MR. JENNINGS: Peter, you're next. I get General Clark and Senator Edwards this time. General Clark, a lot of people say they don't know you well, so this is really a simple question about knowing a man by his friends. The other day you had a rally here, and one of the men who stood up to endorse you was the controversial filmmaker Michael Moore. You said you were delighted with him. At one point Mr. Moore said in front of you that President Bush-he was saying he'd like to see a debate between you, the general, and President Bush, who he calls a deserter. Now, that's a reckless charge, not supported by the facts, and I was curious to know why you didn't contradict him, and whether or not you think it was-would have been the better example of ethical behavior to have done so.
MR. CLARK: Well, I think Michael Moore has the right to say whatever he feels about this. I don't know whether this is supported by the facts or not. I've never looked at it. I've seen this charged bandied about a lot. But to me it wasn't material. This election is going to be about the future, Peter. And what we have to do is pull this country together. And I'm delighted to have the support of a man like Michael Moore; a great American leader, like Senator George McGovern; and people from Texas, like Charlie Stenholm; and former Secretary of the Navy John Dalton.
We've got support from across the breadth of the Democratic Party, because I believe this party is united in wanting to change the leadership in Washington. We're going to run an election campaign that is about the future. We're going to hold the president accountable for what he did in office, and failed to do, and we are going to compare who's got the best vision for America.
MR. JENNINGS: Let me ask you something you mentioned then, because since this question and answer in which you and Mr. Moore was involved, you've had a chance to look at the facts. Do you still feel comfortable with the fact that someone should be standing up in your presence and calling the president of the United States a deserter?
MR. CLARK: To be honest with you, I did not look at the facts, Peter. I-you know, that's Michael Moore's opinion. He's entitled to say that. I've seen he's not the only person who said that. I've not followed up on those facts, and frankly it's not relevant to me and why I'm in this campaign.
MR. JENNINGS: Okay, thank you sir. Senator Edwards, President Bush, as you know, is worried-and he said it again in the State of the Union address the other night-that the Defense of Marriage Act is not strong enough, as he says, to protect the institution of marriage. You were not in the Senate in 1996 when it passed overwhelmingly. Senator Kerry was one of only 14 senators who voted against it. I would like to know from you whether or not you think he was right or wrong, and why.
SEN. EDWARDS: I think he was right. I think he was right, because what happened with the Defense of Marriage Act is it took away the power of states, like Vermont, to be able to do what they chose to do about civil unions, about these kinds of marriage issues. These are issues that should be left-Massachusetts, for example, has just made a decision-the Supreme Court at least has made a decision-that embraces the notion of gay marriage. I think these are decisions the states should have the power to make. And the Defense of Marriage Act, as I understand it-you're right, I wasn't there when it was passed-but as I understand it, would have taken away that power. And I think that's wrong-that power should not be taken away from the states.
MR. JENNINGS: Do you believe that other states, for example, should be obliged to honor and recognize the civil union which Governor Dean signed? Should other states be obliged to recognize what happens in another state?
SEN. EDWARDS: I think it's a decision that should be made on a state-by-state basis.
I think each state should be able to make its own decision about what they embrace.
Now, if I could take just a minute, since you've asked me a lot of process questions, can I talk about what I believe --
MR. JENNINGS: That's up to our moderator.
SEN. EDWARDS: -- for just a moment, if you don't mind?
Here's what I believe. I believe it is the responsibility of the president of the United States to move this country forward on this important issue. And there is so much work to be done to treat gays and lesbians and gay and lesbian couples with the respect that they're entitled to.
They deserve, in my judgment, partnership benefits. They deserve to be treated fairly when it comes to adoption and immigration. We should examine, whoever the president of the United States is-I believe it will be me-should examine with our military leadership the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy that resulted in a number of linguists who we desperately needed being dismissed from the military.
MR. HUME: Senator --
SEN. EDWARDS: There are clearly steps that should be taken by the president, in some cases in conjunction with the Congress --
MR. HUME: I just want to follow up with you on the Defense of Marriage Act, which, of course, is the law of the land.
