KOPPEL: Thank you, Senator.
Senator Kerry, at the risk of exposing myself to yet another lecture-not from you, from Congressman Kucinich and the others down here...
... what is it that Governor Dean has done right? Whether or not people want to acknowledge it, he does have more money than anybody else in this campaign; he is doing better in the polls than any of the rest of you. He's got to be doing something right. Is there anything to be learned from his campaign?
KERRY: Well, Ted, I'll tell you, there's something to be learned from your question. And if I were an impolite person, I'd tell you where you could take your polls.
You know, this has got to stop.
KERRY: There's a couple in Salem called Lisa and Randy Denuccio. They live next to a lake. They can't drink the water. They can't-kids can't make the lemonade now. They don't take showers with the water. They have to buy bottled water.
MTBE is the culprit. One-sixth of the water bodies in New Hampshire are polluted by MTBE or other pollution.
This administration is trying to prevent accountability for MTBE -- $50 billion worth of add-ons in oil and gas subsidies in the energy bill, $139 billion of return-on-investment for $139 million of lobbying money in Washington.
Those are the things that the American people care about.
And I love John Edwards, but I'll tell you I've been spending a lifetime fighting against those special interests. I'm the only person in the United States Senate elected four times without ever taking a dime of PAC money.
And I have additionally...
And I led the fight to stop Newt Gingrich from undoing the Clean Air and Clean Water Act.
KERRY: And I led the fight to stop...
KOPPEL: ... we'll have more time.
KERRY: ... the drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge.
KOPPEL: We will come back...
KERRY: Those are the fights that matter, Ted.
KOPPEL: Yes, sir.
SPRADLING: Governor Dean, I'll start with you. You can beat me up some more if you'd like.
SPRADLING: Under what circumstances is it OK for a president or someone speaking on his or her behalf to lie to the American public?
DEAN: Under what circumstances?
SPRADLING: Under what circumstances?
DEAN: I can't think of any circumstances, with the possible exception of some sort of national-security matter that would-if some piece of information were put out that would endanger American lives or some circumstance under which peoples' lives would be in danger or something of that sort.
SPRADLING: Governor, thank you.
Congressman Gephardt, one of the issues that consistently gets, I think, applause lines in the crowds to which all of you speak is the talk of trying to work to end unfunded mandates in Washington.
But for a number of years, the special-education unfunded mandate has hung over the head at least of the people of New Hampshire and certainly of other states.
You've been in Congress for years. You haven't been able to get it done. What credibility do you have on that issue here tonight?
And secondly, can you give us a time and date, specific time, when you'll end that unfunded mandate?
GEPHARDT: We need a whole new approach to education. This administration has led us down the wrong path.
One of the things I say is if we're going to fix Leave No Child Behind, we have to leave George Bush behind. That's the only way it's going to get done.
GEPHARDT: We need a whole new approach. We've got to fund the unfunded mandate of special education. That has particular application here in New Hampshire. It's a real problem all across the country. I will do that.
Why haven't we been able to do it? Because we've had to deal with Republicans who don't want to fund unfunded mandates.
We need a program to really deal with the problems families have today. We've got to have more preschool and more Head Start, more afterschool programs. We've got to have smaller classroom size. We've got to help the local districts build and expand school buildings.
And I've got another idea I call Teacher Corps. I'll say to young students if you'll train to be a teacher, teach where we need you for five years, I'd have the federal government pay your college loans. If it's good enough for the Army, it's good enough for teachers.
We need good teachers in front of all our kids.
SPRADLING: General Clark, there is an ad that's been airing here in New Hampshire featuring former U.S. Senator-New Hampshire Senator Warren Rudman. He talks about the fear that he has, the sense of urgency he's trying to create about the Russian nuclear weapons that are sitting, that he fears may fall into the hands of terrorists.
He wants all of the candidates to be talking about what they're going to do about it.
SPRADLING: My question to you is, how big a problem is this? Is this a post 9/11 priority? And how do you feel about Congress not funding the act that was designed to buy and decommission those weapons?
CLARK: This is a significant national security problem. We've been talking about loose nukes in this country for more than a decade. And Senator Nunn and Senator Lugar put together a bill, funded at a billion dollars or so a year, to work this problem.
But we've still got over 20,000 Russian tactical nuclear weapons, including some suitcase nukes, they call them, suitcase A bombs that were atomic demolition munitions that are, we think, inadequately guarded. We don't know where they are; the Russians say they do.
I think we need to be putting a real sense of urgency on this. We need to fund these programs. We need to be working with the Russians on a priority basis to deal with this issue.
It is a national security problem.
And let me just add one thing: You can get a whole lot more security for the United States of America in nonproliferation out of a billion dollars spent on this program than by putting another billion dollars into Iraq.
SPRADLING: General, thank you.
Senator Lieberman, I looked up the numbers from the New Hampshire general election. Gore-Lieberman got over 266,000 votes.
