Will We See A Big Political Showdown in 2008?

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 2, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST:  In the "Factor Follow-Up" segment tonight, the presidential race this year will be a bitter contest, but, in 2008, it could be even worse.  If the Democrats lose this time around, it's widely expected Senator Hillary Clinton (search) will be the Democratic nominee in 2008.

The Republican field, though, is wide open, but some prominent Republicans are campaigning for President Bush right now, and here's one of them, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

All right.  I assume -- we assume here at the "The Factor" that Kerry is going to win the nomination because of the money factor.  You know, he's got -- all the money's flowing in to Kerry.  It's flowing out of Dean, and the other guys -- even if Edwards wins South Carolina, it's just not enough financially because it takes hundreds of millions of dollars to run for president.  So it's a -- you set yourself up with the classic liberal-versus-conservative race.  Who wins that race?

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NYC MAYOR:  Well, I -- I don't know who the nominee is going to be on the Democratic side.  I think the president is going to win.

I think the president's going to win because I think people are going to want to continue his leadership.  I don't think they're going to want to change in the middle of economic recovery, in the middle of the war on terrorism, given the way in which he's provided, in my view, such effective leadership.

But, generally, when the country is in the middle of something like this, there's a war on terrorism, or where the country is starting to see economic growth after a period of some problems, they stay...


GIULIANI:  ... they stay with the incumbent.

O'REILLY:  Does ideology have anything to do with it?  See, 36 percent, according to the Pew Research Center (search), are conservative; 20 percent, liberal.  So it looks like on paper a liberal can't win a -- you know, a real liberal -- and Kerry is -- can't win an election.

GIULIANI:  I think that's probably right, but I think politics are changing, and I think this is going to be -- I think this is going to be more about the president's leadership and the idea that the country is going through some difficult things, and you're going to want to stay with the person who got us through the worst attack in our history.

You're going to want to take with the person who did tax cuts and helped to revive the economy, and there isn't going to be the kind of situation that exists when an incumbent president is taken out of office.

Also, President Bush doesn't have a fight in his own party, and, by and large, if you looked...

O'REILLY:  That's big, sure.

GIULIANI:  If you looked at the last incumbents that have lost, right -- his dad, there was a fight within the Republican Party.  Carter, there was a...

O'REILLY:  Kennedy.

GIULIANI:  ... the Kennedy...

O'REILLY:  Right.

GIULIANI:  Almost every time, there's an...

O'REILLY:  That's true, and he'll have plenty of money in -- but he's made some big mistakes.  Weapons of mass destruction was a mistake.  Border chaos with the amnesty and all of that, very, very hot button.  But it comes down to whether conservatives will stay home and vote for them, and I believe they'll vote for him.

Now how about you?  You have a couple of paths.

You can stay in the private sector earning gazillions of dollars of the lecture circuit.  You -- and I to say that the mayor and I have the same lecture agent, so I know how well he is doing.  You can go for the governorship in New York.  I can't see you living in Albany and dealing with those pinheads up there in the New York State assembly.  I think you would either kill them or hitchhike back here.

Or you could go for the Senate against Mrs. Clinton in 2006.

So you really have three options, right?

Or you can become the first-base coach for the Yankees.

GIULIANI:  Not bad.  Not bad.

O'REILLY:  Yes.  You'd like that the best.

GIULIANI:  I don't -- Bill, I don't know yet.  I mean honest -- the most honest answer I can give you is I don't know yet.

O'REILLY:  You're keeping all three of those open?

GIULIANI:  I'm keeping -- I'm not closing any options, let's put it that way.

O'REILLY:  All right.

GIULIANI:  That's the best -- the best way to proceed in a year in which who the heck knows...

O'REILLY:  Yes, nobody knows.

GIULIANI:  ... where -- where things are going to be in 2006, 2008.

O'REILLY:  Right.  That's right.  Do you think you could handle the job as president?  Would you like that?  Is that a challenge you would like?

GIULIANI:  I don't think I'm going to even address that until after this election.  I'm not going to address the idea of running for president, thinking about running for president.

O'REILLY:  Theoretically?  First Italian. You know, tremendous, tremendous pressure every day of your life.  Is that -- is that a job that appeals to somebody like you as a public servant?  Some people -- some people don't want it.  They just say I don't want this, this is too much grief.

GIULIANI:  Sounds like mayor.  Sounds like mayor.  It sounds like being mayor of New York City.

Sure, public service -- I'm not saying that job in particular because that -- I don't think you should really think about that until it's...

O'REILLY:  But you wouldn't say, no, I don't want it, it's too much pressure...

GIULIANI:  I certainly wouldn't rule...

O'REILLY:  I don't want to drag my...

GIULIANI:  I certainly wouldn't rule out any public-service office.

O'REILLY:  OK.  Because that's interesting.  I mean...

GIULIANI:  That's a part of my life.

O'REILLY:  Right.

GIULIANI:  But, right now, I'm in business.  I run Giuliani Partners.  I work with the former police commissioner, Bernie Kerik.  We do security...

O'REILLY:  And you're making gazillions of dollars, and...

GIULIANI:  ... all over the world.

O'REILLY:  ... you're doing...

GIULIANI:  We've got a great business, and we're doing terrific.

O'REILLY:  Right.  All right.  But public service I see in your future.  I'm kind of like Miss Cleo.  You know what I'm talking about here, Mr. Mayor?