SEN. EDWARDS: Yes.
MR. HUME: Does not the Defense of Marriage Act specifically say that the court rulings in one state, which might, for example, recognize a gay marriage, may not be imposed on another state? In other words, doesn't the Defense of Marriage go to the very position which you yourself take?
SEN. EDWARDS: The Defense of Marriage-first of all, I wasn't in the Congress. I don't claim to be an expert on this. But as I understand the Defense of Marriage Act, it would take away the power of some states to choose whether they would recognize or not recognize gay marriages. That's my understanding of it.
MR. HUME: John, you're next. Tom, I'm sorry. Tom, forgive me. You're next.
MR. GRIFFITH: It's an opportune time to-I've got Governor Dean and Reverend Sharpton. And Governor Dean, I'm going to let you step in on this discussion here if you'd like to.
But my real question for you is-and maybe you can hit this first-we took a recent survey that indicated of everything out there, New Hampshire voters most cite health care as the most important factor that they're looking at when they look at the seven of you and decide who they're going to vote for.
I'll give you an opportunity to talk just a minute about what your plan is and how it's different than everyone else's. Or, if you'd like to step in on this Defense of Marriage Act first, you're --
DR. DEAN: It is a complicated issue. We chose not to do gay marriage. We chose to do civil unions. I think that position actually is very similar to Dick Cheney's, who thinks every state ought to be able to do what they want.
Let me talk about health care. The advantage I have in health care, besides being a doctor, is that I've actually done what a lot of the folks are talking about. We have health insurance for everybody under 18 -- 99 percent; everybody under 150 percent of poverty.
All our working poor people have health insurance. A third of our seniors and disabled people have prescription benefits. We didn't wait till George Bush got his bill passed, which gave $200 billion of our money to the drug companies and insurance companies.
Now, what I want to do for this country is just expand what we did in Vermont. We can do that and balance budgets at the same time. But we can't do that and balance budgets at the same time and promise everybody a middle-class tax cut and fund special education.
We can't play the game President Bush is. In the State of the Union, the president promised another $1 trillion tax cut. Where does he think he's going to get the money on top of the $500 billion deficit? We can do these things, but we can't do them without repealing every dime of the Bush tax cuts. Then we can put in health insurance. Then we can fund special education. Then we can fund No Child Left Behind.
MR. GRIFFITH: Thank you. (Applause.) Reverend Sharpton, two weeks ago in Iowa, in the Black-Brown debate, you questioned Governor Dean's lack of a black cabinet member as governor of Vermont. Here in New Hampshire, we do not have a large amount of minorities either. What would you do to-beyond affirmative action, what would you do to get more minorities in leadership positions within government?
REV. SHARPTON: Well, let me say something about the Defense of Marriage Act. I am unilaterally opposed to any civil or human right being left to states' rights. That is a dangerous precedent. (Scattered applause.)
I think the federal government has the obligation to protect all citizens on a federal level. And if we start going back to states' rights, we're going back to pre-Civil War days. And I think that that in its nature is wrong. (Scattered applause.)
In terms of my concern about minorities being placed in high positions, it must be a goal of inclusiveness. And I think the reason I questioned Governor Dean is he said that's what he wanted to represent.
I think that we must strive toward making sure-government must make sure it is inclusive of everyone and it reflects a nation that is inclusive of everyone, even when there are small populations, because diversity is good for everyone and people need to know that they can work at all levels of government and the private sector and not be limited because of race, because of sex or because of orientation.
That ought to be a goal. You ought to seek it. You ought not act like it's going to just happen automatically or naturally.
MR. HUME: We've got a new round coming. Peter, you start.
MR. JENNINGS: Okay. Actually, I think John starts, right?
MR. HUME: This is round four. Peter, you're up.
MR. JENNINGS: I apologize. I then come, I think, to Governor Dean and to Senator Kerry and to Senator Lieberman again.
