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Presidential Candidates Forum on Women's Issues - Part 2

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Date:
Location: Manchester, NH

COOPER: Changing the subject a little bit, Governor Dean, I know you took a year off after college, spent a little time skiing. Is that something you would recommend for college graduates?

DEAN: When I was 20 years old, I was a junior in a college in New Haven, Connecticut. And I was totally turned off politics. I thought that the President of the United States was a crook, which turned out to be right. It was Richard Nixon.

(LAUGHTER)

And I thought that the Vietnam war was a mistake. And I had no idea I was going to end up in public service. I was teaching school in the inner city middle school, which was—I also learned at that time that teaching was one of the hardest professions in the world, because you're required...

(APPLAUSE)

... because it requires you not only to connect with kids—I usually had a card game going on in the back of the room, which shows you how effective I was—you also have to stand for five hours without going to the bathroom, which may be good training for president.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Senator Lieberman. Then we'll move on. Go ahead.

LIEBERMAN: You know, when I was 20, I was in college—also at that unnamed school in New Haven. And I was inspired by the person who was president, John F. Kennedy, who ended his campaign for the presidency in 1960 right at this building. It's historic and moving to me.

Why? Because he said to me and my generation that if we got involved, we could make a difference. We could make the world better.

The first thing I did was not political. I got into the civil rights movement. I marched with Dr. King in Washington in 1963. I went to Mississippi to fight for the right of African-Americans to vote. And that eventually led, through the heroism of a lot of people greater and more courageous than I, to the Voting Rights Act and to the right of African-Americans to vote and affect a presidential election such as the one I'm in today.

So I never would have dreamed that I'd be here today. That's America. That's the American dream. I have been blessed to live it.

Under George Bush, it's been slipping away from too many Americans. I want to bring it back and keep it alive for your generation so that one of you can be here one day, running for president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: All right, we've got a question over here.

QUESTION: Hi, good evening. Ambassador Braun, my question is, in the State of the Union address, President Bush encouraged more young Americans to give back to their country and join AmeriCorps, our national service program.

Yet this year, thousands of people were turned away from AmeriCorps and national service because of mismanagement and lack of funding. I was wondering what you plan to do to grow AmeriCorps? And also what your feeling is on the national service movement and how you can assure that young people who want to serve for barely minimum wage are going to be able to do so and give back to their community?

(APPLAUSE)

MOSELEY BRAUN: Thank you.

I think AmeriCorps is important. I think public service is important. And the thing that inspires me the most are the young people who, in spite of school and in spite of the barriers that they might face, continue to give and to reach outside of themselves to make the community better.

That kind of service goes to the heart of who we are as a people. We are really a generous people.

You mentioned the president's State of the Union Address. The sad thing about it is that this administration has become famous for bait and switch. They say one thing and they do another. Where they're saying—supporting AmeriCorps with words and then cutting the funding; clean, healthy forests and then cutting down old growth trees; clean skies and allowing for more pollution. They have done this consistently to the American people.

And I'm running for president because I sincerely believe that young people ought to be optimistic about the future, ought to be optimistic that their leadership will be honest with them, will tell them what the real deal is and that will allow for young people to contribute to making this society better, to breaking down the barriers and making us as Americans who we can be.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: We have a question for Senator Edwards on the floor right here.

QUESTION: Like many youths, I haven't fully gotten behind any one candidate. What are you going to do to impress me and other youths in this year that we have ahead of us? And what ultimately makes you the strongest candidate that can defeat an incumbent president?

EDWARDS: Well, thank you. Thank you for the question.

First, what I'm going to do for you and other young people is I'm going to reach out to you, hear what you have to say, listen to what you have to say, try to give you a decent start in life by helping you be able to buy a house, helping you to be able to save, making sure that you have access to health insurance, all of the things that'll actually—and having a job, which is very difficult while this president is in office.

(APPLAUSE)

But the reason I'm the best candidate against George Bush is very simple. I come from middle-class working people. I grew up that way. I spent all of my adult life, first as a lawyer fighting for those people against big corporations, against big insurance companies. I fought the same fight on the floor of the United States Senate. It has been the cause of my life. I will wake up both as a nominee and as president of the United States every day standing up and fighting for you and people just like the people I grew up with.

