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Presidential Candidates Forum on Women's Issues - Part 2

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Date:
Location: Manchester, NH

Question: And we move to the death penalty now and to Ambassador Moseley Braun. Polls show that the majority of Americans would favor the death penalty if only the guilty were executed. If DNA and other evidence insured that only the guilty were on death row—and Massachusetts is considering this—would you favor the death penalty in the case of, say, a murdered child?

Braun: No. I filed the first moratorium on the death penalty in the state of Illinois in 1984. Now our governor has come out with the moratorium—our former governor—because it is impossible at this time to be assured that the processes work in a fair and equitable way. Our criminal justice system has to follow our values and most important among those is the rule of law. And if people don't have confidence that the rule of law doesn't apply equally, then the system begins to break down. The death penalty, unfortunately, cannot and has not been applied equally across the board—there are huge disparities in application having to do with race, having to do with wealth, having to do with circumstances. And because it is so fraught with uncertainty, I think we are better off as a society and we'd be prouder of ourselves if we air on the side of caution and resort to penalties such as life imprisonment, as opposed to using our collective will to put someone to death.

Moderator: Thank you Ambassador Braun. The response to that question goes to General Clark. General Clark thirty seconds please?

Clark: I am in favor of the death penalty as an ultimate sanction that a state has the right to impose. I don't like the way its been applied. It's been applied discriminatorily in the past. We should be using DNA evidence to go back and look at all the cases on death row. Ultimately, it's a matter of states as well as national resolve. But in principle, I do not want to take away the right of the state to seek the ultimate sanction, because when I think of someone like Osama bin Laden who's done something really terrible to this nation, I think we need the right to ask for the ultimate sanction against a criminal like that.

Moderator: Thank you, General Clark. And it is exactly 7:45. And now the second segment of our presidential debate begins. Our format changes here into the more traditional one that we're used to seeing—when each panelist asks one and each candidates gets to answer it. The questions are designed to be answered in a short fashion, sometimes easier said than done. Candidates have thirty seconds for each response—I'll be gentle with you. I will call on the candidates in such a way that everyone has a chance to go first. So what I'm going to do it I'll start with Senator Kerry and go down the line and the next time I'll start with Ambassador Braun and go down the line like that. So that makes sense to everyone. So again we will start with one question from each panelist and you all get thirty seconds to answer it. So lets begin our lightening round with Ellen Goodman.

45:05

Ellen Goodman: You're all parents, you're all working parents—some of you have been single working parents. How would you grade yourself as a parent, and what has been the hardest part of balancing work and family for you personally?

Kerry: Well, in public life its extraordinarily hard, I admire John Edwards, a couple of young kids who really works hard at it, I think I was a good parent because I learned a lot from the deficits that I felt from my own parents who were abroad and missed many of the things when I was growing up. So I made a point—I never spent—over 17 years in Washington—I never spend one weekend in Washington DC. That didn't mean I was always home, but I tried to be and I came back for their games, their plays, for their parents weekends, parents visits, and I'm proud of that, and my kids are extraordinary and I'm very proud of them.

Moseley Braun: I'm the only mom up here.

Moderator: I'm up here.

Moseley Braun: I did it all. I did it all. You know—sick babies, nursing, day care, picking them up from soccer classes, down to faxing homework when I was elected to the United States Senate. So my son is a great young man. He's 26 years old. I am so proud of him, I can't tell you. He's a gentleman, he's a thoughtful person, he reflects even better than I think of myself, so I could not be prouder of the job that I've done as a mother. For those of you in the audience who know Matthew Braun, I mean, I could go on for hours. I mean, I'm a mom.

Thank you.

Congressman Kucinich: When I began this event tonight, I picked up this picture of my daughter Jackie who's 24 years old I just keep it here to remind me of my responsibility to her, when her mother was pregnant, her mother and I had the opportunity to go to Lamaze classes. And when Jackie was born, the kind of bonding that takes place between the child and parent, when you have the time to spend with them can be very powerful. I'm a divorced father now and when her mother and I separated, I made it point to be there for every important moment of her life, even if it meant driving 125 miles three times a week to take her to a preschool program. So I know what this means and today she's an incredible child, who's on her way to a great career in journalism, and I'm very proud of her.