At the beginning I asked some of you how you would defend yourselves against the Republican attack on taxes-the Democrats are the party of higher taxes. They're also going to come at you in a big way on so-called social values-not on economic values but on social values. The president made these issues, as you all know, a big part of his State of the Union address the other night.
Governor Dean, let me ask you this. Republicans already characterize you as not sharing mainstream values.
And some Democrats are, I'm sure you know, worried about this. Show Democrats tonight how you would push back.
DR. DEAN: Well, let's talk first about money. The president of the United States can't balance the budget. We've not had one Republican president in 34 years balance the budget. You can't trust right-wing Republicans with your money. You ought to hire somebody who has balanced a budget. I'm much more conservative with money than George Bush is.
Secondly, let's look at issues like guns. That gets me in trouble among my own party, but I come from a very rural state. I probably don't have as pro gun control position as some other folks in the Democratic Party. I believe we ought to have the assault weapons ban renewed. I believe we ought to have background checks, both for purchasing guns and also at gun shows. But after that, I think states ought to make their own laws, because what you need in New York City or what you may want in California is not the same thing that you may want in Montana.
Finally, I challenge this president on values any day. When a president of the United States uses the word "quota" which is a race- coded word designed to appeal to people's fears they're going to lose their job to a member of a minority community that president has played the race card, and that president deserves a one-way bus ticket back to Crawford, Texas.
MR. JENNINGS: Thank you, sir.
Senator Kerry, you're also from New England, from the state where the president believes that activist judges are threatening the basic sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. The Republicans will certainly remind people or make them know that you were lieutenant governor to Michael Dukakis. The Republican National Committee Chairman will, I believe, make a speech tomorrow in which he will say that you are more liberal than Teddy Kennedy. Show Democrats how you push back.
SEN. KERRY: I look forward to that fight, and I particularly want to have that debate with this president. I am a veteran. I fought in a war. I've been a prosecutor. I've sent people to jail for the rest of their life. I have, as a lieutenant governor, helped fight to create a national plan on acid rain to protect our rivers and lakes and streams for the future. As a Senator I stood up for years and fought for fairness. I've also voted for welfare reform, I'm a gun owner and a hunter since I was a young man. I think that my education reform and the other significant efforts to try to make the workplace fair in America are as vital to people in the South, and the Southwest, in the West, and the Midwest of this country as anywhere else. I look forward to standing up and holding George Bush accountable, for pushing seniors off of Medicare into HMOs, for prohibiting Medicare from even negotiating a bulk purchase price, for turning the energy bill into a bonanza for his friends in the oil industry to the tune of $50 billion.
The workplace of America, Peter, has never been as unfair for the average American as it is today, and there are more ways to describe that than I have in 60 seconds. But, over the course of the next months, Americans will come to understand there is a way to make America fundamentally fair and live up to our promise to all of our citizens.
MR. JENNINGS: Thank you, sir.
Senator Lieberman, as you heard, the question was about social values, and you've expressed your concern that your party is, in fact, too liberal to win the votes at the center in a general election. So I ask you for some assistance here, do you think that these two men have given answers on social values, which will, or which would successfully inoculate the party against such charges?
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Peter, I've spent too much time in the last several weeks here in New Hampshire saying the choice is up to the voters. I'm going to let the voters cast that judgment on Howard Dean and John Kerry. I will say for myself what I've said from the beginning, that for most Americans, including myself, and I would guess all of us here on the stage, life is about trying to do the right thing. And often, for most Americans, our faith, our religions, the values that we get, the sense of right and wrong that we get from our faith are what helps us what to do, in public life and in private life. So long as Democrats are hesitant to talk the language of values, and show respect for people of faith, we close ourselves off from a great majority of the American people. So I'm pleased that we in the campaign have started to talk about values.
Let's not let George Bush and the Republicans claim they have some kind of monopoly on values, or faith-based values. They don't. When they desecrate the environment as this administration has, that is desecrating the earth that God has created. When they give away our national treasury to people who don't need it in tax cuts, because they're so wealthy, they don't have the money to help our children who are poor, our elderly with drug benefits, those are bad values, and we ought to speak to that.
