Republican Presidential Candidates React to GOP Debate in South Carolina

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This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," January 10, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, "HANNITY & COLMES" CO-HOST: He was the big winner out of New Hampshire for the Republicans, and we are joined now by presidential candidate, Arizona Senator John McCain. Senator, how are you?


HANNITY: I think you are liking those debates out there. Are you having a good time?

MCCAIN: Yes. It's fun. It is a lot of tension, but I meant what I said. I respect those people that were there. I respect all of them, and I think that this was a pretty good debate. And I think people were able to get a good view of the candidates.

HANNITY: You know, Senator, a lot of people are looking at your comeback in New Hampshire. The polls are very favorable for you here in South Carolina. The latest poll that I saw showed you up by almost 10 points now.

And a lot of people thought it was McCain-Kennedy, it was that bill that you were debating with Governor Romney about amnesty and non-amnesty. But you have said something at one point, you said "I have heard the people."


HANNITY: And immigration has been such a big part of the debates. What did you mean when you say you heard people?

MCCAIN: They want the border secured first. They are willing to look at a temporary worker program, which I think we need, particularly in agriculture. They are willing to address in a humane fashion, not the 2 million who have committed crimes, but the others. But never reward them for illegal behavior.

But they want the border secured. As you and I discussed earlier and I said tonight, in 1986, we all loved Ronald Reagan, but we did pass a law, and that was—and our borders are broken. We have got to fix them.

HANNITY: Would it be fair to say that now you are willing to change your position; secure the borders first?

MCCAIN: No, it's not a change in position. We said secure the borders.

HANNITY: McCain-Kennedy—

MCCAIN: Look, we went on with this debate and how we want to secure the borders. And, look, I come from the state with broken borders, and we have horrendous problems with it. And we and I felt as a senator from that state I ought to try and resolve this issue. We failed. We failed. So, we got to go back at it again with secure borders.

You think that it isn't status quo de facto amnesty right now? And that's not acceptable in America.

ALAN COLMES, "HANNITY & COLMES" CO-HOST: Senator, welcome. Good to see you.

MCCAIN: Thank you, Alan. Good to see you again. I'm always glad to be with you, jerks.

COLMES: You used to come on our show and say good to see two homeless guys.

MCCAIN: Then you got to be so successful.

COLMES: Thanks for your appearance on our show.

Independents like you. You've been a maverick among conservatives. You're here with the conservatives. I'm asking you this as a liberal. I don't have a dog in the Republican hunt, but—


COLMES: — I just wonder if —do you have to do something to convince those people on the—conservatives who criticize you on immigration, who criticize you on working with Feingold and Kennedy, do you have to do something to bridge the gap with those people to go forward with the campaign?

MCCAIN: Actually, Alan, the major concern of conservatives is this nation's security. The war in Iraq, the struggle against radical Islamic extremism — they respect my positions and they know that I have been involved in every major national security issue that's faced this country for the last 20 years. They trust me.

Our evangelicals fear more than anything else this rise of radical Islamic extremism. The word isn't "fear," they're deeply concerned about it. They know I can lead.

And, by the way, in New Hampshire we got the majority of the Republican vote, too. That's the broad spectrum of it.

COLMES: You put out a press release about the surge is working, it came up in the debate as well. And yet you still have key laws on power sharing which has not been solved, the status of Kirkuk among Kurds and Sunnis not solved. The very bench marks the administration said had to happen, only nine of 18 a year later.

How do you say the surge is working when half the bench marks that they said they needed to prove the surge was working have not been met?

MCCAIN: I say I'm sorry that you were not in Baghdad on New Year's Eve when thousands of people were out in the streets celebrating the new year for the first time in years. I'm sorry you haven't been to Fallujah, where they had a 5k run.

Look, there is no Thomas Jeffersons in Iraq, my friend. Saddam Hussein killed them all. But they are making progress politically, and I think very soon you are going to see some more political progress. But it's hard. It's very hard.