Moderator: Thank you. Governor Dean.

Howard Dean: Well, unlike Ambassador Moseley Braun, I did not nurse my children, but I did everything else, the diapers and all that other stuff. And I will not sit here and pretend for a moment and say that I did 50% of the work, I didn't. But I did a lot of it and, including on those days off when they had parent-teacher conferences, and Judy was in the office, I would take my kids to the legislature and would draw pictures and behaved reasonably well, while I was perhaps behaving a little less well at the podium, when I was Lt. Governor. We spent a lot of time together. If you want the grade, you're going to have to ask them. I always say I'm very proud of my kids, but that's why I have white hair.

Moderator: Thank you. Senator Edwards please.

Senator Edwards: There's nothing more important to me than my family. I am attached at the breast to my children.
Elizabeth and I have been married 26 years, we have 4 kids, we have a very unusual family because our children are very spread out - we have a daughter who's a senior at college, and we have a 5 year old named Clair and a three year old, Jack, I have coached my kids for 12 years in basketball and soccer, my older kids, my younger kids are on top of me every minute when I am home, which is exactly where I want them with me, touching me and they are simply the joy of my life.
Moderator: Thank you Senator. General Clark.

General Clark: Well I was a very young father, and I was a very lucky father. My wife was three months pregnant when I left for Vietnam; my son was born when I was in Vietnam. I got wounded, I came home, I saw him for the first time when he was 4 or 5 months old, I had a hook on my hand, and it scared her when I tried to hold him. He didn't seem to mind. But I've been really lucky because I don't give myself that good a grade, but I had an A+ wife and our son's 33 years old and he's a great young guy and sometimes you get better than you deserve in life, and I've been lucky.

Moderator: Thank you.

Ellen Goodman: So, we have to ask the kids for the grades. Can we have all your kids fax the grades?

Moderator: The next question comes from Robin Young. Robin.

Robin Young: This current administration has been called one of the most faith-based in U.S. History. And a lot of Democrats don't want to cede spirituality to the Republicans, so a question to each of you, do you practice a faith, and if so, can you see a time when you might invoke the name of God in discussing policy?

Moderator: And this round starts with Ambassador Moseley Braun and moves on down the line ending with Senator Kerry.

Moseley Braun: My faith is very important to me, but my faith is very personal as well. And the fact is, this nation is founded on the precept that citizens should be able to embrace whatever relationship with God they wanted to and that separation of the church and state did as much to preserve the rights of the church as it did the responsibilities and the rights of the state. So I think that if anything, while people like me, who are very spiritual, to use the terms, the "right Christian" that we at the same time have to vigilant, to see to it that religion does not become the basis by which Americans are divided, or that politicians don't use it to pander to other kinds of xenophobia and other kinds of things that does a disservice to at least my faith and my belief of what our relationship with God should be.

Moderator: Congressman Kucinich.

Kucinich: I happen to be Catholic, and I express my faith and experience in a very expanded way in connection with all religions and all forms of beliefs and non-beliefs. Our founders wanted a separation of church and state, but they didn't want America separated from spiritual values. And I believe we should live our spiritual values in our public policy.
Because I think a full employment economy is a spiritual value, it reflects the caring about people; health care for all is a spiritual value. Education for all is a spiritual value. A government that stands for peace reflects spiritual values.
Moderator: Thank you, Congressman.

Howard Dean: Well, I'm a nice, New England Congregationalist, I pray every night, and don't go to church very often, my wife is Jewish and my kids are Jewish, so we go to temple once in a while, and last time I went, we got a lecture about Jews that only go to temple on high holy days, just like I used to get a lecture at the Congregational Church about Christians that only go to church on Christmas and Easter. My religion does not inform my public policy, but it does inform my values. I am a strict believer in separation of church and state. And I think it's fine to talk about your faith, but not to enforce it on anybody else.

Moderator: Thank you.