MR. JENNINGS: I want to try just one more time, Senator, forgive me. You've said the party is hesitant. Do you believe that Governor Dean and Senator Kerry have been hesitant, or would be hesitant to take on George Bush successfully on the question of social values?
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Peter, let me put it this way. This is a time to be affirmative. I'd say nice try. This is a time ?? we're making our closing arguments to the people of New Hampshire, who will have their say next Tuesday. I'm going to talk about myself. I'm going to stand up and fight for values. I said earlier, one of the reasons the Republicans don't want to run against me is because they can't say I'm soft on values, they can't say I don't respect people of faith. They can't say I don't want to support faith?based organizations when they help make this a better, more decent country.
MR. JENNINGS: Thank you, sir.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Thank you. (Applause.)
MR. HUME: Tom, you're next.
MR. GRIFFITH: General Clark, the Patriot Act has come under an awful lot of criticism, as you well know. Many say it erodes our personal liberties. While of course it's clear that we all want a secure country, how would your administration revisit the Patriot Act and strike a balance between national security and personal liberties?
MR. CLARK: Well, I'm very concerned about the Patriot Act. It was passed in haste. It's very long. It's got dozens and dozens and dozens of changes.
What we would do is suspend all the portions of the Patriot Act that have to do search and seizure-sneak-and-peek searches, library records and so on. If they want to do a wiretap, they can do it the old-fashioned way: go to a judge with probable cause.
And then bring the whole act back into the Congress, lay it out, ask former Attorney General John Ashcroft to come and testify on his use and abuse of the Patriot Act. (Laughter.) Just lay it out. What provisions were used for what? For what good? Why couldn't it have been done another way? And then we're going to put together the right kind of authorities for law enforcement to keep us safe.
But Tom, we cannot win the war on terror by giving up the very freedoms we're fighting to protect. (Applause.)
MR. GRIFFITH: Congressman Kucinich, I have a question from Cheryl Zettner (sp). She's in New Hampshire. This is what she says. She says, "Why did you cut a deal to send voters to the Edwards camp if you didn't meet the 15 percent threshold in Iowa?" She's angry. She says Edwards supported the war and the Patriot Act.
REP. KUCINICH: (Begins to speak) --
MR. GRIFFITH: Now before you continue --
REP. KUCINICH: Okay.
MR. GRIFFITH: -- is there-is your party divided over the war?
REP. KUCINICH: Of course it is. Of course it is. I mean, I took the position of organizing 126 Democrats who voted against the Iraq war resolution. And I happen to think it was the right position.
Today we're faced with over 500 casualties, a cost of over $200 billion, and it could rise-the casualties could go into the thousands and the costs could go over a half trillion if we stay there for years, as a number of people on this stage intend to see happen.
Well, let me tell you something. There is a difference of opinion in our party. And I stand strong and proud in saying that it's time that we get the U.N. peacekeepers in and bring our troops home. And I've offered a plan to do that I mentioned earlier.
Now with respect to what happened in Iowa, let me state this: that if I was looking for someone to pair up with under the Iowa caucus system based on who I agreed with, I wouldn't have had anyone to agree with, because -- (scattered laughter) -- because the fact of the matter is, I've had a really great difference of opinion, having been the only one on this stage -- (bell rings) -- who voted against the war and the Patriot Act.
But I-John Edwards and I are friends, and one thing we agreed on in Iowa is that we both wanted more delegates. That's what we agreed on. (Laughter, applause.)
MR. GRIFFITH: All right. I have no follow-up for your honesty. Thank you. (Soft laughter.)
MR. HUME: John, you're next.
MR. DISTASO: Yes. Senator Edwards, checking the Internet, the pro-gun-ownership groups, such as the North Carolina Rifle and Pistol Association, don't have glowing words about you. That might be a popular position here in a Democratic primary, but you also want to carry the South if you were to get into a general election. So could you specify for us, please, exactly what additional federal gun- control measures you will propose as president?
