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The Union Leader and ABC News Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate - Part 3

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Date:
Location: Manchester, NH

MR. DISTASO: Yes, for Senator Kerry. Senator, wealthy Americans aren't all millionaires. Some of them are small business people who've worked hard and been successful and making perhaps $200,000. And there are some that I know that are concerned that if they receive a tax hike, that they're going to have-the effect is going to be on their business, scale back, layoffs, perhaps even close down.

What are you going to do for them, who are maybe employing a fair number of other people?

SEN. KERRY: Well, as a senator, for years I have fought for small businesses. I've actually been chairman of the Small Business Committee. And I think one of the reasons, to go back to Peter's question, that the Republicans are going to begin advertising tomorrow to try to attack me and sort of label me is because they know my record.

They know I present the strongest challenge to George W. Bush. I'm the only other candidate besides Governor Dean who's outside of the caps. If I win the nomination, I'll have the ability to raise an extraordinary amount of money and answer them back.

Today I was endorsed by Fritz Hollings in South Carolina. I have the endorsement of General Steve Chaney (sp), the former commandant of the Marine Corps, in South Carolina; the former statewide candidate for attorney general; the minority leader of the House; the minority leader of the Senate; Senator Max Cleland in Georgia, because I'm talking common sense to Americans.

And common sense is that you need to help small business across this country. They just cut today the manufacturing extension program for New Hampshire that has helped $35 million of additional money come to small businesses in this state. The Republicans cut it today.

I'm in favor of tax reductions for small business. And I have a health care plan that will reduce the burden for all Americans, business and those who get their health care in the workplace today.

MR. JENNINGS: Thank you, Senator.

SEN. KERRY: That's why they're frightened, and that's why I'm going to win.

MR. DISTASO: Thank you, Senator.

Senator Lieberman, I'm going to ask you a parochial question, one that hasn't come up here yet. It may not be the one you would enjoy. Going back to 1996 and '99, you and former Senator Slate Gordon proposed a bill to have regional primaries, revolving regional primaries throughout the state, which could have prompted an end to the New Hampshire Primary. How much of a mistake was that now that you've literally lived here, or given the fact, I don't want to bring up horse races here, your standing in the polls. Is that now a pretty good idea after all?

SEN. LIEBERMAN: I've gotten older and wiser, John. You know, this New Hampshire Primary looks pretty good to me now, that's why I chose to start here. My wife and family and I have taken an apartment in Manchester. We've spent a lot of time talking to people here. I think they've come to understand that I have a record of 30 years that they can rely on to know who I am, and what's more important, I know who I am. I've stood up to special interest. I've put the people first. I'm independent-minded, as the people of New Hampshire are. That's why I'm confident about what's going to happen next Tuesday.

The Democratic National Committee did something very good with the presidential selection process. They protected a so-called window for Iowa and New Hampshire, historically, but then opened up this process to seven other states from South Carolina to New Mexico, Arizona, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Delaware, and Missouri. Did I get them all? And that's going to let a lot of people around America have a say early about who the Democratic nominee should be.

MR. DISTASO: Senator, we're geographically sensitive. Can I ask all of you to put up your hand who also agree next time to start in Iowa?

MR. HUME: Who would agree to start in Iowa?

MR. DISTASO: I would like to follow up by asking Senator Lieberman, I can't ask everyone at once, to pledge now to use your power as president, as a nominee, or a senator, to actively oppose any efforts in the future, and they're going to come, to boot New Hampshire out of its first in the nation place. Anybody take that opportunity to do that?

SEN. LIEBERMAN: John, let me say two things. One, because I will be the incumbent president, I look forward to going to Iowa to the caucuses four years from now. Secondly, I will pledge to the death to protect the New Hampshire Primary.

MR. JENNINGS: Let it never be said that any of you pander.

Mr. Hume.

