DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES DEBATE, GOFFSTOWN, NEW HAMPSHIRE
JANUARY 22, 2004
Part I Part II Part III
JENNINGS: Welcome back to the last debate before the New Hampshire primary.
Gentlemen, the timekeeper has asked me to suggest that you listen even more attentively to the bell than you have on occasion, although I think we generally agree you have been pretty good.
GRIFFITH: Senator Kerry, I want to begin with you, something very local to the New England region, the use of MTBE in gasoline here in the Northeast, as you know.
It's been very controversial because of its link to water pollution. Here in New Hampshire, our governor, Jeanne Shaheen, petitioned the EPA to let us out of that requirement some years ago, and still no answer from the feds on it.
If decisions aren't made soon, they're going to have to add ethanol, I guess, which is a very costly thing that could create gas price increases and generally hurt our New England economy.
What do you propose in the balancing act between the environment and the economy, as it pertains to MTBE?
KERRY: It needs to be banned, taken out. And the companies that have put it in need to be held responsible for it.
I visited with Lisa and Randy Denuccio. They live in Salem. They live right beside a lake in Salem. Their kids no longer use the water there to make lemonade. Their kids no longer shower using that water. They're scared of it. It's polluted with MTBE, as are one- sixth of the lakes of New Hampshire.
Now, Tom DeLay and his friends in Congress have been busy protecting those companies from their responsibility, trying to give them liability immunity for what they've done.
This is the worst environmental administration that I've ever seen in all my time in public life. They're going backward on clean air, backward on clean water, backward on forest policy.
And we deserve a president of the United States who is going to stand up to those powerful interests, as I have. I led the fight to stop Gingrich from destroying the Clean Air and Clean Water Act. I led the fight to stop them drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge.
And as president, I will balance between jobs and the economy, but I'm not going to give people a phony choice that says, "It's either the jobs or the economy." Cleaning up the environment is jobs. And we're going to create 500,000 of them for Americans in the first years.
GRIFFITH: OK, thank you.
Senator Lieberman, on the issue of -- we're right now looking to go out to Canadian drug sources in order to lower our state costs. You've (ph) announced plans to import prescription drugs, to look at it closely, in order to save the state money.
Is this something -- on this topic, would you encourage state governors to do this? Or would you seek some other methodology to try to keep drug prices down? Should we be going to Canada for...
LIEBERMAN: Yes, unfortunately, we should.
And I view this is as a kind of Boston Tea Party of the 21st century. I never attack the drug companies for what they produce. The pharmaceuticals that they produce keep us alive and well.
But the pricing is unfair. And it is particularly unfair that Canada slaps price controls on, other developed rich nations in Europe do the same, and Uncle Sam and our citizens have to pay the full cost of research, marketing, administration of the drug companies.
There's only way that this is going to begin to turn around, and it is if we begin to allow the legal importation of drugs from Canada. That's the way we can speak with our money to the drug companies to treat us more fairly.
LIEBERMAN: I'd say one other thing. In the so-called drug benefit bill, Medicare, which I voted against, there was actually a restrictive clause put in by the special interests to stop this from happening; and even more outrageous, a prohibition on Medicare negotiating the lowest possible prices with drug companies for prescription drugs for the elderly.
JENNINGS: In the meantime, Senator...
LIEBERMAN: Now, give me a break, how can you justify that?
JENNINGS: In the meantime, Senator -- forgive me for interrupting -- in the meantime, the government moved today against another Canadian drug company. Are you not encouraging, as sympathetic as one is to seniors, are you not encouraging governors and communities to break the law?
LIEBERMAN: I think we have to make it legal. That's what I'm saying.
I would -- and I voted for this in the Senate. I would allow the safe importation of drugs, which means to have some basic standards to make sure -- but when you're bringing in a prescription drug with a brand name that effectively is the same drug as people are paying so much money for here in the United States, that's going to send a message to the drug companies: Treat American consumers fairly.
GRIFFITH: I'm back over to Congressman Kucinich.
And I hope that you'll allow me to dig deep again into my e-mail bag for your next question.
KUCINICH: It's great to communicate with the mass public. That's what this election's about.
GRIFFITH: Roger Stevenson of Stratham wrote me with great concern that there hasn't been enough discussion on the environment.
What is the most important environmental issue facing the nation?
And you only have one minute.
KUCINICH: Thank you.
As president of the United States I would lead this country on a new energy initiative. In the same way that President John F. Kennedy decided to bring the academic and spiritual resource of this country to have the United States reach the moon someday, I intend to have a very infinitely interesting journey to planet Earth.
And that journey will be about sustainable and renewable energy.
By the year 2010, I'll call upon Americans to assist in creating a program, not only of conservation, but of moving to renewable energy, away from oil, nuclear and coal, and towards wind and solar and geothermal, green hydrogen and biomass.
