This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," Oct. 5, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Joining us is Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, of the great state of Vermont.
Nice to see you, Senator.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: Nice to be here with you.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Senator, how do we judge who won. What is the criteria?
LEAHY: Well, I think the American people are out there to make the judgment. I felt John Edwards won. I came out here to watch him. I wanted to see what happened. I know both men very well. I thought John Edwards did, I thought that the vice president was very, very defensive.
I thought that he would do a great effort at defending his record. There are a lot of things, the huge burgeoning deficits. Ambassador Bremer saying today that they went into Iraq without ample manpower, without a plan for how to get out of there. But he did, he sounded like a Johnny-one-note after a while.
VAN SUSTEREN: But neither one got a vote from the other, stole the vote from the other, and neither one locked in the undecideds, is it a draw?
LEAHY: No, I think, again, this is an election that isn't decided on one debate or not. I think you are going to find the undecideds, which is what John Edwards is looking for, move decisively to his side, to the Kerry/Edwards side. I think that is an advantage.
If that is the only thing that comes out of it, then he wins the debate. I think he gets more than that, though. I think that the fact that vice president seemed unwilling or unable either to admit mistakes, and you learn from mistakes, of course, either to admit them or really to defend four years of a record.
I mean, this is an administration that came in saying they wanted to unite the country not divide it. Never in my lifetime has the country been as divided as it is now. And he gave absolutely no hope that we might do things to improve the situation in Iraq.
VAN SUSTEREN: But it seemed to me, whether you agree with Vice President Cheney or not, I mean, he certainly was — I mean, he defended his record. You know, he defended the administration. He seemed to paint a rosy picture of Iraq, whether you know, that is an accurate one or not.
LEAHY: He didn't go into the questions of the deficit. He certainly wanted to get very quickly off any issue about Halliburton. And he talked as though all is well. As though somehow the whole war against terrorism is tied up in Iraq, Usama bin Laden is out of Afghanistan.
He gave a rosy picture of Afghanistan, saying, oh this is turning into a democracy. It is not. The Taliban control large parts of Afghanistan. They are exporting poppy and heroin to the United States. We're doing nothing to stop that.
No, this is pretty messy thing that sloganeering does not help.
VAN SUSTEREN: These are two very different men, two very different views of what is going on and in some instances, two very different sets of facts. Do you think that anyone has actually changed or moved from it tonight? I mean did anyone learn anything tonight?
LEAHY: I think the very strong partisans in either party would not be moved. But I think there are still significant undecideds. I think you are going to find, as they start polling on this, they move definitely toward John Edwards.
I think he showed a sense of hope and strength. I think that is where they are going to move.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Senator, nice to see you. Thank you very much.
LEAHY: Good to be with you.
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