MR. HUME: General Clark, Governor Dean has said that you're a good guy, but he thinks you're a Republican. Now, we're told that you did vote for several Republican presidents, President Nixon, President Reagan, you said good things about the first President Bush, and even about this President Bush. You said in an article published in the Times of London back in April as the war ended, "liberation is at hand, liberation the powerful balm that justifies painful sacrifice, erases lingering doubt, and reinforces bold actions." As for the president you wrong, "President Bush and Tony Blair should be proud of their resolve in the face of so much doubt." Given those statements, given your votes, I think it is not unreasonable to ask you when you first noticed that you were a Democrat?

GEN. CLARK: Actually, Brit, I did vote for Al Gore in 2000, for Bill Clinton in 1992, and 1996. But, when I was in the military I was not a member of any party. I was an independent, and that's the way it is done in the State of Arkansas. And when I got out I looked at both parties, and I'm a fair minded person. And when the President of the United States does two things that I agree with, one of them attacking the Taliban and Iraq, and the other is not quitting in the use of military force in the middle of a dust storm I'm going to say so. And when I'm president I hope Republicans will praise me when I do things right. Can I just finish my statement?

MR. HUME: Please.

GEN. CLARK: I'm running for president because I don't like the direction George Bush is taking the country in. I am a Democrat, and I want to turn this country around and set it going in the right direction. I want to put a strong basis of values back into this Democratic Party, and take George Bush head on, because family values is our issue in the Democratic Party. It is not the Republican's issue.

MR. HUME: Could not a reader be justified in concluding from this piece that you wrote for the Times of London in April that you did, indeed, support this war, and was pleased by its outcome, as you said the first time when asked the question, you probably would have voted to support it.

GEN. CLARK: No, that's not true. In fact, if you look at the whole article what you'll see is that the article lays out a whole series of tasks that have to be done later on. And it's written in a foreign publication. I'm not going to take U.S. policy and my differences with the administration directly into a foreign publication. But, I made it clear in the article, and I think you've got it there, if you'll read it on down you'll see that I say this doesn't mean-they've got to focus now on the peacekeeping, the occupation, the provision of order. There's a whole series of tasks that I laid out for them to do that, in fact, they were incapable of doing.

I did not support this war. I would not have voted for the resolution.

But once American soldiers are on the battlefield, then I want them to be successful, and I want them to come home safely. (Applause.)

MR. JENNINGS: Thank you, General.

Brit?

MR. HUME: Senator Edwards, the Democratic national chairman, Terry McAuliffe, said yesterday, I believe, that the president, by bringing up the possible-his possible support of a constitutional amendment on marriage, was prepared to introduce bigotry into the Constitution. Do you agree with that?

SEN. EDWARDS: I'm completely opposed to the constitutional amendment. I think it's wrong and unnecessary.

I wonder if I could-if I can just step back for a minute, there's been an enormous amount of discussion in the first hour, hour and a half of this debate about us, about ourselves. And if we can just take a minute and talk about what's actually happening in the country, for example, there's been no discussion about 35 million Americans who live in poverty every single day, millions of Americans who work full-time for minimum wage and live in poverty.

We have, in a country of our wealth-let me finish-in a country of our wealth and prosperity, we have children going to bed hungry. We have children who don't have the clothes to keep them warm.

We should-and I understand that maybe on some poll that may not be a big issue. But the truth is, it's important. This is what-we should talk about it and do something about it, because it's wrong.

And we need to-we, the Democratic presidential candidates-we have a responsibility-I believe a moral responsibility-to do something about 35 million Americans living in poverty. And the only thing I'm suggesting -- (bell rings) -- we need to spend some time-more time in this debate talking about the issues. Instead of talking about ourselves, why don't we talk about them? Why don't we talk about the voters and the things that affect their lives? That's what we ought to be doing --

MR. HUME: Well, Senator, I don't think anybody would dispute that -- (applause) -- that abortion remains a potent issue in our national life. And the chairman --

SEN. EDWARDS: Thirty-five million Americans living in poverty is also an important issue.

MR. HUME: I wouldn't dispute that for a moment. But the chairman of your party has accused the president of the United States of bigotry, and I would just like to know if you agree that bigotry is in play here.

