BROKAW: Thank you very much, Senator. I don't think anyone on this panel, including the moderator, would ever suggest that Medicare is somehow a small or an insignificant issue in this year, or any year for that matter.
Congressman Kucinich, let me ask you about the white Southern male. Your colleague just to the left of you there, Howard Dean, talked recently about the need to reconnect with the white Southern male. A white Southern male who has been very successful in Southern politics is Governor Zell Miller of Georgia, you probably know, and here is what he had to say about his own party. He's a Democrat, after all.
He calls the nine Democratic candidates, "The naive nine, pulling the party further and further to the left, taking a 32 percent base and shrinking it by appealing to the shallow and the most active and the shrill out there."
How would you respond to Governor Zell Miller, who has been so successful, after all, in Georgia as a governor and as a senator?
KUCINICH: I'd invite him to Cleveland, Ohio, where there are Democrats who understand the importance of a full-employment economy and why we should be committed to it, who know the needs of people for universal, single-payer health care, who understand why we need tuition-free college educations.
We need to have economic platforms that put money back into people's pockets. And the social issues that are being used here as wedge issues that tend to divide people are really not worthy of this party. We need to bring this party together on economic issues.
And frankly, Tom, as someone who grew up in inner-city neighborhoods, where sometimes my family was the only Caucasian family in the community, I could tell you there's a lot that unites people across color lines. And what unites people happens to be those basic economic issues: aspirations for housing, for health care, for jobs, for education, and all of those things.
So I would tell Zell Miller, "Come on to Cleveland," and I'd be glad to demonstrate to him how people unite around economic issues.
BROKAW: What was your response to what Zell Miller had to say to the Democratic candidates, Governor Dean? Because you did introduce the idea of the white Southern male into this race.
Don Payne, who's a congressman from-a member of the Congressional Black Caucus from New Jersey, told me once that he thought Southern white males were the most under-represented people in Congress, because they vote for conservative right-wing Republicans and then here's what happens: There are 102,000 kids with no health insurance in South Carolina, most of those kids are white.
The legislature, because of George Bush's horrendous economic policies, cut $70 million out of the South Carolina public school system. Most of the kids that go to the South Carolina public school system are white.
Dennis is right. We have to make people understand that what we have in common is the economic problems of this country that face both African-American, white and Latino working people. And they're all the same issues. They need health insurance and decent health care, and they need jobs, and they're not going to get them from a Republican Congress or a Republican president.
BROKAW: Reverend Sharpton, Howard Dean did apologize for his remarks about the Confederate flag on the back of a pickup truck. But a lot of people who admire you and especially like your spirit in engagements like this are wondering whether you're ever going to apologize for your role in the Tawana Brawley case.
SHARPTON: Absolutely. If-I would apologize if I felt I was wrong.
I think if you think you're right, you pay the penalty for it and you stand there. If Governor Dean thought he was right, he should have taken whatever that was. He, after some assessment, felt he was wrong. I don't feel I was wrong. I've stood up on cases, one was the Central Park jogger case -- 13 years later people felt I was right.
But I think also, Tom, to compare a case of a young lady telling us something that we believe with a Confederate flag that represented a society's commitment to lynching, to rape, to murder and treason, I think that's a stretch even for Tom Brokaw.
BROKAW: I wasn't making-I wasn't making a judgment. What I was saying was that people, once there was a body of evidence in the Tawana Brawley case...
SHARPTON: Well, there was a body of evidence the jury didn't believe. I just cited you a body of evidence where people went to jail eight years and it was overturned.
We're not talking about a case when we're talking about the Confederacy. We're talking about people that were committed against a race of people.
I may have a disagreement on any case. Right now a lot of people think O.J. Simpson was guilty. The jury said he wasn't. Should they apologize? I mean, you're covering right now a lot of cases.
So to try and make a case something and equate that with what we talked about-when I see a pickup truck and Confederate flag, I see James Byrd dragged through Jasper, Texas. I'm not talking about a jury making a decision on a case.