These are the people that George Bush has left behind. These are the people he has to get in order to be re-elected.

When I'm on a stage, when I'm on a stage—almost finished—when I'm on a stage...

(LAUGHTER)

... when I'm on a stage with George Bush, as I intend to be in 2004, they're going to say, "John Edwards understands me; George Bush does not, and we're going to put John Edwards in the White House"—that's what's going to happen.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: You can actually stay there because I've got a follow-up question for you.

Last year on CNN you said this, quote, "It's absolutely critical that Democrats reach out to people like Zell Miller." He's now endorsing President Bush. What did you do wrong?

(LAUGHTER)

EDWARDS: Well, I disagree with Zell Miller, obviously. I know Zell, I know him very well. I think Zell Miller has the wrong feeling and the wrong view of what we need to do in the South in order to be successful.

I think Zell Miller, for whatever reason, has decided that the policies of George Bush are good for Southerners.

COOPER: Does he speak for all Southerners?

EDWARDS: Actually, I don't believe he does. I think the people that—I grew up in a small town in rural North Carolina, about 800 or 900 people. I don't think he speaks for the people that I grew up with.

These are people who have lost their jobs. They've seen the plants closing. They have no health insurance. They're struggling, and they're suffering.

And what they want in a president is somebody, first, who will solve the real problems they have in their day-to-day lives; and second, somebody that will treat them with respect, not somebody who looks down on them, saying, "We know what's best for you, we're going to take care of you," but somebody who actually gives them the power to do what they're capable of doing.

These are the people I grew up with. I know them very well. And I can get them in 2004.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Senator Kerry, we've got an e-mail for you. It says, "What do you think about the recent polls that put Hillary Clinton 20 percent ahead of all you guys?"

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

KERRY: Well, it all depends on which poll you look at. I saw a poll the other day...

COOPER: I knew you were going to say that.

(LAUGHTER)

KERRY: I saw a poll the other day that showed me about 15 points ahead of her.

Look, here's what's important to all of you.

Every young person that I talk to in this country is disappointed by politics, by Washington and the sense that nothing that happens is real and it doesn't affect your lives.

I want your help in this race because I have lived the experience of being a young person who is trying to make a difference for our country. Lived it during the civil rights movement in the '60s, in Vietnam fighting. When I came back, standing up against Richard Nixon and fighting to end the war; taking on Ronald Reagan's illegal, clandestine, unconstitutional war in Central America; blowing the whistle on Oliver North and his private aid network...

(APPLAUSE)

... blowing the whistle on Noriega; standing up with John McCain to get answers for our families that they hadn't had for 20 years. I took on Newt Gingrich when he tried to gut the Clean Air and Clean Water Act. And I led the fight to stop them drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge.

(APPLAUSE)

What we need is a president who has a proven record of taking on the special interests; standing up and fighting for people and making life better for Americans.

And that's what I'm going to do.

COOPER: Reverend Sharpton, A CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll just last week showed that young people, 18 to 29, are actually more conservative than their parents. And, actually, 61 or 62 percent of them said they agree with the job George Bush is doing.

What are the Democrats doing wrong?

SHARPTON: Well, I think that first of all, a lot of young people don't understand what George Bush is doing. And a lot of them have been confused because a lot of the Democrats have played this game of trying to be Republican-like.

I say that we've been...

(APPLAUSE)

I think that we've had too many elephants running around in donkey jackets that are not real Democrats. When we stand up...

COOPER: By the way, I think someone's drinking right now, because I think I heard that before.

(LAUGHTER)

SHARPTON: Well, while they're gulping, let me give you another two lines. Anyway...

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Thirty seconds to break.

SHARPTON: I think that when we stand up as real Democrats and show young people that we have to have a job-creating president, that we have to have a president that wants to build alliances with the rest of the world, it is in their interest, they could not side with Bush. They would side with their future.

COOPER: We got to go to break.