SEN. EDWARDS: What I believe is that-and by the way, I would point out to you, at the outset of this question, remember, I didn't get to the Senate by accident. I actually defeated an incumbent Republican senator who was part of the Jesse Helms political machine in North Carolina, the result of which is, I'm now the senior senator from North Carolina, instead of Jesse Helms, which is a very good thing for this country. And I didn't-that didn't happen by accident. (Applause.)
I grew up in the rural South. I know deep inside what people care about. When-through the time I was growing up, everyone around me hunted, everyone had guns. I respect and believe in people's Second Amendment rights.
That does not, however, mean that somebody needs an AK-47 to hunt. It does not mean that somebody who's been convicted of a violent crime should be able to walk out of prison, walk across the street and buy a gun. It does not mean that we shouldn't take every step that we can take to keep guns safe and keep guns out of the hands of kids.
So my belief is, first, I protect -- (bell rings) -- I defend people's Second Amendment rights, but I don't think it's without limit. I think there are limits on those rights, and particularly when the concerns and rights and interests of the American people are at stake.
MR. DISTASO: Well, I'd ask you to keep going and tell us what federal gun-control measures you would propose in addition to what --
SEN. EDWARDS: You mean in addition what we have?
MR. DISTASO: Yeah, if any.
SEN. EDWARDS: I think we should extend the Brady bill. I think the Brady bill is around now. It's set to expire. I think it should be extended.
I think that we need to close forever the gun show loophole, so that we don't have problems that I just described, of people who've been convicted of violent crimes walking out of prison, being able to walk across the street and buy a gun.
I think it does make sense to have trigger locks for the purpose of keeping guns safe, so that we don't have 6-year-old children accidentally killing other 6-year-old children. (Bell rings.)
So I think there are reasonable things we can do. But I start from the place that we have to protect people's Second Amendment rights. I have lived with this my entire life and, as I said earlier, I believe I understand what people are concerned about.
MR. DISTASO: Reverend Sharpton, we haven't seen too much of you here in New Hampshire. The state only has about 9,000 African Americans in a population of 1.2 million. I know you've said your constituencies go far beyond African Americans. Why, then, haven't you campaigned more in New Hampshire, a state where Reverend Jackson did very well in the 1980s?
REV. SHARPTON: Well, first of all let me say something. I want to address a question Peter asked. I don't agree that we need to start backing away, become more Republican, to beat the Republicans. I think the problem is we need to start going forward and stop letting them establish the premise of the debate. That's what's wrong with the party. (Applause.)
Second of all, I'm very happy to hear my friend and brother, Congressman Kucinich, helps people that want delegates. I want delegates in South Carolina, Missouri and Delaware, and I want you to give me the same courtesy you gave John in Iowa. (Laughter.)
In terms of campaigning here, everyone campaigns based on their strategy and ability. I've come here several times. Reverend Jackson did do well here in the '80s, but he never made double digits here. So let's not overestimate what he did. Never got, I think, over 8 percent.
I think, though, that I wanted to come, I came, I will continue to come even afterward because I think it's important you campaign everywhere. I wish everyone had campaigned in Washington, D.C., where I did -- (bell rings) -- (applause), because I think it's important we be inclusive of everyone even if we feel we're not going to get the kind of vote we would want.
MR. HUME: Reverend Sharpton, thanks very much.
We've got to take another brief break here. And when we come back, Peter Jennings will assume the role of moderator. I'll join the questioners.
I might note that extended portions of this program, this debate, will be seen later tonight on the ABC News program "Nightline." Stay with us. We'll be right back.
MR. JENNINGS: (Second-hour moderator.) Welcome back to the last debate before the New Hampshire primary.
Gentlemen, the timekeeper has asked me to suggest that you listen even more attentively to the bell than you have on occasion, though I think we generally agree you've been pretty good.