You know, it's funny, a lot of people-Jessica Lynch said something didn't happen to her, and this administration believes it. I believe in a girl that said something did happen to her. I'd like to have that debate with George Bush.
BROKAW: But that was a-and we'll try to leave it at that.
SHARPTON: You're trying to come up with the next question.
BROKAW: No, no. There was-in fact, it's undeniable that there was a racial component to the Tawana Brawley case.
SHARPTON: The girl told her story. And we believed her story and represent her story, and still do. But the racial implication of the case is, again, way away from what I debated Mr. Dean about.
If, in fact, someone is trying to equate the two, I think that's even more of an insult to people that were victimized by the Confederacy. And I don't think any candidate in this race would try to act like those are two of the same, whatever their opinions may be of a case that I represented or not.
I've never represented a case that everybody believed in and everybody agreed with. And I'm willing to pay the penalty for what I believe. And I just want everybody up here to do the same thing, which is what I offered my good friend Brother Howard.
BROKAW: Thank you very much, Reverend Al Sharpton.
Congressman Gephardt, I don't know whether you had a chance to read the Des Moines Register today. The editorial, the bottom of the page, that says that NAFTA still is a good deal.
The decline in the United States manufacturing, which lost a lot of jobs, were the result of automation and trade with China much more than it was a result of NAFTA. And that, in fact-that trade agreement, which was, after all, promoted and passed during a Clinton- Gore administration, has really helped the country of Mexico, which is just south of us.
GEPHARDT: Tom, this issue brings me to something that you asked General Clark, and that is how are we going to reconnect with a wide variety of Americans on values grounds, because that's really what we're talking about when we talk about religion.
And let me talk about health care and trade, because I think you can take it on your values.
What I'm trying to do is to say to the American people, all the American people-whether they're in business or labor, whether they're wealthy or poor middle class-that health care for everybody is a moral issue.
It is immoral, in my view, and I think in most Democrats' view and probably even a lot of Republicans' views, to have people out there without health insurance. We have got to solve this problem.
It's also immoral to have a race to the bottom, to have companies go to Mexico or China to get the cheapest possible labor they can get. It's exploitation of human beings.
I've been in these villages. I've seen the people. They live in worse conditions than most farm animals in Iowa. It's wrong and we've got to change it.
I will be a president who will unite people in this country around moral values to change things for the better.
BROKAW: Governor Dean, when the NAFTA debate first began, you were in favor of NAFTA as the governor of Vermont. Since you've come to Iowa, you've had more reservations about it.
Is it a matter of just fixing it or do you think that it needs to be repealed altogether? And if you do that, what then does happen to countries like Mexico?
DEAN: Many people supported NAFTA early on. I did. Tom Harkin did. We thought that it was going to bring more jobs to this country.
It turned out that wasn't the case. It turned out that what we've done in our rush to globalization, which we're not going to undo, is globalize the rights of multinational corporations, but we haven't globalized the worker protections that were put in place by the trade union movement in this country over 100 years ago.
The solution to global trade I don't believe is to get rid of the WTO and NAFTA. I think the solution to global trade is to demand as a condition of free trade that we have workers' rights, labor rights, human rights and environmental standards in every single trade agreement that we have.
That way we will bring that proper balance, which we discovered in America over 100 years ago, between labor, investment and capital investment.
We have to have treaties that include human rights and environmental rights and labor rights, and then we really will have fair trade, which we do not now have.
BROKAW: I can see that you want to get in Congressman Kucinich. Go ahead.
KUCINICH: I sure do, because something Governor Dean said belies the facts.
And the fact is, Governor-and you know this full well-that unless you cancel NAFTA and the WTO, you can never get into that discussion. The only way you can get into the discussion is to cancel NAFTA and the WTO and return to bilateral trade conditioned on workers' rights, human rights and the environment.
Because as long as NAFTA is in place, unless you have the approval of Canada and Mexico, you can't modify it. And you know that.
So I think that it's important to tell the people of this state and this country where you stand on these trade issues.