We're talking about saving our planet here. We have to understand even here in New Hampshire how trees are affected and the, you know, maple syrup is affected as a product here. We have to recognize that the economy of this region has been hurt by environmental policies which dirty the air and the water. I'm going to change that.
JENNINGS: Thank you, Congressman.
John DiStaso, you have Governor Dean and General Clark.
Governor, I know this is a very happy debate, as Senator Lieberman said, but there are some things that have been said. Last week, for instance, you said the three senators' decision to support the 2002 Iraq resolution, quote, "calls into question their judgment and ability to sort out complicated issues regarding the most crucial decision any president has to make," in a conference call with New Hampshire reporters.
That's a harsh indictment. And I'm wondering today do you still feel that way.
DEAN: I do. We were presented with a series of facts. I came to a different conclusion than the senators did on those facts. My conclusion was that there was no Al Qaida in Iraq, as the president intimated. My conclusion was that Iraq was not about to acquire nuclear weapons, as the president intimated, and as the British intelligence reports reported the opposite of. My conclusion was that we'd successfully contained Saddam Hussein.
People have questioned my foreign policy experience, and the retort that I make is, that with patience and judgment, I was able to sort out, in fact, the idea that the president was not being candid with the American people when he asked that the resolution be improved.
I would not have supported that resolution. I said so in Keene on September 20, 2002. So we do have a difference of opinion.
We have a difference of opinion on No Child Left Behind. I would not have supported that, and said so early on. There are differences between us.
I've said -- just to get back to Joe's more cheerful appraisal -- I have said that whoever wins up here, I will vigorously support, and I absolutely intend to do so. But that does not mean there are not substantive differences between the candidates here.
DISTASO: Don't you think that disagreeing and calling into question one's judgment and ability to sort out complicated issues are a little bit different scale?
DEAN: Someone earlier made a remark about losing 500 soldiers and 2,200 wounded. Those soldiers were sent there by the vote of Senator Lieberman and Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards. That is a fact. And I think that's a very serious matter. And it is a matter upon which we differ.
DISTASO: I saw Senator Lieberman's hand up.
LIEBERMAN: Might I have the opportunity to rebut?
JENNINGS: Very briefly, Senator.
LIEBERMAN: Yes. Well, very briefly, we made the right decision.
I didn't need George Bush to convince me that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the United States of America. John McCain and I wrote the law that made it national policy to change the regime in Baghdad.
This man was a homicidal maniac, killed hundreds of thousands of people, did have weapons of mass destruction in the '90s, used them against the Kurdish Iraqis and the Iranians, admitted to the United Nations he had enough chemical and biological to kill millions of people, supported terrorism, tried to assassinate former President Bush.
I repeat: We are safer with Saddam Hussein in prison than in power.
DISTASO: General Clark, you've already discussed your concerns about the Patriot Act and support for civil liberties and privacy rights. But as a lobbyist for Axiom Corp, you helped secure a federal contract for the system known as CAPPS II, a passenger-screening program which has been criticized by the ACLU for violating people's rights to privacy.
How does CAPPS II, which I know many air-traveler advocacy groups are concerned about, not do that, not step over the line? Or does it, now that it's about to be in place?
CLARK: Well, I don't know about CAPPS II because I have not seen the program, and I don't think many of the people who are worried about it have.
Here's what I believe. I believe that we need to use all of the tools and tradecraft at our disposal to help keep this country safe. And we need to do so in a way that doesn't violate people's privacy.
And when I was consulting with Axiom -- and I was on the board of the company, and I did take them around and introduce them to various members of the United States government, the Defense Department and so forth, because their technology will improve our security.
But I was insistence that we do so with a firm grip on the privacy issues. Had I still been on that board when all this was going through, I would have insisted that ACLU and others be brought in to pre-approve CAPPS II. Whether that was done or not, I have no idea.
But there's nothing intrinsic in the system that we're using that can't be made fully compatible with all of the privacy concerns.
JENNINGS: Thank you, sir.
HUME: Senator Edwards, the Iowa results suggests that a great many people have taken a look at you and seen a new face and amiable personality, a couple of adorable kids, and viewed you with considerable approval.
I wonder, though, if some people don't also look at you and say, "Well, he's served part of one term in the U.S. Senate; he's not going to come back for another if he doesn't get the presidency," and wondered if, while you may be very promising and attractive in their ideas, it may be a little early for the White House for you?
EDWARDS: Well, actually, Brit, I think 32 percent of Iowans decided it was not too early...
... that they wanted me to be their president.
And I think the reason for that is people are hungry for change. They're hungry for change in America. They're hungry for change in Washington, D.C. And the truth is, the truth is, that I'm somebody who's been in Washington long enough to see what's wrong with it and how it needs to be changed.