And, by the way, the toughest part: rule of law, my dear friend.

COLMES: Thank you very much for being here.

HANNITY: Thank you very much.


COLMES: Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney now joins us post- debate. Have you given up on South Carolina, because there is word today that you have pulled out of this state in terms of your redeploying and waiting for Michigan now?

MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's a sequence here. You start off, and we are in Michigan. We will be battling in Michigan. I'm planning on winning in Michigan.

Then we're going to come heavy into South Carolina and Nevada, and then we're going to go on to Florida, heavy there. And I probably have done more advertising in South Carolina and more events here than anybody else.

COLMES: The story here you are pulling back here is that true? Is that not true?

ROMNEY: From time to time we go up with ads, we go down with ads. Don't read the tea leaves too closely, I'm planning on doing real well here.

COLMES: That's why we're asking you directly.

You talked about the Reagan issue. Ronald Reagan's name comes up in almost all these debates. You talked about the shining city on the hill. "The Boston Globe" reported back this year, actually January of '07, that you once distanced yourself from Reagan. You said you were independent during Reagan-Bush, you are not trying to return to Reagan-Bush.

It sounds like, listening to these debates here, everybody is always talking about Ronald Reagan —

ROMNEY: Back in 1994 I was making it very clear that I was my own man. And I am my own man, and I'm different than anybody else.

But I have to tell you, the older I get, the smarter Ronald Reagan gets. I have to tell you, I went to his Florida. There were people out there who got in lines to see Ronald Reagan's funeral and be part of that because that man brought optimism back.

And his policies of holding down taxes, reducing taxes, even though Congress —

COLMES: So you are changing from what you said back then and now you are embracing Reagan-Bush.

ROMNEY: I'm strongly endorsing Reagan and Bush. President Reagan and President George Herbert Walker Bush led our party in a time of need, and what they have done has changed America positively.

HANNITY: Governor, I want to ask you: you ran off a line tonight about Ron Paul reading off Ahmadinejad's press releases. And I wonder if you would relate that to maybe the Democratic candidates and some of their positions on war, specifically in Iraq, and the war on terror in general.

ROMNEY: I think they have badly miscalculated. I think Democrats have been so anxious to get out of Iraq and were so certain that it was going to be a failure, that they said — as a matter of fact Harry Reid says it is a failure, we have lost —


ROMNEY: I think it's hurt them very badly. I think the American people recognize that the surge is working, that it is critically important that we not allow Al Qaeda to have safe havens from which they can launch attacks against us.

So this is an issue that is going to hurt them very badly in the general election.

HANNITY: You had a little exchange with Senator McCain over his comments about the jobs in Michigan and South Carolina, that they are not coming back. And he answered that. What do you feel about the answer?

ROMNEY: I continue to feel that you cannot write off jobs. You can't say that the automobile industry is not coming back. Yes it is. The U.S. auto industry is going to be strong.

Investing in technology and innovation and drawing on the innovative spirit of the American people will bring that industry to more growth in Michigan and around the country.

I'm going to fight for every single job. I spent my life in the economic sector. I know how to bring jobs, and I will fight for jobs in Michigan and South Carolina.

HANNITY: A growing theme in your campaign, and came up again tonight, Washington is broken. And, going back to Alan's question, if Washington is broken, how do you use the Reagan conservative principles to make it start working again?

ROMNEY: Well, it's more than just fixing a Bill here or there, or a new deal in the Senate cloak room. Washington is so fundamentally broken that we're going to have to have people who go there and a president who goes there who says, you know what? We will deal with these problems one by one. We will work Republican and Democrat. We will go to the American people and get their support on issues such as immigration.

And instead of bills being hammered out in the cloak room, we will do what's right for the American people.

HANNITY: We have got Michigan, South Carolina, Florida Super Tuesday. You are in through Super Tuesday?

ROMNEY: Look —

HANNITY: It's about delegates — one gold and two silvers.