LIEBERMAN: I'm very aware of these numbers.
SPRADLING: OK. Your name was affixed to all those votes.
SPRADLING: Right now it seems like you're struggling here in New Hampshire.
SPRADLING: What is going to change, starting tonight, for you to put it back on track to win New Hampshire?
LIEBERMAN: Well, I feel very good about what's happened in New Hampshire over the last couple of weeks. The numbers in the polls have picked up. But the guy leading the polls is a guy named-or a woman named "Undecided."
And the people of New Hampshire are classically independent minded. So I'm reaching out to them. We just got great endorsements from a bunch of independents who supported John McCain in 2000. They said they're going to continue their battle against George Bush for Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary this year.
And I'm reaching out. This Saturday night, if I may give a plug, on WMUR at 7 p.m., an ABC affiliate here in New Hampshire....
... I will have a televised town meeting. I'm carrying my message of hope, specific plans for cutting the taxes of 98 percent of the income taxpayers, of giving paid leave to families that want to care for one another, of creating 10 million new jobs, of protecting the environment and wrap it all up in this package.
I'm going to do what's right for the American people in this beloved country of ours, whether it's politically popular or not. I've had one message all along. I don't change it from group to group or time to time. And that's going to be required to defeat a president who has broken his promises, deceived the American people, time and time again, yielded to special interests and ideological extremists.
LIEBERMAN: I'm going to work to unite our country, our party, and then make our future as safe and good as we all want it to be.
KOPPEL: We've actually made it through the first half of this debate and we are now moving into a more unstructured part of the debate, during which, Senator Kerry, you can feel free to tell me precisely where to put those questions if you don't like them.
Let's begin with this one about Iraq. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz issued a memorandum today at the Defense Department saying that no country that is not a member of the coalition, that has not been active in Iraq, is going to be permitted to have any contracts in Iraq for the rebuilding of that country. What do you think about that?
KERRY: I can't think of anything dumber or more insulting or more inviting to the disdain and potential failure-disdain of countries and potential failure of our policy.
This policy is not about Halliburton. It's about Iraq. It's about the Iraqi people. It's about America's role in the war on terror.
And what this administration is doing is actually putting America at greater risk, putting our soldiers at greater risk, and making the chances of success more remote.
KERRY: The only way to be successful ultimately is to transfer to the United Nations the full measure of authority for the reconstruction of Iraq, and for the governance transformation of Iraq.
And by doing that, we will undo the sense of American occupation and take the target off of American troops. This administration is inviting failure.
And if I can just say very quickly, the ad they're running in New Hampshire, right now today, denigrating Democrats for asking questions, is an insult to the politics and democracy of our country. And George Bush ought to be ashamed of the campaign that he's already running.
KOPPEL: When you talk about turning to the United Nations to run the reconstruction of Iraq, who do you envision having the responsibility for the safety and security of those U.N. personnel?
KERRY: The security component in the proposal that I've put forward several times now, and most recently at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York several days ago, envisions the United States being responsible for the security component, but with other nations.
KERRY: The problem is you can't begin to get the other nations participating until you share the outcome risks and responsibilities.
As long as we're stiff-arming the world, the way this administration has on three separations-when we first took the vote, when the statue fell in Iraq, and finally when George Bush went to the United Nations-on each occasion, he has pushed the U.N. and the world away from us.
We deserve leadership that knows how to build real alliances, that respects multilateralism and that understands that our troops today are at greater risk because of the arrogance and ineptness and recklessness and ideological rigidity of this administration.
I will change that. And I will go back to the United Nations and invite the world to respect the influence and power of the United States again.
KOPPEL: Governor Dean, you no doubt...
... you no doubt heard or heard about Senator Clinton's views that we will, in all probability, have to keep if not the same number, possibly even a greater number of U.S. troops in Iraq for some extended time to come.
Do you share that view?
DEAN: I don't share that view. I think we need to bring in foreign troops. I think Senator Kerry is right.
First of all, here's what has to happen. What the United States did was appoint an governing council for Vermont-for Vermont, for Iraq.
That was-they'd like to appoint one for Vermont these days, I'm sure.
You cannot expect the Iraqis to think that they have their own government if we're appointing their people. We need an election.
Oddly enough, one of the mullahs over there who is a conservative Shiite is right. If you don't have an election, then the Iraqis themselves are going to have no investment in their reconstruction.
KOPPEL: And if you do have an election, then the Shiites hold a significant majority.
DEAN: They may, but it doesn't-the Shiites are not necessarily uniform. Those people-actually, the model is Afghanistan.
Our military did a great job in Afghanistan. And I supported the war in Afghanistan because 3,000 of our people had been killed, and I thought we had a right to defend ourselves.
But the fact is, since the military did a great job, this president has made a mess of it. He's trying to turn Afghanistan into a democratic country by signing over four-fifths of the country to the warlords.
