Wisconsin Presidential Candidates Debate - Part 2

By:  Alfred Sharpton, Jr.
Date: Feb. 15, 2004
Location: Milwaukee, WI

SHARPTON: The only thing wrong with that question is that the parent who has a child who didn't get a voucher can ask the same question, "Why can't I have the same opportunity with someone with money and with a voucher? "

Government's job is not to select some students, it's to help give quality education to all students. And I don't care how we cut it. Vouchers is selective.

And it is the job of government to try to bring quality education indiscriminately to all American young people. And it works for you if you happen to get a voucher. It doesn't work if you're one of the children, or if your children's one of the children that didn't get a voucher.

SHARPTON: Who determines the selection? How do we try to make up for that child not getting the same resources, not the same shot? I think that it is a reaction to a problem, but it is not the solution.

The solution is we must increase funds. We must have standards in public education. We must increase teachers' pay. We must have college debt forgiveness for young people trying to be teachers.

We should not have a selective program for students, which ultimately pits students against students rather than government deal with its obligation to support all young people toward a quality education.

GOUSHA: Thank you.

Since we're here on the Marquette University campus, we thought we'd hear from a couple of students tonight. They submitted some questions. They'd like to ask a couple questions of the candidates and we're going to do that right now.

Would you please introduce yourself and tell us the question you have for the candidates?

QUESTION: Hello. My name is Elizabeth Conradson (ph) and I am a second-year law student here at Marquette. We've heard all of you speak often about elementary and secondary education. However, my question pertains to higher education.

With tuition costs dramatically rising for public universities, as president how would you ensure accessibility to higher education for lower- and middle-income students?

GOUSHA: I am going to try and have a couple of candidates respond to this. Governor Dean, why don't you begin.

DEAN: First of all, let me just very briefly respond to a question that I didn't get that I wanted to get which was on health care.

KUCINICH: I'd be glad to respond to her question.

DEAN: That's fine, I am going to respond to her question too, Dennis.

But I-you know, since I am the only doctor up here and the only former governor, I just want to make the point, since we went through the health care section of the debate and I didn't get a chance to do this: 99 percent of all our kids under 18 have health insurance in my state, all our low-income working people and a third of our seniors.

I have done what all the folks up here are talking about doing.

GOUSHA: Is Vermont a microcosm of the United States?

DEAN: Vermont-yes, because we are using exactly the same programs that exist in Wisconsin, in South Carolina and every other state in the country.

We can do this. I am determined to do this. And part of this election is about results, not just rhetoric.

Now, to answer the question about higher education.

There are a lot of people up here with good higher education plans. I'll be very brief and tell you mine. We want to start working with eighth grade kids and let them know there'll be money, $10,000 a year for every four-for each of the four years that they spend either in college or in post-high school technical training.

That money will be in the form of grant and loans. When you-depending on your income. When your loans come due after you graduate, you will never pay more than 10 percent of your income for 10 years and after that the loan will be forgiven. If you go into public service such as public defense, nursing, teaching, fire fighting, police, you will never pay more than 7 percent of your income to repay those loans. You'll pay for a period of 10 years, after that your loan will be forgiven.

GOUSHA: Governor Dean, thanks.

Let's have one other response on that. Senator Kerry, let me go down to you and ask you to respond to the student's question.

KERRY: Well, let me sort of back up what Governor Dean has just said.
Every one of us up here has an approach that is vastly better than George Bush's because George Bush has no approach. He's cut the Pell grants. He has no plan for how you really make college affordable, and all of us here do.

Now, my plan is to provide a $4,000 tuition tax credit per pupil annually, number one. Number two, we will raise the Pell grants, Stafford loans, Perkins back up to the level they were and above to reflect inflation.

But we don't just want kids coming out of higher education, graduate school particularly-which you need nowadays-saddled with debt. So, I like Howard, would like to see a pay-down program if you go into things that we need people in-teaching in urban communities that have no tax base, in rural communities that are troubled.

I also have a national service plan. We need to restore the concept of service to our nation, community building. And I'm going to ask anybody who graduates from high school who wants to work two years in their own community, and living at home-no expense to the government-two years of service working with kids at risk, tutoring, helping seniors who are shut-in, anything the community decides-we're not going to tell them from Washington-we will pay in return for their full four-year in-state college public education.

