September 14, 2003
Mr. Joe Trippi
Dean for America
I assume you saw this morning that Senator Kerry accepted Governor Dean's challenge to meet face to face, to air their differences and lay out their competing visions for the Democratic Party and for the world.
Specifically, Senator Kerry reacted to Bob Schieffer's question on Face the Nation about the following line from Governor Dean, as reported by the Associated Press:
Less than an hour later, Dean was visiting his new campaign headquarters where he fielded more than a dozen questions at an impromptu news conference. As aides pulled him inside, Dean was asked whether he was surprised that rival John Kerry did not criticize him in Thursday's debate.
"I wish he'd say to my face what he says behind my back," Dean said before disappearing behind the door, a grimace on his face.
Kerry had obviously gotten under his skin.
Under Governor Dean's skin or not, Senator Kerry agrees that it's past time for the two of them to stand together and say to each others' faces, and more importantly to the voters of the Democratic Party, where they stand on the issues that matter, to lay our clearly where they agree and disagree.
Mr. Schieffer helpfully offered to moderate the first such debate (the first in series, Senator Kerry proposes), perhaps in Iowa. That suits us.
Please can call me at your earliest convenience to discuss the possibilities.
You can reach me at 202 *** or by email at
***. I look forward to speaking with you.
Cc: Bob Schieffer
CBS FACE THE NATION
September 14, 2003
Bob Scheiffer: He said the other day "I wish he would say to my face what he says behind my back." Have you decided to go easy on him now?
John Kerry: .with respect to the comment you just made, I welcome Governor's Dean challenge. If he wants a challenge and he wants us to go face to face, I accept.
Let's get together, let's have a debate and let's talk about the real issues for the country and show people the differences between us.
And maybe you want to moderate that. We could do it in Iowa , we could do it in New Hampshire, I am perfectly willing to do it.
In those one minute exchanges with nine people on the stage, it is very, very difficult to really get at and explain the differences between candidates. So I welcome the opportunity to do that one on one with Governor Dean, and I am glad he wants to do it.
Bob Scheiffer: All right, well, you say you'll be there, I'll be there. That's two of us.
John Kerry: I look forward to it.
Bob Scheiffer: If we can get Governor Dean to do that, I will see what we can do about that.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 14, 2003
Contact: Press Office, ***
BURLINGTON--Dean for America Campaign Manager Joe Trippi responded today to Jim Jordan's challenge of this morning. Trippi sent the following letter to Jordan this afternoon:
Kerry for President
I received and reviewed your letter inviting Governor Dean to
participate in a series of one-on-one debates with Senator Kerry at
the exclusion of the other seven candidates running for the Democratic
As you know, there have been and will continue to be numerous
forums and debates that will provide the opportunity for each of the
candidates to discuss the issues, to debate their ideas and address
their differences with Governor Dean – or any other candidate --
directly. In fact, just last week, Representative Kucinich highlighted
the difference between his position and that of Dick Gephardt on the
pre-emptive war in Iraq. Specifically, he said, “I just want to say that
when you were standing there in the Rose Garden with the president
and you were giving him advice, I wish that you would have told him
no, because as our Democratic leader, your position helped to inform
mightily the direction of the war.”
As you may recall, during the debate in New Mexico, Senator Joe
Lieberman challenged Governor Dean’s position on trade, saying –
correctly or incorrectly – that it would lead to a “Dean Depression.”
Senator Kerry will continue to have ample opportunity to debate the
differences between himself and Governor Dean during the upcoming
candidate forums in New York, Arizona and Michigan.
Jim, there are nine candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for
President – each with his or her own ideas and policies and each with
the goal of defeating George Bush next November. For ANY
candidate to suggest otherwise is presumptuous.
Governor Dean’s campaign has been about returning democracy to
the hands of the American people. We believe it is up to the
American people to narrow the field – through the democratic
nominating process – and not for any one candidate to subvert this
process simply because “that suits us.”
We trust the American people to decide what suits them.
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