ROMNEY: Full speed ahead. I have one gold two silvers. I have more votes for president than anybody else on the Republican side so far, and that's a good sign.

HANNITY: Governor, thank you for being with us.

And, coming up, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, he will join us live on the set.

Plus, keep those votes coming. You can text your pick to FNCTV.


HANNITY: And joining us now is presidential candidate Rudy giuliani, former mayor of New York. Mr. Mayor, how are you doing?

RUDY GIULIANI, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm doing great. How are you?

HANNITY: Largest tax increase in the history of America.

GIULIANI: Largest tax decrease. The Democrats are proposing the largest tax increase, and we thought we should push the ball in the other direction by supporting and putting forward the largest tax decrease in American history, if all of them happen.

But also the part that wasn't mentioned as much tonight, the one-page form — so you can file your taxes on a one-page form, simple form, if you want to, as an option.

You still have the home mortgage deduction, the charitable deduction, health care deduction. You have some of the basic ones; a lot of others one's would be gone. And there would be three rates: 10, 15, and 30 percent.

HANNITY: A little bit of a battle that has been going on in terms of the debate between you and McCain over supporting the surge and when and where. You took a very strong position tonight saying I supported it.

GIULIANI: It really isn't a battle. I supported the surge. I was on your show supporting the surge. The night the president spoke, I was on television, asked by the White House to do it, and I supported the surge.

HANNITY: You talked about a 50 state —

GIULIANI: And the senator keeps saying that none of us on the state supported the surge. I supported the surge — I won't speak for the other candidates. I think Mitt Romney did. I don't remember any Republican not supporting the surge, candidates for president.

HANNITY: You talked about 50 states, and you mentioned the other states that are coming up here: Florida, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Washington, Oregon, and how those states for many years now have not been in play in terms of presidential elections for Republicans.

GIULIANI: It is really critical that we put those states in play to win the presidency and have any chance of winning back the House or the Senate this time or next time. Those states are the states where we lost our congressional seats, where we lost some of our Senate seats.

Take a state like Minnesota, Norm Coleman is up for re-election. That's going to be a tough one. We have a presidential candidate that can't run in Minnesota, we're going to be in trouble.

COLMES: Mayor, we only have a short time, unfortunately, but even your surrogates that come on the show supporting you say you have a very risky strategy. And now the word is that you're pulling out of South Carolina. Is that true?

GIULIANI: Unconventional strategy.

You covered me from the time I was U.S. Attorney. Have I ever done anything conventional?

COLMES: I'm using the word "risky," not just "unconventional."

GIULIANI: OK, whatever you want to call it. I make tough decisions.

COLMES: You say the buzz from Iowa and New Hampshire and the focus on some of the other candidates — any second thoughts about your strategy, waiting for Florida?

GIULIANI: I think it is working out great for us. What we need is a couple of different candidates winning here, there, and other places. We are in a very strong position in Florida. People don't realize how close my connection is to Florida, how much work I've done.

COLMES: You have to win, is that a must-win for you?

GIULIANI: It's very important. No candidate will ever say it's a must-win. Do you want me to tell you it's real important? It's real important.

COLMES: Let's talk about the debate tonight. You invoked Ronald Reagan, and you talked about what happened 20 years ago. The Democrats are talking about the future. Is that a clear divide, where you're just looking to the past, where Democrats are looking forward.

GIULIANI: No way. We're looking toward the future, a different future. The Democrats are looking toward a future of much higher taxes.

COLMES: No, rescinding the tax cuts on the high income people.

GIULIANI: That becomes higher taxes. We're looking for a future with lower taxes. They're looking for a future with a bigger central government. We're looking for a —

COLMES: A bigger central government with Bush is what we have had with the Homeland Security Department.

GIULIANI: They want to do socialized medicine. We would rather —

COLMES: Health care for everybody.

GIULIANI: — they want to pull out of Iraq precipitously, which would create the risk of a headquarters for terrorism in Iraq. We want a win in Iraq. We want a stable Iraq that is an alley of ours in the terrorists war against us.