You asked a few minutes to Joe Lieberman -- or Joe was asked a few minutes ago about the prescription drug bill and what should be done. Here's a perfect example of what goes on in Washington every day: The lobbyists and these powerful lobbies for the drug company, they're taking the democracy away from the American people. Their lobbyists, who make huge campaign contributions, they're lobbying the Congress every day. There's a revolving door between the government and lobbyists.
We need to do a whole group of things to restore the power in this democracy to the American people so that these insiders are not continuing to run this government.
And what I would do is ban their contributions. I would shine a bright light on their activities so we, in fact, know what they're doing.
And third, I would make them tell us everything they're doing: Who they're lobbying for; who they're lobbying; the money they're spending; who they're trying to influence.
Those are the things that we need to do to bring real change to this country.
JENNINGS: Is there anything intrinsically wrong, sir, with being a lobbyist?
EDWARDS: I can't hear you.
JENNINGS: Is there anything intrinsically wrong with being a lobbyist?
EDWARDS: No. There's something wrong with the impact that Washington lobbyists are having on our system of government.
EDWARDS: Because -- since you asked me, may I say one other word about that?
Because if you watch what happens there every single day, they are influencing legislation. The power of the American people to have their representatives decide only in the interests of the American people has been taken away. And it happens over and over and over.
Which is why I have laid out a very clear set of proposals: banning contributions from Washington lobbyists. I've never taken any money from Washington lobbyists, but no one should be able to take money from them...
JENNINGS: Thank you, Senator.
EDWARDS: ... and, second, making sure we know what they're doing.
JENNINGS: Thank you, Senator.
HUME: Reverend Sharpton, there are signs now that the Earth may be crumbling under the feet of the regime in Iran. There is real dissent in that country. There is a protest now against the fact that a number of candidates have been told they cannot run for election there.
As president, how would you deal with the situation in Iran?
SHARPTON: I think that one of the problems that we see in Iran, in terms of the movement toward open elections, toward a clear repression there, is something that we must be concerned about.
But I do not, in any way, shape or form, support a military intervention. I would try as best I could as president to use the power of diplomacy, the power of our trade and business with Iran, and our ability to communicate with all sides. And I would support the U.N. to try to bring about some kind of stabilized order there and some kind of dialogue.
I think that we have an obligation to try to support democracy anywhere we can in the world. But I think that we've got to do it by supporting the United Nations and not undercutting it by going around it or by going in a way that would undermine the ability to bring these matters into some order.
And I think that was the reason the United Nations was put forward in the first place. I think the fact that we don't pay our dues, the fact that we ourselves go around the U.N. when we want undermines the ability of the U.N. to be used in situations like Iraq.
JENNINGS: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.
John DiStaso, you start the next round.
DISTASO: Yes, for Senator Kerry.
Senator, wealthy Americans aren't all millionaires. Some of them are small-business people who have worked hard and been successful and making perhaps $200,000. And there are some that I know that are concerned that if they receive a tax hike that they are going to have to -- the effect is going to be on their business, scale back, layoffs, perhaps even close down.
What are you going to do for them who are maybe employing a fair number of other people?
KERRY: Well, as a senator for years I have fought for small businesses. I've actually been chairman of the Small Business Committee. And I think one of the reasons, to go back to Peter's question, that the Republicans are going to begin advertising tomorrow to try to attack me and sort of label me is because they know my record. They know I present the strongest challenge to George W. Bush.
I'm the only other candidate, besides Governor Dean, who is outside of the caps. If I win the nomination, I'll have the ability to raise an extraordinary amount of money and answer them back.
Today I was endorsed by Fritz Hollings in South Carolina. I have the endorsement of General Steve Cheney, the former commandant of the Marine Corps, in South Carolina, the former statewide candidate for attorney general, the minority leader of the House, the minority leader of the Senate, Senator Max Cleland in Georgia, because I'm talking common sense to Americans.
And common sense is that you need to help small business across this country.
They just cut today the manufacturing extension program for New Hampshire that has helped $35 million of additional money come to small businesses in this state. The Republicans cut it today.
I'm in favor of tax reductions for small business, and I have a health care plan that will reduce the burden for all Americans, business and those who get their health care in the workplace today.
JENNINGS: Thank you, Senator.
KERRY: That's why they're frightened. And that's why I'm going to win.
DISTASO: Senator Lieberman, I'm going to ask you a parochial question, one that hasn't come up here yet. It may not be the one that you would enjoy.
Going back to 1996 and '99, you and former Senator Slade Gorton proposed a bill to have regional primaries, revolving regional primaries throughout the state, which could've prompted an end to the New Hampshire primary.
How much of a mistake was that, now that you've literally lived here?
Or, given the fact -- I don't want to bring up horse races here, your standing in the polls -- is that now a pretty good idea after all?
LIEBERMAN: I've gotten older and wiser, John.
You know, this New Hampshire primary looks pretty good to me now. It's why I chose to start here. My wife and family and I have taken an apartment in Manchester. We've spent a lot of time talking to people here. I think they've come to understand that I have a record of 30 years that they can rely on to know who I am.