SHARPTON: Anyone up here is better than George Bush.

COOPER: We got to go to break. We'll be right back.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: And we are back, live, Faneuil Hall, the heart of America's biggest college town where America rocks the vote. And, dare I say, rocks it pretty darn hard.

Our Democratic candidates here will take more of your questions in a moment.

First, Congressman Dennis Kucinich and Governor Howard Dean, in 30. Take a look.

(VIDEOTAPED PRESENTATION)

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: And the next, Governor Howard Dean, in 30.

(VIDEOTAPED PRESENTATION)

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Let's get back to the questions from the audience. We have a question over here for Senator Lieberman.

QUESTION: The Bush administration promotes abstinence as the only way to protect against STDs and pregnancy, there is no mention of condoms or birth control. And I just wanted to know what you think is the best way to handle sex education.

(APPLAUSE)

LIEBERMAN: Thank you. Real important question for a lot of reasons. Number one, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases hurts a lot of people. Two, one of the foremost indicators of poverty is if you have a child out of wedlock before the age of 18.

Now, you've got to be realistic in dealing with these problems. Sure, abstinence is an important option, and it ought to be part of what's done in school-based sexual education programs. But if you're only teaching abstinence, you're only going to teach so many and affect so many lives. You've got to expand that to cover condoms and birth control and other means of doing it.

And if you've got to talk about right from wrong, you've got to say don't do what is—what feels good right now that may make it hard for you to live the kind of life you want to live and help your child live that kind of life as well.

So I'd say, broad-based sexual education. You've got to be realistic and practical. And right from wrong to make a better future for yourself.

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: All right, we have a question over here.

QUESTION: My question is for Reverend Sharpton, though I'd love to hear from the other candidates as well.

My question is this. What's the first thing going through your head the morning you wake up in the White House?

SHARPTON: Well, I think the first thing going through my head would be to make sure that Bush has all of his stuff out.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

And that we changed the locks on the door, so none of his crowd can come back.

(LAUGHTER)

And that we need to have an authenticity in politics—one of the reasons I'm running. We need politicians that believe in something.

In my career, I have fought in controversies. I have gone to jail for civil disobedience. I've been stabbed.

You need people that don't say what they want people to feel they believe in, but people that stand for something.

I would want—the Sharpton White House would stand for something. It would fight for things that are fundamental and that are basic for every American citizen. And I'd wake up in that White House every day saying that people that wanted me to be here are depending on me to fight for ordinary average people to have equal opportunity and equal justice in this country.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Another question for General Clark, I believe.

QUESTION: What's your personal comfort level with homosexuals? And do you have any gay friends?

(APPLAUSE)

CLARK: The answer is, I do have gay friends. And there are gays who serve in the United States armed forces, and they do a very good job. But when they are—when they acknowledge who they are and their sexual preference, they leave. So I've got a very good comfort level with it.

I think everybody deserves the right to serve. And when I'm president, I'm going to make sure that we treat every man, woman and child in America with dignity and respect. And that includes the opportunities to serve in the United States armed forces.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Let me ask a follow-up then. Did you ever serve with soldiers who knew were gay? And did you ever turn anyone in?

CLARK: Never turned anybody in. But I had people who came to me after they had turned themselves in. And it's a very sad thing because a lot of these people wanted to serve, but they just had a conflict between what they felt on the inside...

COOPER: Are you saying "Don't ask, don't tell" works?

CLARK: I don't think it works everywhere. I've seen it work in some units, but I get a lot of reports where it doesn't work. And I think it depends on the service, it depends on the unit. I think it depends, to some extent, on the commander.

And so, I think the policy, as I've said, the policy needs to be reviewed because there are so many indications that it's not working. I think you start a review with the presumption that it isn't. And let the armed forces leadership go back through it and give us a better policy so that every American who desires to serve can.

COOPER: We've got another question on the subject down here.

QUESTION: My question is for Senator Kerry and for General Clark.

Gays and lesbians have made a tremendous amount of progress in the last 10 years under Clinton and thanks to many of the people on the stage tonight. But what I have a question is, when people want to build a family, they are prevented from doing so. There are adoption barriers. There are problems with permanent partner immigration. And there are also problems with collecting Social Security benefits for deceased partners.