John Edwards: Well, my faith is enormously important to me, like Governor Dean, I pray every day. And my prayer is important to me—it's gotten me through a lot of hard times. I also believe that when we set this country's policy, we need to treat all American with the respect that they're entitled to, and that includes respect for their faith, not imposing our faith on them. It's part of the reason America exists today, the President of the United States should not be setting policy for the country based on his or her faith.

Moderator. Thank you. Senator Clark.

Senator Clark: Well I believe in the strict separation of church and state. I'm the most ecumenical person up here, I think. I father was Jewish, I was brought up as a Baptist, I became a Catholic, my wife and I go to Presbyterian services, and I quote the 12th chapter of the book of Matthew, where Jesus said to the Pharisees, "Bring me a coin," and he says, "Whose face is on this coin?" And he said, "Caesar's." And he said, "Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's and give unto God that which is God's." And so, I've been in the United States Armed Forces, I believe in public service, but I don't mix church and state.

Moderator: Senator Kerry.

Senator Kerry: Both Therese and I are practicing Catholics and we both debate and struggle with some of our feelings about public policy versus the teachings. And that's the right of everybody in this country. But we are also deeply, deeply committed to the notion that our founding fathers where, which President Kennedy so brilliantly articulated in Houston, in the 1960 race, that there is a clear separation, which is essential to who we are as a people. It's what makes us different. And we can't be who we are as Americans when the collection of Jews, Muslims, Catholics, all of the Christians, the various denominations, unless we embrace everybody.

Moderator: Your time is up Senator.

Kerry: This administration violates that, every day and in every way. And we need to stand up to it and be clear about what defines us.

Moderator: I will ask the next question. Again the round will start with Congressman Kucinich, and ends with Ambassador Braun. Congressman Kucinich, should 18-year-old girls be required to register for the military, as boys are now required to do?

Congressman Kulich: No. Not that they can't if they want to. But I think that the militarization of this society presents a real challenge to our future. That we need to make a transition away from a society that spends $400 billion dollars a year on the military, away from a society that puts aside programs for education, health and housing in favor of the military. I want to encourage all young people to serve their country, in the same way that President Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." But we have to move away from the militarization of thought, and that's what's behind my proposal for the cabinet level department of peace.

Moderator: Thank you. Governor Dean.

Howard Dean: I also believe that we ought to encourage national service. One of the most depressing things this President has done out of a long list of many things that he has promised and done the opposite on is to cut AmeriCorps by 60 or 70 percent after he promised to increase it. And I want to quadruple the size of AmeriCorps because that is a true national service. Having said that, I think the answer is yes. I disagree with him—

Moderator: Yes, 18 year-old women should be…

Howard Dean: I disagree with Dennis, because the reason is, yes 18 year old young women should be able to register, and the reason for that is that if you have different standards, that begins the path towards discrimination.

Moderator: Thank you. Senator John Edwards.

Senator Edwards: The answer is no, but I do believe that this issue of service is enormously important. Elizabeth and I started 2 after school programs in North Carolina. Elizabeth worked over there full time for many hours a day, six days a week, and I have seen how important it is - not only for the young people who are getting help in these after school programs but for the young people who are there, serving their community, helping other kids, they get invested, they care, we need to have programs across America, that reach out to young people, not just in high school, but also in university and draw them into public service. So they get engaged, and stay engaged and they help to shape the future of their country.

Moderator: Thank you. General Clark.

General Clark: Yes. 18 year-old girls should register for the draft. Not because we expect to restart the draft, but because first, women are serving the armed forces today. They are doing it very, very well. Secondly, we should not be discriminating at this stage, and third, every young American should feel this sense that there is an obligation to serve one's country, and when they register we are going to open up our proposal, which is a national civil reserve where they will indicate what they are interested in volunteering for, will give them the opportunity to volunteer for it, it could be at home, it could be abroad, it will be far more diverse than AmeriCorps…

Moderator: Time.

Clark: …far broader and the starting point for that will be registration at the age of 18.

Moderator: Senator Kerry, please.