And what's more important, I know who I am. I've stood up to special interests. I've put the people first. I'm independent-minded, as the people of New Hampshire are. That's why I'm confident about what's going to happen next Tuesday.
The Democratic National Committee did something very good with the presidential selection process. They protected the so-called window for Iowa and New Hampshire historically, but then opened up this process to seven other states, from South Carolina to New Mexico, Arizona, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Delaware and Missouri.
Did I get them all?
And that's going to let a lot of people around America have a say early about who the Democratic nominee will be.
JENNINGS: Senator, we're geographically sensitive.
JENNINGS: Can I ask all of you to put up your hand who would also agree next time to start in Iowa?
DEAN: We would agree to start in Iowa?
JENNINGS: To start in Iowa.
DISTASO: I would like to follow up by asking Senator Lieberman -- I can't ask everyone at once -- to pledge now to use your power as president, as the nominee or as senator, to actively oppose any efforts in the future -- and they're going to come -- to boot New Hampshire out of its first-in-the-nation place.
LIEBERMAN: John, let me...
DISTASO: Anybody that could take that opportunity to do that...
LIEBERMAN: Let me say two things. One, because I'll be the incumbent president, I look forward to going to Iowa to the caucuses four years from now.
Secondly, I will pledge to the death to protect...
... the New Hampshire primary, so help me God.
JENNINGS: Let it never be said that any of you pander.
JENNINGS: Mr. Hume?
HUME: General Clark, Governor Dean has said that you're a good guy but he thinks you're a Republican. Now, we're told you did vote for several Republican presidents -- President Nixon, President Reagan -- said good things about the first President Bush and even about this President Bush.
You said, in an article published in The Times of London back in April as the war ended, quote, "Liberation is at hand. Liberation, the powerful balm that justifies painful sacrifice, erases lingering doubt and reinforces bold actions."
As to the president, you wrote, quote, "President Bush and Tony Blair should be proud of their resolve in the face of so much doubt."
Given those statements, given your votes, I think it is not unreasonable to ask you when you first noticed that you were a Democrat.
CLARK: Well, actually, actually, Brit, actually, I did vote for Al Gore in 2000 and for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996.
But when I was in the military, I was not a member of any party. I was an independent, and that's the way it is done in the state of Arkansas.
And when I got out, I looked at both parties. And I'm a fair- minded person. And when the president of the United States does two things that I agree with -- one of them attacking the Taliban in Iraq, and the other is not quitting in the use of military force in the middle of a dust storm -- then I'm going to say so.
And when I'm president, I hope that Republicans will praise me when I do things right. But...
HUME: Well, that's...
CLARK: Can I just finish my statement?
CLARK: I'm running for president because I don't like the direction George Bush is taking the country in. I am a Democrat, and I want to turn this country around and set it going in the right direction.
I want to put a strong basis of values back into this Democratic Party and take George Bush head-on. Because family values is our issue in the Democratic Party; it is not the Republicans' issue.
HUME: Could not a reader be justified in concluding, from this piece that you wrote for the Times of London in April, that you did indeed support this war and was pleased by its outcome and, as you said the first time when asked the question, probably would have voted to support it?
CLARK: No, that's not true. In fact, if you look at the whole article, what you'll see is that the article lays out a whole series of tasks that have to be done later on.
And it's written in a foreign publication. I'm not going to take U.S. policy and my differences with the administration directly into a foreign publication.
But I made it clear in the article -- and I think you've got it there. If you read it on down, you'll see that I say this doesn't mean -- they've got to focus now on the peacekeeping, the occupation, the provision of order.
There's a whole series of tasks that I laid out for them to do that, in fact, they were incapable of doing.
I did not support this war. I would not have voted for the resolution. But once American soldiers are on the battlefield, then I want them to be successful and I want them to come home safely.
JENNINGS: Thank you, General.
HUME: Senator Edwards, the Democratic national chairman, Terry McAuliffe, said yesterday, I believe, that the president, by bringing up his possible support of a constitutional amendment on marriage, was preparing to introduce bigotry into the Constitution.
Do you agree with that?
EDWARDS: I'm completely opposed to the constitutional amendment. I think it's wrong and unnecessary.
I wonder if I could just step back for a minute. There's been an enormous amount of discussion in the first hour, hour-and-a-half of this debate, about us, about ourselves. You know, if we could just take a minute and talk about what's actually happening in the country.
For example, there's been no discussion about 35 million Americans who live in poverty every single day. Millions of Americans who work full-time for minimum wage and live in poverty.
We have, in a country of our wealth -- if you'll let me finish -- in a country of our wealth and prosperity, we have children going to bed hungry. We have children who don't have the clothes to keep them warm.
And I understand that maybe on some poll, that may not be a big issue, but the truth is, it's important. This is what -- we should talk about it and do something about it, because it's wrong.