And it will be affordable by a combination of rolling back George Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and closing the loopholes that reward companies for taking jobs overseas.

GOUSHA: Senator Kerry, thanks very much.

We have to take another break. When we come back, we'll talk about the war in Iraq and the war against terrorism.

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GOUSHA: And welcome again to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the Marquette University campus. We continue the Wisconsin presidential debate tonight.

We want to spend some time on the war in Iraq. Let's do that with the first question going to Craig Gilbert.

Craig?

GILBERT: Governor Dean, you said in a recent debate about U.S. casualties in Iraq that those soldiers were sent there by the votes, in this case, of Senator Lieberman, Senator Edwards and Senator Kerry. Do you believe that because of the way they voted to authorize force in Iraq that they share some degree of responsibility for the war and its costs and casualties?

DEAN: Sure. I think any of us who support-I supported the first Gulf War. I supported the war in Afghanistan and the interventions in Kosovo and Bosnia. I think if you support a war, whether the chief executive obviously makes the decision, but anybody who votes to support that or, in my case, supported it verbally since I wasn't in Congress, I think we do all bear responsibility for the votes that we cast, and that includes sending people to war.

I think the most difficult job of any president of the United States is the decision to send people to war, because you know that you are almost certain to lose somebody, to deprive families of somebody they love.

And even if you don't lose somebody, just the incredible hardship of sending National Guard and Reserves people over there, who I happen to think have no business being over there for 12 month periods at a time-even the hardship of doing that deprives those folks and their spouses of the kind of living they were making before they went.

So I think anybody who votes to send somebody to war, or in my case, supports-not in this case, I vigorously opposed the Iraq war, and I differ from Senator Edwards and Senator Kerry in that area. But I think any of us who support sending troops have a responsibility for what happens to those troops.

GILBERT: Let me turn to you, Senator Kerry, because you said your vote wasn't a vote for what the president ultimately did. But you did vote to give him the authority, so do you feel any degree, any degree of responsibility for the war and its costs and casualties?

KERRY: This is one of the reasons why I am so intent on beating George Bush and why I believe I will beat George Bush, because one of the lessons that I learned-when I was an instrument of American foreign policy, I was that cutting-edge instrument. I carried that M- 16.

I know what it's like to try to choose between friend and foe in a foreign country when you're carrying out the policy of your nation.

KERRY: And I know what it's like when you lose the consent and the legitimacy of that war. And that is why I said specifically on the floor of the Senate that what I was voting for was the process the president promised.

There was a right way to do this and there was a wrong way to do it. And the president chose the wrong way because he turned his back on his own pledge to build a legitimate international coalition, to exhaust the remedies of the United Nations in the inspections and to go to war as a matter of last resort.

Last resort means something to me. Obviously, it doesn't mean something to this president. I think it means something to the American people.

And the great burden of the commander in chief is to be able to look into the eyes of any parent or loved one and say to them, "I did everything in my power to prevent the loss of your son and daughter, but we had to do what we had to do because of the imminency of the threat and the nature of our security. "

I don't think the president passes that test.

GILBERT: But what about you? I mean, let me repeat the question. Do you have any degree of responsibility having voted to give him the authority to go to war?

KERRY: The president had the authority to do what he was going to do without the vote of the United States Congress. President Clinton went to Kosovo without the Congress. President Clinton went to Haiti without the Congress.

That's why we have a War Powers Act. What we did was vote with one voice of the United States Congress for a process. And remember, until the Congress asserted itself, this president wasn't intending to go to the United Nations. In fact, it was Jim Baker and Brent Scowcroft and others and the Congress who got him to agree to a specific process. The process was to build a legitimate international coalition, go through the inspections process and go to war as a last resort.

He didn't do it. My regret is not the vote. It was appropriate to stand up to Saddam Hussein. There was a right way to do it, a wrong way to do it.

My regret is this president chose the wrong way, rushed to war, is now spending billions of American taxpayers' dollars that we didn't need to spend this way had he built a legitimate coalition, and has put our troops at greater risk.

GILBERT: You cast the same vote, Senator Edwards, is that the way you see it?