Kerry: Absolutely. It is impossible to have equality in America, to begin that march. It's also impossible to respect, the reality that exists today. We have women flying F-16s. We have women who have been in combat positions. We have women in the war, Private Lynch - others. And you can't have a double standard. So you have to make it clear that registration is part of it. I'm not for a draft under the current circumstances, unless we were to broadly go to war in a way that we don't contemplate today, and if we did, I would make certain that draft was applied in a fair and equitable way, unlike the way it was delivered in Vietnam.

Moderator: Thank you.

Moseley Braun: I would have less of a problem with this question if it were not for the fact that the women who presently do sign up for military service have a very hard row to hoe. The air force academies right now, one in four girls who are in the air force academy are victims of sexual assault or rape. It's no better in the other academies. Until we get our act together in terms of the way young women get treated in military service, I would not mandate that they sign up.

Moderator: Our round continues with a question from Ellen Goodman. We will start this round with Governor Dean and move on down to Congressman Kucinich.

Ellen Goodman: For a lot of women, the personal is political, as they say, so we're wondering if you could name one—the strongest female role model that you have in American History, with one caveat, no moms, and no wives.

Howard Dean: I would probably think of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She was an extraordinary woman who struggled mightily for the rights of women to enjoy equality and she was a woman who took great risk to herself and others and there are many other women who have contributed an enormous amount, but that's the one that comes to mind. You can also name Eleanor Roosevelt is another extraordinary woman, but those two are probably good starts.

1:00:23

MOD: Thank you. Senator Edwards.

EDWARDS: You didn't get two. He just stole mine with his second choice. Eleanor Roosevelt, because of the leadership
she showed, particularly in a time when it was very difficult for strong women to assert themselves. And actually, we should all be proud of the path she laid for so many wonderfully strong women who are leading today.

MOD: Thank you. General Clark.

CLARK: Well, I was going to say Eleanor Roosevelt. But I'll tell you this - I've worked a lot with the Congress as a senior officer, and I'm very impressed with senators like Diane Feinstein. She's smart, she's compassionate, she does her homework, she's a real leader, she's highly respected, and she in every way sets a standard as one of the outstanding senators in American history in my view. And she's a real role model for any woman in America and someone I admire tremendously.

Dean: Sounds like a great running mate.

MOD: Senator Kerry.

KERRY: Well, General Clark, I'm glad you mentioned Diane Feinstein in such glowing terms, because she has endorsed me to be President of the United States.

CLARK: She did, John, because I wasn't in the race. She endorsed you before I got in the race.

KERRY: She still endorses me. She's out working hard for me.

Abigail Adams is one of the most extraordinary women in the history of our nation. And if you read those brilliant letters between Abigail Adams and John Adams, you look at the way she kept that family together, what she did the years when he was abroad, their distance, the support she gave him, the advice she gave him. Those are some of the most brilliant letters, and that was one of the most beautiful relationships in the history of our country. Every American should think about Abigail Adams.

MOD: Thank you. Ambassador Braun.

BRAUN: I'm going to pick two. Dr. Dorothy Hite(?), who is still alive, who is just a wonderful role model, and has had an impact on the liberation of women, as well as the ending of discrimination against African Americans over almost the entire century. And she is just a tremendous contributor, she has been a council to presidents, she has worked to build families, she has worked in the community. My other one is Sojourner Truth, who had the courage to lead people to freedom.

MOD: Thank you. Congressman Kucinich.

KUCINICH: Dorothy Day. Dorothy Day was a founder of what's known as the Catholic Worker Movement and she dedicated her life to working with the poor, to working with people who were socially disorganized, to helping women who were basically alone and on their own. She focused on issues of housing, healthcare, and education. She took the doctorate of social and economic justice, and made it real. She walked the talk, which is something that I think is a great example for all of us who are in public life.

MOD: Our next question comes from Robin Young, and the round begins with Senator Edwards and ends up with
Governor Dean.

YOUNG: And I was going to ask you all about smoking dope, because a lot of parents woke up this morning and were trying to explain to their kids why it might not be a good idea. And the kids were saying, "But mom, a potential U.S. President said they smoked dope." But in the interest of time— I'm looking at the clock - I'm instead going to ask this question. Would you each expand stem cell research?