We are both looking toward the future. They want change, we want change, and American people have to decide which kind they want.

COLMES: The more you invoke Ronald Reagan, the more the perception is you're looking toward the past, not the future.

GIULIANI: I talk about Ronald Reagan because he embodies some of the core principles of our party that apply to our future. The same way Democrats embrace Franklin Roosevelt or John Kennedy —

COLMES: Mayor, we're just out of time for this thing. But thanks for being with us, nice to see you.

GIULIANI: Thank you.

COLMES: And Senator Fred Thompson is coming up next on this special live edition of "Hannity and Colmes," plus the early results of your text polling, and we'll give you what you're saying about who won this debate, coming up.


COLMES: Welcome back to a special edition of HANNITY & COLMES. We're live from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and it's time to announce you think won tonight's Republican debate as of right now. We'll continue throughout the night. Ron Paul with 35 percent, followed by Mike Huckabee with 18 percent, in third place Fred Thompson with 17 percent of your vote. We're going to reveal the final results at the close of the show.

And now joining us fresh off the debate, Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson. Senator, what is your reaction to those results that we got?

FRED THOMPSON, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Sounds like I need to do a little lobbying here while I'm on the set.

COLMES: Actually, you had some biting comments, you had some good one- liners tonight.

THOMPSON: I don't consider them biting, they kind of played into my wheelhouse, they talked about the Reagan coalition, I feel very strongly about that, I feel like the fate of the Republican Party is going to be decided this year for some years to come, whether or not we believe in that or whether or not we feel like, you know, we need to go in a totally different direction, which I do not believe.

COLMES: You really went after at one point Mike Huckabee and you basically said something about him being part of the blame America first crowd. Is that something you feel about him? Is he a blame America firster, Mike Huckabee?

THOMPSON: When he says our administration has a bunker mentality and that we have an arrogant policy. We went into Iraq with 16 countries. I wonder if they were arrogant, things are turning out well there. He said that he wasn't sure he supported the surge, so he hasn't been totally on board.

COLMES: Is he blame America firster?

THOMPSON: I think that reflects a blame America first attitude that is reminiscent of the Democratic Party.

COLMES: We were told by the president there were about 18 benchmarks and nine of them have been met, a year later. Wasn't the idea that if we haven't met these benchmarks we have to talk about rejiggering our policy in Iraq and they haven't been met?

THOMPSON: The only benchmark is success.

COLMES: They mentioned specific things.

THOMPSON: I didn't. By any measure, whether you're talking about reduction in violence. Whether you're talking about Anbar Province, we're talking about turning Anbar Province over to our allies there, we thought that was lost. Do you remember Harry Reid when he said the war was lost?

The question is, what are the Democrats going to say about this?

COLMES: Wasn't the idea of the surge to give time for there to be conciliation among the various parties. There is no evidence we'd believe there'd be any ability for Iraq to govern and the security forces would be able to do what we were told they would have to do a year after the surge took place?

THOMPSON: That's like saying there's no progress in America if it is not happening in Washington, DC, there's lots of cooperation going on outside in the various provinces. Shia and Sunni are coming together, Shia are coming to us that haven't been with us before. Take yes for an answer, Alan. We've had some success there. You have to live with it.

COLMES: We had the nine out of 18. Not the 18 that we thought we would need before we were going to ...

THOMPSON: I don't know about Washington criteria, all I know is that we're winning in large part due to the surge and the new strategy that we've got and being carried out so effectively. And we can start bringing people home later this year according to our plan as part of our success scenario, that America will be safer because of it.

COLMES: I want to ask you about the National Intelligence Estimate that also came up in tonight's debate. Do we believe the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran or do we say we don't trust our intelligence agencies and we don't listen to what they tell us?

THOMPSON: People like you were critical of our intelligence agencies when they were coming up with invasions you didn't like, you were very critical of them yourself. They are sacrosanct when they say something you agree.