SEN. EDWARDS: It's not the word I'd use, but I think the president is dead wrong, dead wrong on this issue.

MR. HUME: Thank you, sir.

MR. JENNINGS: Senator, I inadvertently robbed John DiStaso of a question to Congressman Kucinich. I hereby restore it. (Soft laughter.)

MR. DISTASO: Okay. Thank you.

Congressman, I understand the principle behind your call for the United States to withdraw from NAFTA and the WTO. But under your-this bilateral trade situation, how do you force progressive trade conditions?

(Is that how ?)?

MR. JENNINGS: Do you have a feeling he's ready for you?

MR. DISTASO: Yeah. (Laughter.) I did have that feeling all along.

Well, what would it be? Sanctions? Withholding exports of some countries? And what about the consumers here, who you've admitted will face much higher prices?

MR. KUCINICH: This graph is about the loss of New Hampshire jobs because of NAFTA and the WTO. Twenty-two thousand jobs can be directly traced to NAFTA and the WTO, jobs that were good-paying jobs in this state that were lost. This other graph is about the loss of 3 million American manufacturing jobs because of NAFTA and the WTO.

As president of the United States, I intend to have a trade structure which supports manufacturing in this country-steel, automotive, aerospace, textiles, shipping. I intend to have a manufacturing policy which stops the hemorrhaging not only of manufacturing jobs but high-tech jobs, as well. As president of the United States, my first act in office, understanding how NAFTA and the WTO has severely hurt the state's economy, my first act in office will be to cancel NAFTA and the WTO and return to bilateral trade conditioned on workers' rights, human rights and environmental quality principles. (Bell rings.) (Cheers, applause.)

MR. JENNINGS: Congressman, I apologize that we didn't see the graphs a whole lot better than we did on radio. (Laughter.)

I just want to ask you --

MR. KUCINICH: Well, excuse me, Peter. On radio, I was showing it to Howard Dean. And I'm glad that Howard had a chance to see it.

MR. JENNINGS: Are they at your website too?

MR. KUCINICH: Pardon?

MR. JENNINGS: Are they at your website?

MR. KUCINICH: This information comes from the National Association of Manufacturers.

MR. JENNINGS: Good.

MR. KUCINICH: I'm sure it's on THEIR website.

MR. JENNINGS: Good. Thanks. Thank you very much.

MR. KUCINICH: And this information comes from a briefing paper from the Economic Policy Institute. It was given to me by a group of New Hampshire-by the people of New Hampshire who are working under the Fair Trade for New Hampshire.

MR. JENNINGS: Okay.

MR. KUCINICH: And I'm supporting their efforts. And frankly, I wish that every candidate on this stage would join me in saying that you would agree to cancel NAFTA and the WTO in light of what it's cost New Hampshire. (Applause.)

MR. JENNINGS: Tom Griffith.

Anybody want to take him up on that?

MR. GRIFFITH: Governor Howard Dean, I have a cousin in the audience who's from New Jersey and a long-time loyal Democrat. And she called me a few times and said, "Who do you like? What are they saying?"

And all along the time I said to here, I'd give her my input, when I mentioned anything about the three New Englanders that are in the stage, she would say, "We don't need any more Northeasterners on the ticket."

Now, with that question, lay out some of the red states and blue states, and what red states you would pick up as the nominee that we didn't-that the Democrats did not pick up in the year 2000.

MR. JENNINGS: Does anybody need a description of red and blue states anymore? (Laughter.)

MR. GRIFFITH: Clarify, please.

MR. JENNINGS: Red states were Republican in the last election; blue states were Democrat. Okay.

DR. DEAN: We've got to talk about jobs in order to do that. You know what state-a red state that's very vulnerable and eligible for us is? South Carolina. They've lost enormous numbers of steel jobs and textile jobs, exactly the kind of thing that Dennis was talking about, because of WTO and NAFTA. Now, I'm not going to get rid of WTO and NAFTA. We've globalized multinational rights for corporations; we have not globalized labor and environmental rights, and we need to do that if trade's ever going to work fairly.