And we need -- we, the Democratic presidential candidates, we have a responsibility, I believe, a moral responsibility, to do something about 35 million Americans living in poverty.
And the only thing I'm suggesting, we need to spend some time, more time in this debate talking about the issues. Instead of talking about ourselves, why don't we talk about them? Why don't we talk about the voters and the things that affect their lives? That's what we ought to be doing.
HUME: Well, Senator, I don't think anyone would dispute that...
... that abortion remains a potent issue in our national life, and the chairman...
EDWARDS: Thirty five million Americans living in poverty is also an important issue.
HUME: I wouldn't dispute that for a moment. But the chairman of your party has accused the president of the United States of bigotry, and I would just like to know if you agree that bigotry is in play here?
EDWARDS: It's not the word I'd use, but I think the president is dead wrong, dead wrong on this issue.
HUME: Thank you, sir.
JENNINGS: Senator, I inadvertently robbed John DiStaso of a question to Congressman Kucinich.
I hereby restore it.
DISTASO: OK, thank you.
Congressman, I understand the principle behind your call for the United States to withdraw from NAFTA and the WTO. But under this bilateral trade situation, how do you force progressive trade conditions?
JENNINGS: Do you have a feeling he's ready for you?
DISTASO: Yes. I did have that feeling all along.
Well, what would it be, sanctions, withholding exports of some countries? And what about the consumers here who you've admitted will face much higher prices?
KUCINICH: This graph is about the loss of New Hampshire jobs because of NAFTA and the WTO. Twenty-two thousand jobs can be directly traced to NAFTA and the WTO, jobs that were good paying jobs in this state that were lost. This other graph is about the loss of 3 million American manufacturing jobs because of NAFTA and the WTO.
As president of the United States, I intend to have a trade structure which supports manufacturing in this country -- steel, automotive, aerospace, textiles, shipping. I intend to have a manufacturing policy which stops the hemorrhaging not only of manufacturing jobs, but high-tech jobs as well.
As president of the United States, my first act in office, understanding how NAFTA and the WTO have severely hurt the state's economy, my first act in office will be to cancel NAFTA and the WTO and return to bilateral trade conditioned on workers' rights, human rights and environmental quality principles.
JENNINGS: Congressman, I apologize that we didn't see the graphs a whole lot better than we did on radio.
KUCINICH: Well, excuse me, Peter, on radio I was showing it to Howard Dean, and I'm glad that Howard had a chance to see it.
JENNINGS: Are they at your Web sites, here?
JENNINGS: Are they at your Web site?
KUCINICH: This information comes from the National Association of Manufacturers.
KUCINICH: I'm sure it's on their Web site.
JENNINGS: Good, thanks. Thank you very much.
KUCINICH: And this information comes from a briefing paper from the Economic Policy Institute. It was given to me by a group of New Hampshire -- by the people of New Hampshire, who are working under the fair trade for New Hampshire. And I'm supporting their efforts.
And frankly, I wish that every candidate on this stage would join me in saying that you would agree to cancel NAFTA and the WTO, in light of what it's cost New Hampshire.
JENNINGS: Tom Griffith?
Anybody want to take him up on that?
GRIFFITH: Governor Howard Dean, I have a cousin in the audience who is from New Jersey, and a long-time loyal Democrat. And she called me a few times and said, "Who do you like? What are they saying?" And all along the time, I said to her -- I'd give her my input. When I mentioned anything about the three New Englanders that are on the stage, she would say, "We don't need any more Northeasterners on the ticket."
Now, with that question, lay out some of the red states and blue states, and what red states you would pick up as the nominee that we didn't -- that the Democrats did not pick up in the year 2000?
JENNINGS: Does anybody need a description of red and blue states anymore?
Red states were Republican in the last election. Blue states were Democrat, OK.
DEAN: We've got to talk about jobs in order to do that. You know what a red state that's very vulnerable and eligible for us is? South Carolina. They've lost enormous numbers of steel jobs and textile jobs, exactly the kind of thing that Dennis was talking about, because of WTO and NAFTA.
Now, I'm not going to get rid of WTO and NAFTA. We've globalized multinational rights for corporations. We have not globalized labor and environmental rights, and we need to do that if trade's ever going to work fairly.
So we're going to have opportunities in places like Arizona, Montana, Colorado, Ohio, West Virginia and even in the South.
And you know why? Because they're going to do what you just did to John Edwards. You're going to keep asking him about gay marriage, and John Edwards is absolutely right. This isn't about gay marriage; this is about jobs. This isn't about race; this is about education because everybody needs a good education no matter what color you are.
This is not about the things that divide us. If we're going to ever win another election again in some of these states, we have to talk about education, health care and jobs. We cannot fight the Republicans on their ground; we're going to fight them on our grounds.
GRIFFITH: For Reverend Sharpton...
GRIFFITH: ... you speak about being against the death penalty. Do you agree? You disagree with the death penalty in the capital murder of a police officer?