And, Tom, frankly, unless we cancel NAFTA and the WTO, you'll never be able to address the underlying loss of manufacturing jobs, the 3 million jobs that have been lost since July of 2000. We will never be able to address the nearly $500 billion trade deficit we're looking at.
We've got to regain control of our own destiny, and that's what canceling NAFTA and the WTO would do. And that's what I intend to do as my first act in office.
BROKAW: If you canceled NAFTA and WTO, I don't think it'll address a concern that Andy Grove, who is one of the founding geniuses that Silicon Valley, has, which is that he says by the year 2010, General Clark, in India, they'll have more people working in software and software services than we will have in this country. And he sees no evidence in either party of a public policy to address that critical component of our economic future.
CLARK: Well, I'm very concerned about exactly what Andy Grove has said, and canceling NAFTA and WTO will not solve the problem.
We have to have the right policies to create jobs in America, and to have companies that are hiring in this country stay in this country and not outsource.
So here is what I'll do: When I am president, the first thing I will have is $100 billion job creation program. Then we'll go and look at the tax code. We'll take away any incentives for companies that want to outsource or leave the country. And we'll have incentives for companies to create jobs in here.
But we need to go beyond all of that. We really need a national goals program. Software was great, the technology and the information revolution was great, but there are a lot of technologies out there. We've got great scientists in this country. We need to set some national goals. We have the mechanisms to do it, put the research money in to basic and applied research and let those inventions and discoveries come out in intellectual property that we can use in this country to create employment.
Energy and environmental engineering are two very fertile areas for the growth of American jobs.
CLARK: We want to be ahead of the software revolution. Let them do the software in India; we'll do other things in this country.
We can do that. All it takes is leadership.
BROKAW: Ambassador Braun, I know that you're very concerned about economic development in the developing and in the Third World, as well. Let me introduce now a subject of great importance and it's pretty explosive here in the state of Iowa, and that's the question of American farm subsidies.
You know that the WTO talks collapsed, in part, because developing and Third World countries were very unhappy with not just the United States, but Western Europe as well, for continuing these very high rates of subsidies, which mean that we can produce a lot of food in this country and then go to the world markets and have prices that are much lower than they can have in Brazil or in Africa and other places.
And what they're saying is, "As long as you continue that policy, we'll never get out of the rut that we're in." Are they right?
MOSELEY BRAUN: Well, there was a reason I was designated "the ethanol queen" when I was in the Senate, and that is that I think that we have not only capacity here, but our trade policies should reflect fair trade and playing on an even basis with our competitors.
The fact of the matter is every county subsidizes agriculture. I mean, that's just the reality of it. While have a responsibility to see to it that we don't exploit the production in other areas.
The Caribbean, for example, is suffering because they cannot keep up now that they don't have preferential access to our markets.
But the fact is that we-you know, subsidizing agriculture isn't a bad thing so long as we're not dumping our product, but we're using it to good use.
That's what ethanol represented, as far as I was concerned: an opportunity to use Illinois corn and Iowa corn to help us get a jump start on the technological revolution that we're going to have to have.
I disagree. I'm not prepared to have the software go to India or anything else. I want to put productive capacity back here in the United States. I want to make certain that we get the jump on other parts of the world, in terms of producing a product that the rest of the world wants to buy.
And our agriculture is an integral part of maintaining the strength and the health of our economy. And until we have a ratcheting down across the board of subsidies, I would not see us unilaterally disarming in that regard.
BROKAW: Senator Edwards, in Washington, D.C., the president has been told effectively, "You've got to reverse the tariffs," he put on the importation of steel to this country. Do you think he should reverse that decision? Was it a correct decision in the first place?
EDWARDS: I supported it to begin with. I think now is the time to start easing off those tariffs.
But, Tom, I want to talk about, in a bigger context, the discussion of the last 15 minutes, because the outsourcing of jobs, the loss of manufacturing jobs from trade agreements, what we see happening to family farmers here in America is all part of a bigger picture, which is the extraordinary sea change we've had in middle- class America in the last 20 years.
