Rep. Katherine Harris Responds to Gov. Jeb Bush's Comments About Her 2006 Senate Bid

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," May 10, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Florida Governor Jeb Bush suggested yesterday that Katherine Harris won't be able to win her bid for Senate. Joining us now with a response, in a “Hannity & Colmes” exclusive, Florida Republican Congresswoman and Senate candidate Katherine Harris.

Katherine, why would your "friend," Jeb Bush, say this?

REP. KATHERINE HARRIS, R-FLA.: Well, he's a great governor, but I respectfully disagree. A couple weeks ago, he said we could turn it around, and we have. So we are engaged, involved, and taking it to the people of Florida, and they've been extremely responsive.

COLMES: But why is he saying this about you?

HARRIS: I don't know. I just respectfully disagree. Today, I understand he said that it was too early to tell, but we're going to work hard. And I look forward to his advise and counsel.

COLMES: I want to ask you and give you an opportunity to clear something else. Common Cause is claiming that you have been identified as a recipient of illegal campaign contributions from Mitchell Wade, who was implicated in the Duke Cunningham scandal, and that you had a dinner with him, and that he offered to hold a fundraiser for you. And you were then asked for $10 million in appropriations as a result of him contributing to your campaign. Is that true?

HARRIS: What is true is that we had no knowledge that those contributions would be reimbursed in the future. And the Justice Department went out of its way to say so. So we are — I think the facts speak for themselves. And we're moving forward.

And the people of Florida care more about immigration, and protecting our borders, and cutting their taxes, all of which [Senator] Bill Nelson is not willing to do. And so we're taking our fight...

COLMES: Did Mitchell offer to hold a fundraiser for you? And did you ask for $10 million that would have gone to benefit his company?

HARRIS: I asked for an appropriation for an authorized naval program in Sarasota, Florida, which would bring a lot of new jobs. So, clearly — and, in the future, I had hoped that he would host one for me.

COLMES: So there was a quid pro quo?

HARRIS: There was no quid pro quo, ever.

COLMES: Was there a request for earmark funding for the Navy program?

HARRIS: We requested the naval program. We did not move it up to our first or second priority, to those appropriations that were being funded.

But, Alan, again, again, when we travel the state, and we're going to five to seven counties every weekend, and they care more about issues concerning their children and getting rid of sexual predators, like my Carlie's Law, that passed the House and hasn't passed the Senate, or making sure that these other issues are settled, Alan. They really aren't focused on those kinds of things.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Congresswoman, welcome back to the program. Glad to have you.

HARRIS: Thank you.

HANNITY: If I were you — and I know politics is a rough-and-tumble business, and, look, I take enough shots at Alan's friends to know — but I would be angry, I think, at the governor's comments. It seems, if it was me, I would be angry.

You're not angry?

HARRIS: No, I'm focused. I'm directing all of my energies towards victory in November. A lot of folks say, Sean, that, as Florida goes, so will go the nation, being the third most populous state in the presidential election come 2008.

So we think it's absolutely vital that we take this seat back. Of course, you saw The National Journal ratings last year that had Senator Nelson rated to the left of Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer. And you just can't call yourself a moderate. That's disingenuous.

HANNITY: Is that going to be a big part of your campaign, a compare and contrast against you and Senator Nelson?

HARRIS: Without question. Our voting record and where Florida's issues are, where Florida's values are, where Florida citizens' hearts and minds exist, are so far distant from Senator Nelson.

And he claims one thing when he comes home, but he votes completely differently. You can't vote lock-stock with Tom Daschle in those early years and then have an election-year conversion and expect the citizens of Florida to believe that.

HANNITY: There are some recent reports that you had contemplated maybe not staying in the race. This was just before you did the interview with me announcing, in fact, you would be staying. And you had one — and I want to give you a chance respond — one person on your staff quoting you as saying that you thought God, this is what He wanted you to do, to stay in this race. Did you say that? Is that true?

HARRIS: Actually, no, I think that would be presumptuous of me to be speaking for God, although my faith animates everything I believe.

Nevertheless, I thought about it, because some of the funding had been cut off from other circles. Now, I think that people are so engaged and involved. They know we can win. If we turn out our base, all of the internal polling says we'll win with 53 percent. And when people know that and that all of this other polling is just so early, we know we can win. And with folks helping us, and going to, and getting involved in our campaign, we are going to win in November, Sean.

HANNITY: Best of luck, Congresswoman. Thanks for being with us.

HARRIS: Thank you so much.

HANNITY: Appreciate it.

COLMES: Thanks for being with us, Congresswoman. Appreciate it.

HARRIS: Thank you, Alan. Hey, Alan, thanks for starring in my commercial.

COLMES: And, by the way, I get no residuals from you — I was in a campaign commercial. I have no residuals coming, do I?

HANNITY: See what you did to his ego? It's out of control.

COLMES: Unbelievable, yes, yes. Thanks for being with us.

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