However, the thing we ought to take out of Afghanistan is their model for how they're writing their constitution. They had an elected group of people who came to meet in Kabul for quite some time. They wrote a constitution which is an Afghan version of democracy. That can work in Iraq, and that's the first prerequisite.
KOPPEL: You're talking about doing a constitution before you have an election?
DEAN: No, we're talking about doing the election first in order to have the people who write the constitution who are not seen by the Iraqi people as stooges of the Americans.
DEAN: That's the only way to get the Iraqis to buy into their own constitution.
Then we need to go to all those countries that the president insulted on his way into Iraq and get them to rethink their policy towards helping us under the auspices of both the United Nations and ourselves.
That means a new president. This president is never going to repair the damage he did to the moral leadership of this country, because he's incapable of it. He personalizes policy difference, and that is a fatal mistake when you're running anything, whether it's a business or a state or a country.
If we do that, we will be able to do what the president's father successfully did, which is bring 100,000 foreign troops into Iraq, preferably from Arabic-speaking and Muslim nations, to internationalize the reconstruction of Iraq.
Now, the reason I agree with Senator Clinton is this. We will be able to withdraw our Guard and Reserves-who have no business being over there for a 12-month tour of duty-we will be able to withdraw at least one of the two divisions. But we will not be able to withdraw an American presence.
The tragedy of what we did in Iraq, which I have opposed right from the beginning, is that now we're stuck there, because
there was no serious threat to the United States from Saddam Hussein, but there is a threat from an Iraq with Al Qaida in it or with a fundamentalist Shiite regime which is closely allied with the Iranians.
President Bush said a few weeks ago on a Sunday night that Iraq was at the crossroads of the battle against terrorism.
DEAN: That wasn't true before we went in, but he has made it so and he has endangered the security of the United States of America by going into Iraq and that was a mistake.
KOPPEL: And having said that...
KOPPEL: ... I just want to make sure I understand you correctly and then...
KOPPEL: Just one second.
KOPPEL: I just want to make sure that I understand Governor Dean correctly. In other words, you're saying, given where we are today, a continuing presence of some number of U.S. troops is going to be essential over a period of, what, years?
DEAN: Over a period of a few years, until the Iraqis really are able to have a democracy which is strong enough not to allow Al Qaida to emerge and has a constitution that's widely enough respected so they will not have a fundamentalist Shiite regime.
KUCINICH: Well, I'd like to take issue with something that's been said here. You know, the war's not over. The war is not over. We have 130,000 troops there. And the occupation equals a war.
Now, my plan, which I mentioned earlier, which is on a Web site at kucinich.us, and I'd like everyone to look at it, calls for the end of the occupation, for the United States to get out.
Now, the U.N. will not cooperate unless the U.S. takes a change of direction. And here's the change of direction: The Bush administration must let go of its aspirations to control the oil in Iraq.
They must hand over to the U.N. the handling of the oil, on a transitional basis, so the U.N. can handle it for the Iraqi people until the Iraqi people can be self-governing.
KUCINICH: The U.S. must hand over to the U.N. the contracting process. No more Halliburton sweetheart deals, no more war- profiteering, no more bids going to people who have contributed to the administration.
The United States must let go of the plan to privatize the Iraq economy, because, frankly, that's a violation of both the Hague and Geneva conventions, and that's another sticking point.
We have to turn over to the U.N. the cause of governance and helping to write a constitution.
You know, you can't say, as Dr. Dean has, that you're against the war but you're for the occupation.
Because by keeping our troops in Iraq for years, you're essentially keeping the war going.
The New York Times had the article yesterday, Ted, and, you know, maybe you saw it, how there is tough new tactics by the U.S. to tighten the grip on Iraqi towns. I mean, the tactics that this administration is having our men and women use are intensifying the war. There's going to be greater casualties.
Now, the plan that I just talked about, in addition to having the U.S. provide for rebuilding what we blew up, providing reparations to the innocent Iraqis who were killed, providing an opportunity for-we have to provide some money so that we can bring U.N. troops in.
KUCINICH: But, Ted, unless we get the U.S. troops out of there totally, we're never going to see a situation where that war is going to be over. We're going to continue to be attacked.
And we need to get the U.N. in and get the U.S. out, end that occupation. And this is a centerpiece of my campaign for the presidency of the United States.
KOPPEL: Let me just point out that while we do have significantly more flexibility in this part of the format, I'd like you to keep your answers a little shorter, just so that we can get around to everyone.
Reverend Sharpton, you wanted to speak.
SHARPTON: I think that it is very important that we not play word games with the American public. I was the first one in the debates-Mr. Kucinich and Ms. Braun was not in yet-to unequivocally oppose this war.
Now, we're saying that some of us are for occupation but against the war, like if there is a difference. Occupation is a continuation of the war, it's a continuation of operating on a unilateral strategy...
... by this administration.