Twenty years ago, middle-class families were saving 10 to 15 percent of their income, they had some financial security, they had a nest egg. Today, we have negative savings: They're in debt, their credit cards are maxed out. They're one financial disaster, one emergency-one medical emergency from going under.
If you're a child in a middle-class family this decade, it is more likely your parents will go into bankruptcy than that your parents will divorce.
We have got to strengthen and lift up these middle-class families. I have a plan to do that, to help them buy a home, to help them be able to invest, to help them to be able to save.
What we need to do is to create wealth in this country. But unlike George Bush, who only wants to create wealth for this who already have it, we need to create wealth for that vast majority of middle-class Americans who are struggling, having a hard time getting by and who, in fact, are the very engine of this economy; always have been, always will be.
BROKAW: Senator Kerry, who's also in Washington, let me just continue, if I can, with these issues of great interest to the state of Iowa. Ambassador Braun raised the issue of ethanol. And that is, as you know, a lightning rod out here.
But let me read to you what Senator John McCain, your colleague in the Senate, had to say about ethanol after he looked at the energy bill that you're now debating.
He said, "Gasohol is the worst subsidy-laden energy use every imposed on the American public. By the time you get through with federal payments to corn growers and ethanol producers, you're subsidizing it at more than $3 a gallon."
Are we at a stage now where ethanol does not need the kinds of tax breaks that it gets, and the corn producers don't need the kind of price supports that they get? I don't have to remind you that you may be in Washington, but you're talking to Iowa.
KERRY: Well, I don't need to be reminded of that, that's for sure.
Tom, the answer is no. And the reason is that we haven't done the job of building the infrastructure in the country for the delivery. We haven't done the job of bringing Americans in to really support the marketplace the way we need to.
Well, let me come back. I'm for ethanol. And I think it's a very important partial ingredient of the overall mix of alternative and renewable fuels we ought to commit to.
And as president, I'll tell you, no young American in uniform ought to ever be held hostage to America's dependency on fossil fuel oil. We need to strike out for energy and dependence, and I will do that.
But your former question about trade and about subsidies is critical. The subsidies we have today are an example of what's wrong overall in America.
The USDA has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of big agri- business. And they are killing small family farms. They're killing small family communities. And what we need to do is have a president who says no to the energy bill, no to the Medicare-drug company marriage, no to the agri-business, vertical ownership of meat packers and hog lots. We need to protect the ability of our market place to, in fact, work.
And Andy Grove is wrong. We do have a plan for science, for investment in education, for the ability to be able to grow our economy and create the jobs in the future. And that's exactly what we need to do, rather than going back to the protectionist days of the 1970s Democratic Party.
BROKAW: Thank you very much, Senator Kerry.
Before we go to a break, Governor Dean?
DEAN: I just want to make a quick point about ethanol, which I think has been lost here. This is not an issue of what we are subsidizing for ethanol. If you put 10 percent ethanol in every gas tank in America, you would reduce the entire world oil output by 2 percent. That's a huge number.
Right now you can't get peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians because our oil money goes to the Saudis, who then spend it on terrorist groups and on teaching small children to hate Americans, Christians and Jews. We might have a president who would be willing to stand up to the Saudis if we weren't so dependent on foreign oil.
I think ethanol is essential to America. And I think this business about subsidies, I understand the-Senator McCain's dislike of subsidies for anything. Think how much we subsidize the oil and gas business. Why can't we do that for American farmers instead of Saudi sheiks?
BROKAW: Governor Dean, thank you very much.
I thank all of you.
We're going to be back with our second hour of this debate from Des Moines. We're going to begin talking about Iraq and terrorism and the other very volatile and deadly issues before this country in just a moment.
BROKAW: We're back. And as we begin our second hour, the most critical issue before this country today, obviously, is Iraq. And I want to begin with Congressman Gephardt of Missouri.
Senator Kennedy said this fall, "The war in Iraq, as conducted by President Bush, is a fraud." He said, "It was cooked up in the state of Texas to take care of Republican interests."