COLMES: I was critical of cherry picking. But 18 different agencies.

THOMPSON: Maybe they are still cherry picking.

COLMES: But 18 different intelligence agencies say the same thing.

THOMPSON: It's not 18 different intelligence agencies, there's some representatives from various places, including the State Department. Let's assume that they're correct, what happened in 2003, when they say that the Iraqis decided to abandon their nuclear plans? 2003. And we invaded Iraq, that's what happened.

COLMES: You don't want to believe them now.

HANNITY: Let me bring you to the right side here.

THOMPSON: You're the man.

HANNITY: One of the big lines of the night, we were talking about these speed boats going around the naval ships and you used a line, one more step and they would have been introduced to the virgins they talk so much about, that got applause tonight, a big line tonight, how close do you think we came to that happening?

THOMPSON: Sounds pretty close. Sounds pretty close, I think that it was correct to leave that in the hands of the man on the job there, who saw what was going on, and pointed out, these guys go through a lot of training, you can't micromanage something like that from a distance. We got to trust our people and I think they made the right decision, and I think the Iranians knew probably how far they could go and the fact they couldn't go any further.


THOMPSON: We've got to be strong but we got to remember that a lot of wars have been started just that way, with something happening to one of our vessels, both military and civilian over the years.

HANNITY: Our own Frank Luntz has a focus group over at the Citadel tonight and by far when people were asked who they thought won this debate, the overwhelming winner they said in that focus group was Senator Fred Thompson.

You've said, this is it, this an important state for you. How well do you have to do in South Carolina to continue this campaign?

THOMPSON: I have to do very well. I have to do very well. This is home territory, and this is the debate now and things have kind of coalesced and positions have been stated and so forth. Time to compare positions.

And I think my strong consistent conservative positions over the years. I'm the same man I was then, I'm the same man I am today, and will be in the future. A lot of these other guys can't say that, they've had to fit a square peg into a round hole as far as their issues are concerned and there are changes.

And I think people are looking for leadership. I think people are looking for folks that will tell the American people the truth. Whether or not it is always easy to hear.

HANNITY: In particular, you went after Mike Huckabee's record, perhaps maybe you think he's your strongest opponent here in South Carolina, you said he had a liberal economic and foreign policy, basically talking about Guantanamo model of the Democratic Party.

THOMPSON: Mike is a great guy, and he would, without a doubt be a Christian leader, we all share a lot of the same values. But he's got some liberal policies and would take us in a liberal direction in terms of economic policy and in terms of foreign policy, talking about closing down Guantanamo because we would curry favor with other people around the world and bring those people and wind up giving them habeas corpus rights and put them in our court system, is — you got your priorities wrong.

And talking about our arrogant foreign policy, you know, Bush has made mistakes. We made mistakes as the way we went into Iraq and the strategy that we had there for a long time. But now we're succeeding with a different strategy, and it is going to make for a safer America, and we all need to be on board thon thing. And not as I say, you know, mimic the Democrats who so many of them blame America first.

HANNITY: Go back. One last question, you brought up General Musharraf in Pakistan and you made a line about polls and — not necessarily trusting the polls here.

How important is that we, we not have instability in Pakistan, considering they have those nuclear weapons, if an Iranian style theocracy would take over with nuclear weapons, what danger that would be to the world?

THOMPSON: It's of utmost importance to us. It is of overriding importance, we have got various interests there, we need to make sure they do what is necessary to take the point, take the lead and in terms of the Taliban which is still there, Osama bin Laden is probably still in the mountains in western Pakistan, Democratic institutions are going to be required for a long-term stability.

But in the meantime, they've got nuclear weapons, and there's some radical elements signed, or friendly to, the radical elements, inside their government. Got to be very concerned about it.

HANNITY: All right, senator. We're going back to Frank Luntz focus group which is very favorable to you, we be appreciate it.

THOMPSON: Appreciate it. Good to see you.

COLMES: Thanks.

