ABC "Good Morning America" - Transcript
MR. CUOMO: Good morning, Senator. Thank you for joining us. Let's get right to it. The polls are so close, some say we may not know even know a winner after tomorrow night's caucusing. Let me ask you, though, when you think people get into the room, do you think race or gender may play an unspoken role in the caucus voting?
MR. EDWARDS: I do not. I think these caucus goers in Iowa are good people. I think they're fair minded. I think they'll look at each of the candidates in a fair way and decide who they think should be the next president of the United States. And I think one of the reasons we have so much energy and momentum right now in our campaign is they're responding to this message of change, of standing up to corporate greed and fighting for the middle class, which is what my campaign's about.
MR. CUOMO: A big issue for you here in Iowa has been the Iraq war. Your position has gone through a little bit of an evolution. You first voted for the war, then said that was a mistake. But now you're saying, making a little news here, that we should withdraw even the troops doing the training as soon as possible. Now a lot of people will see that as destabilizing the situation in Iraq. Are you overplaying the hand politically here and maybe jeopardizing security there?
MR. EDWARDS: This has nothing to do with politics, Chris. This is what we need to do to be responsible for our own troops, to be responsible for what's happening in Iraq. The threshold question in Iraq is what are going to do to shift responsibility to Sunni and Shi'a leadership to reach a political solution. There is no military solution in Iraq. And to do that we have to end the American occupation of Iraq. And what that means for me is getting all combat troops out of Iraq in the first year of my presidency, ending all combat missions in Iraq, and no permanent military bases in Iraq.
MR. CUOMO: Now, Senator, four years ago you ran a strong second here in Iowa. A lot of people believe you are putting a lot of eggs in this basket. If you don't win or finish a strong second, are you done? Will you even have the money to go forward?
MR. EDWARDS: Oh, we have plenty of money. Money is not the issue. The election is not going to be decided on money. This is not going to be an auction. It's going to be an election. And, in fact, Senator Clinton said that Senator Obama has spent way more money in Iowa than I have. But what's is, we're in a very close contest because this message of standing up for the promise of America, for our children, making sure that we stand up for American jobs, and ending this corporate greed that's doing so much damage, all those things are issues that resonate with Iowa caucus goers.
MR. CUOMO: Now, you say that money is not the issue, but actually it has been made the issue. Recently your wife got involved with comments made allegedly by Senator Obama's wife about not supporting Edwards because of the federal matching fund issue, you won't have the money to go forward. Are you surprised that the Obama campaign may be playing the money card against you?
MR. EDWARDS: Well, Chris, to be honest with you, we're in the waning days of the campaign. Most of the other major candidates have been spending a lot of time talking about me. I think the reason for it is really pretty straightforward. They can see this movement and explosion that's been happening in my campaign right here, and I think they're trying to blunt it. I think it's pretty simple. It's politics, it's the way things work. But I'm going to stay above that. You know, I'm not running for president because of them. I'm running for president because of what I want to do for the country, and that's exactly what I'm going to focus on on these last 36 hours before the caucuses.
MR. CUOMO: As you mentioned, the last 36 hours you've been on what you're calling a blitz for the middle class. You've had your wife along with you. A lot of us care about how she's doing. How is Elizabeth holding up in this type of campaign pace?
MR. EDWARDS: She's doing terrific. I mean, she's right here with me. We're in the middle of a 36-hour marathon for the middle class as we're calling it. And we're hitting place after place after place in Iowa. Elizabeth's with me. My daughter Kate's with me. And we're working. We're working the same way we're going to work when I'm president of the United States, Chris.
MR. CUOMO: Senator, thank you for joining us this morning. Good luck in the caucus.
MR. EDWARDS: Thanks, Chris. Appreciate it.