Fox News Network On the Record with Greta Van Susteren
October 10, 2003 Friday
HEADLINE: Interview With John Kerry
GUESTS: John Kerry
BYLINE: Greta Van Susteren
VAN SUSTEREN: Retired Army General Wesley Clark took most of the heat during Thursday's Democratic presidential debate. I spoke to his competitor, Senator John Kerry, who I need to point out received political contributions from my husband.
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm Very grateful to him, and I don't know if that has any influence on you at all, but I'm grateful to him.
VAN SUSTEREN: Let's talk abut the drug program that bothered you at the debate on Thursday night. You've been in the United States Senate about 20 years. Why hasn't anything been done by you and your colleagues in the Senate about the drug problem until now the discussion about it?
KERRY: Well, Greta, let's be absolutely clear about what we've done, and one candidate, Mr. Dean, said we've done nothing, and he's absolutely, once again, completely and totally incorrect, wrong. It's false.
We passed the largest expansion for children since the 1965 program, and we put five-million kids into health care a few years ago.
We passed the Family Medical Leave Act where we put 42-million people into the capacity to be able to go home and be with their kids and have time off.
We also helped expand Medicare for ourMedicarewe saved Medicare, in fact, when some candidates like Governor Dean were fighting against us.
So I reject the notion that we have not done anything. We've done a lot for health care. We haven't been able to pass prescription drugs yet because the Republicans control the Congress. The Republicans control the White House, and they, frankly, have beenyou know, look at their campaign coffers, flowing over with funds from the pharmaceutical companies who have been able to stop us from doing what makes sense.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do the pharmaceutical companies contribute any funds to any members of the Democratic Party who are in officein an national office?
KERRY: They may well, Greta, and I can't speak for them. I'm speaking for myself.
I can tell you that we have been fighting to get prescription drug coverage. I want a Medicare prescription drug coverage. The Republicans are fighting us. They don't want it.
Why is George Bush only puttingwhy is George Bush only putting $400 billion up for prescription drugs? Because he thought it was more important to give the wealthiest people in the country a tax cut. That's why.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Speaking about wealthy people, you have been lucky enough to have a privileged background, a very privileged background.
You're a wealthy man, with the exceptionI will certainly grant you it wasn't a privileged background when you were in Vietnam collecting lots of medals for your country.
But in terms of your privileged background, how can you connect with the working class and the poor?
KERRY: Because I've been fighting for them all my life. When I came back from Vietnam, I fought to help people who weren't represented. We helped extend the G.I. bill. We helped create post-Vietnam stress syndrome. We helped create Agent Orange. We helped respond to the raising of the G.I. benefits and improvement of our hospitals.
I've been fighting for the right of working people to be able to organize, fighting for health care, for education funding. You look at my record of fights over the last 19 years, and I have stood for the average person, the middle class, for people who are trying to become middle class, to be able to do better in America.
Judge medon't judge me by my, you know, background. Judge me by the things I fight for. Judge me by my voting record and the things that I have fought to make happen in the United States through my public career. And I'm proud of those things because they've helped average working people in America, and I have not sided with those who are the most privileged who get the most benefits because they have the most money.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. On a more personal note, you've got a Bronze Star, Silver Star, three Purple Hearts. Is there anything from your Vietnam experience that youit's so fixed in your mind that you would bring to the White House that would be of value to the voters?
KERRY; Absolutely. It is the test of when and how you send young Americans to war, and I believe the test for a president is whether or not, as president, you can look into the eyes of a parent who might lose their son or daughter and say to them I did everything in my power to prevent your son and daughter from having to give their life, but the threat was so real and we needed this so much for our country's security that I have to send your son or daughter to do this.
I think President Bush failed that test in Iraq. I think he rushed to war without a plan to win the peace.
VAN SUSTEREN: But you voted for it.
KERRY: That's correct. You bet I did. I voted for the security of the United States of America, and the president promised us he would go to the United Nations, go through the international process, build a legitimate coalition, and he used the words that he would go to war as a last resort. I believed the president, and I regret that the president didn't live up to his promises.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Senator. Thank you very much.
Senator John Kerry. Thank you for joining me, sir.
KERRY: Good to be with you. Thank you.
Content and Programming Copyright 2003 Fox News Network, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2003 FDCH e-Media, Inc.