As raised by your question when you say that they're saying now that unless you help us, or unless you engage with us, you can't engage in contracts. That is, again, purporting the same unilateral intervention that began this war, is the philosophy of this war, in the beginning.
We must unequivocally say-we must go to Kofi Annan and the U.N. and say, "This body or some body must take over the restructuring and redevelopment of Iraq; we will participate as partners," and withdraw.
SHARPTON: Americans are dying around what cause and purpose?
I eulogized a young man in Orangeburg, South Carolina, four weeks ago. Young, 23-year-old man died 11 days before his birthday at war in Iraq. For what purpose? For Halliburton contracts? For us to continue to say that we need to control it all, and if the world doesn't come in behind us, then there's something wrong with them?
I think that we cannot fight George Bush by saying, "We support his occupation, but we think he shouldn't have gone in there in the first place." If he shouldn't have gone in the first place...
... how can you support him staying in there? That's like calling the cops, saying there's been a breaking and entry, but the people that broke in can stay in the house. There's something wrong with that.
LIEBERMAN: First, I want to ask Reverend Sharpton, in those daily conversations with God, would you please mention my name, Al?
SHARPTON: I have. And I'll tell you, in private, his response.
I ask for equal time.
Ted, I supported the war against Saddam Hussein.
LIEBERMAN: And I didn't need George Bush to convince me of that. I decided a long time ago-John McCain and I, Bob Kerrey and I-this man is a homicidal dictator, killed hundreds of thousands of his people...
... invaded two of his neighbors, used chemical weapons, supported terrorism and suppressed the rights of his people. He was a danger to us, a ticking time bomb. I'm glad that he is gone.
But I didn't support this war for the occupation of Iraq, I supported it for the liberation of Iraq.
And that is the error that the Bush administration has made.
I'm glad to hear Howard Dean confirm, because I've seen such confusing statements by him before, that he agrees we can't pull out of Iraq now. We've got to win this, because if this axis of evil, the Saddam loyalists and the terrorists working with them win this one, Iraq will be chaotic, the region will be chaotic, the terrorists will be emboldened. We could turn this around, and when we do, we will provide stability, a modernizing quasi-democratic or democratic Iraq, stability in the region, and a defeat for the terrorists so they won't strike at us again.
George Bush has lost the moral authority to lead an international coalition against terrorism because of his one-sided, unilateral, arrogant foreign policy. I am ready to be the president who will lead an international coalition to adopt an international Marshall Plan for the Muslim world.
LIEBERMAN: We are going to win the war against terrorism only in the first instance by capturing and killing every terrorist we can find.
In the longer term, we're going to win it by winning the larger war for the hearts and minds of people in the Islamic world, giving them an opportunity, helping them to live in freedom.
George Bush cannot do that. I can and I will.
KOPPEL: General Clark, some of the speakers we've heard up until now make it seem, first of all, relatively easy that we can get the kind of international help that would permit us to take U.S. troops out of Iraq. But secondly, there is a certain innocence in the references to oil from that region as though we can simply say we don't need it.
Now, if Saudi Arabia is no longer a reliable ally; Iran clearly is not a reliable ally; if Iraq is allowed to descend into some kind of chaos, just whom do we have out there in the Persian Gulf who is going to supply the oil to the United States, to Japan and to Western Europe?
CLARK: Well, Ted, I think the real issue up here is, put the emotion aside, we disagree-I disagree with some of the people on this stage about going into Iraq.
CLARK: I think it was a strategic blunder for the United States to do it. But we are there. An early exit means either retreat or defeat. Neither one is acceptable.
The United Nations is not able and willing to pick up this mission politically and nobody can provide security for the Iraqi people as they develop their own internal defenses, except a force under U.S. leadership.
Now, those are just the facts.
So we need to create an international organization. Take Paul Bremer, let him come back and consult for Henry Kissinger again. We need to get rid of the American occupation, put an international organization in place, put the United States forces reporting through NATO, take our force structure, make it lighter, lethal, more mobile, intelligence driven, and work to turn this problem back to the Iraqis.
Now, we have to have an end state that we're working for. This administration has not yet defined what our real purpose is in Iraq. There's no end state. What is it? Is it to create a model of American democracy? Is it to create anything other than a theocracy? We don't know.
I think we need an Iraq that stays together. I think we need something like some kind of a representative government.
CLARK: We need an Iraq that's strong enough to protect itself from Al Qaida, but not so strong that it threatens its neighbors.
CLARK: And if we work toward those objectives, I think we can quickly change the force structure, bring international support in, and make it happen.
I'm the only one who's ever done this. I worked it for Haiti. I worked it for Bosnia. And I worked it for Kosovo. So I know a little bit about how to do this.
It can be done. We can be successful if we're not too grandiose in our schemes.
KOPPEL: You indicated...
CLARK: And by doing this, Ted, we'll still have access to buy oil on the international market.
I'm one of those people who doesn't believe in occupying countries to extract their natural resources. I think you buy them on the world market.