SHARPTON: I disagree with the use of the death penalty because it has been proven too many times to have been discriminatory in the way it has been applied. It has not been proven to be a deterrent against crime.
And I do not think because it has been proven wrong that we have the right to take lives if we can't give lives, and we can't give them.
Let me say this quickly, because I want to add to two of the answers of two my colleagues here.
SHARPTON: One, I agree with John Edwards about increasing help for businesses. I've called for a two-year deferment of small businesses so we can get more businesses on.
But I think that one of the things we have not talked a lot about tonight, too, is education. I think that we cannot let the Republicans talk about values only in terms of personal morality without dealing with broad social immorality.
So they say, if you have a nice, well-knit family, and the well- knit family stays together, you have good values, while they take day care from the kids, employment from the father and the rights from the mother.
No, good values helps not only keep a family, but feed a family, employ a family, give education to a family.
We can't let them interpret the debate that way. We could have won South Carolina last time if we talked more about that. We had more people that didn't vote than we lost the election by, in South Carolina.
JENNINGS: Brit Hume.
HUME: Governor Dean, I don't mean to take you back to the moment of excitement the other night in Des Moines, but I did want to ask you a question based on...
DEAN: My voice is just barely recovering now. Please don't.
HUME: I can tell.
But I do want to ask you a question about something you were quoted as saying about that issue today, which was that you said that wear your emotions on your -- that you lead with your heart, not with your head. Is that a quality people want in a president?
DEAN: Well, if you look at my record as governor, we balanced budgets. Every child in my state has health care. We do early intervention in kids, following up 91 percent of all our kids and supporting the kids that are in trouble, supporting their families so they have a better chance of going to college than they do of going to prison.
Now, what I can offer the American people is somebody who believes in social justice tempered by being a fiscal conservative, tempered by wanting budgets to be manageable.
The greatest injustice you can do in this country is to have an unbalanced budget for a long period of time.
I think the president's unbalancing of this budget is deliberate. Half-a-trillion dollar deficit as far as the eye can see means more cuts in programs for kids, more cuts in education, more cuts in college.
So, yes, I lead with my heart. I say what I believe.
I think it's time that somebody in this party stood up for what we believe in and wasn't so careful about what they were saying. If we're willing to say anything we have to say to get elected, then we're going to lose. We have to say what we believe, whether it's popular or not.
HUME: But what you do mean by not with your head. Isn't there a temperament issue that people may be alarmed about that?
DEAN: Well, I'm sure there's a lot of people who are alarmed because they've been alarmed by all kinds of folks who've criticized some of the things I've said.
But I truly believe that we absolutely have to stand up for bedrock Democratic principles. Al Sharpton talked about it a couple of minutes ago. We're not going to beat George Bush by trying to be like him.
What we're really trying to do here is not just change presidents. What we're really trying to do here is steer the country back to a time when we were all in it together. This president has divided us.
What I say, what we say in my campaign, when we say we want our country back, we want our country back for all of us. And you have to get out there and lead with your heart and lay it all out for the American people, because that doesn't happen very often in Washington, D.C.
HUME: Thank you, Governor.
Senator Kerry, Governor Dean has said of you, and I believe also of Senator Edwards, that you cast votes that you knew were wrong on the war for political reasons. How do you answer that charge?
KERRY: Well, I stood up to the people of Massachusetts and the country. Those are the people I answer to. And I answered by saying that there was a right way to hold Saddam Hussein accountable and there was a wrong way.
The right way was what the president promised, to go to the United Nations, to respect the building of an international coalition in truth, to exhaust the remedies of inspections and literally to only go to war as a last result.
Now, I've fought all my life for peace. I fought against the war in Vietnam when I came home. I fought against Ronald Reagan's illegal war in Central America. I fought with John McCain to make peace in Vietnam. I fought to hold the Khmer Rouge accountable in Cambodia. And on and on.
If anybody in New Hampshire believes that John Kerry would have in fact gone to war the way George Bush did, they shouldn't vote for me. But if they know that I would have stood up and exhausted the remedies and done what was necessary to hold them accountable but lived up to the values and principles of our country, then I'm the person to be president who actually can make America more secure without breaching relationships across this planet.
HUME: But Senator, you have said of that vote on the resolution that authorized the president at his discretion to use military force against Saddam Hussein that it was a vote to threaten the use of force.
KERRY: Well, Brit...
HUME: Let me just finish the question.
HUME: And you now are saying it was a vote to hold Saddam Hussein accountable. In fact it was, was it not, a vote to permit the president to use force at his discretion.
KERRY: As a last resort was the promise of a president. And I wrote in the New York Times at that time, I said the United States of America should never go to war because it wants to. It should only go to war because it has to. And that means building legitimacy and consent of the America people, Brit.
Look, I know there is a test as a commander in chief as to when you send young Americans off to war, because I know what happens when you lose that consent.
