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Public Statements

ABC Good Morning America Transcript

By:
Date:
Location: Charleston, SC


September 2, 2003 Tuesday

HEADLINE: INTERVIEW WITH SENATOR JOHN KERRY OFFICIALLY STARTING PRESIDENTIAL BID

BODY:
DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS

(Off Camera) Thanks, Tony. Well, up front this morning, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts has just launched his official Presidential campaign. It will happen today. He is a decorated Vietnam veteran who commanded a gun boat at age 24 in the Mekong Delta. A former mob prosecutor, married to Teresa Heinz of the prominent ketchup family. He's been a Senator since 1984 and he joins us now from Charleston, South Carolina. I believe that's the USS Yorktown somewhere over there behind him this morning. And good morning to you, Senator. And your big day.

SENATOR JOHN KERRY,

DEMOCRAT, MASSACHUSETTS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE

Good morning, Diane. How are you? Welcome back.

DIANE SAWYER

Thank you very much. As we ...

SENATOR JOHN KERRY

Were you out my way in, in Massachusetts.

DIANE SAWYER

(Off Camera) That's right. I was, I was up there in your home state.

SENATOR JOHN KERRY

Good. Good for you.

DIANE SAWYER

(Off Camera) 427 days now till the Presidential election. 10 people want the job. Formidable task because two-thirds of the American people in a recent poll have said, they don't know who any of the Democrats are.

SENATOR JOHN KERRY

That's right.

DIANE SAWYER

(Off Camera) They don't have a clue who you are. Want to ask you a question about President Bush, because here's a man who's raised record amount of money. Formidable standing still in the polls. And here's what you said about him, are quoted saying, "They have managed him. They put him in a brown jacket and jeans, get him to move some hay or drive a truck, and all of a sudden he's the Marlboro Man." What are you saying about the President Of The United States? Are you saying he's a puppet?

SENATOR JOHN KERRY

No, no. But I believe that we're moving in the wrong direction. And I think most Americans do believe we're moving in the wrong direction. We have the worst economy that we've had since Herbert Hoover was President. People are hurting. Three million Americans have lost their jobs. It's the worst growth record in our country since World War II, Diane. And we're not safer in the world. We certainly should be doing a better job of managing our relationships with the world. I can do that job. I can put Americans back to work. I've shown leadership throughout my life, and I'm prepared to lead America to summon the courage to do the things that are right for our country, and we can do better than we're doing today.

DIANE SAWYER

(Off Camera) Well, let's turn to that issue of the world and leadership in the world and troops in Iraq. I want to get something clarified here.

SENATOR JOHN KERRY

Sure.

DIANE SAWYER

(Off Camera) You have said no more American troops needed in Iraq?

SENATOR JOHN KERRY

That's correct. I don't believe we need more American troops there. I think the objective is to get troops from other countries there, particularly Muslim and Arab-speaking troops. One of the problems that we have is the sense that this is an American occupation. And the reason we have that problem is the President didn't take the time to build an international coalition and to gain the kind of global support for what we're doing. I want the world to share the burden in Iraq.

DIANE SAWYER

(Off Camera) But ...

SENATOR JOHN KERRY

(Off Camera) Not just American soldiers targeted.

DIANE SAWYER

(Off Camera) Senator John McCain, fellow Vietnam veteran ...

SENATOR JOHN KERRY

Yeah.

DIANE SAWYER

(Off Camera) ... has said, and he's been there, that we need at least another 20,000 Americans there, who are we kidding, and that adding troops from other countries did not, does not make it more secure. It doesn't add up to security. It can add up to confusion.

SENATOR JOHN KERRY

Well, I, I happen to disagree. John McCain is a great, great friend of mine. It may be in the short term that you need a few of our own. But I don't believe in the long term that's a solution. The long term is not to have an American occupation of Iraq. The long term is to help transition Iraq and get Iraqis in uniform as fast as possible. I mean, look, all of this could have been avoidable, Diane, if this administration had taken the time to do the planning to win the peace. This war was fought on our schedule. We decided when it would start. And there is no excuse whatsoever for not having had in place the planning necessary to be able to do the peace. We also didn't take the time to win the allies necessary to share the burden. I mean, American taxpayers are going to pay billions of dollars that could have been shared with other countries. I object to that. I think we could have done a better job of diplomacy, and I will do a better job when I'm President.

DIANE SAWYER

(Off Camera) I want to turn to somebody else in this race, Governor Howard Dean, former Governor of Vermont. As we know, he is surging ahead.

DIANE SAWYER

(Voice Over) 21 percent ahead according to a recent poll in New Hampshire, the crucial first primary state. Expected to surge in fundraising. He said about you, "I still don't know what he stands for to this day." And he said he's absolutely clear, repeal the Bush tax cut, period. And yet you say just repeal those on people over $200,000, which doesn't amount to much money.

SENATOR JOHN KERRY

That's correct. I think Howard Dean is absolutely wrong. I want to protect the middle class. He doesn't. I guess he's prepared to ask everybody in the middle class to pay another $2,000 in taxes. I'm not.

DIANE SAWYER

(Off Camera) But if you only, if only repeal ...

SENATOR JOHN KERRY

We, we, we worked ...

DIANE SAWYER

(Off Camera) I'm sorry. But if you only repeal those above $200,000, we calculate that it comes to some $40 billion against a potential of $470 billion deficit. What does it gain?

SENATOR JOHN KERRY

No, not if you go back, not if you go back to the 2001 taxes, Diane. And also the inheritance tax. We actually get almost $100 billion, a little shy of $100 billion. That will pay for my health care plan, which incidentally is a stronger health care plan than Governor Dean's. My healthcare plan will reduce the cost of health care for 163 million Americans who already have health care. One of the problems in America today is everybody who has health care is paying higher and higher premiums, more and more co-pay, more and more deductible, less and less benefits. My plan will reduce their health care costs by $1,000 per subscriber of a healthcare plan. That is 10 times the tax cut that George Bush gave, and it's, it's stronger than anything that Governor Dean or any other candidate has proposed.

DIANE SAWYER

(Off Camera) Senator Kerry, since this is your opening round here, we're going to try a little something different this morning, calling it our lightning round.

SENATOR JOHN KERRY

Okay.

DIANE SAWYER

(Off Camera) To let people get to know you a little bit on a lighter front. So, I've got some quick questions for you. Are you ready? Your favorite movie.

SENATOR JOHN KERRY

Oh, God, I'll find out.

DIANE SAWYER

(Off Camera) Your favorite movie? Your favorite movie?

SENATOR JOHN KERRY

My favorite movie, probably "Giant" or "Casablanca."

DIANE SAWYER

(Off Camera) Dream car?

SENATOR JOHN KERRY

Dream car. Probably a 1960's-era Stingray Corvette.

DIANE SAWYER

(Off Camera) Charlie is drooling over here. Favorite dessert. I don't know what that reveals, but ...

SENATOR JOHN KERRY

Chocolate cake, chocolate fudge, chocolate ice cream. Chocolate something.

DIANE SAWYER

(Off Camera) All right. Pretty all-American here. Well, Senator, John Kerry, again, thank you for being with us on this day you announce. And here it goes for real.

SENATOR JOHN KERRY

Thank you.

DIANE SAWYER

(Off Camera) Thank you again. Charlie.

Copyright 2003 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

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