My question is: What can you do to help make sure that every American, including those in the GLBT community, have an opportunity to build and love their families?

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Senator Kerry?

KERRY: Could I have some clarification? Were you asking that specifically about gay and lesbian? Or are you asking that specifically generically?

QUESTION: I mean, specifically gay and lesbians have a lot of legal barriers to...

KERRY: Right, that's what I thought you were asking and I wanted to make certain of it.

There is a cemetery, the congressional cemetery in Washington D.C. where there is a tombstone. And the tombstone says, "My country gave me a medal for killing a man and gave me a dishonorable discharge for loving one."

I have always fought for the right of people to be able to be treated equally in America. Long before there was a television show, long before there was a march in Washington, in 1985, I was the sole sponsor of the Civil Rights Act to make sure we enforced that in America. I was one of only four people who testified before Senator Strom Thurmond and the Armed Services Committee on the right and ability of anybody to serve in the armed forces of the United States.

I am for partnership rights. I am for civil union. I am for the Employment Non-discrimination Act. I am for the hate crimes legislation. Because in America, we're going to have a country where everybody has a right to be who they are, period.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: We want to get you all in. The question was also directed to General Clark, SO very briefly, if you could.

CLARK: Well, I already told you how I feel about gay and lesbian rights and the right to serve.

But let me put it this way to you: My position's gotten pretty well known now and I've spoken out a lot.

One of my Army friends came to me. He said, "Sir, I've got a little bit of trouble with your position on gays in the military." I said, "Well, let me explain it to you this way. If you had a son or daughter who was gay, would you love them?" And he said, "Well, yes." I said, "Would you want them to have the same rights and the same opportunities in life as everybody else?" And he looked at me and he said, "Now I understand why you're saying what you're saying."

We need to do a lot better job in communicating in this society and crossing barriers and setting aside a lot of old mythologies. And as president of the United States, I'm going to take the lead in doing that.

Thank you.

COOPER: Congressman Kucinich, where do you stand on this issue? I mean, what is your position on gay rights?

KUCINICH: As president, I would help to create a culture in America so that people could be whoever they are, because if America is about anything, it has to be about a chance for people to live out their dream and to express their own authenticity.

The question that was asked earlier by the young woman about why would young people want to pick any particular candidate, and in my case it's because the same passion that I felt at age 20 about changing the world, that fire in the heart, that fire in the spirit, that same willingness to try to change it all resides in me right now. It's that spirit rebellious that doesn't accept the status quo, that's ready to take a vision and take it to the farthest place.

If you want to rock the boat, you have to rock the boat. You have to be willing to challenge the status quo.

(APPLAUSE)

And so, gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgender people under my administration would have full participation, and they would also have the right to marry.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Governor Dean, we know—you talked earlier about what you did in Vermont regarding...

DEAN: Oh, I'm sorry.

COOPER: You talked earlier about what you did in Vermont regarding civil unions. And you've also been quoted as saying, quote, "that gay marriage," quote, "makes me uncomfortable, the same as anybody else."

I don't know if we have it. We had a photo from The New York Times this Sunday, two guys who went—oh, we don't have it—anyway, two guys who went up to Canada to get married. What about that makes you uncomfortable?

DEAN: You sound like Tim Russert. I said that, the day after the Supreme Court decision, or the day of the Supreme Court decision.

Look, when I signed the civil unions bill, I didn't know anything more about the gay community than I did 25 years earlier. I did it, not because I knew a lot about the gay community, it was because I believed every single American deserves equal rights under the law, not just the ones you play golf with or you live next door to, but every single American deserves equal rights under the law.

So, you know, I have come to know the LGBT community over time because I signed the first equal rights under the law bill for gay and lesbian Americans.

But, you know, I think most Americans don't understand the gay and lesbian community. And that's part of getting equal rights, is to reaching out to Americans who don't understand and help them to understand.