EDWARDS: That's the longest answer I ever heard to a yes or no question. The answer to your question is of course.
We all accept responsibility for what we did. I did what I believed was right. I took it very, very seriously.
I also said at the same time that it was critical when we got to this stage that America not be doing this alone. The president is doing it alone. And the result is what we see happening to our young men and women right now. We need to take a dramatic course. We will take a dramatic course.

And by the way, Senator Kerry just said he will beat George Bush not so fast, John Kerry.

EDWARDS: We're going to have an election here in Wisconsin this Tuesday. And we've got a whole group of primaries coming up. And I, for one, intend to fight with everything I've got for every one of those votes.

And back to your question. What we will do, when I'm president of the United States, is we will change this course. We will bring in the rest of the world we will internationalize this effort. We will bring NATO in to provide security.

For example, we could put NATO today in charge of the Saudi Arabian border, the Iranian border, allow us to concentrate on the Sunni Triangle, where so much of the violence has been occurring.

We do need to change course. And ultimately, we have to get on a real timetable for the Iraqis to govern themselves and provide for their own security.

GOUSHA: Gloria?

BORGER: This is to Congressman Kucinich.

President Bush last week said that yes, he had expected to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that he was using the same intelligence that had been provided to President Clinton, also the same intelligence that had been used by the heads of other nations.

Do you believe that the president knowingly lied to the American people? And if so, why would he do that?

KUCINICH: I think that this administration knew full well that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, with Al Qaida's role in 9/11, with the anthrax attack on this country, that Iraq had neither the capability nor the intention of attacking the United States, that Iraq was not trying to get uranium from Niger and that, in fact, Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction.

This is the singular issue upon which this election will turn. And I, as the only one up here who voted against the war and voted against the Patriot Act, as the ranking Democrat on a subcommittee that has jurisdiction over national security, an investigative subcommittee, I never saw any evidence that suggested that there was a reason for this country to go to war against Iraq.

It was wrong to go to in it's wrong to stay in it is time that we start talking about bringing our troops home, bringing those guardsmen, guardswomen, those reservists back home. Stop this war get out of Iraq.

BORGER: So I take it the answer is yes that the president knowingly lied to the American people?

KUCINICH: The president lied to the American people.

BORGER: And why would he do that?

KUCINICH: Well, you know what, I can't speak for the president. But I can speak as the next president of the United States...

(LAUGHTER)

... to say that I intend to bring those troops home by going to the U.N. and giving up control of the oil, letting the U.N. handle that on an interim basis on behalf of the Iraqi people, letting the U.N. handle the contracts.

KUCINICH: The United States must renounce privatization. We have to ask the U.N. for help in developing a constitution and new elections in Iraq. We must pay for what we destroyed, pay for a U.N. peacekeeping mission, and provide reparations for innocent civilian non-combatants who lost their lives.

This is the plan to get out of Iraq. We can get out of Iraq, and I'll lead the way.

GOUSHA: Lester?

HOLT: I'd actually like to let Reverend Sharpton follow up on that very question. Do you think that the president knowingly lied, and if so, why?

SHARPTON: Well, first of all, I think that if he did know he was lying and was lying, that's even worse.

(LAUGHTER)

Clearly, he lied. Now if he is an unconscious liar, and doesn't realize when he's lying, then we're really in trouble.

(LAUGHTER)

Because, absolutely, it was a lie. They said they knew the weapons were there. He had members of the administration say they knew where the weapons were. So we're not just talking about something passing here. We're talking about 500 lives. We're talking about billions of dollars.

So I hope he knew he was lying, because if he didn't, and just went in some kind of crazy, psychological breakdown, then we are really in trouble.

Clearly, you know, I'm a minister. Why do people lie? Because they're liars. He lied in Florida he's lied several times. I believe he lied in Iraq.

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HOLT: And Reverend, you'll recognize, obviously, calling someone a liar is a very serious charge. So it does lead to that question...

SHARPTON: I think he lied.

HOLT: So it does lead to the question: Why would he lie?

SHARPTON: Why do people lie? I mean, if in my judgment...

HOLT: I mean, knowing he would be in the position that you're putting him in now, why would he...

SHARPTON: Well, first of all, Lester, let us look at the facts. The facts are that what they presented to the United Nations, what they presented to the world was not so. You can only assume that they had to know if they said that they knew where the weapons were, that they knew they didn't know where they were.

