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CNN Crossfire Transcript

Location: Durham, NH

December 10, 2003 Wednesday

HEADLINE: Interview With Senator John Edwards; Interview With Senator John Kerry; Interview With Congressman Dick Gephardt

GUESTS: Jeanne Shaheen, John Edwards, John Kerry, Joe Trippi, Dick Gephardt

BYLINE: Tucker Carlson, Paul Begala

Senator John Edwards, Senator John Kerry, and Congressman Dick Gephardt discuss their bids to win the Democratic presidential nomination.


CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

We have come to sunny downtown Manchester, New Hampshire, with our campaign bus right behind us.

Well, in what seems like the longest-running series on television, the nine Democratic presidential candidates held yet another debate last night. After such events, the candidates and the press all gather in what is called the spin room to ask questions, boast, and swap restaurant reviews.

Last night, we took CROSSFIRE into the spin room, where, in quick succession, we bumped into Howard Dean's campaign manager, Joe Trippi, as well as presidential candidates Dick Gephardt and John Kerry.

Here's what it looked like.


BEGALA: My first question is, why didn't you hit Howard Dean? You're 30 points behind him. You're in your own backyard.

KERRY: Now, don't you do that. God almighty, these numbers. I'm not 30 points behind.

BEGALA: Well, let's say you're 10. Why didn't you hit him? He wants your job. He wants the job you want.

KERRY: Because I...

BEGALA: There are principled differences between the two of you.

KERRY: Because I think people want to know positively what I want to do for the country. And I think people want to hear my vision for how I can show leadership in the nation. And I don't think they just want rat-a-tat-tat. I people want a constructive discussion about our nation. And that's what I'm trying to give them.

CARLSON: Can you give us the crisp explanation of the key differences between you and Governor Dean on Iraq?


I think that, on Iraq, at this point, we're in relatively close agreement, though I believe what we have to do is get a U.N. special representative in there in place of Paul Bremer, and that we need to have a separate coalition for the security component under U.S. control. But you can't achieve that unless you get either the U.N. or NATO to accept the larger reconstruction.

The main difference between the governor and me, frankly, on domestic policy is on taxes. I don't want to raise taxes. The governor wants to raise taxes on the middle class. I think that's an enormous mistake for our economy. And I think it's unfair to middle- class people, who don't have the problem of having too much money and not spending it.

CARLSON: Well, there you go. Why didn't you say that?


KERRY: Because we never talked-we never got to the economy. We spent the whole time on polls.



Content and programming Copyright 2003 Cable News Network Transcribed under license by FDCH e-Media, Inc.

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