So, we're going to have opportunities in places like Arizona, Montana, Colorado, Ohio, West Virginia -- (light laughter) -- and even in the South. And you know why? Because they're going to do what you just did to John Edwards. You're going to keep asking him about gay marriage, and John Edwards is absolutely right. This isn't about gay marriage. This is about jobs. This isn't about race. This is about education, because everybody needs a good education no matter what color you are. This is not about the things that divide us. If we're going to ever win another election again in some of these states, we have to talk about education, health care and jobs. We cannot fight the Republicans on their ground; we're going to fight them on our ground. (Applause.)

MR. JENNINGS: For --

MR. GRIFFITH: Reverend Sharpton?

MR. JENNINGS: Right.

MR. GRIFFITH: You speak about being against the death penalty. Do you agree-do you disagree with the death penalty in the capital murder of a police officer?

REV. SHARPTON: I disagree with the use of the death penalty because it has been proven too many times to have been discriminatory in where it has been applied; it has not been proven to be a deterrent against crime; and I do not think, because it has been proven wrong, that we have the right to take lives if we can give lives, and we can't give them.

Let me say this quickly, because I want to add to two of the answers of two of my colleague here: One, I agree with John Edwards about increasing help for businesses. I've called for a two-year deferment of small businesses so we can get more businesses on.

But I think that one of the things that we are not talking a lot about tonight too is education. I think that we cannot let the Republicans talk about values only in terms of personal morality without dealing with broad social immorality.

So they say if you have a nice, well-knit family and the well-knit family stays together, you have good values, while they take day care from the kids, employment from the father -- (bell rings) -- and the rights from the mother.

No, good values helps not only keep a family, but feed a family, employ a family, give education to a family. We can't let them interpret the debate that way. We could have won South Carolina last time if we talked more about that. We had more people that didn't vote than we lost the election by in South Carolina. (Applause.)

MR. JENNINGS: Brit Hume.

MR. HUME: Governor Dean, I don't mean to take you back to the moment of excitement the other night in Des Moines, but I did want to ask you a question based --

DR. DEAN: My voice is just barely recovering now. Please don't!

MR. HUME: (Chuckling.) I can tell. (Soft laughter.)

But I do want to ask you a question about something you were quoted as saying about that issue today, which was that you said that you wear your emotions on your-that you lead with your heart, not with your head. Is that a quality people want in a president?

DR. DEAN: Well, if you look at my record as governor, we balanced budgets; every child in my state has health care; we do early-early intervention in kids, following up 91 percent of all our kids, to make-and supporting the kids that are in trouble, supporting their families, so they have a better chance of going to college than they do of going to prison.

Now what I can offer the American people is somebody who believes in social justice, tempered by being a fiscal conservative, tempered by wanting budgets to be manageable. The greatest injustice you can do in this country is to have an unbalanced budget for a long period of time.

I think the president's unbalancing this budget is deliberate. Half a trillion-dollar deficit as far as the eye can see means more cuts in programs for kids, more cuts in education, more cuts in college.

So yes, I lead with my heart. I say what I believe. I think it's time that somebody in this party stood up for what we believe in and wasn't so careful about what they were saying. If we're willing to say anything we have to say to get elected, then we're going to lose. We have to say what we believe, whether it's popular or not.

MR. HUME: But what do you mean by not with your head? Isn't there a temperament issue that might-people may be alarmed about that?

DR. DEAN: Well, I'm sure there's a lot of people who are alarmed because they've been alarmed by all kinds of folks, who have criticized some of things I've said. But I truly believe that we absolutely have to stand up for bedrock Democratic principles. Al Sharpton talked about it a couple minutes ago. We're not going to beat George Bush by trying to be like him.

If we want to-what we're really trying to do here is not just change presidents. What we're really trying to do here is steer the country back to a time when we were all in it together. This party has-this president has divided us. (Bell rings.) What I say-what we say in my campaign when we say we want our country back, we want the country back for all of us. And you have to get out there and lead with your heart and lay it all out for the American people, because that doesn't happen very often in Washington, D.C.