Do you agree with Senator Kennedy on that?
GEPHARDT: I would never listen to George Bush alone for any information that I would want and I didn't on this. I went to the CIA...
BROKAW: My question is do you think it is a fraud?
GEPHARDT: No. I want to the CIA. I talked to the top people there. I talked to George Tenet. And I asked him a simple question. I said, "Are we worried that Saddam Hussein has weapons or the components of weapons or the ability to quickly make weapons of mass destruction that can wind up in the hands of terrorists?"
I believe with all my heart that our most important responsibility is to keep the American people safe. 9/11 was the ultimate wake-up call. And so, I voted the way I did on the resolution we voted on because I thought we had to do this to keep our people safe.
Having said that, I also told President Bush many times, starting in the spring of last year, that if he wanted to do this, he had to get help from the U.N., he had to get help from NATO. It's been a terrible mistake on his part, for us, for our taxpayers and for our troops.
And if it hasn't been done, when I become president, I will work with the other countries in the world. He's isolated us in the world. He has not followed the precedent over the last eight presidents. And his foreign policy is a miserable failure.
BROKAW: Madam Ambassador, let me ask you a question.
Vice President Cheney said this fall that, "Terrorists enemies hope to strike with the most lethal weapons known to man, and it would be reckless in the extreme to rule out action and to save our worries until the day that they strike."
Does he have a point?
MOSELEY BRAUN: The United States Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, calls on the Congress to issue declarations of war. Congress didn't do that in this case. They just passed a resolution and sent it over to the president to make a unilateral decision.
That has put us on the slippery slope toward unilateral, arbitrary preemptive war and to a situation in which the vice president and others can just make it up as they see fit to tell the American people one thing that, as it turns out, as you know, was not probably true.
I think that it is important to remind the American people that the Constitution tells us how to do these things and the way the Constitution directs is as valid today as it was 200 years ago.
It is important that we have all of the information; that the information that's given to us is credible information; that it is information that is shared with us and our allies in ways that we can make cogent decisions.
This administration didn't do that. They made up a lot of what was told to the American people. They frittered away the goodwill that we inherited around the world on September 11th. And they have left us less secure-left our domestic security in shambles because of their precipitous bullying tactics in the world arena.
I think it's tragic that we have put ourselves in a situation where the vice president, even the president in the State of the Union address, called on the American people to imagine the very worst that could happen, have been frightening the American people for the last two years instead of telling them the truth.
It's bait and switch and it's wrong.
BROKAW: Senator Kerry, let me ask you a question.
You said recently about your colleague, Governor Dean: "He has no foreign policy or military or national security experiences."
Do you think if he had had some of those experiences that he would have stood with you in the well of the Senate and voted for the resolution to go to war against Iraq?
KERRY: I can't make that judgment, but I'll tell you this: that the president took a legitimate national security concern, which was containing Saddam Hussein and how you get the inspectors back in in order to do that, and literally distorted it and abused it by misleading the American people with respect to everything that he did.
He said that he would build an international coalition; he built a fraudulent coalition. He said that he would use the inspectors and respect the United Nations process; he couldn't wait to get out of it. He said that he would go to war as a last resort; he did not go to war as a last resort.
And the fundamental concept of the presidency is that you don't send young men and women to war because you want to; you do it because you have to. And I think he abused that.
Now, I think it matters in the post-September 11th world that we have somebody with experience. I've worked for 35 years in building relationships and working abroad. I led the challenge to Marcos in the Philippines. I stood up against Ronald Reagan's illegal war in Central America.
I blew the whistle on Oliver North and his private aid network. I blew the whistle on Noriega and drugs and the CIA. I worked to open up Vietnam and to get POW-MIA answers.
I believe I come with the experience to challenge George Bush and to point out that he has overextended our military and has made us less safe. And that's what's important in this race.
BROKAW: Senator, but the real question was do you believe that Howard Dean is incapable of running the national security of this country? After all, if he were to take the job as president of the United States, he would have no more/no less experience than Bill Clinton did.
