This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor", February 4, 2004.
Watch The O'Reilly Factor weeknights at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and listen to the Radio Factor!
BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Impact" segment tonight, while other news programs hem and haw about political the race, "The Factor" does not. The no spin philosophy dictates straight talk. Senator John Kerry (search) is the likely opponent for President Bush because Kerry's getting the money now and the establishment has already begun to embrace him.
Look for Wesley Clark to drop out soon and endorse Kerry, opening up a spot for him as Secretary of State. Look for John Edwards to stay in, but he's looking more and more like the vice-presidential candidate.
With us now in the studio is Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat and editor of the book, "Crossroads: The Future of American Politics." And from Washington, Republican Congressman Roy Blunt, the House majority whip.
All right, so we're -- for the sake of this discussion, we're going to assume that it's Kerry that the GOP is going to have to deal with. How are they going to have to deal with him? Congressman?
REP. ROY BLUNT (R), MISSOURI: Well, I think that, you know, you're going to look at Kerry's record, his record on defense, his record on intelligence spending, his record in the Senate. And he comes across as a guy that I think is outside of the mainstream of the country. I believe that's the way the campaign will be joined. And there will be a clear difference in philosophy between he and the president. And it ought to be a great campaign.
The president's always said this was going to be a close election. And we've always believed it would be. And we look forward to the exchange of ideas that should occur in a Kerry-Bush match-up.
O'REILLY: All right, how hard are you going to go after the liberal aspect of the senator's record? Are you going to run commercials showing him and Ted Kennedy (search) embracing? How hard are you going to go after that?
BLUNT: Well, you know, that'll be a campaign outside of the campaign that members are involved in. But I think the only way you can talk about his record is to talk about a liberal record.
You talk about the decisions he made about intelligence spending, about defense spending, that led us into some of the situations we are today. His desire to reverse tax relief for Americans.
And that's the record. And that's the record that will be talked about by the media and the Bush campaign, I'm sure.
O'REILLY: All right, congressman. Now Mr. Cuomo, you know that the Republicans are going to try to get a classic conservative-liberal race because according to the research, only 19 percent of Americans say they're liberals, where 36 percent say they're conservative. So in that kind of a race, the conservatives have a big advantage.
ANDREW CUOMO, FMR. CLINTON ADMIN. OFFICIAL: Yes, no, I understand that, Bill. And on your opening premise that John Kerry's the likely candidate, I would say he's the likely candidate, but I would also say look, there's a lot of twists and turns here. And it's not over until it's over. But he's doing extraordinarily well.
I think if the Republicans get into one much these personal assassination campaigns, they're going to make a mistake. If they're going to start to say, look, he's a liberal and he is a label and we're conservatives, that's not going to work. I think the reason why the John Kerry candidacy is resonating, and by the way, John Edwards and General Clark, is because people are unhappy with the way the country is going.
O'REILLY: It's only resonating among Democrats.
CUOMO: No, no, no. You have a CNN poll that said that Kerry beats Bush. Edwards beats Bush.
O'REILLY: Yes, Dukakis was 17 points up.
CUOMO: Yes. No, no, no. It is Kerry's ahead, Edwards is ahead, and Clark is just in a tie three points.
O'REILLY: I'm ahead. I could beat Bush.
O'REILLY: Anybody in the public eye is going to be ahead. And you know that. Now listen, would you, if you were Kerry's adviser, say to him, hey senator, go after President Bush's military record, would you do that?
CUOMO: I would say talk about the issues that are important to Americans. Talk about the economy.
O'REILLY: So you wouldn't go after him?
CUOMO: Well, talk about the economy, the loss of jobs. 22 million jobs gained under Clinton-Gore. Two million lost under Bush. Talk about the largest deficit in history. Talk about our foreign policy.
O'REILLY: But not the military record?
CUOMO: I think it is a legitimate topic. I don't think it's a mainstream priority topic to start the campaign on.
O'REILLY: Yes, I think he's really -- if he does that, he's risking a lot. Because Bush, whether you like him or not as a president, is popular with the folks, so the polls say.
Mr. Blunt, I predict the most vicious campaign in American history. I think that both sides are going to just use every weapon available to them. Am I wrong?
BLUNT: Well, based on the primary, so far the campaign has been very personal. I think it's been very focused on the president. You know, I was interested in Mr. Cuomo's observation that they'll say that we'll say that Kerry's a liberal and we're conservative and that's character assassination.
I don't know that's character assassination to be a liberal in America today. That's what his voting record is. The president clearly is more conservative on the issues that Americans care about. It's not character assassination to call a guy what he's I think always called himself.
O'REILLY: Would it be character assassination to bring up his military record, the president's military record?
BLUNT: To bring up the president's military record? You know, 445,000 people are serving in the National Guard (search) today. I just don't think that gets anywhere. I think the president's record that you'll have to challenge will be his record as commander-in-chief.
And if the Democrats think that they can make real headway on that, I think we'd be more than willing to have this campaign decided on his record as commander-in-chief.
O'REILLY: OK. Do you think it's going to be a dirty campaign like I do?
CUOMO: I don't think it is, because I think the Democrats have the issues. Let's talk about the economy. Let's talk about weapons of mass destruction. Where are they?
O'REILLY: You don't think there's going to be ... ad ... ? What about the Michael Moores and...
CUOMO: Let's talk about Halliburton.
O'REILLY: All right, but what -- yes. There's plenty of stuff that talk about. Sure. And I hope we do.
But what about the Michael Moores and The New York Times and the Krugmans and the Stewart Smalleys? I mean, these are just bomb throwers. Do you think that Kerry's going to sweep them out?
CUOMO: No. I think -- look, I think it'll be a difficult campaign. We have real issues on the table, real domestic issues, real international issues. And campaigns are always tough, Bill. This is not the...
O'REILLY: But this might. If Kerry embraces those people -- and I don't think he will. I think he's going to tell Michael Moore (search) and Stewart Smalley (search) to take a hike. But if he does, like Dean did, it's going to blow up in his face.
CUOMO: I don't think John Kerry will. I know him. I've worked with him. It's not his style.
O'REILLY: I know him, too. I hope he doesn't. I hope both sides don't. I'd like to see a clean campaign here. Gentlemen, a pleasure talking to both of you. Thank you very much.
Copy: Content and Programming Copyright 2004 Fox News Network, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2004 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, Inc.'s and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.