'That Will Be His Second-Term Legacy'

J$P Instant Transcript! Dick Morris gives his reactions to the President's New Orleans speech.

From Hannity & Colmes, September 15 2005:

ALAN COLMES [FOX NEWS]: Joining us now with more reaction to President Bush's speech tonight, former Clinton advisor Dick Morris. Dick, I thought that he sounded like FDR, and I thought he sounded like LBJ. And any liberal could have given that speech tonight.

DICK MORRIS: I thought he sounded like a compassionate conservative, something we heard about in 2000 and haven't seen.

COLMES: That doesn't mean "liberal"?

MORRIS: I thought that this speech was as important and as good a speech as any since his address to the joint session of Congress after 9/11. It was a female speech. It was a caring speech. And George Bush basically believes the federal government should do two things: fight wars and help people recover from disasters. And now he's got both on his plate.

COLMES: Let me ask you something--

MORRIS: I think his ratings are going to soar. Not necessarily in the next three days, but over the next year he's going to look so good doing all this stuff.

COLMES: Brit Hume asked an interesting question I want to pose to you, which is: is this consistent with Republican principles, and with the principles this administration has espoused up until now?

MORRIS: Sure 'tis, because there was a hurricane. If there wasn't a hurricane and he proposed this program nationally, the Republican Party would have a conniption. But because there was a hurricane, it is a--even Ronald Reagan would think the government has a responsibility to help people get on their feet after a storm.

COLMES: But we've rarely heard Republicans talk about this advanced a role for government, this kind of money for municipalities, if ever.

MORRIS: That's why the people who said this storm is going to hurt Bush's Presidency are just wrong. He can get all the money he wants out of Congress because of this disaster. The people will be solidly behind him. The media will cover it like crazy. And he's going to look like Santa Claus.

COLMES: So if you were advising Democrats now, how would you advise them to react?

MORRIS: To shut up--

COLMES: Shut up?

MORRIS: --and stop carping and screaming and hollering and pointing fingers, and start amassing national credits by showing the same liberal Democratic compassion Bush did.

COLMES: So they should just agree with him and say he's doing a great job?

MORRIS: Yeah. Just like right after 9/11, they hurt themselves by any kind of carping. Bush, the speech was fantastic.

SEAN HANNITY [FOX NEWS]: Hey Dick, welcome back to the program. I'm not exactly sure what my friend Alan here is talking about. These cities, our fellow Americans, their cities were decimated. Their lives were turned upside-down in a way that we've never seen before. This is a human compassion issue--

MORRIS: Right.

HANNITY: --and that's what the President showed. That we will help these people get their lives back.

MORRIS: Bush has a gender gap. He gets 62% of the votes of men but only 50-something of women. And this kind of speech, this kind of effort, solves that. It speaks of his compassion, his force of character, the kind of person I believe he really is.

HANNITY: But you know something? What's interesting about this, the way he spoke tonight when he talked about the Gulf opportunity zone--those are conservatives principles--


HANNITY: --using the private sector as well. Rebuilding in a way that does not necessarily completely depend on government. Because he's got to be careful that this doesn't become another Big Dig at like Boston.

MORRIS: The workers' savings accounts for retraining.

HANNITY: Exactly.,

MORRIS: And I think that what might happen is, I think this will be very successful in the Gulf. And then remember how people said we need a Marshall Plan for Africa? People are going to say we need to use the lessons of the Gulf opportunity zone for the rest of the country.

HANNITY: When he said we have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action, I think some people--of course, we have to do that. Of course, we're going to rebuild it in a way that's going to be, to turn this again into a vibrant city and make it better.

MORRIS: Back in the 60s, Michael Harrington in his famous book, The Other America, spoke about how the poor are invisible. And now they lifted up the Superdome and we saw what's underneath, and we saw the poor. And we saw it in a way we couldn't possibly ignore. And I think this is a seminal moment in our history. And I think Bush rose to the occasion magnificently.

HANNITY: Let me ask you a little bit more about the Democratic Party you were discussing with Alan, The rush, the race, the glee almost, to politicize a catastrophe like this. It's been shocking, in terms of the Democratic Party.


HANNITY: What will be the reaction to that?

MORRIS: Well, I just don't think that, I don't think this is a horse race. I think Bush is in a one-horse race here, because he has, the President has such mastery of all of the tools of disaster relief. It's a military effort; Congress appropriates whatever you want; he controls the executive branch. And this is something where Bush can just go ahead and do his thing, and all the Democrats can do is sigh.

HANNITY: Did he blunt some of the criticism on the federal government side, when he said that some of the efforts were not well coordinated, overwhelmed in the first few days? Because you wrote about this . You wrote two columns about this. And I read both of them.

MORRIS: We can only vaguely remember the few days after the tsunami he was criticized. Michael Moore attacked him about what he did in the opening days after 9/11. They're distant memories. And in four, five months it will be a distant memories. Katrina, and the recovery, will be a huge positive for Bush.

HANNITY: That will be his legacy.

MORRIS: That will be his second-term legacy. You have a President who doesn't believe government should do a lot. But he believes they should fight wars, and that was the first time. And they believe that they should recover from disasters, and that's the second term. Man is this guy fortunate.

COLMES: Was it--

HANNITY: Fortunate to have disaster?

MORRIS: Fortunate to be able to be President at a time when he can respond without violating his principles.

COLMES: Dick, is it politicizing when some people accuse state and local governments of--

MORRIS: Louisiana is the most corrupt state in the country.

COLMES: All right, thanks for being with us.

posted: Thu - September 15, 2005 at 10:40 PM       j$p  send