GOVERNOR BUSH: Exactly. Everybody’s got an address book or a Rolodex. They should be calling their friends and neighbors. You know, you can call. If you’re not living in Florida please call a Floridian to urge them to support us. The most effective means of campaigning. We expect, starting last Thursday by the end of tomorrow, we’ll have knocked on over a million doors, and called — volunteer phone calls — over a million as well, two million direct contacts with voters here in Florida alone.
RUSH: I know you’ve got limited time. I want to ask you about this early voting.
GOVERNOR BUSH: Yeah.
RUSH: I know it’s the law of the land now. But, governor, it appears to me that this is being spun by an eager media as primarily angry Democrats who can’t wait to go out and vote for John Kerry. What’s your read on this early voting and what’s the spin, that you interpret the spin, on the reporting of the so-called exit polling from all this?
GOVERNOR BUSH: Well, what I believe it is that if you add up the absentee ballot votes that have been returned and the early voting, that the president will go into tomorrow with a lead, and many of the people that are early voting are people that would have voted on Tuesday, so it’s not a marked difference. But it’s a convenience that I think is acceptable. I don’t think it should be, you know, a difficult thing to go vote. I reject the notion that a high turnout helps Senator Kerry. I think in Florida at least, it’s going to help President Bush because we have gotten more registered voters than the Democrats, and our base is just fired up — thanks to your help and a lot of others.
RUSH: Now, you had a 12% margin of victory when you were reelected.
GOVERNOR BUSH: About, yeah. I think maybe a little bit more than that, but —
RUSH: A little bit more, ok.
GOVERNOR BUSH: — who’s counting? (Laughs)
RUSH: Well, I am. I want to be accurate. If it’s 12 or 14 percent, that’s what it is. Has the state changed that much since you were reelected, in your opinion?
GOVERNOR BUSH: Well, it always changes. Florida is a really dynamic place. But the difference in 2002 and 2004 is that I got about 98% of the president’s 2000 vote and my opponent got about 75% of vice president Gore’s vote. So the turnout was significantly better for us, where it dropped for the Democrats. My guess is the Democrats will have a good turnout number but ours will be better. So I don’t expect the president to win by 11, but I do expect him to win and that we’ll know it on Election Night.
RUSH: Are you alarmed at all the talk about potential fraud and recounts and lawyers all over the state?
GOVERNOR BUSH: I am disgusted by the lawyers. All the lawsuits leading up to the election, the secretary of state won every one of those cases but one, I believe — which was not related to the election — by a candidate down in south Florida, and the announced moved by Democrats already that they’re going to sue no matter what, is just, I think, a sign of the times, that everything has to get lawyered up in our country. Civil society is really under attack, and I think people will reject it, and I hope the Kerry campaign doesn’t do it.
RUSH: Where are you going to be when you leave this site, and how long today? How long a day do you have and where are you going to end up tonight?
GOVERNOR BUSH: Well, from here we’re going to Panama City, and then we go to Jacksonville, and then I have a rally, I think, at eight or nine o’clock at Embry-Riddle University in Daytona Beach and I end up in Tallahassee, Florida, probably around 11 o’clock.
RUSH: Have you talked to the president today or in recent days?
GOVERNOR BUSH: I was with him yesterday and he was in great spirits. He finished the day off in Florida, at least, heading up to Cincinnati with a rally of 20,000 in Gainesville, which is one of the more liberal parts of our state —
GOVERNOR BUSH: — and people are fired up. I mean, they really are, and I believe that that’s going to be the margin of difference.
RUSH: Governor, what does he think of the type of campaign this has been? How has this affected him personally? I know he has great faith and great strength, but how did you find him in the face of all of this? He’s trying to run an upbeat and positive issue-oriented campaign; he’s trying to stay away from responding to some of the absurd charges as best he can, but how is he dealing with this personally?
GOVERNOR BUSH: He is so disciplined and so focused that he handles all of this remarkably well, and he was just in fantastic spirits yesterday. We went to church yesterday morning in my parish church down in Miami, and that’s what he talks about all day is how wonderful of a homily Monsignor O’Doherty gave and how just what a spirit the place had. He’s got his life together. I’m so proud of him and I love him so much. I just… I don’t know. I would be kind of stressed out, I think, having gone through what he’s gone through and just the abject hatred that exists. Blind hatred, not based on anything other than just hate against the president is troubling to me, but he’s guided by his faith and he’s determined and disciplined, and it doesn’t seem to bother him.
RUSH: Well, it’s great to hear, and it’s nice to talk to you. I haven’t talked to you in a long time, and it’s great to hear you sounding so good yourself.
GOVERNOR BUSH: Well, thank you, Rush, and we’re — I’m at least — very proud that you’re a Floridian.
RUSH: (Laughing.) So am I, uh…some days. Thanks, governor.
GOVERNOR BUSH: (Laughing)
RUSH: Thanks very much, governor.
GOVERNOR BUSH: Thank you, sir.
RUSH: It’s Governor Jeb Bush, on the road getting out the vote today.