And now to come back and tell us that Saddam Hussein is a cruel, despicable person, which we all agree, but we believed him when he told us he had them. Can you imagine me telling you that I believe somebody that you should never believe, and I brought 500 people to their deaths believing in a man that was as despicable as Hussein, and this is who we're going to have over the troops' lives in this country?

I think that this is absolutely outrageous. Why he lied? I think we should give him the rest of his retirement to figure that out and explain to us.

(LAUGHTER)

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GOUSHA: We're going to have to take another break. We'll continue with this debate in just a moment.

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GOUSHA: We have been talking about the war in Iraq and the aftermath of that. And also we want to spend some time on the threat of terrorism in this country.

This question goes to Governor Dean.

Governor, in a recent Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel poll, the people who we surveyed ranked their fears of terrorism dead last in what concerns them today. Doesn't that mean the president has done his job pretty well?

DEAN: I don't think so. I certainly don't think so. The president gave away $3 trillion of our tax dollars to his pals who are financing his re-election, but he didn't have enough money to inspect the cargo containers that come into this country every single day. Last September, ABC News smuggled uranium from Jakarta, Indonesia to Los Angeles and we didn't find it.

He had $3 trillion of his tax dollars to give away-our tax dollars to give away to his friends, but he didn't have enough money to buy the enriched uranium stocks, which we're entitled to buy, left over from the former Soviet Union. Under the cooperative threat reduction, we're supposed to be buying that so it doesn't get into the hands of terrorists.

I think this president has done an exceptionally weak job in defending this nation against terrorism. And the poll in Wisconsin may say that the fear of terror isn't so great, but I can tell you in New York it is very great indeed.

GOUSHA: If Osama bin Laden were captured today, would we be safer?

DEAN: If Osama bin Laden were captured?

GOUSHA: Yes.

DEAN: I think that's important. I have said and I will say again that I don't believe we're any safer because Saddam has been captured. I think Saddam is a terrible person. I am glad we have him. But in the next two weeks, we lost another 30 Americans and had American airliners escorted into American air space with F-16s.

I do believe if we were able to capture Osama bin Laden, we would be safer. Al Qaida is a very dangerous organization. It's the organization that the president should have been spending his time on, instead of sending 135,000 troops and $160 billion to Iraq.

If we capture Osama, which is where our energy should be going, we have begun the process of dismantling Al Qaida. And I think that's important.

GOUSHA: Governor, thank you.

Craig Gilbert?

GILBERT: Senator Kerry, President Bush a week ago on "Meet the Press " described himself as a war president. He said he's got war on his mind as he considers these policies and decisions he has to make. If you were elected, would you see yourself as a war president?

KERRY: I'd see myself first of all as a jobs president, as a health care president, as an education president and also an environmental president. And add them all together, you can't be safe at home today unless you are also safe abroad.

KERRY: So I would see myself as a very different kind of global leader than George Bush. Let me be precise.

He has ignored North Korea for almost two years. I would never have cut off the negotiations of bilateral discussion with North Korea. I think he's made the world less safe because of it.

He has ignored AIDS on a global basis until finally, this year, for political reasons, they're starting to move. They still haven't adopted the bill that we wrote three years which could've done something.

He's ignored the cooperative threat reduction that Howard just referred to. We didn't buy up the nuclear material we could have to make the world safer.

He walked away from the global warming treaty. He abandoned the work of 160 nations that worked for 10 years to try to make the world safer.

He didn't continue the efforts in the Middle East with an envoy who stayed there and helped to push that process forward.

I think there is an enormous agenda for us in fighting an effective war on terror. And part of it is by building a stronger intelligence organization, law enforcement, but most importantly, the war on terror is not going to be completely won until we have the greatest level of cooperation we've ever had globally.

The worst thing this president does is his lack of cooperation with other countries.

So I will lead in a different way, and I will not just sit there and talk about the war. I'll talk about all of the issues and provide solutions for America.

GOUSHA: Congressman Kucinich?

KUCINICH: As president, I will see myself as a peace president. And I think we have to change this metaphor of war in our society. We have to quit talking about addressing problems "a war on this, a war on that. " We already see this last war was not necessary.

I think we're in a new era in the world where we can see the world as one, the world as interconnected and interdependent. The world's waiting for a United States president who's ready to create a sustainable structure for peace, and as president, I will do that.