EDWARDS: The answer is yes, absolutely. We should not use ideological guidelines to determine the research, the important groundbreaking research, that can be done, that can affect the lives of not only families here in America, but families all over the world, so the answer is very simple. Yes.

CLARK: Yes. I believe in stem cell research. _____(inaudible) in terms of dealing with some very serious diseases. It is being worked on in many other countries. It should be worked on here. We should pursue American science, and keep our science at the forefront of world efforts in the biotechnology area.

MOD: Thank you. Senator Kerry.

KERRY: Yes, absolutely. But I think this underscores one of the reasons why it's so important for us to defeat George Bush, because this has been the single most anti-science administration in modern history. They've defeated EPA reports by replacing scientific language with American Petroleum Institute paid studies. They've ignored the science of global warming. They've turned their backs on the science of oceans, and of our land, and of pollution, and toxics, and chemicals. And they do the bidding of special interests all across this country. We need a President who's going to stand up to those special interests.

MOD: Ambassador Braun.

BRAUN: I couldn't agree with Senator Kerry more. Science in the service of the reduction of human suffering out to be everybody's goal. And the expansion of stem cell research holds great promise to reduce human suffering, whether it's in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and any number of diseases. That this administration has so politicized this as really an abortion issue, I mean let's just be candid, that's what they're really talking about. And they're trying to frighten people that somehow or other, babies will be used for research purposes, and it's just not true. It's a lie. They ought to be held up to account for telling that lie to the American people, and we ought to be honest and say this is research that needs to happen, and it does not cause harm.

MOD: Congressman Kucinich.

KUCINICH: I've met with families of children with diabetes who are urgently in need of new possibilities, which stem cell research provides. And I think in particular the areas where they're harvesting bone marrow, and making it possible to create stem cells is something that can provide some benefits. I agree with Ambassador Braun. We don't want to see it become an abortion issue. And I also think we need to do everything we can to make sure those who are involved in this kind of scientific research, whether it's stem cells, or cloning, or other things, that there are standards by which - standards that we must set to provide some ethical reasons for the research.

MOD: Governor Dean.

DEAN: I think we ought to have therapeutic cloning, but not embryonic cloning. I think we ought to allow nuclear transfers. And I think we ought to regulate carefully what we do. But the fact is - I'll give you a little story that will warm you heart a little bit. My brother has a diabetic son. He is an independent, and he's Republican, because he's a
businessperson. He will never vote Republican for the rest of his life, because of what George Bush did.

MOD: I will start the next round with a question that begins with General Clark, and we'll go all the way around, and end up with Senator Edwards. And the question is: Describe what role the first lady, first man, or first friend would play in your administration.

CLARK: Gert will be my sense of balance, my connection. She senses things, hears things, works issues. She has an enormous sense of justice, tremendous intuition for working issues. She's sharpened it through 34 years of army service and leadership with the army wives program, helping families, helping children across the nation and across the continent. She'll be a tremendous first lady, and she'll be a tremendous asset to the United States of America.

MOD: Thank you, General Clark. Senator Kerry.

KERRY: Well, obviously my wife will be my personal partner, the person who shares all of the hopes and aspirations that bring me to this race. But more importantly, those of you who have gotten to know her know she is a stunningly independent, thoughtful, creative, and committed human being. She came from a dictatorship. She didn't see her father vote until he was 71-years-old. Like many people who are converts to anything, she has zeal and a passion for the democracy of our country. She has helped start early childhood education programs, schools, she's been a vice chair for the environmental defense fund, she's been on the board of Brookings(?) and others. She will pick what she thinks is her cause, and the best way to contribute to our nation's values and future. And I will respect that.

MOD: Thank you. Ambassador Braun.

BRAUN: This is an impossible question. There has never been a first man, or a first gentleman. There has never been a woman president in this country. And I served as Ambassador in a country where political parties had nominated a woman, had elected a woman, as Prime Minister. New Zealand had, for both parties, women serve. And so, all I can say in response, is that you'll get me, but you'll get no one for free. You'll get me and my record of service and my commitment. I tell people what I believe in, I do what I say I'm going to do, and I hold myself accountable to voters for my service.

