This is a partial transcript of The Big Story With John Gibson, July 8, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR JOHN EDWARDS, DEMOCRATIC VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The truth is this: this campaign will be a celebration of real American values.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HEATHER NAUERT, GUEST HOST: And that was John Edwards (search) speaking last night about family values. But that was just a few minutes after Whoopi Goldberg (search) went on an x-rated tirade against the president.
The Bush-Cheney campaign is now calling on Kerry to release the video of the fund-raising event saying, quote, "If John Kerry (search) is going to praise last night's star-studded hate test, and characterize it as the, quote, 'heart of soul' of America, he should share these values with voters everywhere."
Karen Finney is a Democratic Strategist who worked for Bill Clinton (search), and Leslie Sanchez is a Republican who works for President Bush. Karen, we'll start off with you for tonight's big question: does the Kerry-Edwards team share your family values?
KAREN FINNEY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Absolutely they share my family values. They share the values of affordable health care, they share the values of making sure that kids can have access to a sound education, they share my values and concerns about what's happening to the middle class who's being squeezed.
NAUERT: But some folks who hear about this event, because there was a lot of really anti-Bush stuff going on at Radio City Music Hall, right across the street here.
NAUERT: A lot of folks might say, "Hey, wait a minute. That's not exactly mainstream." You had Whoopi Goldberg talking about women's sexual anatomy, people calling Bush dumb. I mean, that just doesn't sound very friendly.
FINNEY: Well, I think we have to be careful to not take it out of context, because there were a number of sentiments expressed last night, and frankly, a lot of it is in line with what we've seen in the polls, in terms of Americans' dissatisfaction of the way President Bush has handled the war in Iraq. That's a lot of the theme that you heard last night, in addition to concerns about the economy.
NAUERT: But these polls are pretty tight. We have another segment coming up later where we do look at the polls and they are fairly close, but Bush is still ahead.
FINNEY: But consistently, you do see Americans expressing concerns about the way he has handled the war in Iraq, and I think that's pretty much on the minds of voters.
NAUERT: And I guess especially here in New York, where, you know, folks tend to be a little bit more liberal here.
Leslie, let me get to you there. I hear you, sort of, scoffing at this. What was your reaction to last night's event?
LESLIE SANCHEZ, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Look, traditional values are not Hollywood values. And we know the truth is that every four years a cavalcade of washed-up Hollywood starlets come out of the woodwork to perform and raise money for the Democratic Party.
NAUERT: Yes, but these are some pretty big stars there, I have to call you on that one.
FINNEY: Call Paul Newman washed up?
SANCHEZ: Let's look at the reality. There's even a book that says why Hollywood hates America that talks about these liberal elitists who think they're large superheroes and who want to make America embarrassed for being as great as we are.
Kerry did not criticize these folks because they were paying the bill last night, and in addition to that, he knows the reality that he is so in line with them, and they are just trying to manipulate the American process. That is not what America stands for, and it's a very easy decision when you see the contrast of that and a strong leader like George Bush.
NAUERT: So, clearly you think that the Republicans can make some hay out of this and use this in their favor?
SANCHEZ: Absolutely! I think John Kerry does it for himself. Look, this is a party of manipulation. And just because the elite Hollywood left can manipulate the silver screen, does not mean they can manipulate Washington policies. I mean, these are liberal utopians who want to change America, and they are using the Democratic Party to manipulate the course and the direction of our country.
NAUERT: I can see you dying to jump in here.
FINNEY: Of course, I disagree. I mean, there is nothing more American than our freedom and our values around freedom of expression. That's what we're fighting for in Iraq, that's what John Kerry fought for in Vietnam. More importantly, it's fairly hypocritical for the Republicans to be criticizing a few attacks from a few Oscar winners and Emmy winners, if you will, given that...
SANCHEZ: Oh, my god.
NAUERT: Some folks are probably out there wondering what would happen if Republicans were to say these same kinds of things...
FINNEY: Well, actually, they have.
NAUERT: ... that a Democratic president is dumb, that a Democratic president -- you know, name-calling?
FINNEY: Well, let's remember that with...
NAUERT: One celebrity there said, "I would do anything to get rid of Bush but sell my child."
FINNEY: Well, you know, it is her right to express her opinion, and that's part of the American way, is that we can express our opinions and disagree. But let's remember, this is a very important point, it's the height of hypocrisy for Republicans to be crying foul now given that within seconds of John Kerry announcing John Edwards to the ticket, they released a 27-page slanderous document attacking John Edwards, not to mention that they've been criticizing the most...
SANCHEZ: Let's talk about reality. I think we need to talk a little bit about reality.
NAUERT: But isn't there anything about it that just kind of, makes you cringe and say, "Oh, I wish they wouldn't have said that?"
FINNEY: Well, I might not have agreed with everything they say, but I defend their right to say it and my right to disagree with it.
NAUERT: Ladies, we're going to have to leave it there. Thanks so much.
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