MR. HUME: Thank you, Governor. (Cheers, applause.)

Senator Kerry, Governor Dean has said of you, and I believe also of Senator Edwards, that you cast votes that you knew were wrong on war for political reasons. How do you answer that charge?

SEN. KERRY: Well, I stood up to the people of Massachusetts and the country. Those are the people I answer to. And I answered by saying that there was a right way to hold Saddam Hussein accountable, and there was a wrong way. The right way was what the president promised, to go to the United Nations, to respect the building of an international coalition in truth, to exhaust the remedies of inspections, and literally to only go to war as a last resort.

Now, I fought all my life for peace. I fought against the war in Vietnam. When I came home, I fought against Ronald Reagan's illegal war in Central America. I fought with John McCain to make peace in Vietnam. I fought to hold the Khmer Rouge accountable in Cambodia, and on and on. If anybody in New Hampshire believes that John Kerry would have in fact gone to war the way George Bush did, they shouldn't vote for me. But if they know that I would have stood up and exhausted the remedies and done what was necessary to hold him accountable, but lived up to the values and principles of our country, then I'm the person to be president who actually can make America more secure without breaching relationships across this planet. (Applause.)

MR. HUME: Senator, you have said on that vote on the resolution that authorized the president at his discretion to use military force against Saddam Hussein that it was a vote to threaten the use of force. I think --

SEN. KERRY: Well, Brit --

MR. HUME: Let me just finish the question.

SEN. KERRY: Sure.

MR. HUME: And you now are saying it was a vote to hold Saddam Hussein accountable. In fact it was, was it not, a vote to permit the president to use force at his discretion.

SEN. KERRY: As a last resort, was the promise of a president. And I wrote in the New York Times at that time-I said the United States of America should never go to war because it wants to. It should only go to war because it has to. That means building legitimacy and consent of the American people, Brit.

Look, I know there's a test as the commander in chief as to when you send young Americans off to war, because I know what happens when you lose that consent. And you've got to be able to look in the eyes of a family and say you exhausted every possibility, and you only sent their son or daughter to die because you had no other choice. I believe George Bush failed that test in Iraq. I've said so at the time, and that's what I believe happened.

MR. HUME: Thank you very much.

SEN. KERRY: There was a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it. He chose the wrong way. And he has run the most arrogant, inept, reckless and ideological foreign policy in the modern history of our country. (Applause. Cheers.)

MR. HUME: Senator Lieberman, you voted the same way. You have also objected to the way the president has handled things. And yet you went ahead and voted for the $87 billion, where Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards did not. How do you answer what they have to say there?

SEN. LIEBERMAN: What was the question?

MR. HUME: The question is you took different votes here --

SEN. LIEBERMAN: At the end, what was your question?

MR. HUME: Well, how do you-how do you respond to what they are saying about --

SEN. LIEBERMAN: Oh, right. Brit, you are absolutely right. I have criticized the president for overstating some of the arguments about why we went to war. I've said I was shocked that the administration wasn't better prepared to take advantage of the military victory. But I repeat again: This was a just war.

Look, when I voted for the resolution in the fall of 2002, I had no illusions-I knew it would be an unpopular vote in parts of the Democratic Party in my race for the presidency. But I did it because I put my hand on the Bible and took an oath to protect the security of the United States, and I believed that Saddam Hussein was a clear and present danger and threat to the security of the United States, the people of Iraq, and the stability of the world.

I've said before that at times in its policy the Bush administration has given a bad name to a just war. But a just war it was, and again we are safer as a people with Saddam Hussein in prison not in power. Now we have an extraordinary opportunity in the war against terrorism to build an Iraq, a democraticizing, modernizing country in the middle of the Arab and Islamic worlds, which will send a message to the majority in the Islamic world that there is a better way than the hatred and death that al Qaeda presents to them. It is, if you'll forgive me, the American, the democratic way. That's what we have an opportunity to do now. (Applause.)