And you got to be able to look in the eyes of a family and say you exhausted every possibility and you only sent their son or daughter to die because you had no other choice.
I believe George Bush failed that test in Iraq. I said so at the time, and that's what I believe happened.
JENNINGS: Thank you very much.
KERRY: There is the right way to do it and wrong way to do it. He chose the wrong way. And he's run the most arrogant, inept, reckless and ideological foreign policy in the modern history of our country.
HUME: Senator Lieberman, you voted the same way. You have also objected to the way the president has handled things. And yet you went ahead and voted for the $87 billion, which Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards did not.
How do you answer what they have to say here?
LIEBERMAN: What was the question at the end?
HUME: The question is, you took different votes here.
LIEBERMAN: Yes, no, I know. At the end, what was your...
HUME: Well, how do you respond to what they're saying about the...
LIEBERMAN: Oh, right, right. Brit, you're absolutely right. I have criticized the president for overstating some of the arguments about why we went to war. I've said I was shocked that the administration wasn't better prepared to take advantage of the military victory.
But I repeat again: This was a just war.
Look, when I voted for the resolution in the fall of 2002, I had no illusions. I knew it would be an unpopular vote in parts of the Democratic Party and my race for the presidency.
But I did it because I put my hand on a Bible and took an oath to protect the security of the United States. And I believed that Saddam Hussein was a clear and present danger and threat to the security of the United States, the people of Iraq and the stability of the world.
I've said before that, at times, in its policy, the Bush administration has given a bad name to a just war.
But a just war it was. And again, we are safer as a people with Saddam Hussein in prison, not in power.
Now we have an extraordinary opportunity in the war against terrorism to build an Iraq, a democratizing, modernizing country in the middle of the Arab and Islamic worlds, which will send a message to the majority in the Islamic world that there is a better way than the hatred and death that Al Qaida presents to them.
It is, if you'll forgive me, the American -- the democratic way. That's what we have an opportunity to do now.
JENNINGS: Thank you, Senators.
JENNINGS: I think you all know we have about -- we have only about 15 minutes left, so we're going to take another break, and we'll be right back.
LIEBERMAN: I told you it wasn't popular in all sections of the Democratic Party.
But you got to do what you think is right for your country.
JENNINGS: Welcome back to the last 10 minutes, approximately, of the last debate before the primary.
Brit, you wanted to make one point.
HUME: I believe I said that Governor Dean had said that Senators Kerry and Lieberman cast -- Kerry, excuse me, and Edwards cast those votes knowing that they were wrong. The governor has assured me he did not say that. I stand corrected.
GRIFFITH: For General Clark, General Clark, the 30-year anniversary of Roe v. Wade today, as you know.
One in three Granite Staters call themselves Catholic, and you converted to Catholicism during the Vietnam War. You apparently now attend a Presbyterian Church, and I believe you were raised a Baptist.
Can you qualify your pro-choice -- however, in one interview I read, you still consider yourself a Catholic. Now, can you clarify your pro-choice position on abortion and describe how you reconcile that with Catholic doctrine?
CLARK: I reconcile it with my own beliefs. And I do believe in the right of conscience. And I support a woman's right to choose protected by law.
I fought for human rights in Bosnia. I fought for human rights in Kosovo. And I will fight for human rights in the United States of America.
And no one is going to take away a woman's right to choose when I'm president of the United States. It's that simple.
GRIFFITH: Can you clarify how you reconcile that with Catholic doctrine?
CLARK: I understand what the Catholic doctrine is. But I have freedom of conscience. And I believe what I believe. I believe that the right to choose is a right that should be protected by law.
I believe the decision about issues like this are the issues that have to be worked between a woman and her family, her god, her doctor. And as much as I respect the opinion of the Catholic Church, in this case, I don't support it. It's that simple.
JENNINGS: General, I don't want to take up too much time, but the press has been trying very hard today to ask you to explain whether or not you believe a woman has the right to choose until the end, basically even in the eighth and ninth month. What is your clear and simple answer to that?
CLARK: I believe in the established law, Roe v. Wade and Casey.
JENNINGS: And would you like quickly to tell the audience what that provides for...
CLARK: What it says is essentially that a woman has a right to choose, pre-viability and after viability, which is determined by a doctor, then that a woman's right to choose can be constrained by the states, but that the health of the mother must be protected. And she has the right to consult with her doctor on that.
DISTASO: Congressman Kucinich, unfunded special needs mandates here in New Hampshire are brutal on our local school districts. Tell us what you would have in mind in the education sphere for unfunded special education?
KUCINICH: Well, we have to keep in mind that the education cuts that have occurred because of the Bush administration in New Hampshire include $800,000 cut for Pell Grants, $1.1 million for educating children in rural schools, $400,000 for teacher quality training grants, $233,000 for safe and drug-free school grants.