And the single-most important act in helping gay and lesbians get the same rights as everybody else is not my signing the civil unions bill, it's people who are gay and lesbian standing up and being proud of who they are and saying so. And that way, Americans get to understand them as human beings, which is the process I went through and every heterosexual goes through.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Ambassador Braun?

MOSELEY BRAUN: Thank you.

COOPER: Actually, I have a question in the audience for you. Would you rather have the question in the audience or this?

MOSELEY BRAUN: Well, I'd just as soon do this. I got off the chair. I am ignoring the chair. I'm going to ignore the ding-dong, too.

COOPER: Oh-oh.

MOSELEY BRAUN: I just wanted—you know, when you start off life both black and female, it is not hard to understand the aspirations of the GLBT community. Because at the end of the day, it really is about discrimination and allowing people to contribute to the whole of the society based on what they have inside, what the content of their character, the capacity of their intellect, the energy that they have to bring to bear.

And when we as a society allow everybody to contribute to the maximum extent of his or her ability, what we do is lift up the whole community. We help the whole society take the benefit of tapping 100 percent of the talent that's available to it, as opposed to just 50 percent or 25 percent.

My record in regards to this issue goes back almost 20 years when I started in the state legislature fighting to end discrimination against people who—not just race discrimination, not just gender discrimination, but discrimination against gay and lesbian people. And I believe that that's the only way to go.

If we're going to achieve the promise of America, we have to begin to move in the direction—continue the movement in the direction of liberating the human spirit, of allowing people to contribute to the maximum extent of what they can give to the whole community.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: All right, thank you very much.

We have a question over here. Wait one second, wait. Sorry, no one could hear you, just wait a second until the applause—OK, go ahead.

QUESTION: Good evening. This question is for General Wesley Clark.

As I'm sure you're aware, the Cold War ended over a decade ago. Still the U.S. imposes an ineffective and inhumane embargo against Cuba. If you were elected president, would you change this policy?

(APPLAUSE)

CLARK: The way we won the Cold War was not by isolating Eastern Europe, but by engaging it. We won the Cold War not just because we had great armed forces, but because we had the AFL-CIO, we had Citibank, and we had a Polish pope. And we reached out to Eastern Europe, and we connected with humanity.

That's why I'm against embargoes. They don't work.

(APPLAUSE)

When you isolate a country, you strengthen the dictators in it. If you want to change the dictators, you've got to open it up so ordinary people in those countries can see what they're missing in the rest of the world, and gain strength and ideas from everybody else. And they'll take control of their future.

We're not going to reward Fidel Castro, but we are going to make sure that Cubans have a democracy and they have the same rights as everybody else on this planet.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: We're going to move on. We've got a lot of e-mails still to get to. An e-mail for Senator Kerry. "Senator Kerry, why did you have to kill those two pheasants in Iowa last week? Do you find it necessary to kill animals for photo-ops?"

(LAUGHTER)

KERRY: Well, it's a tough economy now, and it's amazing what you have to go through to put food on the table.

(LAUGHTER)

No, look, I've been a hunter all my life. But I make a point of eating what I kill. That's no different from what happens if you go down to the store and buy it.

So I think it's a legitimate thing. But let me say something about guns, because that's the point I was trying to make.

Howard Dean and I have huge difference on guns and what's appropriate. I don't want to be the candidate of the NRA in this country. I don't think the Democratic Party should be the candidacy of the NRA.

(APPLAUSE)

And when I was fighting to ban assault weapons in 1992 and '93, Howard Dean was appealing to the NRA for their endorsement, and he got it. He's been endorsed more times by the NRA than the NEA.

And I believe it's important for us to have somebody who is going to stand up for gun safety in America and make certain that we make our streets safe, our children safe, and not allow people to get assault weapons in America.

You want an assault weapon? Join the Army.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: All right. Governor Dean.

DEAN: I told a group of press people in Iowa that the reason I knew I was the frontrunner is because I keep picking buck shot out of my rear end all the time.

Here's my position on guns. I support the assault weapons ban. And I fought the renewal of the assault weapons ban. I do not support the elimination of liability for gun owners. I support background checks. And I support background checks for people who buy guns at gun shows.

