August 28, 2003 Thursday
HEADLINE: LOU DOBBS TONIGHT; CNNfn
GUESTS: John Kerry, Diane Ravitch
BYLINE: Lou Dobbs, Bob Franken, Liz George, David Ensor, Kitty Pilgrim, John King, David Grange, Casey Wian, Christine Romans, Bill Tucker
DOBBS: Democratic presidential hopeful Senator John Kerry today outlined his plan for stimulating the economy and creating jobs. The senator talked in New Hampshire, where the latest poll shows him 21 percentage points behind leader Howard Dean.
I talked with the senator about the centerpiece of his economic plan earlier.
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Well, the centerpiece is fiscal responsibility and fairness to the middle class of America. We need to pull back from this precipice of deficits, where we're spending more than a billion dollars a day than we're brining into the government. And in addition to that, we've got to make our economy fair again for the average person who's working in America, Lou.
We've got to start creating jobs. And job creation will come when we push the technology curve, the science curve, and excite investment again in another round of technology advances.
DOBBS: Senator, the president, a number of others have talked about jobs, jobs, jobs. Yet I'm unaware of any public policy plan short of direct government investment that creates jobs. Explain what you could do to create jobs if you would.
KERRY: What George Bush has done by creating these very large deficits and cutting a lot of the revenue that was going to states has actually forced states to raise taxes at the wrong moment. Those state tax increases are George Bush's tax increases, and I think they're wrong for our economy right now.
Finally, let me just say I agree with you. Government isn't the principal job creator. Government creates the framework within which the private sector decides where to move capital. But that capital right now is not moving in the directions we want because there's lack of confidence and uncertainty because we haven't made sound fiscal decisions.
DOBBS: You supported the president on the issue of war against Saddam Hussein, yet you've been very critical of the president's policies since May 1st. What is it, in your judgement, that should be done to bring stability, peace to Iraq, and stability to the region?
KERRY: Lou, I think the reason I've been critical is I don't believe the president did the hard work of diplomacy to build the kind of real international coalition that reduce the risks to American soldiers, reduces their risk on a daily basis because we have other troops there sharing that risk, and reduces the cost to the American citizens and the American economy. If we had more people participating, more people who were supportive, we wouldn't be blowing the billions that we're spending every week there in order to do this alone.
DOBBS: Yet, Senator, over the past few days there has been a quiet, but nonetheless powerful, seismic shock, if you will, in diplomatic reversals. That is, that the Bush administration is now seeking the support of the United Nations, is now from various quarters within the administration suggesting that the United States hand over power as quickly as possible to the Iraqis. What is your judgement on that?
KERRY: Lou, I think that's finally moving in the right direction. But I think it would be terrific to have a president of the United States who gets it right at the beginning. We shouldn't have to spend these monthshow many kids have died in the last months because the United States didn't take the time to put together the kind of coalition and have a plan for winning the peace?
Why is it that we allowed the looting of a nuclear facility immediately after we occupied Iraq? Why did we allow looting of the city? I mean, we didn't have a plan to go in and provide the kinds of services and the kind of security that is necessary to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqis and reduce the risk to American soldiers as fast as possible.
DOBBS: Senator, the latest polls show Howard Dean running well ahead of you in New Hampshire. It is certainly early. But will you be focusing more on foreign policy and your judgements on economic policy to try to diminish that lead of the former governor of Vermont?
KERRY: No. It's very, very early, Lou. I haven't even announced my candidacy yet. I'm going to be kicking off my campaign next week.
We haven't done any television. Other campaigns have been on television and spent a lot of money. We're very confident about where we are. I like the pace, and there's a long way to go over the next four-and-a-half months.
I'm very confident that as people really listen to the different programs and what we're working for and fighting for, and as they measure our character and our history and our records, I look forward to taking that out to the American people because people are going to make a judgment about who can really be president and hit the ground running right away on the critical issues that face this country. So I look forward to that over the next months. It will be a good debate.
DOBBS: Senator Kerry, we thank you very much.
KERRY: Thank you very much, Lou. Take care.
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