I'll work to eliminate all nuclear weapons and confirm the Non- Proliferation Treaty. I'll sign the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the small-arms treaty, the land mine treaty.

America will join the International Criminal Court. I'll sign the Kyoto Climate Change Treaty.

And furthermore, in getting rid of the Patriot Act, I'll call upon Americans to bring forth the essential courage which we have in our hearts.

My presidency will be about the end of fear and the beginning of hope, about a new hope in America for a nation that can work with the nations of the world so that we can achieve security here at home.

(APPLAUSE)

GOUSHA: Gloria?

BORGER: This is a question I'm going to pose to Governor Dean and then to Senator Edwards. How do you believe that history will ultimately judge the war in Iraq?

DEAN: I think we don't know the answer to that question yet. I think we-the first question is, does the means justify the end, or the ends justify the means? And I think it does not.

I do not think we were told the truth about why we went to war in Iraq, and I think that's a huge problem.

Secondly, we don't know what the outcome is.

DEAN: I did not support the war in Iraq because I didn't think the president made a convincing case. And, of course, as time has gone along, it turns out he made no case whatsoever.

We now have 135,000 troops over there. We cannot pull out. While there was no Al Qaida in Iraq when we went, there almost certainly is now.

So the test is going to be first to see if we really can construct a democracy in Iraq, and second, to see if Iraq becomes a danger to the United States. For example, if we were to pull out our troops immediately-which nobody here suggested-but if we were to do that, Al Qaida were to develop a cell in Iraq as it did in Afghanistan, the president would have created a greater danger to America than we had under Saddam Hussein.

We simply don't know how history will judge the war in Iraq, but we do know that we're going to pay with a lot of lives and a lot of American money to find out.

BORGER: Senator Edwards, too early to say?

EDWARDS: I think it's impossible to know. It depends entirely on what course of action we take. If I'm president and we do the things that need to be done to internationalize the effort, get on a real time table for the Iraqis governing themselves and providing their own security, there is at least the potential for a foothold for democracy-I think at a minimum, the presence of a pluralistic government that will move us in that direction.

But if I can go back just a minute to a question that you raised just a minute ago on the poll and the fact that the war on terrorism was dead last on the list of issues on the poll-and the president calling himself the war president. Why in the world would we let George Bush define the terrain of this debate?

What we know is the American people are enormously dissatisfied with the loss of millions of jobs, the fact that he has no health care plan of any kind. They've seen the damage being done by No Child Left Behind.

EDWARDS: They know there are hundreds of thousands of young people who want to go to college and can't go.

We should not allow him to define the terrain of this debate. We should define the terrain of this debate, and not just what's wrong with what he's done, but what will we do when we lead.

You know, we talk about No Child Left Behind and we talk about his tax cuts. What is it that we-what is our bigger, broader vision for America? That's what I want to talk about: my positive, optimistic vision about what we can do for America when we have leadership, not just getting rid of George Bush.

He's an enormous obstacle to progress. But that's what he is, he's an obstacle.
The end here, the end here is to really change this country, which we can do when we're in the White House.

GOUSHA: Senator Edwards, thanks.
Let's hear from another student from Marquette University.
Your name and your question, please?

QUESTION: My name is Quincy Cotten (ph), and I'm a senior here at Marquette.
You all say you value diversity. Could you please give us a specific example of your past work that demonstrated that commitment and how that will be reflected in your presidency?

GOUSHA: Senator Kerry, start with you.

KERRY: Well, it's-first of all, Quincy, thank you for the question.
It has been reflected in every aspect of my life ranging from when I served in the military to when I served as the chief prosecutor in one of the largest district attorneys offices in America and I hired and reached out and exercised affirmative action to make sure that prosecutors were hired who reflected all of the minority base of our country.

I have supported affirmative action throughout my career in the United States Senate.

But let me give you the best-one of the examples I'm proudest of. I went to Harlem in 1992 or so at the request of a friend. I visited a building where 15 kids were working, all of them out of gangs, out of street-drop outs, at-risk programs, court diversion programs. And these kids were learning how to rebuild that building. They were getting a skill and getting their high school equivalency at the same time for a one-year program.

