does anybody else have a better plan than the one that's out there?" And McCain asked that question last night.

LUNTZ: And it didn't work. It did not work. Let me show you one other segment on immigration. When Mitt Romney talked with his solution, it scored through the roof. You're only going to see the sound bites, but this is language that worked with the Republicans.


MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS: The law passed in 1986 asked for us to secure the border and said also to put in place an employment verification system. Neither one of those was done, so let's make sure that we enforce the law as it exists. And if you want to improve this bill, well, one thing you could do to make it better is to take that Z visa and make it temporary instead of a permanent right to stay in America. That's simply just not fair.


HANNITY: But, Frank, one of the things — how deeply did he damage himself, Senator McCain then?

LUNTZ: Our group shifted — you could almost call Mitt Romney a rock star. By the time it was done, seven, eight people walked into the room supporting him. By the time it was done, it was in the low-to-mid 20s. People shifted to him because they thought that he had a beginning, middle, and end to each answer. They thought that he had the right mixture of style and substance. What he does, which the other candidates don't do, is that he makes a declarative statement at the beginning. The first two sentences say, "This is where I'm at." Then he tells a story, and then he ends it with one, two, three, where he stands.

HANNITY: He told me today, because I spoke with him, that he spends a lot of time in debate prep for these things.

LUNTZ: Clearly.

HANNITY: But if we look at Senator McCain, campaign finance, McCain- Feingold, he didn't support the president's tax cuts, now this very public disagreement with conservatives on immigration here, how does he get the nomination, taking these — the judge issue, he was part of the Gang of 14?

LUNTZ: He was the guy who was the reformer back in 2000, and the reformer with intensity. There was passion to John McCain. He's become so quiet. What we're going to see now, one more clip, is about 30 seconds of the focus group reacting to what they don't like about John McCain. Now, remember, some of these people voted for McCain in 2000; some of them walked into this room last night...

HANNITY: ... wanting to vote for him?

LUNTZ: Supporting John McCain, and they left him. Let's take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's fumbling. He's not even making that much sense. He's not clear. He's not concise. I don't trust him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He seems to be rambling on just to say words to say something. And that's not pointed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he appears very elderly.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's showing his age in his opinions and the way he states them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He doesn't seem to know what he's talking about.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The way his voice sounds and what he says, it's just like he doesn't even believe what he says.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He used to be a maverick. He used to be powerful and like, concise and defiant like eight years ago.


HANNITY: Do me a favor. Don't ever do a focus group on us, we're in trouble. But they're brutally honest.

LUNTZ: Actually, Sean, just so you know, we did a focus group on you. Let's run — no, I'm just kidding.

HANNITY: Oh, great.

COLMES: I, in fact, was part of that group.

HANNITY: I am not running for office. But that was very brutal for him.

LUNTZ: I've done this now since 1992, and I've gone up to New Hampshire, and I'm proud to say I haven't gotten it wrong. I've never seen any group turn on somebody like they turned on Senator McCain. And that's because this issue of immigration is so powerful, so destructive, so divisive, and John McCain is on the wrong side of that issue.

HANNITY: You have used the word, "It's fracturing the GOP." I've used the same term. I am dead set against this bill for a lot of different reasons, and I've explained it, and we'll have a segment later in the show today. When you see something that divisive, and then you see Mitt Romney's poll numbers go up when he came right out against it, you saw Rudy Giuliani forcefully against this last night, and they are resonating with the base. Why would you go...

LUNTZ: It's simple. This president says that this is not amnesty, and every time he says it's not amnesty, it becomes amnesty. And that's what these guys don't understand. It is a single word that sunk the bill before it even started. And the more that you protest this — like quicksand, the more that you struggle, the deeper you sink.

HANNITY: I was on the show to interview Senator Thompson last night, and I sat next to Congressman Pete King. He said, in all his years in Congress he's never gotten so much reaction that was so decidedly negative, 99.9 percent, than this one issue. But yet it seems that the Republicans are just — distance themselves from their own...

LUNTZ: It's because they're not listening. And, for me, it's not just a general negative. When I hear people who define themselves as Christian conservatives, using four-letter words to describe the bill, I know that there's intensity.

COLMES: We'll have more with Frank Luntz in just a moment.



HANNITY: If you were president, would you pardon him? And do you the president would pardon him? Would you pardon him now?

FMR. SEN. FRED THOMPSON (R), TENNESSEE: I would, absolutely.

HANNITY: Do you think the president should?

THOMPSON: It's a gross injustice perpetuated in large part by this CIA, and this Justice Department, and this special counsel, who they appointed, and it ought to be rectified.


HANNITY: That was part of my exclusive interview with Fred Thompson last night, the former senator and possible presidential candidate. He was not at the debate, could only be seen and heard right here on "Hannity & Colmes."

And more with the Republican debate and 2008 election, we are re-joined by the author of a terrific book, "Words that Work," Republican strategist Frank Luntz.

Now, reaction to Fred Thompson?

LUNTZ: We took about seven minutes of Thompson's interview on your show that he had done a few weeks earlier and on "FOX News Sunday." It's incredible. Even though he's not running, he really is the six million-pound gorilla in this race. And it's not because of his personal — they all say he's a good communicator, but that's not why they're supporting him.