MR. GRIFFITH: Senator Kerry, I want to begin with you, something very local to the New England region, the use of MTBE in gasoline here in the Northeast, as you know. It's been very controversial because of its link to water pollution. Here in New Hampshire, our governor, Jeanne Shaheen, petitioned the EPA to let us out of that requirement some years ago, and still no answer from the Feds on it. If decisions aren't made soon, they're going to have to add ethanol, I guess, which is a very costly thing that could create gas price increases and generally hurt our New England economy.
What do you propose in the balancing act between the environment and the economy as it pertains to MTBE?
It needs to be banned, taken out, and the companies that have put it in need to be held responsible for it.
I visited with Lisa and Randy DeNucio (ph). They live in Salem. They live right beside a lake in Salem. Their kids no longer use the water there to make lemonade. Their kids no longer shower using that water. They're scared of it. It's polluted with MTBE, as are one sixth of the lakes of New Hampshire. Now, Tom DeLay and his friends in Congress have been busy protecting those companies from their responsibility, trying to give them liability immunity for what they've done. This is the worst environmental administration that I've ever seen in all my time in public life. They are going backwards on clean air, backwards on clean water, backwards on forest policy. And we deserve a president of the United States who is going to stand up to those powerful interests, as I have. I led the fight to stop Gingrich from destroying the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. I led the fight to stop them drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge. And as president I will balance between jobs and the economy, but I'm not going to give people a phony choice that says it's either the jobs or the economy. Cleaning up the environment is jobs, and we are going to create 500,000 of them for Americans in the first years. (Applause.)
MR. GRIFFITH: Okay, thank you.
Senator Lieberman, on the issue of we're right now looking to go out to Canadian drug sources in order to lower our state costs. We have announced plans to import prescription drugs, to look at it closely in order to save the state money. Is this something, on this topic, would you encourage state governors to do this, or would you seek some other methodology to try to keep drug prices down?
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Yeah --
MR. GRIFFITH: Should we be going to Canada?
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Yeah, unfortunately, we should. And I view this as a kind of Boston tea party of the 21st century. I never attack the drug companies for what they produce-the pharmaceuticals that they produce keep us alive and well. But the pricing is unfair. And it is particularly unfair that Canada slaps price controls on-other developed rich nations in Europe do the same-and Uncle Sam and our citizens have to pay the full cost of research, marketing, administration of the drug companies. There's only one way that this is going to begin to turn around, and it is if we begin to allow the legal importation of drugs from Canada. That's the way we can speak with our money to the drug companies to treat us more fairly.
I'll say one other thing. In the so-called drug benefit bill, Medicare-which I voted against-there was actually a restrictive clause put in by the special interests to stop this from happening; and, even more outrageous, a prohibition on Medicare negotiating the lowest possible prices with drug companies for prescription drugs to the elderly.
MR. GRIFFITH: In the meantime, senator --
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Give me a break, how can you justify that?
MR. GRIFFITH: In the meantime, senator-forgive me for interrupting-in the meantime, the government moved today against another Canadian drug company. Are you not encouraging, as sympathetic as one is to seniors, are you not encouraging governors and communities to break the law?
SEN. LIEBERMAN: I think we have to make it legal. That's what I'm saying. And I voted for this in the Senate. I would allow the safe importation of drugs, which means to have some basic standards, to make sure-but when you're bringing in a prescription drug, with a brand name that effectively is the same drug as people are paying so much money for here in the United States, that's going to send a message to the drug companies to treat American consumers fairly. (Applause.)
MR. GRIFFITH: Okay. I'm back over to Congressman Kucinich, and I hope that you'll allow me to dig deep again into my e-mail bag for your next question.
REP. KUCINICH: It's great to communicate with the mass public. That's what this election is about.
MR. GRIFFITH: Roger Stevenson (sp) of Stratham wrote me with great concerns that there hasn't been enough discussion on the environment. What is the most important environmental issue facing the nation? And you only have one minute.