I was so impressed by it, I went back to Washington, I wrote it into the law. Today it's in 43 states in our nation, in 173 cities. There are 25,000 graduates. They are full citizens, not inmates of a jail, not drug addicts. They have families they're paying taxes.

And there is a need to make certain that every child in America gets that kind of opportunity, and I will do that.

GOUSHA: Reverend Sharpton, you've talked a lot about this issue.

SHARPTON: Well, I've spent my whole life fighting this cause for diversity. I started at 13 years old as a youth director of SCLC Operation Bread Basket in New York, an organization Martin Luther King founded.

And to this day, that has been a focus in my life.

But I've also demonstrated it in my own career. I have people that are nonblack at key levels both in my campaign and in our organization, because you can't preach one thing and live another.

I've also, against the wishes of fellow clergymen, stood up for the rights of gays and lesbians, which I consider also a question of morality and nondiscrimination.

I've also gone to jail fighting for the rights of Latinos.

So I don't just support affirmative action, I help lead the fight. I don't just support diversity, I've helped lead the fight.

I think that there are great civil rights issues of today. One is D.C. I don't know how we're in Iraq fighting for the right to vote for the people in the capital of Iraq, Baghdad, and the people of the District of Columbia still don't have a federal right to vote in this country.

SHARPTON: And I think unless we make civil rights something that is normal and expected and unchallenged, we have to continue to fight.

The civil rights movement didn't end in the '60s. A lot of people want to put it in the past. We still have challenges and we must meet those challenges today, which is why I intend to go all the way to this convention with delegates to make sure this party does not sell out its commitment to civil rights and diversity.

GOUSHA: We're going to talk about the cultural divide in America. We'll continue on the Wisconsin presidential debate in just a moment.

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GOUSHA: Welcome back. There's a lot of talk in America these days about a cultural divide. And one of the hot-button issues in this country right now is gay marriage. I'd like to spend a little time on that.

Lester Holt?

HOLT: Mike, thank you. And I'll ask this of Senator Kerry.

You say you oppose gay marriage. As you know, the highest court in the state of Massachusetts has ruled against civil unions, which you support. If it were to come before you today for a vote, the issue of a constitutional amendment defining marriage as that between a man and a woman, would you vote yes or would you vote no?

KERRY: Well, it depends on the terminology, because it depends on what it does with respect to civil unions and partnership rights.

About the rights, I believe that it is important in America not to discriminate with respect to rights. I, personally, believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. But I also believe that we ought to be able to not let marriage and the concept get in the way of respecting the rights of people to be able to visit a partner in a hospital, to be able to pass on property, to be able to live under the equal protection clause of the United States.

And the question is whether or not that can be put in the Constitution. We will see what will happen. But my personal opinion has been-is today that marriage is between a man and a woman. I'm for civil union. I'm for partnership rights and the full measure of nondiscrimination within those rights.

HOLT: So on a constitutional amendment defining marriage between a man and a woman, your vote would be?

KERRY: Well, it depends. Not a federal one. You're talking about federal or state? I mean, there's a difference between the
two.
I believe the states have a right to make up their own mind, and it ought to be left up to each state individually, period.

GOUSHA: Craig Gilbert?

GILBERT: This is for Senator Edwards.
Senator Kerry, Governor Dean, and President Bush all grew up in pretty well-to-do families, went to prep school and Yale. You've put your working-class background at the center of your campaign. Are you saying that it's harder for them to understand the problems, the concerns of ordinary people than it is for you?

EDWARDS: No, what I am saying is if you have lived this, as I have-we talked earlier in this debate about the loss of jobs.

See, I have seen up close what happens to a family, to a man or a woman who worked in a mill all their lives, 30, 35 years, supporting their family, doing what was right, when they lose their job. They lose part of their dignity. They lose part of their self-respect. This is what part-this is what they have done their entire lives and they know nothing else.

And so what I mean is when it comes to fighting for jobs, the American people and the voters in Wisconsin can know I take this very personally. I have sat at a kitchen table with my own parents trying to figure out how in the world were we going to pay for me to be the first person in my family to go to college.

So do I think it's relevant? Absolutely, I think it's relevant. I think it has to do with your own personal experience, what you've seen, what you'll get up every morning fighting for as president of the United States.

I think Howard Dean and John Kerry have good hearts. They want to do the right thing. They believe in many of the same things that I believe in. But I think it matters to have lived it, and I have lived it.

