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CNN American Morning Transcript

Location: Unknown

January 19, 2004 Monday 8:09 AM Eastern Time

HEADLINE: Interview with Senator John Kerry

GUESTS: Senator John Kerry

BYLINE: Bill Hemmer

HIGHLIGHT: In an interview taped last night, Kerry discusses his run for the Democratic presidential nomination. He addresses his position in the Iowa polls and his message to voters.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: A bit earlier today here on AMERICAN MORNING, Senator John Edwards told us that Senator John Kerry has personally apologized for an attack on Edwards' experience. In a stump speech last evening, Kerry said when he came home from Vietnam in 1969, he wasn't sure if Edwards was even "out of diapers." The 50- year-old Edwards was 16 in 1969. He says he accepts the apology last night from sky.

Also last evening, I talked with the senator at one of his final campaign stops, asking him what accounts now for the sudden momentum in his campaign.


SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not thinking about that. I'm thinking about talking to Iowans about the priorities of our country. They want to know who's going to provide leadership, who can beat George Bush and they want someone who has the ability to take America to a better place, to stay positive, optimistic and that's what I'm doing.

HEMMER: What do you think when-people now refer to you as the front runner. Howard Dean uses-do you like that label...

KERRY: Isn't that a...

HEMMER: ... or would you rather stay away from it? Because the last time someone was given the label as a front runner, you know what happened.

KERRY: Well, they're trying desperately to do that, but Iowans are smart and independent minded. And Iowans will decide what is going to happen tomorrow night, not labeling games and other things. It's interesting that the people who are predicting their own victories and the people who are, you know, so busy not talking to Iowans are now busy trying to shove their expectations onto me.

I'm just going to talk to Iowans. They want leadership that will make America safer. They want the schools to work. They want people put back to work. They want health care that's affordable for everyone. I've laid out very detailed plans. I haven't been negative in this campaign. We've been optimistic and positive and I'm going to keep working, as you can tell. I'm working until the last moment and I'm just going to be confident about the independent judgment of the people of Iowa.

HEMMER: The reports we're getting, Senator, is that you've changed your style in the past week or 10 days, much more of a, let's say, informal manner, maybe a question and answer, trying to get your message out. If that's the case...

KERRY: Well, no, it's this...

HEMMER: You disagree with that?

KERRY: Two things. Well, I've been doing what I've been doing for a couple of months, but a lot of you folks haven't been around. But this has been building up for some period of time.

HEMMER: But if it is true that you have changed your style somewhat, why not do that a month ago, if it's working now?

KERRY: I'm just talking to the people of Iowa from my gut, from my heart. That's what I'm doing. That's what I've been doing.


HEMMER: John Kerry, again, from last evening.

He continues his campaigning today then heads off for New Hampshire later.

Content and programming Copyright 2004 Cable News Network Transcribed under license by FDCH e-Media, Inc.

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