The federal government has all kinds of mandates, but the problem is, is in funding them.
KUCINICH: And as many people have learned across this country, with respect to the No Child Left Behind Act, that we spoke of earlier, the administration in the last budget provided for -- they provided $21 billion dollars when there were $32 billion in needs. And what they're doing is putting pressures on school districts all over the country.
When you create a program, you should fully fund it. And what I will do as president is to make education one of the top national priorities by a fully funded pre-kindergarten program for all children ages 3, 4 and 5, by a fully funded Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and by a fully funded program for tuition free at all public colleges and universities.
JENNINGS: John DiStaso.
DISTASO: Senator Edwards, I'd just like to get a better picture of your view on fighting Al Qaida. What are you going to send to Afghanistan, in terms of sending troops to Afghanistan, what are you going to do that the current administration is not doing in terms of trying to track down and shut down Al Qaida?
EDWARDS: Well, it's bigger than Al Qaida, John. It's also the whole issue of terrorism and how we fight terrorism.
There are two questions. One is: What should we do abroad, outside our borders?
DISTASO: That's what I'm asking.
EDWARDS: Can I include in my answer also what we should be doing here at home?
Abroad, the most critical element that's missing from this administration, if you -- I'm on the Senate Intelligence Committee -- if you look at the map of where these terrorist organizations are, where they operate, the most critical thing that's missing from this administration is a working relationship with many of the countries in which these groups operate.
Without the cooperation of those countries -- this is a place where working with our allies is not abstract. It has a direct impact on our ability to protect the American people.
There are also lots of things that should be done here at home that aren't being done. Better job of protecting our ports, a critical issue here in the state of New Hampshire. Better job of protecting our nuclear facilities and our chemical plants.
EDWARDS: If you ask most people in New Hampshire, "What would you do differently today than you would have done on September 11th if a terrorist attack occurs," they have no idea.
Well, the reason is, we don't have a comprehensive warning system in place. We don't have a comprehensive response system in place.
There are a whole group of things that we need to do, both at home and abroad, to try to keep the American people safe and to effectively fight this war on terror.
JENNINGS: Thank you, Senator.
DISTASO: Reverend Sharpton, would you add anything to that? How are you -- what, in addition to those measures, are you going to do to try to prevent future 9/11s?
SHARPTON: I think what we must do is build better alliances around the world. I think that, as I have traveled around the Middle East and Africa in particular, the Sudan, Kenya and other places, we have not had the kind of relationships in the world community that would lead to having the intelligence that would protect the American people.
I don't care how much military strength we have, if we don't have the information, if we don't have people that are inclined to be supportive of our security, we will still be at risk.
And I think that what I would concentrate on -- I agree that we need to have better security at nuclear plants, that we need to have better security at ports. We also need to rebuild ports and create jobs, because the ports are almost in disrepair.
But I think we also must concentrate on our intelligence and our ability to make allies around parts of the world that could help us more than anyone because they have access to the information that is being used by terrorists groups.
JENNINGS: We are pushing the envelope in terms of time.
Brit, I think we've got time for one more question. You started this off. Why don't you finish it?
HUME: Well, let me ask a question to Senator Kerry.
Senator, there was a recent survey, recent poll, found that 95 percent of Americans said they were either very or rather happy.
A news story today said that a key measure of future economic activity -- that being the index of leading economic indicators -- rose in December to its highest level ever. This following a quarter in which the economy grew at a very rapid 8 percent.
Are you concerned at all, sir, that this bleak portrait that those running for president, including yourself, paint of the country may not resemble the country people, by the millions, are experiencing?
KERRY: Well, first of all, Bret, I'm not painting a bleak portrait. I'm painting the portrait of the challenge to Americans. And there's no question in my mind that when challenged, Americans rise to the challenge.
But the president is talking about a very different world from the world that every single one of us as candidates have seen across this country.
While profits went up 46 percent for companies, wages for workers went up three pennies. This is a Wall Street Republican recovery, it's not an American worker recovery.
And we deserve a president who understands what's really happening to people all across the country. The outsourcing of jobs: One-fifth of the manufacturing jobs in New Hampshire have been lost. Countless numbers of people can't get insurance.
The president has no plan, not only to give them insurance, but to lower the cost of insurance for $163 million Americans who get them.
I have that plan. I will put America back to work.
I hope we have a great economy next year because there's plenty to talk about: about the environment, about children, about education, higher education, about our role in the world.
This country is being led in a radically wrong direction by this president. And as we mount this campaign, Americans will join up and vote for change.
JENNINGS: Senator Kerry, maybe in that one last phrase, you've spoken for all of your fellow candidates in this last debate before the primary next week.
We thank you all very much indeed.
We'd like to extend also a very, very heartfelt vote of thanks to the people of St. Anselm, the college here, who've been so kind to all of us. I'm sure you concur with that.
Thank you very much for joining us. On behalf of my colleagues, good night.