This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 6, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.

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O'REILLY: The border is out of control on the south end with Mexico. Do you have any solutions on how to stop the rampant illegal immigration and the narcotics traffic?

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We ought to be willing to spend money to put more border patrol agents in place.

O'REILLY: Why not the military to back up the border patrol and stop it dead in its tracks? Why not stop it now, stop the chaos, put the military there to back up the border patrol with the high-tech stuff and act as a deterrent right now. Why not?

EDWARDS: But see, here's the problem that I haven't thought about the military issue.

O'REILLY: Really?

EDWARDS: I will think about that. No, but I have thought about the issue of security. I mean, I think that what we ought to be focused on instead. I understand what you're suggesting is we bring the military in to back up the existing border agents, is that what you're saying?

O'REILLY: Correct.

EDWARDS: See, I think what makes more sense is to hire more border agents, so that...

O'REILLY: Takes time.

EDWARDS: ...so they're not spread so thin. Well, it does take time, but if we're willing to do it, we can do it quickly.

O'REILLY: Al Qaeda (search). Everybody says Bush has done a good job disrupting al Qaeda. Would you do anything differently?

EDWARDS: I would do a number of things differently than the president's doing. For example, I have a real difference with the president about whether the FBI (search) should remain responsible for fighting al Qaeda and other terrorist cells here within this country.

My concern is I think the FBI is a law enforcement agency by nature. The result of that is they're focused on, you know, investigation, arrest, prosecution, a very linear kind of approach to catching the bad guys.

But that's not what intelligence is about many times. Many times, the most important thing in intelligence is identifying where the cell is, getting human penetration of the cell, having somebody who's gathering the intelligence information that needs to be gotten, getting it to the places it needs to go.

And we know there were lots of problems with the FBI before September the 11th (search). To his credit, Director Mueller's made a real effort to fix that. By I think by nature, the FBI should not be the agency responsible for fighting terrorism here in this country.

O'REILLY: Who should fight it?

EDWARDS: We should take that responsibility and give it to a separate agency, give exactly the same authority to a separate agency.

O'REILLY: So you're going to train all new guys to be a terrorist unit?

EDWARDS: Yes, who has the same authority that this...


EDWARDS: ...FBI has. But instead of having a dual responsibility, having to fight -- having to do law enforcement, which actually the FBI does a very good job of, and fighting terrorism...

O'REILLY: They're just terrorism.

EDWARDS: Exactly.

O'REILLY: OK. Did President Bush lie about weapons of mass destruction?

EDWARDS: I don't know the answer to that question. I think...

O'REILLY: Do you have suspicions?

EDWARDS: Did I say that? You said that. First of all, I think this is something that we should treat not hysterically but in a very responsible way. I think it's a good thing that Saddam -- you know I supported the war in Iraq. I think it's a good thing that Saddam Hussein is gone. I think we should be proud of what our young and men and women in the military did. I think the result of the war is a very good thing. And I think now the responsible thing for us and the Congress to do is to determine if there is in fact a discrepancy between what the intelligence community, our intelligence community told us or told the president. I don't know what they told the president.

O'REILLY: The Bush administration has not mandated -- and neither did the Clinton administration -- fuel standards for cars, particularly SUVs.


O'REILLY: Would you do it?

EDWARDS: I would. I would. I think we have to improve the fuel efficiency of our automobiles.

O'REILLY: So if the federal government comes into Detroit and says 30 on the highway, 25 in city, and if you don't, you can't sell the car, you'd do that?

EDWARDS: I would do it. But you make it sound like all we're going to do is sit in Washington and say we know better than you. This is what we're going to do.

I think the right way to do that is to actually sit with the car companies, the people who have the expertise in this area, talk about ways to improve fuel efficiency. If they won't do it voluntarily, to tell them, we're going to impose it if you don't do it voluntarily.

But we want to do this in a way that makes you as competitive economically as you possibly can. So we don't have dramatic job losses, so that working people don't suffer as a result, working families don't suffer as a result.

O'REILLY: All right.

EDWARDS: But the answer is at the end of the day, we're going to have to improve fuel efficiency standards on automobiles.

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