1:10:04

Mod: Congressman Kucinich

Kucinich: Thank you. As a bachelor, I get a chance to fantasize about my first lady. Maybe Fox would like to sponsor a national contest or something. But in any event, I would definitely want someone who would be not just by my side, but be a working partner because we are in a day and age where partnerships are imperative for making anything happen in the world and I would certainly want a dynamic, outspoken woman who was fearless in her desire for peace in the world, for universal single-payer health care and for a full-employment economy. If you're out there, call me!

Kerry: The first presidential personal advertisement.

Mod: Fox is here and I can see the reality TV show now - "Date the President." Let's go to Gov. Dean now, shall we?

Dean: I can't top that one. You have to admit, we are a lot more interesting than the Republicans aren't we.

Many of you who read Ellen Goodman's column know that my wife is going to practice medicine. She has her own career, she's very good at it. She's also good at telling me when I didn't do so well in the debates, which she says very frankly. But she has a career that she's great at and I would like to be the first president to have the first working wife in the White House who has her own career and is not on my career's toe.

Mod: Thank you. And Sen. Edwards, please.

Edwards: Well, first of all my wife Elizabeth of 26 years is seated right here in the front row. And I am proud to have her with me. She has been with me; we have been together every step of the way. There's not a decision I've ever made - not a single important decision in my life - that the two of us didn't make together. She is an extraordinary woman, she is an extraordinary mother, she is my conscience. If I ever fail to stand up 110% for women's rights, I would never go home.

Mod: Thank you sir. It is 8:15, exactly the time we are supposed to start with the candidates' two-minute closing statements. Again, the order in which they speak was determined earlier, when the candidates drew names out of a hat, and we will go in this order, starting with General Clark and going down to Sen. John Kerry. [timing instructions]

Clark: Well, I am very happy to be here, I think it's a great forum. I really appreciate the questions that were asked, both by the panelists and the audience who gave the cards to you, Laura [moderator], because I think they explore some of the most pressing issues in America today. They are issues that lie very near and dear to my heart as I served in the US Armed Forces.

Now, I always ask audiences, how many are Veterans out there? But it seems that given that there are mostly women here, I think if I asked all the Veterans to stand up, they would be embarrassed and lonely. But for those of you who haven't served and aren't associated by the US Armed Forces, you know we transitioned from a draft to a volunteer force. You may have an impression of the Armed Forces that we give orders, but it's really about families. Most of the Armed Forces is married.
You cannot keep people in the Armed Forces if you don't tend to their family issues. And so, you are in a position as a commander in a unit, from the time you are a lieutenant all the way until you are a four-star general…you are worried about the quality of the civilian education for the children, the health care, you're worried about quality of life time that soldiers can be with their families and away from their units. It's a full-service institution. We have mental health professionals, we have counselors, we have chaplains who help. We deal with the full-range of issues.

So I grew up in an institutional where I am very closely connected to - personally, on an emotional basis - to many of the issues that we've presented and discussed up here in policy terms. For me, they are human issues, they are leadership issues and I can put names and faces in my memory on these issues.

So I'm very pleased to have had the chance to discuss them and they'll be very important to me. I think America needs to restore a sense of security, not only in dealing with the threats from abroad, but in dealing with the challenges to families at home. That means economic security with a higher minimum wage, with health care, with assurance for education, and with full attention to all the quality of life and gender issues that you brought up. I look forward to being able to work on that agenda. That's why I'm running and asking for your support. Thank you.

[banter]

Edwards: There may be a lot of issues in this campaign, in this election, but at the end of the day the election is about something much bigger than that. It really is about what kind of America we are and what kind of America we want to be.
Everybody on this stage will fight for a woman's right to choose and a woman's right to privacy. But there is a bigger fight, the basic fight for equality and a fight for justice. That fight includes protecting choice, the last thing we need is a government telling women what they should do with their own bodies. It also includes equal access to health services. Men should not be able to get Viagra and have it covered by insurance when women can't get birth control and have it paid for by insurance.