KERRY: But Bill Clinton himself has said that after September 11th it's a different kind of situation and he's not sure that he himself would have gotten elected under those circumstances now.
I think we have a different situation. We have to run against a wartime president in a world that is suffering from terror. We need a president who knows how to reach out and build relationships across the planet.
And I think that experience is vital. I've never suggested that he's incapable of it. I've said that the experience is a very important and critical issue in our ability to challenge George Bush in the time of war.
BROKAW: Senator Kerry, thank you very much.
Governor Dean, in the last few days, what happened to you during the Vietnam era is beginning to get some attention. You got a deferment. You were classified 1Y. You took letters and an X-ray to your draft board because you had an unfused vertebrae in your back. But then you went skiing for the next year. Skied the moguls-I've skied the moguls. I know how tough they are on your back-at that time.
If you had any reservations about serving, why not just having left the letter at home and said, "Examine me; see what you think"? Why take the letter?
DEAN: I took the medical X-rays at the time.
Look, I did not serve in Vietnam. I was given a deferment by the United States Government because they did not feel they wanted me in the Army. Dick Gephardt didn't serve in Vietnam. Joe Lieberman didn't serve in Vietnam. John Edwards didn't serve in Vietnam. None of us up here except for General Clark served in Vietnam, and Senator Kerry.
I told the truth. I fulfilled my obligation. I took a physical. I failed the physical. If that makes this an issue, then so be it.
But I want to reply to something Senator Kerry said about the war. We have similar sets of advisers, many of us on this stage. Senator Kerry is talking about experience in foreign affairs. His experience led him to give the president of the United States a blank check to invade Iraq. Only Dennis Kucinich up here had the courage to vote against that resolution.
The right thing to do...
The right thing to do would have been not to give George Bush that unilateral authority, as Senator Kerry, Senator Edwards, Representative Gephardt, General Clark recommended to...
(AUDIO GAP AT SOURCE)
DEAN: ... do.
That was the wrong thing to do. This was an abdication and a failure on the part of Congress. And Senator Kerry was part of that failure. I don't think that's the kind of experience we need in foreign affairs in the White House.
I think we need somebody who's going to make independent judgments and not cede the role of Congress in making foreign policy and declaring war.
BROKAW: Congressman Gephardt?
GEPHARDT: Howard, I think you're all over the lot on this issue.
First of all, at the time the resolutions were on the floor, you said you favored the Biden-Lugar resolution, which, in effect, was the same thing that we passed on the floor. It was very much like it.
Secondly, you said, when the $87 billion was asked about, that we had no choice but to support our troops and put the $87 billion there.
Finally, you said you wouldn't make this a campaign issue. You have every right to run any ad you want. But you're running ads now here in Iowa criticizing what I did. And I think in the main, you agreed with what I did.
If we're going to beat George Bush, we have got to take a position of leadership on these issues and stick with it. We can't be all over the lot.
I have done that. I can take George Bush on in this issue of security and keeping our people safe.
BROKAW: Senator Kerry, if I could just hold you for one moment, I want to go to General Clark. We're running a little bit behind on time here.
Let me just read to you something that George Soros, the international financier, has said. He's a great patron of the Democratic Party. I think he's met with most of the candidates here probably.
He said that he thinks that George Bush is a danger to the world in the means and in the way that he's conducting his foreign policy. And it reminds him of what he was hearing out of Nazi Germany when he was a youngster.
Do you agree with his characterization of the administration's foreign policy in those terms, General?
CLARK: Well, I haven't seen everything George Soros has written, but he's a very responsible man. He's done a lot of good in the world. I've worked with his projects in Eastern Europe.
And let me tell you this about George Bush's foreign policy: It is reckless and it is irresponsible.
I think this party's making a great mistake by trying to make a litmus test on who would have or did or didn't vote for that resolution last October.
