Fox News has posted the transcript of Sean Hannity’s interview with President Bush. Hannity asked the president whether “if John Kerry were president would he make this country more vulnerable and more susceptible to terror attacks?” This, of course, is the issue that Dick Cheney addressed to the consternation of the Democrats in September. Bush’s answer, a more fully-developed and carefully-worded version of Cheney’s, provides the basis for a pretty good closing campaign ad:
You know, that’s ultimately the decision the people are going to have to decide in this campaign and it is by far one of the biggest issues in the campaign. What I say is that his point of view is dangerous because it’s very limited in nature. He says this is primarily a law enforcement and intelligence-gathering operation. He says we must pass a global test. He says that — he hasn’t changed his position on Iraq. He has changed his position on Iraq. A lot. And I think all of that adds up to is a — in my judgment — is a strategy that would not enable us to win. And he said he wanted to reduce terrorism to a nuisance. To me that is not the right strategy in the world in which we live in. The strategy should be to defeat these terrorists in the short term by bringing them to justice using all the assets at our disposal. In the long term by encouraging free societies to emerge. I think one of the most hopeful and amazing things that has happened in recent history is the fact that millions of people in Afghanistan went to the polls to vote for president. The first voter was a 19 year old woman. I cannot tell you how exhilarating and hopeful that makes me feel about my deep belief that every person wants to be free in the world. It just was proved and Sean, I would ask you to go think about what public opinion was like as to whether or not — several years ago — as to whether or not a democracy would ever emerge in Afghanistan. It is an amazing phenomenon — I love to tell the youngsters in the crowd that come and see me to think about — and I want you to remember what has happened in a brief period of time. A society has gone from darkness to light because freedom is on the march.