And another issue that has not been talked about tonight is the entire issue of domestic violence and equality in the home. I want you to know that I have introduced in the last month three pieces of legislation to fight against domestic violence. It is so pervasive, it is such an issue having to do with the basic dignity with which women are treated.

And also for the rights of parents to have leave when they have a job. I propose a $2500 -dollar for dollar—tax credit, so that parents - one parent—can stay home when they have a child. Family leave is great. But parents can't afford to stay home in today's world, when they are working two jobs and they can't pay the bills. We should have after-school for kids, we talked about it briefly, and I told you earlier my wife and I have been personally committed to this issue because it is so important.

At the end of the day, I don't believe in George Bush's America. I believe in an America where the daughter of a truck driver can grow up to be a physicist. I believe in an America where the daughter of a schoolteacher can be the CEO of the largest company in America. And I still believe in an America where the son of a mill worker can beat the son of a president for the White House. That's the America I will fight for as President of the United States.

Mod: Thank you Sen. Edwards. Gov. Dean, two-minute closing statement please.

Dean: [banter]

Let me thank you for doing this. As you know, I am a former board member for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and I appreciate very much the opportunity to be here.

One of the advantages of being governor is that I get to say what we've done. In my state, we don't have parental notification, because parental notification is bad for families. In my state, we don't believe that "partial birth abortion" is a medical term. And we leave those decisions to individuals and their physicians, as it should be. This is none of Tom DeLay or George Bush's business. In my state, we believe that children should be taken care of and we invest in them. And we've dropped our child-abuse rate dramatically and increased the number of kids going to college because of that.
In my state, we've put together domestic violence programs which protect women from ever being found by the people who are stalking them, which support them through the most difficult times, and which shelter them when it's needed and we raise money for it, we fund it.

This is an extraordinary campaign. This is about the nature of America. My campaign is about empowering people. We have raised a lot of money. The way we raised it is important. 200,000 people giving us $75 on average, one-quarter of all our contributions come from people under 30 years old. This campaign is about giving you back the power to run this country, taking it away from special interest, taking it away from a President whose drug policy is written by drug companies and whose energy policies are written by the oil companies. You have that power. Please use it wisely in this election. We need to beat this president. I think the future of the free world depends on George Bush leaving office on January 20, 2005.

Mod: Thank you. Congressmen Kucinich.

Kucinich: Thank you very much. One of the most powerful questions that was raised was whether 18-year-old women should register for the draft. This country is in a war right now, so the context of that question becomes urgent. Register from the draft to go to war. I think it's important that we challenge the thinking that took us into war before we even get to questions about whether we send our sons and daughters. Because our sons and daughter are there right now on a mission that they did not have to be sent on.

I want to say that as president of the US, I will take a whole new transformative vision of the presidency…to take America in the direction of connecting with the world. My vision of the world is a world which is interdependent, interconnected. A world which has the potential for peace, where war is not inevitable.

Above the House of Representatives there is a sculpture of a woman whose arm is outstretched. She is protecting a child who is sitting blissfully beside a pile of books. The title of this sculpture is "Peace Protecting Genius." Not with nuclear arms, not with weaponry, but with the arms of nurturing is the child genius protected. There is room, as Carol Moseley Braun said, for feminine principles and they should be expressed by men as well as women. The principles of nurturing, the principles of working for peace. That's why I propose the department of peace, where we can work to make non-violence an organizing principle in our society…to deal with domestic violence that John Edwards supports, to deal with child abuse, spousal abuse, to deal with gangs and violence in the schools and all those things that separate us from our humanity. And work with the nations of the world in working to make war itself archaic. My presidency will be about creating a new world. And that's what the poet Tennyson said, he said, "Come my friends. It is not too late to seek a newer world."

Thank you.

Mod: Thank you Congressman Kucinich. Closing statement now from Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun.

Braun: Thank you very much. You know my grandfather fought for this country in World War I in France. And he came back to a country where he couldn't vote or sit in the front of the bus. But he fought and made that sacrifice because he believed in the promise of America. He believed in a country in which every generation would make things just a little better for the generation to follow. He believed that by his sacrifice, his children and grandchildren would have the blessings of liberty, would have the opportunity, that were denied him in his time.