The real issue in front of us is that this president misled the American people and the Congress into war. It's wrong. If you wrote this script in a movie, it would be rejected as being outrageous. Here we are, with the United States Army half committed in Iraq, no success strategy, $150 billion.
This administration took us to war recklessly and without need to do so and it was wrong. And that is the issue in this election and that is the issue we should be taking to the American people.
BROKAW: With all due respect, General Clark, why then did you have so much trouble in the opening days of your campaign trying to decide whether you would have voted for or against the resolution in Iraq and spend the time that you did in Republican gatherings praising not just the president, but his team, as well?
CLARK: Well, I'm glad you asked, Tom.
With respect to the opening of my campaign, I want to tell you, I bobbled the question on the first day of the campaign in the back of an airplane.
BROKAW: Not just any question. It was a big question.
CLARK: But my record has been very consistent. I have got 250,000 words in print. I warned against giving George Bush a blank check in the summer and fall of 2002. I warned against the course he was taking in the Christmas period of 2002. I warned against it after Christmas. And I warned we were going to war without a real plan as to what to do next and without adequate forces.
Now we see the consequences. We have an American president who visits the families of bereaved Britons and won't visit our own families in this country. What is this coming to?
We need leadership. We're in a mess in Iraq.
I've got a plan, and I'll get us out of that mess; that's why I'm running Tom.
BROKAW: Congressman Kucinich, you have a plan as well. You'd go to the United Nations and get American troops out of there in 90 days.
A lot of people who are not happy about the war in Iraq say, "You get American troops out of there in 90 days, we just turned that place over to the Taliban and to Saddam Hussein and all the insurgents who are now running the joint in the north and the Sunni triangle."
KUCINICH: There's a number of elements here. First of all, if it was wrong to go in, it's wrong to stay in.
And I would like to say that in addition to leading the effort in the House in challenging the Bush administration's march toward war against Iraq, I've also pointed out that Saddam Hussein had no connection to 9/11, had no connection to Al Qaida's role in 9/11, no connection to the anthrax attack. And that, in fact, the administration's never made a case to go to war.
Now, we need to get the U.N. in and the U.S. out. The way to get the U.N. in is to step away from these policies of preemption and unilateralism which got us there in the first place. We need to embrace the world community if America's going to be secure.
The only way that we can effectively combat terrorism in this world is to work with the United Nations and with the world community.
My plan, which is on my Web site at kucinich.us, has the ability to bring our troops home within 90 days. And I think the American people want our troops brought home.
Tom, I've got a page here from The Washington Post which I think all of America ought to be looking at, because this shows some of the casualties-this is just a fraction of the casualties-that have occurred from our beloved men and women who served.
And I'm saying that it's wrong. It's wrong for the deaths to keep piling up. We shouldn't be there. We've got to get our troops home. We need to end the occupation, get the U.N. in and get the U.S. out.
BROKAW: Congressman Kucinich, thank you very much.
Reverend Sharpton, do you think that Iraq is better off with Saddam Hussein not formally in power, although obviously he still does have power in Iraq?
SHARPTON: No. I think that Iraq certainly needed to be liberated from Saddam Hussein. But that is not what we were told was the reason we were going.
We were told that there were weapons of mass destruction and we were in imminent danger. Imminent means immediate, right now. It doesn't mean one day; it doesn't mean they're building up.
Yes, Senator Kennedy was right. That was a lie. It was a fraud.
We should have concentrated on the people that attacked us. To ask about Vice President Cheney saying, "We shouldn't wait till the day after"-we're over two years after, Vice President Cheney. Where is bin Laden? Why have we not been able to capture those that attacked us?
I preached a funeral of a young man, Darius Jennings, a soldier that was killed in Iraq. Those families that are suffering, those families that have lost the lives of their children, what are we telling them their children died for?
Bush wants to meet with them today in Colorado. What do you want to tell them? Why did they die? Because you told us something that was not true. And real patriots don't lie to American soldiers, and they don't misuse American troops' lives.