However, I come from a rural state where people hunt. We have the lowest homicide rate in America. So my attitude is, let's have those federal laws. Let's enforce every single one of them. And then let's every state make additional gun control, as they see fit.

New Jersey and California are going to want a lot more gun control. Let them have it. We need a base of federal laws that make sense. And then we need to make additional laws, as states think they need it. And I think that makes a lot of sense for every state in the country.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: We've just got another question here.

QUESTION: My question is for Senator Edwards. You mentioned that job creation is one of the things you would do to help out our generation. Can you give some more specifics about that, how you'd go about that process?

EDWARDS: Sure, I'll be glad to.

First of all, the unemployment rate among those in the 18-to-24 age group is almost the highest it's been over the last decade.

And you all are facing that, every single day, when you get out of college, looking for a job. Here are the things that I would do to create jobs in this country.

First, I would identify those places in America where we need to bring jobs, particularly to urban areas, poor, rural areas. And in those communities, I would say if you've got a new business and you're willing to start there and create not just jobs, but good jobs with decent benefits, the kind of living conditions, the kind of wages that people can actually live on, we'll help you. We'll have a national venture capital fund that will help give you the seed money to do that.

The second thing we'll do is say if you have an existing business or industry, and you're willing to locate in one of these areas where we desperately need jobs, we will help you do that.

Third, we're going to change the tax system in America so that what George Bush is doing now, which is putting the burden on the middle class and on working families, the engine of this economy, that instead of putting a burden on those folks, we're actually going to help them, help them buy a house, help them invest, help them to save, create wealth for the people who need wealth.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Congressman Kucinich?

KUCINICH: Imagine what it's like for young people who are working very hard to complete a college education and then find out—you get the diploma, there's no jobs. Under my administration, I intend to take the following steps to get this American economy moving.

Number one, cancel the Bush tax cuts that went to the people in the top brackets.

(APPLAUSE)

Number two, get the United States out of Iraq. We have to stop these misadventures around the world. We have to work with the world community. And that will save us hundreds of billions of dollars.

(APPLAUSE)

Number three, cut the Pentagon budget by 15 percent and put that money into universal pre-kindergarten.

(APPLAUSE)

Number four, take the money from the Bush tax cuts that went to the top bracket and put it into a fund to create universal college education, tuition free, for all those young people who go to public colleges and universities all across this country. We can afford it. What's our priority?

(APPLAUSE)

Number five, get the National Aeronautics and Space Administration involved in developing new energy technologies, new environmental technologies. Create a whole new America, a new economy and jobs for all, a full employment economy.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: We're going to take a quick break. We'll get to you when we come back.

We'll be right back with more questions in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: All right. Welcome back to "America Rocks the Vote", only have a couple minutes left before our final round of questions.

On behalf of CNN, I want to thank our partners in this forum, specifically Jehmu Greene, the president of Rock the Vote, for helping us out this evening. She is over there.

(APPLAUSE)

We also had problems, video problems, with two of the videos that we showed, so we're going to just reroll them and show them.

Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards' video—we're going to begin with Senator Kerry's video. Let's show it.

(VIDEOTAPED PRESENTATION)

COOPER: And the next one, obviously, is Senator Kerry.

(VIDEOTAPED PRESENTATION)

COOPER: All right, Senator Lieberman, last week, 7.2 percent GDP growth. Honestly, the moment you heard that, did you think great news or did you think, "Oh,oh?"

(LAUGHTER)

LIEBERMAN: Well, I thought good news, encouraging news. But not enough to say that it's a recovery.

The economists may think it looks like the beginning of a recovery, but until middle class Americans and those working hard to get into the middle class get their jobs back, the 3.5 million that they lost under George Bush; until they begin to be able to afford their health insurance or get it back -- 2 million lost their health insurance under George Bush; until they have some sense of ability to send their kids to college and you can go to college without coming out with an enormous burden of debt on your back, then we don't have an economic recovery.

I want to just go back. Two questions come together. One of the most outrageous bait-and-switch flim-flams in American politics is when the Republicans say, "Don't vote for the Democrats. If they get in, they'll take your guns away."