MR. HUME: Thank you, senator. As I think you all know, we have only about 15 minutes left, so we are going to take another break and we'll be right back. (Applause.)

SEN. LIEBERMAN: I told you it wasn't popular in all sections of the Democratic Party. (Laughter.) But you've got to do what you think is right for your country. (Applause.)

(Announcements.)

MR. JENNINGS: Welcome back to the last 10 minutes, approximately, of the last debate before the primary.

Brit, you wanted to make one point.

MR. HUME: I believe I said that Governor Dean had said that Senators Kerry and Lieberman cast-I mean, Kerry-excuse me-and Edwards cast those votes knowing that they were wrong. The governor has assured me he did not say that. I stand corrected.

MR. JENNINGS: Good.

Tom?

MR. GRIFFITH: For General Clark. General Clark, the 30-year anniversary of Roe v. Wade today, as you know. One in three Granite State'ers call themselves Catholic. And you converted to Catholicism during the Vietnam War, you apparently now attend a Presbyterian church, and I believe you were raised a Baptist. (Scattered laughter.) Can you clarify your approach? However, in one interview I read, you still consider yourself a Catholic. Now, can you clarify your pro-choice position on abortion and describe how you reconcile that with Catholic doctrine?

MR. CLARK: I reconcile it with my own beliefs. And I do believe in the right of conscience, and I support a woman's right to choose protected by law. I fought for human rights in Bosnia, I fought for human rights in Kosovo, and I will fight for human rights in the United States of America. And no one is going to take away a woman's right to choose when I'm president of the United States. It's that simple. (Applause.)

MR. GRIFFITH: Can you clarify how you reconcile that with Catholic doctrine?

MR. CLARK: I understand what the Catholic doctrine is, but I have freedom of conscience and I believe what I believe. I believe that the right to choose is a right that should be protected by law. I believe the decision about issues like this are issues that have to be worked between a woman and her family, her God, her doctor. And as much as I respect the opinion of the Catholic Church, in this case I don't support it. It's that simple.

MR. JENNINGS: General, could I-I don't want to take up too much time, but I want-the press has been trying very hard today to ask you to explain whether or not you believe a woman has the right to choose until the end, basically even in the eighth and ninth month.

What is your clear and simple answer to that?

MR. CLARK: I believe in the established law: Roe v. Wade and Casey.

MR. JENNINGS: And would you like quickly to tell the audience what the provides for (in this instance ?)?

MR. CLARK: Essentially that a woman has a right to choose pre- viability. And after viability, which is determined by a doctor, then that a woman's right to choose can be constrained by the states, but that the health of the mother must be protected. And she has the right to consult with her doctor on that.

MR. DISTASO: Congressman Kucinich, unfunded special-needs mandates here in New Hampshire are brutal on our local school districts. Tell us what you would have in mind in the education sphere for unfunded special education.

REP. KUCINICH: Well, we have to keep in mind that the education cuts that have occurred because of the Bush administration in New Hampshire include 800,000 cut for Pell Grants; 1.1 million for educating children in rural schools; 400,000 for teacher quality training grants; 233,000 for safe and drug free school grants.

The federal government has all kinds of mandates, but the problem is, it isn't funding it. And as many people have learned across this country with respect to the No Child Left Behind Act that we spoke of earlier, the administration in the last budget provided for-it provided $21 billion, when there were 32 billion in needs. And what they're doing is putting pressure on school districts all over the country. When you create a program, you should fully fund it. And what I will do as president is to make education one of the top national priorities by a fully funded pre-kindergarten program for all children ages 3, 4 and 5; by a fully funded elementary- and secondary- education act, and by a fully funded program for tuition free at all public colleges and universities.

MR. JENNINGS: John Distaso.

MR. DISTASO: Yeah, Senator Edwards, I'd just like to get a better picture of your view on fighting al Qaeda. What are you going to send to Afghanistan-in terms of sending troops to Afghanistan, what are you going to do that the current administration is not doing in terms of trying to track down and shut down al Qaeda?