BROKAW: Senator Edwards in Washington, do you think that the new administration plan, in which they turn over authority to the Iraqi people by July 1st of next year and keep a smaller number of American troops there but still probably in the 100,000 to 120,000 range, is a step in the right direction?
EDWARDS: I think the only step in the right direction is a recognition by Bush and the White House that this policy in Iraq is a failure.
What they're failing to do, unfortunately, is to take the American face off this operation. We're still completely in charge of what's going on there.
We have no chance of success until we make several fundamental changes.
One, we ought to turn the-if I were president today, I would go to the United Nations and give authority to the United Nations to run the Iraqi civilian authority.
The second thing is to change the composition of our security force so that it's no longer just an American security force, but instead is a NATO-led operation.
And third, I would cancel all these no-bid contracts that Halliburton has that's allowed them to get billions of dollars in taxpayer money and they still-they've now taken those provisions-they've forbid this for the future, but they haven't stopped the Halliburton contracts from the past. Halliburton is still getting millions of dollars of taxpayer money under no-bid contracts.
We have to change the nature of this operation. We have to take the American face off it and we have to internationalize it. It's the only way to have any real chance of success in Iraq.
BROKAW: General Clark, let me ask you a question about a specific issue that's come up in the last couple of days or so.
The Republicans are now running an ad in Iowa in which they say the Democrats are attacking the president for attacking terrorists. And you're saying, collectively, this is politicizing this issue in a way that the president had promised that he would not.
At the same time the Republicans will respond, out of a Senate Intelligence Committee we saw a draft of the memo saying, "We can capitalize on their failure from an intelligence point of view to deal with the American people in an honest way."
Where does the truth lie in all of this?
CLARK: Well, I think the truth is this: The president has politicized the war on terror.
This country pulled together. It expected honest, straight, direct leadership. The president said we'd get Osama bin Laden, dead or alive. He pulled the greatest bait-and-switch operation in American retail history. At the very time we should have been getting Osama bin Laden, he was preparing to attack Iraq and Saddam Hussein. We don't have Osama bin Laden. That's the basic politicization: They wanted to go after Iraq.
Now, as far as that ad is concerned, Tom, I think it's an outrage. People in a democracy have a duty to hold the government accountable. And we will hold this government accountable for failing to protect us and go after Osama bin Laden the right way.
And as for me, I'm not attacking the president because he's attacking terrorists. I'm attacking him because he isn't attacking terrorists. And that's the problem with this administration.
They wanted to attack states, not terrorists. Until we get the right policies in place, we're not going to make the American people safer.
And we're not safer with half our Army and $150 billion and Americans dying every day in Iraq. That is not the centerpiece of the war on terror.
BROKAW: Congressman Gephardt, let me ask you another question. I know in your international travels, you've encountered the same thing that I have. There's another big dimension to all of this.
Wherever I go in the Middle East, especially, even moderate Arabs and people who are our allies will say, "Look, as long as the United States will stand next to Israel in the way that it does, not critical but supporting almost everything the Israeli government does however unfair or inaccurate their characterization may be, you'll never be able to win friends in the Arab world."
And when I was in the Middle East about a year ago, the president said publicly that Ariel Sharon, the prime minister of Israel, is a man of peace. That ricocheted across that region.
Do you think, given his current policies-this is an honest question, not loaded-that Ariel Sharon remains a man of peace and that it's helpful to us in the wider war against terrorism to have that kind of uncritical relationship that we have with him?
GEPHARDT: I absolutely think that we can lead to peace in the Middle East. But it goes back to what we've been saying.
This president's foreign policy is a horrible failure, but as Bill Clinton...
GEPHARDT: Let me just finish. Bill Clinton had them at the top of the mountain. They had settled all the main issues. There was only one remaining issue and he couldn't get it done and he left office.
And George Bush came in and said: "This is not our problem."
Excuse me, we've been doing this for 50 years. We're the only country in the world that can lead to the right conclusion.
He did the same thing with the global warming treaty. He did the same thing with the International Criminal Court. He did the same thing with North Korea. He doesn't work well with others.