KOPPEL: Congressman, why don't you pick up, and then I'll pass over to Scott again.
GEPHARDT: Terrorism, I think, presents to us and the world an adversary, a foe, that is dangerous and the likes of which we've never seen. We've got to remember 3,000 Americans were slaughtered in New York City when those buildings came down.
We had, at that moment, an opportunity to put together a world alliance, to not just deal with the symptoms of terrorism, which we haven't done as effectively as we should, but also to lead the whole world to address the root causes of terrorism.
GEPHARDT: If we just find the terrorists and do away with them, but there are waves of young terrorists coming at us and the whole world, we will not ever solve this problem.
So we needed a president, which we didn't have, who will put together the world to fight this.
I said to President Bush in the Oval Office a number of times early last year that he had to get the U.N., he had to get NATO, he had to start the inspections, he had to weld together an alliance to do whatever needed to be done.
He failed at that. We're now seven months into the event, or eight months, and he still hasn't gotten it done.
And in the meantime, we are not coming up with a long-term energy policy that will lessen our dependence on these shaky countries in the Middle East. We're not working with the world to get a trading alliance and to have trade policies that will get standards up in these other countries so that people can feel there is hope in their lives. We're not doing anything to bring better governance in places where there are brutal dictators.
So this is a magic moment. This is our moment for America, as we did in World War II and as we did in World War I and Korea and so many other horrible conflicts, to lead the world.
What's missing is a leader, a president. This president is not doing it. He is not pulling the world together.
GEPHARDT: I've said many times, you know, if you-in your grade school, you've got your history grade and your math grade, and then it said, "plays well with others."
He didn't do well in that.
I'm very serious.
I get asked all the time, "How could you get people in the world together when he couldn't?" It's really simple. You've got to listen to people. You have to respect people. You have to talk to people. And you have to pull an agreement together to do something that's very important to this world.
That's what I'll do.
SPRADLING: Before-I'll stay on this topic, but just before we move to a couple of domestic issues, I'm looking for a show of hands on this question. There's a lot of talk about objectives, but there's no real specific talk about time frame.
Obviously the opinions vary about what needs to be done. But with a show of hands-and I'll run around real quick-does anyone have a time frame for when the U.S. troops can be pulled out, whether it's ending the war, getting them out now or whether it's the transformation plan where you're having to move the international troops in?
Can anyone give us a time, date specific on when that can happen?
SPRADLING: Congressman Kucinich?
KUCINICH: The resolution that I talked about, going to the U.N. with a totally different approach-from the time the U.N. approves that, 90 days later we can bring our troops home, rotate the U.N. troops in and bring our troops home.
We are not stuck there, Dr. Dean. The only difference between a rut and a grave is in the dimensions. We are not stuck there.
SPRADLING: Senator Lieberman?
LIEBERMAN: Scott, it's a fair question, but we've learned from history, you cannot set a time line in this kind of situation. You've got to set a goal line.
Because if you set a time line by which you're going to exit, your enemy will lay back and then strike when you leave. The goal is to stabilize Iraq. When that happens, we can leave.
SPRADLING: General Clark?
CLARK: Everybody wants a time line, but you can't get a time line because, in Iraq, it's not a one-sided mechanical problem. It's about the human dimension. It's about persuading people to work together. And it's about the region, because Iraq is part of a region.
And so, with this administration in office, we could be in Iraq for the next 50 years. They can't fix the region because they don't have a diplomacy that will bring people together and work with them.
CLARK: With a new administration, with the right leadership, we can reduce that time dramatically, but we still-we can put an Iraqi government in charge in the next week or two, if we use indirect democracy, while we're waiting for the plebiscite.
But we cannot rush the stand-up of an Iraqi security force and pull our people out prematurely. That may take a year, it may take two years. But what's important is we set the right diplomatic overtones in the region. This administration can't do it. We need new leadership in Washington. That's why I'm running.
SPRADLING: General, thank you.
EDWARDS: Well, first of all, I agree with a lot of what's been said about our responsibility to internationalize this effort to get the U.N. involved in the transition period, to make sure that the security force is, in fact, an international security force, and, when that's done, to create a meaningful time line for putting the Iraqi people in charge of their own governance.
But I want to say something about a subject that Dick Gephardt brought up just a few minutes ago. The whole issue of the war on terrorism and what needs to be done to keep the American people safe, see, this president is claiming he's taking the steps necessary to keep America safe. In fact, he's not. A lot of the criticisms about his foreign policy have already been voiced.
EDWARDS: I embrace those. I think they're right.
It is impossible-I was involved in investigating September 11th, why it happened, how we keep it from happening again. The
reality is we will never stamp out these terrorist groups and terrorist cells that exist all over the world, in countries all over the world, unless we have a positive working relationship with those countries.
But in addition to that, there is so much that needs to be done here to keep the American people safe that's not being done. We have nuclear plants, chemical plants all over this country that are extraordinarily vulnerable. The president is not doing the things that need to be done.