SEN. EDWARDS: Well, it's bigger than al Qaeda, John. It's also the whole issue of terrorism and how we fight terrorism. There are two questions: one is, what should we do abroad outside our borders --

MR. DISTASO: That's what I'm asking.

SEN. EDWARDS: -- and what should-but can I include in my answer also what we should be doing here at home. Abroad, the most critical element that's missing from this administration if you-I'm on the Senate Intelligence Committee-if you look at the map of where these terrorist organizations are, where they operate, the most critical thing that's missing from this administration is a working relationship with many of the countries in which these groups operate.

Without the cooperation of those countries-this is a place where working with our allies is not abstract; it has a direct impact on our ability to affect the American people.

There are also lots of things that should be done here at home that aren't being done: a better job of protecting our ports, a critical issue here in the state of New Hampshire -- (bell rings); a better job of protecting our nuclear facility and our chemical plant. If you ask most people in New Hampshire, "What would you do differently today than you would have done on September 11th if a terrorist attack occurs?" they have no idea. Well, the reason is we don't have a comprehensive warning system in place, we don't have a comprehensive response system in place, there are a whole group of things that we need to do, both at home and abroad, to try to keep the American people safe and to effectively fight this war on terrorism.

MR. JENNINGS: Thank you, Senator.

Reverend Sharpton, would you add anything to that? What in addition to those measures are you going to do to try to prevent future 9/11s?

REP. SHARPTON: I think what we must do is build better alliances around the world. I think that as I've traveled around the Middle East and Africa, in particular, the Sudan, Kenya and other places, we have not had the kind of relationships in the world community that would lead to having the intelligence that would protect the American people. I don't care how much military strength we have; if we don't have the information, if we don't have people that are inclined to be supportive of our security, we will still be at risk.

And I think that what I would concentrate on-I agree that we need to have better security at nuclear plants; that we need to have better security at ports; we also need to rebuild ports and create jobs, because the ports are almost in disrepair-but I think we also must concentrate on our intelligence and our ability to make allies around parts of the world that could help us more than anyone, because they have access to the information that is being used by terrorist groups.

MR. JENNINGS: We're pushing the envelope in terms of time. Brit, I think we've got time for one more question. You started us off, why don't you finish it?

MR. HUME: Well, let me ask a question to Senator Kerry. Senator, there was a recent survey, a recent poll found that 95 percent of Americans said they were either very or rather happy. News story today said that a key measure of future economic activity, that being the index of leading economic indicators, rose in December to its highest level ever, this following a quarter in which the economy grew at a very rapid 8 percent.

Are you concerned at all, sir, that this bleak portrait that those running for president, including yourself, paint of the country may not resemble the country people by the millions are experiencing?

SEN. KERRY: Well, first of all, Brit, I'm not painting a bleak portrait, I'm painting the portrait of a challenge to Americans. And there's no question in my mind that when challenged, Americans rise to the challenge.

But the president is talking about a very different world from the world that every single one of us, as candidates, have seen across this country. While profits went up 46 percent for companies, wages for workers went up three pennies. This is a Wall Street Republican recovery. It's not an American worker recovery.

And we deserve a president who understands what's really happening to people: all across the country, outsourcing of jobs. One-fifth of the manufacturing jobs in New Hampshire have been lost. Countless numbers of people can't get insurance.

The president has no plan, not only to give them insurance, but to lower the cost of insurance for the 163 million Americans who get them. (Bell rings.)

I have that plan. I will put America back to work. I hope we have a great economy next year, because there's plenty to talk about-about the environment, about children, about education, higher education, about our role in the world. This country is being led in a radically wrong direction by this president, and as we mount this campaign, Americans will join up and vote for change. (Applause.)

MR. JENNINGS: Senator Kerry, maybe in that one last phrase you've spoken for all of your fellow candidates on this-in this last debate before the primary next week. We thank you all very much indeed.

And we'd like to extend also a very, very heartfelt vote of thanks to the people of St. Anselm, the college here, for being so kind to all of us. I'm sure you concur with that. Thank you very much for joining us. On behalf of my colleagues, good night.

END

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