Transcript: John Edwards Talks to Alan Colmes

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," Mar. 29, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: How would the country be different today if the results in November had been different? Can you give us two or three things that would be different right now?

JOHN EDWARDS, FORMER SENATOR, VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Sure. I think one thing that would be different here at home is we wouldn't be undermining the security of most middle class families and people who are struggling to stay out of poverty, which is what the president's doing with his Social Security privatization plan. What we'd do instead, on a positive front, is we'd address the problems that most middle class families who are getting squeezed are faced with. You know, rising health care costs, we'd have a serious health care plan. We'd help families with child care costs. We'd help them send their kids to college. I mean, those are the kind of things — and, I might add, we'd be fighting every day to raise the minimum wage so that we can help lift families out of poverty.

COLMES: What would be happening in Iraq?

EDWARDS: I think our approach to the world would be different, period. And I think people knew that. For example, one of the things that we would be doing is engaging in a comprehensive effort to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. And that we don't see that happening with this administration.

COLMES: Why do you think the American people didn't make a choice that would've had these results that you're talking about?

EDWARDS: Well, I think it's — first of all, I'm not an analyst. I'll let you guys do that. That's what you do, and you do it well. What I want to do is focus on the future and what I think the country needs and where we need to move forward. And actually, what my own personal cause is now is doing something about poverty in America.

COLMES: You've been talking about that for some time, but I've — what I want to get at just a second, would George Bush be president today had you been at the top of the ticket?

EDWARDS: Oh, I don't think there's any way to know that. I think John Kerry was a great candidate. He's a very good man, and he would've made a great president.

COLMES: When you saw — you know, we keep seeing that map of the red states and the blue states ad nauseam, are those the two Americas you're talking about, red state/blue state? Or is the two Americas you talk about, does that transcend that map? Is there a relationship between the two Americas and the red state/blue state map?

EDWARDS: The two Americas I talk about have nothing to do with the red and blue states. It's the difference between the very small number of American families who have been blessed, like me, and are doing well, and most of the country, who's struggling.

COLMES: Tort reform is being contemplated by the Republican Congress, and one of the things they want to do is they want to preclude malpractice claims like the kind that's has paid, for example, for Terri Schiavo's care. Good idea or bad idea? How — do we reform system in some way?

EDWARDS: Well, first, I would say that the system — we have the best legal system in the world, but it's not perfect. We could make it better. But the solution to this is not to take away the rights of those who've been hurt the worst. Terri Schiavo is an example of somebody who was hurt horribly.

COLMES: And you have Congress rushing back on Palm Sunday to vote on whether or not they should federalize the case. What would you have done if you were still — well, this was in the House. What would you have done though if this were an issue?

EDWARDS: I think — I think first of all what's happening in the Schiavo case is a terrible tragedy. I mean, it's just painful to watch. I mean, I respond very personally to it. It's an awful, awful thing. But here's what I would say: This is something that as a moral issue should be left to the family. And when we have what we're seeing now with this family, that's what the courts are there for, to determine what the right thing is to do and what the wishes of the patient were.

I think it is wrong to have a bunch of politicians in Washington getting involved in this.

COLMES: Would you have voted to confirm Condoleezza Rice if you were still in the Senate?

EDWARDS: No, I don't believe I would have.

COLMES: Why not?

EDWARDS: Because — for a lot of reasons, but the main reason is because of the role she played in the lead-up to the Iraq War and some of the things that she said publicly that turned out not to be true.

Now, I do have to — I have to add one thing to this. I do think that she's done some good things since she has been confirmed to be secretary of state. I have to add that on to what I've just said. But, given the circumstances at the time of her nomination, I don't think I would have voted for her.

COLMES: Would you have voted to confirm Alberto Gonzales?



EDWARDS: No. Because of the role he played in the torture memo. I actually have dealt with Mr. Gonzales, now the Attorney General Gonzales in judicial nominations, and I always found him to be a smart, very fair-minded, very honest guy when I dealt with him. I actually — I found him to be trustworthy. Having said all that, the role that he played in this torture policy and torture memo sends exactly the wrong signal to the rest of the world.

COLMES: You, as I understand it, are later this week going to be visiting Iowa and Wisconsin. You're not ruling out running in 2008?

EDWARDS: I'm going to Iowa and Wisconsin to both help candidates who are running there and to speak out on what I think are important issues for this country. I will talk in both places. In Iowa for example, I'm having a meeting — same kind of meetings I've been having all over the country, for people who are struggling and in poverty. I'll talk in all these places about what I'm doing here in the cause of poverty, because I think it's a national issue. It's not just a local issue.

COLMES: If John Kerry asked you not to run because he wanted to run, would you — would you listen to him?

EDWARDS: Well, first of all, John Kerry is my friend. I think he would have — our families are very close. I think he would have made a terrific president, that's why I advocated with every bit of my heart and soul for him to be elected president of the United States. What I am going to do in the future — right now, I'm going to make sure I do everything I can to get Elizabeth, my wife, well. That's the most important thing for our family. And then also, I'm going to put my heart and soul into this effort to fight poverty. And we'll just see down the road where that takes me.

COLMES: Is there anything you would have done differently in the campaign that might have had a different — led to a different result? As you look back, do you like wrack your brain and say what could we have done?

EDWARDS: I don't spend my time doing that. Maybe I should, but I don't. I think I put everything I had into this campaign. I believed with everything — every bit — every fiber of my being that it was important for us to have a new president of the United States. I still believe that, by the way. But I'm not — I don't go back and analyze everything that happened in the campaign. I'm looking forward, which is what I think I need to do.

COLMES: Senator, we thank you very much for your time. Really appreciate it.

EDWARDS: Glad to be with you.

COLMES: Glad to have the opportunity to talk to you.

EDWARDS: Happy to be with you. Thank you.

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