This is just another example of special interests. The administration recognized there were over 100 chemical plants in America, any one of which if they were attacked could cost a million or more lives. So they wanted to do something about it. We were urging something be done. The chemical industry pushed back and as a result nothing was done. The chemical industry lobbyists pushed back.
The same thing's true with trying to protect our ports. Right here in New Hampshire that danger exists. There are thousands and thousands of containers coming through our ports every single day. And we look at 3, 4, 5 percent of them on a good day.
EDWARDS: The reason is we don't have the people and we don't have the technology to do the job.
And I also want to say something about-that's all defense. The question is, what are we going to do offensively about the terrorist cells that everyone on this stage knows exist all over America today, tonight, right now? I'm not talking about something that might happen. It's happening right now.
If we don't aggressively go after those cells, which in my judgment means taking that responsibility away from the FBI, giving it-because we know that they're structurally incapable of doing it because of what we've seen happen in the past, the failures that existed before September 11th. They're a law enforcement agency. They're not in the business of fighting terrorism, and we've seen the problems that exist as a result.
And what we need to do is we need to go after these terrorist cells and have human penetration of them.
So if we want to take the steps that actually need to be taken to keep the American people safe, the steps that are not being taken by this president, we need a president who understands what needs to be done and has a clear plan for doing it.
SPRADLING: All right.
MOSELEY BRAUN: Thank you very much.
You know, I'm reminded-to break the tension a little bit, I'm reminded of an argument my parents had when I was a little girl. The toilet broke, and there was water spewing out. And my mother sent my father off to the hardware store, and he came back with a brand-new lawn mower.
MOSELEY BRAUN: That is the relationship of the fight against terrorism and what has taken us into Iraq.
The fact of the matter is, the issue, the goal here is the security of the American people, which means we should have had a real war on terrorism that went after terrorist cells, that dealt with first responders, that funded local efforts to provide protection for the American people before running off hell-bent for leather halfway around the world. That's my first point.
The second point, however-and I think this is important, and particularly here in New Hampshire that, you know, starts the whole process off-and that is, remember the Constitution of the United States, ladies and gentlemen.
Article I, Section 8 says that it is the Congress' job to make decisions about when we go to war. And the practice of just passing resolutions saying the president...
... can make these decisions unilaterally has got to stop.
It puts us on a slippery slope toward arbitrary, unilateral, preemptive war, shooting first and making decisions that have no relation to protecting the domestic security of the American people.
Having said that, Saddam Hussein was a bad guy...
KOPPEL: Can I just jump in?
MOSELEY BRAUN: ... but he was not bin Laden.
KOPPEL: I've heard you say that several times before, Ambassador Braun. Do you remember the last time that Congress made a declaration of...
MOSELEY BRAUN: Second World War.
MOSELEY BRAUN: That's correct.
MOSELEY BRAUN: Korea was an action; Vietnam was an action. Now, putting Korea aside...
KOPPEL: Right. Somalia was an action, Bosnia was an action.
MOSELEY BRAUN: Was an action, and that...
KOPPEL: Iraq was an action. We haven't had one in 60 years.
MOSELEY BRAUN: And I make the point that the Constitution had that language for a reason. And the reason was that if elected representatives had to be accountable to their constituents for sending their sons and daughters off to face an enemy combatant, then they would think more carefully and be more judgmental about the decision to do that.
KOPPEL: So, let me see-let me see if I...
MOSELEY BRAUN: And the problem here...
KOPPEL: So I can rest assured that President Braun would never go to war without a congressional resolution?
MOSELEY BRAUN: Would not shoot first without doing it, that's correct.
MOSELEY BRAUN: And I think, frankly, the American people should-we owe it to them. That's what our Constitution provides. There's nothing wrong with getting back to some guidance that makes...
KOPPEL: No, no, no, I'm just trying to figure out where everybody is.
Senator Kerry, can I put you on that same list?
MOSELEY BRAUN: Oh, thank you very much, John.
KERRY: ... and I are old pals. You know that.
MOSELEY BRAUN: Thank you.
I just want to make the point, Saddam obviously was a bad guy. Nobody's sorry that he's gone. We should have gotten rid of him. But that should and could have been part of an overall strategy that had an end game, that had some steps to it and some logic to it.
MOSELEY BRAUN: These people just went off and left the American people less secure, provided terrorists with a unifying principle with which we will be held up before the rest of the world community and isolated, and put the American people at risk in addition to the 460- odd children-not children, but young men and women who've already sacrificed their lives.
KERRY: Ted, can I just...
Sometimes a president has to make tough decisions.
Listening to General Clark a moment ago talk about Haiti and Bosnia and Kosovo, I thought he also ought to remind people that President Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Bill Cohen, Bill Perry and Ambassador Holbrooke, as the civilian leaders, played very critical roles in that.