GOUSHA: Quickly, Reverend Sharpton.

SHARPTON: I think that people that have lived it can understand it. But I think bad people come from all economic backgrounds and all races, and good people are good people. I think that people can have a prep school background and be very compassionate. I think people can be poor and be very cold-hearted.

So I think that it has-I mean, my father couldn't work in a mill or factory, as his father, because of his race. But Clarence Thomas comes out of the same race as I do. He is my color, but he's not my kind.

(LAUGHTER)

So just because people have the same background does not mean they understand things the same way.
I'd rather have John Kerry, Howard Dean wrapped together than Clarence Thomas any day of the week.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

GOUSHA: Gloria?

BORGER: This is for Governor Dean. And it's actually a question about the presidential race so far, the Democratic primaries. I want to ask you about John Kerry's recent successes. And do you think it's about a bandwagon effect where people want to get on board because they feel they want to pick a winner?

BORGER: Or do you think it is because Senator Kerry has started to resonate with Democratic voters on the issues?

DEAN: I think Senator Kerry is a fine person. And if he wins the nomination, I'm going to support him. But I intend to win the nomination.

And the reason I intend to win the nomination, the reason I hope to win here in Wisconsin is because I'm independent and because I stood up against the war and against No Child Left Behind before it was popular.

And if I'll stand up for what's right and not just what's popular, then people know I'm going to stand with them. Because I have a record-everybody talks about health insurance-we've done that in Vermont. I want to do that for the whole country. Everybody talks about balancing the budget. That's essential for having jobs. I've done that. That's the advantage of being a governor.

The last thing is that they raise money differently in Washington than we have. We have changed the face of campaigning because 89 percent of all our money comes in small donations. If I get to be the next president of the United States, I'm going to go to Washington without owing anything to anybody but you.

GOUSHA: We've got time for one final question.

I want to get a response each from Congressman Kucinich and Senator Kerry. The final question tonight-a lot of people feel this and a lot of people talk about this-that America is polarized today, that we are deeply divided as a nation. I'm wondering what role, if any, do you think that this nominating process has played in making us a divided nation?

KUCINICH: I think the nominating process can be a vehicle by which we can heal this country. And as president, I intend to address all the polarities in America, whether it's race, color, creed, sexual orientation, and show how the real strength in America is in its unity.

I mean, the first motto of this country, "e pluribus unum "-out of many, one-suggests the real power of America is when we unite.

And so, America needs a president who is ready to help unite along racial lines, recognizing what happened-the injustices done to African-Americans hundreds of years ago, recognizing the injustices done to Native Americans, recognizing what we must do to lift up this country economically and socially, recognizing the very divide that's occurring today along sexual orientation.

I mean, why shouldn't people who happen to be gay, or lesbian, or bisexual, or transgendered have the same rights as all other Americans? I mean, for God's sake, this is America. Let's be America.

And as president, I'm going to remind the people of this country what America is about.

GOUSHA: Senator Kerry, is this process, the democratic process we've seen, is it dividing the nation further or is it bringing people together?

KERRY: No, I think it's starting to excite America about the possibilities of the future.

KERRY: And let me make it clear: I'm taking each state one state at a time. I'm campaigning for every vote. I take nothing for granted. I'm a fighter.

And I think that's what people have respected about my approach in each state that I've gone to so far. I'm not campaigning, picking one state here and one state there, I'm campaigning nationally.

And what I'm learning nationally from the people I'm talking to, the people who have lost work, the people who don't have health care and can't afford it, the people who have dreams for their kids to go to school, but can't get a good school, or people who want clean air and clean water to breathe, there is an extraordinary coming together in this country around this presidential race for America to live up to its promise and ideals, to what Lincoln called, "The dream of America is the last best hope of Earth. "

I think that's what's exciting Americans. And I think we, all of us here, every single one of us, will continue to talk about our dreams and our hopes for our country in an optimistic way that will bring people together.

We're not going to divide this country. George Bush has been the great divider. We're going to bring it together.

GOUSHA: Senator Kerry, thank you very much.

We'll take one final break and be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

GOUSHA: Thanks to the candidates, the panelists and Marquette University.

The primary is Tuesday.

Have a good night everyone.

END