Koch: I'm Voting for Bush

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 30, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.

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TONY SNOW, GUEST HOST: In the Factor Original segment tonight, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch (search) has never shied away from controversy, and now he's stirring the pot again. The diehard Democrat is going to bat for President Bush. The mayor explained it all to Bill when he entered the no spin zone earlier this week.


BILL O'REILLY, HOST: So are your friends mad at you because you continue to support President Bush?

ED KOCH, (D), FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Really, that hasn't happened. There were two people who asked that they be removed from my mailing list, and two others, when I was in the market, who said, "Why are you doing it," and I explained it. And I think, while I didn't convince them, they had to respect the position.

O'REILLY: So most of your friends aren't... they're probably making a little bit of fun of you, but they haven't bailed.

KOCH: I don't even think they make fun of me. I have mostly, if not all, friends who I would describe as liberals. I'm a liberal with sanity. They've never gotten over just being liberals, ideologically knee-jerk. And after every dinner -- there might be 10 or 8 people there -- I will ask them how they're voting, and universally, they're voting, here in New York City, for Kerry.

And then I will say, "OK, I understand that, except for me. I'm voting for Bush." I will say, "Who do you think will win?" And overwhelmingly, overwhelmingly, all these people who are voting for Kerry expect him to lose, which is interesting.

O'REILLY: It is interesting. Now, your issue is terror.

KOCH: Yes.

O'REILLY: That's the big thing. So just, in a pithy way, define what separates Bush from Kerry.

KOCH: I will, I will.

O'REILLY: Go ahead.

KOCH: Kerry was selected by the "Deaniacs," who really wanted Howard Dean, but they concluded that he couldn't win, and I'm sure they were correct. They have no respect for Kerry's positions, even if he is independent of them on occasion. He says he would stay in Iraq; they want to go out yesterday. Almost every position he takes, they don't agree with.

He, ultimately, in order to get the nomination, he had to assure them that they could count on him. But he's tried to move to the middle. It won't work. Moderates understand that if you're radical at the convention, as he was to get their support, that he cannot tell them that now he's going to be a moderate.

So I believe that they, the Deaniacs, as the press calls them, will ultimately get him to do what they want in every case, and he's just bad news. He doesn't have the stomach. And I'm not talking... he's a hero, he's a patriot. I think that all of the attempts to slam his involvement in Vietnam are just dead wrong, as the attacks on President Bush, with respect to the National Guard, are dead wrong. But he doesn't have the stomach, and the Democratic Party doesn't have the stomach to stand up to international terrorism.

And the terrorists have gotten their way with Spain, with the Philippines... a whole host of countries have submitted.

O'REILLY: But one might argue that the Bush strategy against terror, in Iraq, really hasn't worked, because it's such a mess, and we haven't found al-Qaeda (search), bin Laden...

KOCH: I don't think it's a mess at all. I think they're doing rather well. I'd rather we be killing them, the terrorists in Iraq, then they be killing us.

O'REILLY: Last question for you.

KOCH: Yeah.

O'REILLY: If you were the mayor of New York City, would you allow these protestors to go up to Central Park, or what would you do with them?

KOCH: Well, I believe that the demonstrators have to be welcomed and told, "You have rights and you have obligations. And your right is to be able to picket the people at the convention and have them hear you and see you, but you have an obligation not to violate the law. If you decide you're going to engage in peaceful civil disobedience, rest assured, we're going to seek to have you fined, and with major money fines. If you engage in violence, we're going to put you in jail."

O'REILLY: Mr. Mayor, thanks very much, we appreciate it.

KOCH: Good, thank you.

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