And, in fact, the president of the United States made the decision to deploy troops without the Congress of the United States, because he had to, because politics was being played with the resolution. And he made the right judgment in both cases to deploy troops to protect the interests of our country.
So while I agree in principle with what Carol is saying, sometimes it doesn't happen.
We're missing a larger point here, if I could make it quickly.
This is an extraordinary moment in world history. When you think back to New Hampshire and what happened at Bretton Woods and the capacity to bring people together and change the world, this is a moment to change the world.
KERRY: This president is making worse the potential of a clash of civilization, of a radical state of Islam against the world.
And what we need is leadership that understands how to reach out to the world, not just in the Middle East, where, incidentally, if we're not successful in Iraq, we will make life worse in Pakistan, worse in Saudi Arabia, worse in Egypt where 60 percent of the population is under the age of 30, 50 percent is under the age of 18. They're unemployed, and they're unemployable.
Now, I've recommended that we have a Mideast-greater Mideast initiative, as well as a larger involvement-we can't turn our backs on global warming and dis 160 nations who've worked 10 years.
We can't ignore North Korea for two years and expect to have the respect of other countries.
We can't turn our back on AIDS in Africa. I wrote that legislation three years ago. We're still struggling to get this administration to do what's right.
We need leadership that's prepared to bring the world together. Bring the religious leaders of the world together-the pope, the archbishop, the mullahs, the imams, the clerics, the Dalai Lama-have a global effort to understand the true state of Islam, the true role of religion, the true role of secular society, and move the world to a better place, live up to our responsibilities.
That's what's at stake in this race.
KOPPEL: Governor Dean, you wanted to get into this.
DEAN: I did want to get in this.
You know, I just did something that George Bush's father did, I looked at my watch during the debate. We have about 12 minutes left. We've spent almost all our time on Iraq.
Now, Iraq and national security are important, but it's not what this debate's about.
I was in a car the other day with a woman who was a teacher. She told me she'd taught for 23 years. She made a decent salary. Her husband had lost his job, but he was able to find another one that was for less pay.
They made too much to get any help sending their kid to college, and they couldn't afford their one child's tuition for college. That's what this election is about.
This president has lost 3 million jobs. He has given tax cuts to people who make $1 million a year of $112,000. Sixty percent of us got $325.
What this election is about is taking back this country for ordinary people. And we can argue all we want about Iraq...
... but average people can't send their kids to college. Average people have health-care payments every month that are more than their house payments.
We need to talk about how to move George Bush back to Crawford, Texas, so ordinary people in this country don't have to worry about their jobs going to China; so that we can have a president of the United States who doesn't think that big corporations who get tax cuts ought to be able to move their headquarters to Bermuda and their jobs offshore.
DEAN: So that we do something for small businesses in this country that create 70 percent of the jobs in America and keep their jobs in their community.
What this election is about-yes, national security is important, but I don't think it's an hour and a quarter out of an hour and a half debate.
We need to talk about jobs. We need to talk to about health insurance for every single American. We need to talk about an education system that's different than No Child Left Behind, which has left so many children and so many teachers behind and given huge unfunded mandates to Americans all over this country.
I do not think the president of the United States, for example, ought to be able to run the school systems of New Hampshire and Iowa, for example, from Washington, D.C., and I don't think Tom DeLay ought to be the chief superintendent. Those are things that we need to talk about as well.
KOPPEL: Governor Dean, just for the record, for the first 45 minutes, we didn't even touch on Iraq, so slight exaggeration there. And we only have about 10 minutes left, however, and I would like to ask that each of you, and we're going to try and move around as quickly as we can, keep your comments a little bit briefer.
EDWARDS: Thank you, Ted. I just want to add something. What Governor Dean said about George Bush and what he's doing to keep ordinary people's voices from being heard in Washington is correct, but it leaves out something that's very important.
EDWARDS: It's not just George Bush. It is these powerful lobbies and special interests, which others have mentioned and I have talked about tonight. They've been there for a long time. And whether we're talking about drug companies, insurance companies, whoever we're talking about, they've been there a long time.
But what's happened in the last three years is we have an unholy alliance between the president of the United States, who, in fact, is supposed to stand up to those people and stand up for the American people. And he is completely married to them.
And it shows over and over and over in everything he does. We have energy policy-America's energy policy-being written behind closed doors by Dick Cheney and lobbyists for the energy industry. We have lobbyists for the energy industry helping write our national energy bill?
We have a prescription drug Medicare reform bill that has huge giveaway to HMOs and big drug companies.
These are the president's friends.
I mean, the simple...
KOPPEL: Senator, let me-let me move it around...
EDWARDS: I was going to say one last thing. The simple question for the American people is who's looking out for you? Who
in Washington, D.C., is standing up for you? The American people are absolutely desperate for a president of the United States that will stand up for them and stand up against these powerful interests that are literally taking their democracy away.
KOPPEL: Congressman Gephardt?