HANNITY: Mike Huckabee, he got buzz out of Iowa but is his star status fading. We're going to hear for Governor Huckabee coming up next straight ahead from Myrtle Beach.



MIKE HUCKABEE, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For us to give the world the impression that we would stand by if it were under attack and simply say it is not our problem, would be recklessly irresponsible on our part, if I were president you can rest assured that we would not let an ally be annihilated by those enemies around it who have openly stated, it is their direct intention to destroy that nation. It would not happen under my presidency.


HANNITY: That was presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee earlier tonight. And he joins us now here in Myrtle Beach. Governor, thank you for being with us. Good to see you.

HUCKABEE: Great to be back with you, Sean.

HANNITY: All right. We just had Senator Fred Thompson on, he says you're liberal on economic and foreign policy, a model of the Democratic Party, you want Guantanamo closed. I guess that's part of winning Iowa.

HUCKABEE: I'm ahead, he's behind, what else is he going to do. But he's wrong to call me a liberal, I believe in a strong national defense. I believe in cutting taxes, I signed a tax pledge, we cut the marginal tax rates, look I have the most radical tax plan of all. The most conservative, and that is to get rid of taxes on productivity, and the fair tax.

And because he mentioned Guantanamo, once the Supreme Court ruled and he missed this in the debate the other night. Fred misspoke, he said there's a difference between Guantanamo and Fort Leavenworth, that was true before the Rasoul (ph) case in the Supreme Court and now that is settled. So frankly it doesn't matter geographically.

Let me tell you why I'm against Guantanamo continuing. I've been there. I went and toured it with my prison director, I've also been to every single Arkansas prison. When I left there, I told my prison director, said if our guys saw this place, every one of them would want to be here.

HANNITY: I guess this goes with frontrunner status that you've now achieved, especially after your Iowa victory here. There is an ad out tonight about this Dumont case.


HANNITY: We've discussed it before, 527 group put it out there, the mother of this, this, Dumont was released under parole, and it says if not for Mike Huckabee, my daughter would be alive.

HUCKABEE: Terrible tragic situation.

And obviously we wish we could bring that woman back. We can't. The tragedy is that, misstating the facts of that case, and insinuating that I went out and let him go when the parole is not the purview of a governor. But here is what's tragic.

When candidates in these 527 anonymous groups, funded by some candidate's supporter, when they get so desperate, they will exploit the victim of a crime and put their families through that, how low does politics have to go before we finally say enough?

HANNITY: Let me ask you this. How important is South Carolina to your candidacy? How important is this state for Mike Huckabee. Obviously a southern state, first in the South primary.

HUCKABEE: Well, it is very important to us. Clearly South Carolina is a bellwether state. And people look to see, if you can't win in the South, you can't win in the general election. Because the Republican base is the South.

HANNITY: How do you define success in South Carolina.

HUCKABEE: Obviously we hope to win it, but if we come out in the top three slots. You always say there are three slots out of each state. But our goal is to win South Carolina, we're not here to place or show, we're here to win it and we're still running first in Florida. The Gallup poll has us up five nationally. So we're not a one state campaign. But South Carolina is critical to us.

HANNITY: What Super Tuesday states do you think you will be able win? We go with some of the northeastern states and California, New York, New Jersey Connecticut.

HUCKABEE: We're running second in California, we're running first in Delaware, we're first in many southern states, if you look at Texas and Georgia and Alabama, those states, Arkansas, so we're going to do, we're going to have a great day on February 5th.

HANNITY: If you have a problem in Arkansas, that's not good. That would not be a good sign.

HUCKABEE: We don't have a problem there. In fact recent polls shows it was off the charts.

HANNITY: Let's talk a little bit — Ronald Reagan's name came up a lot tonight. And Alan has been asking a lot of the candidates about that. Certainly the principles remain the same, but the issues are different, and the application of the Reagan principles on taxes and a strong foreign policy and confronting evil in your time, is that what that message is about really more than anything?

