This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys," July 10, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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BILL SAMMON, GUEST HOST: The Kerry-Edwards ticket and the battle for the South is the topic of this week's trail dust.
Democrats hope the addition of John Edwards (search) to the ticket will boost their chances in the Republican solid South. In 2000, President Bush beat Al Gore in all 11 former Confederate states. Here's a look at the map.
This year, five of those states are considered allegedly in play, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, and Arkansas. On your screen are the latest polls in those states, all taken before the Edwards announcement. President Bush is leading in all, but Kerry's within striking distance in Florida and Louisiana.
Here's Bush Wednesday when asked whether he's concerned about the South.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BUSH: I'm going to carry the South because the people understand that, that they share -- we share values, that they understand, they know me well. And I am, I believe that I did well in the South last time, I'm going to do as well in the South this time, because the senator from Massachusetts doesn't share their values, and that's the difference in the campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Look, if, look, if Bush loses the South, this is going to be a total Democratic wipeout landslide, right? Now, there's no indication that's what's in the cards. But the Democrats do have a chance of carrying Senate seats in Florida, in North Carolina, in Louisiana, and even South Carolina. The question is going to be whether the, the, the Republican attacks on John Edwards as a liberal...
KONDRACKE: ... is going to hurt their, hurt their chances of winning the, winning those seats.
SAMMON: ... that's, I agree with you that, that Bush is not going to lose the South. That's why I said these seats are -- these states are allegedly in play. I mean, you take a look at North Carolina, where, where John Edwards is from. I mean, the, the conventional wisdom was that he couldn't win reelection by himself in North Carolina this year. And in fact, before he was selected as vice president, he dropped out of running for reelection.
So if he couldn't get the people of North Carolina to vote for himself, a Southerner, how is he going to convince them to vote for a Massachusetts liberal like John Kerry?
And you also look at Florida. I mean, I remember in the midterms of 2002, Terry McAuliffe, the DNC chairman, said, Jeb Bush is gone. We are going to win Florida. And what happened? Jeb Bush crushed his Democratic challenger by 13 points.
So the Democrats have to be careful not to get too cocky about Florida just yet.
KONDRACKE: Well, Florida is still, Florida's still very close.
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