This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," January 20, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I always need to have somebody around me who can give me good advice. Vice President Cheney is a man who can make good advice during the tough times and the quiet times. I'm proud to have him by my side, and our country's better off with him as the vice president for four more years.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: We are back live from the Democracy Ball, and it is rocking inside the room. The president left a little while ago. And joining us at the Stars and Stripes Ball is New York governor George Pataki. Welcome, Governor.

GOV. GEORGE PATAKI, R-N.Y.: Great being on with you, Greta. It's a tremendous night tonight.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, have you had a chance the last few days to talk to the president of the United States?

PATAKI: I have talked with him a little bit, and I'll tell you, he's very excited about the next term. He's got a very aggressive agenda. He's ready to go and continue providing the strong leadership that America needs.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, what's the most important issue for your state, for New York state, so that when you get a chance to sit down with the president at greater length, you're going to pitch to him?

PATAKI: Well, I think the most important thing the president is doing is leading us courageously in the war against terror. We've seen the consequences of not being proactive, and this president understands that. I thought his inaugural, where he talked about freedom and how the advance of freedom is the way to guarantee peace for people around the world and in America -- and I also loved, Greta, the fact that he called on the American people to show our idealistic side, to think about more than self. Certainly, that's what our troops do. That's what our president does. And that's what all of us in our own private ways should be doing.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, are you ready for a discussion over Social Security that's coming to Washington? It's already gotten started.

PATAKI: Oh, I certainly am. You know, I've got to continue to do the best job I can every day to lead New York to better times, and I will. But at the same time, I do support the president on his desire to expand the ownership of homes and economic freedom for the American people, and I think he's doing absolutely the right thing, particularly in empowering, particularly, our young people with the chance to invest in their own futures.

VAN SUSTEREN: Should some people be worried tonight that they will not get Social Security, or even the money that they have put into Social Security over the years is not going to come back to them?

PATAKI: You know, Greta, of course not. And that's kind of what's sad is that the Democrats and the liberals have nothing to do but frighten people and say, You're going to lose this, or, They're going to take away that. This president and this Congress are not going to in any way do anything but strengthen the ability of the American government to support the people who deserve that support. But at the same time, we should be empowering our young people with the opportunity to exercise their own judgment, exercise their own freedom, invest their own funds, have their own nest egg for their futures. That doesn't jeopardize the system, it strengthens the system and strengthens America.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, are you convinced that Social Security is going to be bankrupt if we don't do something about it? And what's your best estimate of when it would go bankrupt?

PATAKI: Greta, certainly, it needs change. I'm not going to put a date on it. But the answer is, no, it's not going to go bankrupt. Obviously, it needs to be reformed so that it's shored up. But no president, certainly not this president, and no president is ever going to allow the American people who have put aside their funds through the Social Security system not to have those benefits.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, in terms of the war on terror, your view on the Iraqi elections coming up January 30? What do you think? Most people say it's going to go forward, lots of violence growing in Iraq right now.

PATAKI: Well, Greta, I think it's very important. And obviously, those who detest freedom are trying to prevent those elections from going forward. But I'm hopeful that they will, that the Iraqi people will show that just as we love our freedom and exercise our rights to -- every four years to elect a president, so, too, even in the face of this terror and of all the mass threats that they face, the Iraqi people will show that they believe in freedom. They want to choose their own leaders. They don't want dictators. They want leaders of the people. And I'm hopeful we'll see that at the end of this month.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, in four years, the Republican Party's going to be looking for a nominee. We hear your name all the time. Are you in, or are you out?

PATAKI: Greta, I am right behind this president as he and Vice President Cheney lead our country for four more years. You know, this is not a day for politics. This is a day for celebration, American democracy, American freedom, and a great leader in President Bush for the next four years.

VAN SUSTEREN: But Governor, many of the issues that we talk about are long-term issues that'll go beyond four years. We have to always be looking to the future. Can you tell me whether at least you have your eye on considering the Republican nomination in '08?

PATAKI: Well, Greta, I'll tell you, President Bush seemed so focused and committed today, maybe it's not going to take more than four years to get these reforms through. And I know he's going to try to do that.

But in all seriousness, one of the sad things that I think about American politics today, where in the Senate, a fringe of Democrats are blocking the confirmation of Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state. We need to have a secretary of state when Iraq holds its elections. And to think that on the day that we swear in a new president for four years, this level of partisan politics for no purpose is taking place is wrong. Let's put the politics aside. The elections were just held. Let's work together in a nonpartisan way to move America forward, and we can talk about the politics further down the road.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Governor. Always nice to see you. Governor Pataki from the great state of New York.

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