HUCKABEE: The Reagan message was certainly saying America would be strong and never apologize for it, I subscribe to that. I did when I supported Ronald Reagan.

Some of the guys on that stage, by the way, did not support Ronald Reagan back in 1979, Sean, a lot of people don't know, I was a part of helping to put together the summit in Dallas, Texas that brought together the evangelical community for Ronald Reagan in late 1979 and early 1980. The National Religious Affairs Briefing, I was actually doing communications when that was going on.

That's how far it goes back with me.

COLMES: Governor welcome back to our show.

HUCKABEE: Thank you.

COLMES: Let me get back to Wayne Dumont. I wasn't trying to bring it up, but since you mentioned Wayne Dumont .

HUCKABEE: I didn't. You guys did.

COLMES: He did, well, Sean did.

HANNITY: The ad came out today.

COLMES: I interviewed Gene Lyons (ph) of the "Arkansas Democrat-Gazette" recently. He says he had documentation that you were writing to the parole board beseeching them to release Wayne Dumont.

HUCKABEE: That is not telling the truth.

COLMES: Ask that he be released.

HUCKABEE: No, I wrote one letter. And if you read the whole letter, the first part says it's my desire to be released, the very next sentence said, but I am denying your commutation. And everybody only quotes that first line.

The second line, I denied his commutation, Alan, four times. But I think what we've got to do is look at this. Anybody who thinks I'm soft on crime needs to look at the facts, that we reduced meth labs 48 percent during my tenure as governor. And I did something that no one else on that stage has ever done. I carried out the death penalty.

There's no soft on crime, when you make the decision and give that order on the telephone, when the man is laying there with the I.V. drip and you tell your prison director to carry it out, you better be right and you better have some courage to get that done.

COLMES: You've got conservatives doing the same thing to you they are doing to John McCain, saying you're too liberal. You're liberal on immigration. You know the litany of issues.

HUCKABEE: Sure. Ronald Reagan would have been called a liberal if he were running for president.

COLMES: Richard Nixon was a liberal domestically.

HUCKABEE: When Ronald Reagan was first governor of California, he raised taxes by a billion dollars after pledging he wouldn't. Ronald Reagan was a person who is just pilloried for some of his early decisions.

COLMES: Fred Thompson said it and he said it here tonight again sitting on this chair.

HUCKABEE: This chair.

COLMES: That's an amazing chair. We have great DNA on it tonight. He accused you of being part of the blame America first crowd, basically because of the things he's claiming that you have positions that are liberal positions.

HUCKABEE: When you don't have a record, and you don't have a message, all you are left to do and reduced to doing is attacking somebody else.

I'd like to see, is there Fred Thompson bill that reformed immigration when he was in the Senate? He had eight years in the Senate. What bills did he point that dealt with immigration and what bills can he point to have his name on it that effectively took care of the unfair tax burden in this country, that helped education improve. Any of those bills, I don't think he's talking about.

COLMES: One of the other issues today is the surge because we're on the first anniversary of the surge, that came up a lot during the debate.

You said back when it was introduced, you said I'm not sure if I support the troop surge, if the surge is to come from our guard and reserve troops that have really been overly stretched. That's where they did come from.

So that's where the incident, the statement that you made that people referred to where they claim you didn't support the surge.

HUCKABEE: The problem with January of last year, it's the old classic, if a tree falls in the forest and nobody was there to hear it did it make a sound? Well, here is the reality. A lot of people weren't listening. The one thing I said that questioned the surge was how we used our guard and support services but I did support the surge.

COLMES: But that's where it came from.

HUCKABEE: And there are a lot of other reports that indicate that, so it's not a matter of me not supporting the surge. I did and I do now and it's working. Anbar Province will go to Iraqi control.

COLMES: (inaudible). Governor, nice to see you.

HUCKABEE: Good to be here.

COLMES: We've got to take a break.

HANNITY: Good to see you, governor. Thanks for being on the program.

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