GIULIANI:  There's an...

O'REILLY:  I see public service in your future.  I don't know.  Up in Albany.  I don't know.

All right.  The country now is in the middle of a culture war.  You're aware of that war?  The culture war between the secularists and the traditionalists?

GIULIANI:  People -- one of many.  There are a number of different...

O'REILLY:  It's enormous.

GIULIANI:  ... dividing lines that are going on right now.

O'REILLY:  Right.  Where are you in the culture war?  You're kind of liberal socially?

GIULIANI:  Yes, I think -- I think you'd probably describe me as a moderate Republican, however that sort of fits.  I'm a conservative on economic policy.  I'm a conservative on...

O'REILLY:  Crime.

GIULIANI:  ... national security, a conservative on crime, a conservative on the size of government.  I'm probably a moderate on social policy.

O'REILLY:  Gay marriage?  Are you up for that?

GIULIANI:  No, but I'm in favor of...

O'REILLY:  Partnerships.

GIULIANI:  ... civil unions.  I signed the two laws in New York that created domestic partnership.

O'REILLY:  Why no gay marriage?

GIULIANI:  Because it seems to me that's a fair -- that's a fair balance.  Marriage should be reserved for a man and a woman, traditional, important to our future, important that we preserve...

O'REILLY:  But they say -- they say that violates my rights as an American, I'm gay, and...

GIULIANI:  Well, that's -- that's why you have civil partnerships.  So now you have a civil partnership, domestic partnership, civil union, whatever you want to call it, and that takes care of the imbalance, the discrimination, which we shouldn't have.  At the same time, marriage has a whole history to it, including procreation and all of that.

O'REILLY:  So you -- you come down on the traditional side there?


O'REILLY:  [The phrase] "Under God" [belongs] in the Pledge of Allegiance (search)?

GIULIANI:  Oh, absolutely.


GIULIANI:  I don't -- I don't -- because...

O'REILLY:  I'm a Muslim or I'm an atheist.  I'm offended.

GIULIANI:  Oh, I think -- you know, I think we can deal with that, and the fact is, you know, it's been part -- it's -- then you have to stop the prayer at the beginning of...

O'REILLY:  Of everything.

GIULIANI:  ... the beginning of -- the opening of the Senate or the House or...

O'REILLY:  That's what they want.  No chaplains in the armed forces.  They -- that's what they want.  They want all spiritual...

GIULIANI:  I think -- I think that some degree of acknowledgement of God is fine.  It's part of our history.  It should be part of our history.  To me, it's important and to others who maybe don't believe in God, that's maybe something they can tolerate.

O'REILLY:  All right.  I've got one more question for you, all right, and I need -- I need a really honest answer.  I know you're a politician and you play it somewhat close to the vest.

Personal attacks.  [Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry] McAuliffe over the weekend.  Bush went AWOL.  [Documentary filmmaker] Michael Moore.  He's a deserter.  [Some of the] books that are out -- you know, O'Reilly's a liar.  Everybody's a liar.  Everybody's a cheat and scoundrel, all right.  You got attacked personally when you were mayor all the time.

GIULIANI:  Every day just about.

O'REILLY:  [Former NYC Mayor Ed] Koch on this program last week called you mean-spirited.  Right here.  He's mean-spirited!  You know.  This coming from Koch.  I mean that's Mother Teresa, right?

GIULIANI:  And we -- and we had just spent some time together at Gracie Mansion (search) having a perfectly fine conversation, and I visit him every time he's...

O'REILLY:  Yes.  I don't think he dislikes you.  He just thinks you're mean because he -- you know -- but, anyway, I get so -- I get mad sometimes when they say slanderous things about me.  Do you get mad?

GIULIANI:  Yes, sure.  Sometimes.

O'REILLY:  Do you?

GIULIANI:  Sometimes I -- the way I kind of divide it is nine times out of 10, it sort of rolls off my back, and I don't pay attention to it, and you sort of laugh at it.  And then, every once in a while, they do one that really gets to you.


GIULIANI:  You know, maybe it attacks your integrity, maybe it attacks you in someplace that you feel stronger about, and I do think that it's beginning to hurt the people who do it.

O'REILLY:  Absolutely.

GIULIANI:  You know, when I look at the primary in Iowa, I think that was part of maybe what happened.  Edwards stayed out of doing that, and...

O'REILLY:  Absolutely.  It hurt -- it hurt Dean.

GIULIANI:  I think it hurt Clark.

O'REILLY:  It killed Clark.  Once Jennings nailed him with the Michael Moore thing, deserter...

GIULIANI:  Absolutely.

O'REILLY:  ... it killed him.

GIULIANI:  Yes, yes.  I mean where the -- and I think with people even that dislike the president, they kind of -- they still feel...

O'REILLY:  Right.

GIULIANI:  ... this is too much, desertion is a crime punishable by death.  Let's get real.  I mean...

O'REILLY:  Well, I want to kill Michael Moore.  Is that all right?  All right.  And I don't believe in capital punishment.  That's just a joke on Moore.

And, Mr. Mayor, you're welcome any time to drop in here, OK.

GIULIANI:  Thank you, Bill.

O'REILLY:  OK.  It's always...

GIULIANI:  Great show.

O'REILLY:  Nice talking to you.  I appreciate you coming on.

GIULIANI:  Good contribution.

O'REILLY:  Thank you very much.

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