Thompson gets about 15 percent in most Republican polls because of his ideology, and they seem him as being the most conservative. And I'll give you one statistic, and then we're going to roll a little bit of sound. He has the highest awareness-to-support ratio of any candidates on the Republican or Democratic side. About half of Americans, half of Republicans know of him enough to talk about him, and he's got roughly 15 percent, 13 percent to 15 percent. No candidate comes close to that ratio.

HANNITY: Let's show the reaction of people.

LUNTZ: It's absolutely incredible.

HANNITY: This is reacting to the interviews that he did with me and "FOX News Sunday."

LUNTZ: Correct.

HANNITY: OK. Roll the tape.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he's the strongest conservative candidate. He's the most conservative of the candidates. I think he's got a couple things going for him that are maybe not on everybody's radar. The fact that he is an actor means he's an effective communicator. He has a presence on the screen, and that's one of the things that's really lacking in the White House right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He holds to his principles, and he's not going to give me a line. If I ask him a question, he's going to give me an answer.

LUNTZ: And that's not the case with the other candidates?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, there are too many politicians in this, and I want somebody who's going to get the job done, not somebody who's going to talk about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have heard him on immigration, which is very important to me, and I just like the way he comes across. I think he's a good conservative, and that's what I want.


HANNITY: You know what I love about this, Frank? These are honest opinions, real people. And they're not holding back. I really respect that.

LUNTZ: And I want to make Alan feel good about this segment. They were very critical of George W. Bush. New Hampshire Republicans, who all voted for him in 2000 and 2004, they feel like they have been let down by this White House. So that's why you hear that intensity, that's why you hear that anger, because they want a positive change. But it wasn't just Fred Thompson who did well. There was one of the second-tier candidates that actually...

HANNITY: Mike Huckabee?

LUNTZ: Mike Huckabee.

HANNITY: We actually have the graph here. We have the meter.

LUNTZ: That means there is a God.

HANNITY: Yes, indeed.

LUNTZ: Mike Huckabee has a great sense of humor. And what you're going to see is — I don't want to say that they're biased, but tough questions from CNN, perhaps a little bit too tough for the Republicans. And Mike Huckabee turns around the question...

HANNITY: He was great.

LUNTZ: ... gets a laugh, and then talks about how he defines morality in politics. You've got it.


FORMER GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE (R), ARKANSAS: Well, it looks like I'm getting all the moral questions tonight, and I guess that's a good thing. That's better than getting the immoral questions.


So I'm happy to get those. I really believe that, if you define in a moral issue, it is our respect, our sanctity, and our understanding of the value of every single human life, because that is what makes America a unique place on this planet.


COLMES: Why isn't Mike Huckabee considered the true conservative? Why do they have to look for a Fred Thompson or possibly a Newt Gingrich? They already got somebody in the race who seems to fulfill that need among conservatives.

LUNTZ: The problem is that Mike Huckabee doesn't get the attention that Fred Thompson does. Mike Huckabee doesn't get to go on all the interviews and do all the give-and-take that he gets. We've got more stuff on Huckabee. If I could roll one more segment very quickly...

COLMES: Then I've got some stuff for you.

LUNTZ: You got it. Let's see the next segment.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's just strong. He's a leader, and he doesn't waiver. He stands on the issues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was very sincere about what he said. He wasn't spinning. He was just saying it from the heart. He sounded like he really meant what he said.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was willing to use humor. He was willing to talk to us as human beings, you know, and joke around, and that's what I want somebody who can talk to me as a human being.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Strength of character, strength of leadership.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I agree with a lot that he said, and I like the detail that he used to explain his answers.


COLMES: All right, so there you have people's candid reactions. All right, here is something I want to play from you from last night. Here's Mitt Romney on the abortion issue from last night.



ROMNEY: I do not take the position of a pro-life candidate. I'm in favor of preserving and protecting a woman's right to choose.


COLMES: All right, that was actually from a couple of years ago. Now here's what he said last night.


ROMNEY: I want to make it very clear that I'm pro-life. People here in New Hampshire are seeing that I've fought for life.


COLMES: All right, first one, 2002, this was from last night. Clearly diametrically opposed positions.

LUNTZ: Look, the Republicans have been trained to oppose people who flip-flop. It goes back to 2004. John Kerry was for the war. Then he was against it. He was for tax cuts...


COLMES: Yes, but this makes John Kerry look light. Come on.

LUNTZ: If John Kerry had been elected president...


HANNITY: Like Hillary Clinton on the war.

COLMES: No, you've got more flip-flopping among these Republicans.

LUNTZ: ... he'd be the first president ever to be able to deliver the State of the Union address and the rebuttal the same night.

COLMES: All right, but you know the John Kerry thing was unfair, that people vote many ways on the same bill, as changes to the bill keep happening, and he was taken out of context on that, and you know it. You brought it up.


LUNTZ: Let's be candid. He's got a challenge here. He's going to have to be able to answer, be able to respond to that much more effectively than he did. Last night, he ducked it. He moved to another issue. He won't be able to duck it...


COLMES: He didn't answer the question last night.

HANNITY: Hey, Frank, this is so insightful. Now, you're going to be on the program every week. We're going to be analyzing the words of the candidates. I really enjoy this style stuff, and thanks for being with us. Good job.

LUNTZ: I love this. Thank you.

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