This is a partial transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume," Nov. 5, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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JIM ANGLE, GUEST HOST: The president says he’s going to now reach out to Democrats (search). Does that mean meeting them halfway or telling them where he stands and expecting them to fall in line?
KARL ROVE, SENIOR BUSH ADVISER: Well, look, this president, on No Child Left Behind (search) — the first major initiative in his first term — reached out to Democrats, he had fundamental principles that had to be embodied in the bill, but he worked with the Democrats and found common ground and compromised and adopted some of their ideas as part of the bill and that’s the way the legislative process works.
ANGLE: The Democratic Party now seems to be in the midst of an agonizing reappraisal, people asking, did we have the wrong message, did we have the wrong candidate, did we not have the right strategy, what did we do wrong? The Republican Party has had its own identity crises in the past. Is that where the Democratic Party is now?
ROVE: Well, look, every time you lose an election, particularly a presidential election, particularly one that you thought was in the bag, the parties go through this kind of process. It’s frankly healthy. It causes people to argue about what does the party stand for, how should the party operate, who should the party’s leaders be. And sometimes that strengthens a party, sometimes it weakens a party, but it’s a necessary part of life and to be expected.
ANGLE: Where do you expect the Democratic Party to go now, will it be clear until they get a new round of presidential candidates?
ROVE: Presidential candidates will have a great deal to do with it, but man, I barely understand Republicans and the American electorate. Don't expect me to understand Democrats.
ANGLE: We won't ask you to go that far.
ROVE: There we go. There are limits.
ANGLE: Now, the president won overwhelmingly with those who regularly attend religious services, and see moral values as an important part of their lives. Are Democrats out of touch on the issues that are of concern to those kinds of voters?
ROVE: Well, I think more importantly, the president is in touch. People of faith who are concerned about the coarseness of our society, about a culture that seems unfriendly to the vulnerable, the weak, and the young, who are concerned about there being a place in the public arena for people of faith, saw in the president somebody who shared their values. And so they responded to him accordingly.
ANGLE: Now some argue that the referenda in various states on gay marriage (search) helped energize those kinds of voters. Is that the case?
ROVE: Well, I think it did in some degree, but that alone is not enough to win. For example, gay marriage referenda passed easily in Oregon and Michigan, states that we lost, while passing easily in states like Ohio and Arkansas that we won. I think it’s much more complicated than just that one issue.
But look, the values were more important in this race than they've ever been, 16 percent traditionally consider moral issues or values to be the No. 1 issue in a campaign, this year it was 22 percent. That’s a pretty significant jump.
ANGLE: Will the president press the issue now and push for a constitutional amendment defining marriage?
ROVE: Well, look, the president has this old fashioned notion that when you run on something in a campaign, you attempt to do it in office. He ran in 1999 and 2000 on a certain series of issues, and once in office, pursued each and every one of those issues. I think the American people can have confidence that he treats the things that he said in the campaign as significant promises and pledges, which he will now attempt to fulfill.
ANGLE: So the answer is yes?
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