REP. KUCINICH: Thank you. As president of the United States, I would lead this country in a new energy initiative. In the same way that President John F. Kennedy decided to bring the academic and spiritual resources of this country to have the United States reach the moon some day, I intend to have a very infinitely interesting journey to planet Earth. And that journey will be about sustainable and renewable energy. By the year 2010, I'll call upon Americans to assist in creating a program not only of conservation, but of moving to renewable energy, away from oil, nuclear and coal, and towards wind and solar and geothermal green hydrogen and biomass. We're talking about saving our planet here. We have to understand even here in New Hampshire how trees are affected, and maple syrup is affected as a product here. We have to recognize that the economy of this region has been hurt by environmental policies which dirty the air and the water. I'm going to change that.
MR. GRIFFITH: Thank you, Congressman. (Applause.) John DiStaso, you have Governor Dean and Wesley Clark.
MR. DISTASO: Governor, I know this is a very happy debate, as Senator Lieberman said, but there are some things that have been said. Last week, for instance, you said the three senators' decision to support the 2002 Iraq resolution, quote, "Calls into question their judgment and ability to sort out complicated issues regarding the most crucial decision any president has to make"-in a conference call with New Hampshire reporters. That's a harsh indictment, and I'm wondering today if you still feel that way.
DR. DEAN: I do. We were presented with a series of facts. I came to a different conclusion than the senators did on those facts. My conclusion was that there was no al Qaeda in Iraq, as the president intimated. My conclusion was that Iraq was not about to acquire nuclear weapons, as the president intimated, and as the British intelligence reports reported the opposite of. My conclusion was that we successfully contained Saddam Hussein.
People have questioned my foreign policy experience. The retort that I make is that with patience in judgment I was able to sort out in fact the note, the idea, that the president was not being candid with the American people when he asked that the resolution be approved. I would not have supported that resolution. I said so in Keene on September 20th, 2002. So we do have a difference of opinion. We have a difference of opinion on No Child Left Behind. I would not have supported that, and have said so early on. There are differences between us. I said, just to get to Joe's more cheerful phrase though, I have said that whoever wins up here I will vigorously support, and I absolutely intend to do so. But that does not mean that there are not some differences between the candidates here.
MR. DISTASO: Don't you think disagreeing and calling into question one's judgment and ability to sort out complicated issues are a little bit different scale?
DR. DEAN: I think someone earlier made a remark about losing 500 soldiers and 2,200 wounded. Those soldiers were sent there by the vote of Senator Lieberman and Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards. That is a fact. And I think that is a very serious matter, and it is a matter upon which we differ.
MR. DISTASO: I saw Senator Lieberman --
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Might I have the opportunity to rebut?
MR. DISTASO: Very briefly.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Well, very briefly, we made the right decision. I didn't need George Bush to convince me that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the United States of America. John McCain and I wrote the law that made it national policy -- (applause) -- to change the regime in Baghdad. This man was a homicidal maniac-killed hundreds of thousands of people, did have weapons of mass destruction in the '90s-used them against the Kurdish Iraqis and Iranians-admitted to the United Nations he had enough chemical and biological to kill millions of people, supported terrorism, tried to assassinate former President Bush. I repeat: We are safer with Saddam Hussein in prison than in power, John. (Applause.)
MR. DISTASO: General Clark, you've already discussed your concerns about the Patriot Act, and your support for civil liberties and privacy rights. But as a lobbyist for Axiom Corp. you helped secure a federal contract for a system known as CAPPS II, a passenger screening program, which has been criticized by the ACLU for violating people's rights to privacy. How does CAPPS II, which I know many air traveler advocacy groups are concerned about, not do that, not step over the line? Or does it now that it is about to be in place?
MR. CLARK: Well, I don't know about CAPPS II, because I have not seen the program, and I don't think many of the people who are worried about it have.
Here's what I believe: I believe that we need to use all of the tools and trade craft at our disposal to help keep this country safe. And we need to do so in a way that doesn't violate people's privacy.
And when I was consulting at Axiom and I was on the board of the company, and I did take them around and introduce them to various members of the United States government, the Defense Department and so forth-because their technology will improve our security. But I was consistent that we do so with a firm grip on the privacy issues.