GEPHARDT: Something fundamental has happened in our country.
GEPHARDT: The middle class is going away. People are losing jobs that would allow them to educate their children and have health care. People are losing health care every day.
When I'm out in these states talking to people, people come up to me and say, "I've got a kid with diabetes, and I don't have health care. And I don't want to go on welfare. I want a job, but I can't get health care and have a job." That's wrong.
We've got people that can't get the money together to send their kid to college.
I grew up in a poor family. My dad was a truck driver. It was the best job he ever had. We had nothing. He'd sit at a little desk in our house, tried to pay the bills every month. He could never pay them.
I got to go to great universities, because I got church scholarships and loans and government grants. You can't-kids that are poor today can't get enough loans together, and the Pell grants don't cover much of anything.
We have to address the underlying fundamental issue in this country, is that how do we have a middle class? That's what's made this country what it is. And we need new leadership to get that to happen.
KOPPEL: Congressman, we're down to our last five minutes, so General Clark and then Senator Lieberman.
CLARK: I think, Ted, that all of us up here share a common appreciation of what's wrong in America today. It's like Howard said, we've got to get this administration out. We've got to deal with the special interests.
But we've got to do more than that. We've got to take America forward.
Our president today has no vision. He's repeated his father's war, Reagan's tax cuts for the wealthy. Now he wants to repeat John Kennedy's challenge to go to the moon.
CLARK: He thinks America's best days are behind us. I don't. I think they're ahead of us.
We've got a turnaround plan for America: a plan to raise family incomes; get a million more kids into college; save 100,000 lives through cleaning up the environment and putting clean air back in America; get health care for every child in America and make health insurance accessible.
We need pragmatic, forward-looking leadership that can pull America together. I'll get us out of the mess in Iraq. But I'll do more than that, I'll turn around this United States.
KOPPEL: Senator Lieberman?
LIEBERMAN: Thank you, Ted.
I want to respond to what Howard Dean has said. Of course, the primary responsibility of all of us is to make the case against George Bush. And it ain't hard, is it?
I mean, this man has compromised the American dream. He has hurt some of the basic institutions of our domestic life that help people up into the middle class: our education system, public schools and our health care system.
We've got ideas, all of us, about how to make that better. And I'd compare mine with Howard's. I'm the only one on this stage who has proposed a tax cut for the middle class.
LIEBERMAN: Some of my opponents would actually bring about the reduction in bank accounts for middle class, to average family in this state by $2,700 a year.
I'm the first of these candidates to take the Family and Medical Leave Act, a great proposal by President Clinton, and propose paid leave for up to four weeks at 50 percent pay for a worker who wants to go home and take care of a sick relative.
But we will not win this election and we will not deserve to unless we not only have plans for getting our economy going, fixing our health care crisis, improving our public schools, guaranteeing and protecting Social Security and Medicare, including drug benefits, we have to present a candidate who can guarantee the American people that we will do a better job than George Bush at keeping them secure.
Remember what the Constitution says: We have to provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and ensure domestic tranquility. I'm the candidate...
KOPPEL: We're down...
LIEBERMAN: ... who will do all of those for the American people.
KOPPEL: We're down to our last, what is it, minute?
KUCINICH: I'll be brief. First of all, thank you Ted Koppel and ABC News.
I would suggest that Iraq is actually what this debate is about. And if you don't make the connection between the $155 billion we've spent in less than a year, the $400 billion in the bloated Pentagon budget and the fear that's driving this nation into greater and greater involvement in Iraq, if you don't make that connection, then you're never going to understand why we don't have money for health care and housing and education.
KUCINICH: If you don't make that connection, then you're never going to understand why we don't have money for health care and housing and education.
Our entire domestic agenda is at risk because of our occupation of Iraq. That's why I suggest it is urgent to put this on the agenda, to end the occupation, to get the U.N. in and the U.S. out.
We want this country to be safe. We want this country to be secure. Our presence there is leading to greater instability.
My administration, my election will be about the end of fear and the beginning of hope in America.
KOPPEL: I lied. I lied. We had two minutes, which means we only have one.
Take us out, Ambassador, and just give me 10 seconds to say goodnight.
MOSELEY BRAUN: I want to take the "Men Only" sign off the White House door and do things differently and provide for the domestic security of the American people, so that we can have a future of hope, an economy that works for everybody, an environment that we're proud, and a legacy we're proud to leave to our children.
KOPPEL: I thank you all.
I'd like to extend my thanks to my colleague Scott up here.
And to all of you, if I may make the observation, what you need every once in a while is someone up here who ticks you off a little bit. You're much better when you're angry.
LIEBERMAN: You've succeeded, Ted.
KOPPEL: Why, thank you.
SHARPTON: And, Ted, we appreciate you. And even though you're lower in the polls, you don't have the ratings of "Saturday Night Live," I showed up anyway.
KOPPEL: You're right, I don't.
© 2003 E-Media