This is a partial transcript of The Big Story With John Gibson, July 6, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: America is under attack by depraved enemies who oppose our every interest and hate every value we hold dear. It is the great test of our generation, and he has led with great moral clarity and firm resolve. He has not wavered.


JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FNC SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST AND GUEST HOST: That's part of a new ad from the Bush-Cheney campaign featuring, of course, Sen. John McCain (search), who some say was Sen. Kerry's first choice for a running mate. It's expected that Kerry will get a nice bounce in the poles following today's announcement that Sen. Edwards will be on the ticket.

North Carolina's other Sen. Elizabeth Dole (search), sought the Republican nomination for president in 2000. She joins me today. That's today's big question, Senator Dole. What's the best strategy for dealing with a Kerry bounce?

SENATOR ELIZABETH DOLE (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Well, obviously you expected that is going to happen because that's traditionally the way it goes. There will be a bounce, as well, from the convention and then, of course, our convention will come later. And that will give us our chance.

But in the meantime, we want to continue to talk about the very strong leadership of George W. Bush. And I think the McCain ad definitely highlights the fact that George Bush is a strong, principled leader, and that he's doing a very good job, both with regard to the economy and the war on terror.

NAPOLITANO: Now, you served, I think, for two years in the Senate with Sen. Edwards. What did he do for North Carolina in those years? He was there for five and a half years. He's got half a year to go. What did he do for your home state?

DOLE: Well, you know, I've not had an opportunity to really work closely with John Edwards to any great degree because I've been there a year and a half, and during that period of time, he's been running for the presidency. And he did a very good job of criss-crossing the country raising a lot of money; articulate candidate.

When he withdrew from the presidential race, he's continued to stump for his party, and obviously that's paid off. But that's not given us a lot of time really to work together on issues.

NAPOLITANO: Is his Senate record, such as it is, since you indicated he spent so much time not serving the people of North Carolina and running for president, is his Senate record fair game for the Republicans, especially in the next three weeks?

DOLE: Well, I think that what's important is that the record be looked at thoroughly because it matters philosophically, I think, in terms of where he stands. It's interesting that the National Journal, which is a nonpartisan, well-respected magazine, has rated John Kerry the number one most liberal senator in the United States Senate and, you know, he has voted 350 times to increase taxes. He proposed that our intelligence budget be cut in 1994 and 1995 by $1.5 billion, and that was after the first World Trade Center bombing.

When you look at the fact that the National Journal ranks John Edwards the fourth most liberal senator in the Senate, obviously this is not an ideologically-balanced ticket.

NAPOLITANO: Here is an interesting vote. There are four members of the U.S. Senate who voted in favor of the war in Iraq and against the money to pay for the war.

DOLE: Right.

NAPOLITANO: Two of those guys are now the Democratic national ticket.

DOLE: Yes.

NAPOLITANO: How can they claim to be strong on defense, strong on terrorism,, when they voted for the war but didn't give us the money to pay for it?

DOLE: Well, I would just suggest that what that vote shows is that, you know, this was not supporting some of the things that were needed by the troops, such as the armored vests, the up-armored, as they call it, Humvees, healthcare, more pay for those who are in combat.

But again, I go back to John Kerry's votes to cut the -- or, rather, his proposals to cut the intelligence budget just a year after the World Trade Center bombing, the first bombing.

NAPOLITANO: Sen. Dole, we only have a couple of seconds left. Is John Edwards qualified to be the president of the United States?

DOLE: Well, I'm going to just refer you back to what John Kerry said, because not so long ago he indicated that John Edwards did not have the experience to be a heart beat away from the presidency. And then, of course, he, a few months later, chose John Edwards as his running mate

And so, I think that's a rather big flip-flop on the part of the head of the ticket.

NAPOLITANO: Nicely stated, senator. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, the soon-to-be senior senator from North Carolina.

DOLE: Right.

NAPOLITANO: Thanks for joining us.

DOLE: And thank you.

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