Had I still been on that board when all this was going through, I would have insisted that the ACLU and others be brought in to pre- approve CAPS II. Whether that was done or not, I have no idea. But there's nothing intrinsic in the system that we're using that can't be made fully compatible with all of the privacy concerns.
MR. JENNINGS: Thank you, sir. Brit.
MR. HUME: Senator Edwards, the Iowa results suggest that a great many people have taken a look at you and seen a new face, an amiable personality, a couple of adorable kids, and viewed you with considerable approval.
I wonder, though, if some people don't also look at you and say, "Well, he's served part of one term in the U.S. Senate; he's not going to come back for another if he doesn't get the presidency," and wondered if, while you may be very promising and attractive in their ideas, that it may be a little early for the White House for you?
SEN. EDWARDS: Well, actually, Brit, I think 32 percent of Iowans decided it was not too early, that they wanted me to be their president. (Applause.) And I think the reason for that is people are hungry for change. They're hungry for change in America. They're hungry for change in Washington DC. And the truth is that I'm somebody who has been in Washington long enough to see what's wrong with it and how it needs to be changed.
You asked a few minutes ago to Joe Lieberman-or Joe was asked a few minutes ago about the prescription drug bill and what should be done. Here is a perfect example of what goes on in Washington every day.
The lobbyists in these powerful lobbies for the drug companies, they're taking the democracy away from the American people. Their lobbyists, who make huge campaign contributions, they're lobbying the Congress every day. There's a revolving door between the government and lobbyists.
We need to do a whole group of things to restore the power of this democracy to the American people so that these insiders are not continuing to run this government. And what I would do is ban their contributions. I would shine a bright light on their activities so we, in fact, know what they're doing.
And third, I would make them tell us everything they're doing-who they're lobbying for, who they're lobbying, the money they're spending, who they're trying to influence. Those are the things that we need to bring real change in this country.
MR. JENNINGS: Is there anything intrinsically wrong, sir, with being a lobbyist?
SEN. EDWARDS: I can't hear you.
MR. JENNINGS: Is there anything intrinsically wrong with being a lobbyist?
SEN. EDWARDS: No. There's something wrong with the impact that Washington lobbyists are having on our system of government --
MR. JENNINGS: All right.
SEN. EDWARDS: -- because-since you asked me, may I say one other word about that? Because if you watch what happens there every single day, they are influencing legislation. The power of the American people to have their representatives to decide only in the interest of the American people has been taken away.
And it happens over and over and over, which is why I have laid out a very clear set of proposals banning contributions from Washington lobbyists-I've never taken any money from Washington lobbyists, but no one should be able to take money from them-and second, making sure we know what they're doing. (Scattered applause.)
MR. JENNINGS: Thank you, Senator. Sorry, Brit.
MR. HUME: Reverend Sharpton, there are signs now that the earth may be crumbling under the feet of the regime in Iran. There is real dissent in that country. There's protest now against the fact that a number of candidates have been told they cannot run for election there. As president, how would you deal with the situation in Iran?
REP. SHARPTON: I think that one of the problems that we see in Iran in terms of the movement toward open elections, toward clear repression there, is something that we must be concerned about. But I do not, in any way, shape or form, support a military intervention.
I would try, as best I could as president, to use the power of diplomacy, the power of our trade and business with Iran, and our ability to communicate with all sides. And I would support the U.N. to try to bring about some kind of stabilized order there and some kind of dialogue.
I think that we have an obligation to try to support democracy anywhere we can in the world. But I think that we've got to do it by supporting the United Nations and not undercutting it by going around it or by going in a way that would undermine their ability to bring these matters into some order.
And I think that was the reason the United Nations was put forward in the first place. I think the fact that we don't pay our dues, the fact that we ourselves go around the U.N. when we want, undermines the ability of the U.N. to be used in situations like Iran.
MR. JENNINGS: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton. John DiStaso, you start the next round.