Well, I am able to stand here as proof positive, of the progress that our country has made in moving in the direction of an inclusionary society that taps the talent of every individual, every member, and allows for all those contributions to benefit the whole of America. I believe that this election is about tapping the talent of America and giving voice to the voices that have been marginalized and have been on the sidelines. There is no reason why women have not been able to be heard and participate at the highest level of leadership in our country. There is no reason that we must continue to be represented as surrogates or indirectly by people that have not had a set of experiences that might heal our country and bring us together.

All my career has been built upon my ability to work with others, to build coalitions, to bring people together, to build bridges, and to break down barriers. And I do this in the name of my eight-year-old niece who said to me, "Auntie Carol, all the presidents are men!" She was shocked. We ought to be shocked too.

The fact is to let girls dream and to let the American people understand that we can resolve these issues, if we come together, if we tap all the talent, and bring those talents to bear in putting our country in the right direction. In the direction of peace, in the direction of prosperity that touches every American so that we don't have pay inequity and pension inequity. So that we don't have the embedded wealth and the entrenched poverty and a shrinking middle class.

I want to congratulate Planned Parenthood for calling us together and allowing us to have this forum because I think this organization and the other women's organizations have been pushing in the direction of moving our society as a whole toward a broader vision of civil society that brings in everybody's contributions. When Margaret Sanger fought for Planned Parenthood—started this organization, fought for the right of women to control their own destiny, she was essentially fighting for a vision of the world in which women would not be limited by their physical condition, but would be given a chance to contribute to the whole society. That's the nature of my fight. I have the capacity you need to qualify to run this country in a new direction. Thank you.

1:26:20

Moderator: Senator Kerry, closing statement please.

Kerry: Thank you for the great privilege of being here tonight. We wake up every morning in this country and we see that George Bush is taking our nation in a radically wrong direction. That he's giving in to almost every special interest and powerful right-wing lobby there is. He's nominated a judge, named Leon Holmes. And Leon Holmes said that people get pregnant from rape about as often as snow falls in Miami. Well, snow falls in Miami once every one hundred years, but 30,000 women in America get pregnant from rape and incest.

This president is turning back the clock. He has launched an assault on the rights of women and on the rights on working people in our nation. You're going to hear each candidate stand up here and say we need to do this, we need to do that—we have to health care. Harry Truman talked about health care—"Why don't these things happen in America?"

I'll tell you why. Because there are special interests, powerful economic interests that fight them every step of the way and ideological interests that fight them. And what we need in a president is not just someone who's going to give you the program of the year or the words, but someone who's life has been committed defining the fight for those values. I have fought for those values from the civil rights movement of the 1960's, of the environmental movement, I marched for equal rights, I was there in the fights.

When I was in the District Attorney's Office a young woman came in and I tried her rape case. And I saw the pain and what happened to her in the court system. So I started the first rape counseling effort and a victim witness assistance plan. We need a president who is fully prepared to use the bully pulpit of the presidency to lead our nation to a better place. And that means not only here in the domestic choices of our nation, but we can't be strong abroad if we're not strong at home, and we can't be strong at home if we're not strong abroad.

I will stand up to this president. I will take him on and our security because he is making our nation less safe—overextending our troops, losing us influence in the world. We need a president who understands how to implement a foreign policy that wins us friends and allies on this planet. I will do that and I will fight for the rights of all Americans.
Moderator: And that concludes our evening and I first off very much want to thank all the presidential candidates. We know all the demands on your time and we very much appreciate you spending the evening with us. So first a big thanks to you!

I'd also like to thank our two panelists, Ellen Goodman and Robin Young. Thank you so much for all the work you've put
into tonight.

Thank you also to Planned Parenthood and its NH-based co-hosts. Again the views expressed are those of the candidates and not those of the sponsoring organizations. And the sponsorship of this forum is not intended as an endorsement of any candidate.

I also want to thank everyone in the audience for both coming in tonight to Manchester, NH, and tuning in on C-SPAN.
Thank you very much, good night.

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