But then what happens when the Republicans get in, they take your job away. They take your health care away. They take your student loans away.

(APPLAUSE)

So we need a Democrat in the White House who will not only not take away the guns of law-abiding American citizens, but will give them back their jobs, their health care, their retirement security and help their kids go to college.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Reverend Sharpton, there are those who say jobs are just a lagging economic indicator, that they're going to come around.

SHARPTON: It's like somebody that is in a hospital. And surgeons compare notes on how great they were and how effective they were. But the patient died.

(LAUGHTER)

You can't talk about recovery without talking to those who needed to be recovered.

(APPLAUSE)

The people that are unemployed, the people that have an insecure place in the economy, have not recovered at all.

And I think that we must create jobs. I've called for a five- year, $50 billion a year infrastructure redevelopment plan, public works to create jobs so that we can put America back to work.

(APPLAUSE)

I said before, I come out of the King movement, we believed in dreams. Mr. Bush believes in hallucinations.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

He thinks that to announce a recovery gives a recovery. We need to go from the hallucination to the reality, and put America back to work and protect workers that are working so that they can organize, have unions and build stable families.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: All right, we are getting a lot of e-mail pouring in. Probably a predictable question just got asked. It is an e-mail from a viewer: "Which of you are ready to admit to having used marijuana in the past?"

And they want us to go around and ask each of you.

Governor Dean?

DEAN: We'll all keep our hands down on this one.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: John—Senator Kerry? Yes or no?

KERRY: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Congressman Kucinich, yes or no?

(APPLAUSE)

KUCINICH: No, but I think it ought to be decriminalized.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Reverend Sharpton?

SHARPTON: I grew up in the church. We didn't believe in that.

COOPER: OK. Senator Edwards?

EDWARDS: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Senator Lieberman?

(APPLAUSE)

LIEBERMAN: Well, you know, I have a reputation for giving unpopular answers in Democratic debates. I never used marijuana, sorry.

COOPER: General Clark?

CLARK: Never used it.

COOPER: Ambassador Braun?

MOSELEY BRAUN: I'm not going to answer.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: And Governor Dean?

DEAN: Yes.

COOPER: Yes, all right.

(APPLAUSE)

A question over here.

QUESTION: Going along with this less serious note, but still this is a question of a lot of importance to me, I think.

You guys seem to get to know each other fairly well. I'd be curious to find out, if you could pick one of your fellow candidates to party with, which you would choose. But keeping in mind, partying isn't just, you know, who do you think can shake their groove thing.

(LAUGHTER)

I mean, we're talking, who's going to be loyal to you? Who is going to stand by your side? If you get sick, who's going to hold your hair back?

(LAUGHTER)

Second of all...

(APPLAUSE)

There's more. There's more to it. Who's going to be a team player, you know, if you—imagine if you were single again. If you see a cutie across the room...

(LAUGHTER)

...who's going to be your wing man? Who's going to take one for the team?

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: I think that question probably goes to everyone.

Who would you like to party with of this group?

KUCINICH: Well, first of all, this sounds like a run-up to a version of Survivor. This one could be really interesting.

My brother.

(CROSSTALK)

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Senator Lieberman?

LIEBERMAN: I hope my wife understands this. I'd like to party with the young lady who asked that question.

(LAUGHTER)

You're good.

COOPER: Reverend Sharpton?

SHARPTON: I hope mine understands it. Probably the best person I've met to campaign, to party with—Mrs. Kerry. I'm sorry.

(APPLAUSE)

KERRY: I was going to choose Carol Moseley Braun, but now I'm going to have to choose you so I can keep an eye on my wife.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: We have 30 seconds left. I just want to thank all the candidates for coming out tonight, very much appreciate it.

And I want to thank the crowd. You did a great job.

(APPLAUSE)

I'm Anderson Cooper for CNN and "America Rocks the Vote."

Thanks for watching. I'll see you tomorrow night, 7 p.m.

Content and programming Copyright 2003 Cable News Network Transcribed under license by FDCH e-Media, Inc.

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