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CBS The Early Show Transcript

Location: Unknown

January 27, 2004 Tuesday

HEADLINE: Senator John Kerry discusses today's presidential primary in New Hampshire


HARRY SMITH, co-host:

Senator John Kerry is hoping to follow up his impressive victory last week in Iowa with another big win in today's Democratic presidential primary here in New Hampshire. And if you believe the polls, he may well be on his way. Senator Kerry, good morning. Good to have you with us again.

Senator JOHN KERRY (Democratic Presidential Candidate): Good morning, Harry. How are you?

SMITH: Very well. Double-digit lead in almost every single poll...

Sen. KERRY: Oh.

SMITH: ...but Gallup says a third of the voters undecided or could change their minds. What is your gut feeling from the stump?

Sen. KERRY: I-I never take any polls at face value. I've never been a poll person. It's not the polls that matter. It's voters that matter. And so I've been working as hard as I know how. You can hear it in my voice. We were up till late last night, up early this morning. I'm appealing to the voters of New Hampshire who are undecided. I-and to my supporters, go to the polls. And I believe I am the strongest candidate to take on George Bush because I'm the only person in this field who has 35 years of experience in international, national security affairs, military affairs. I can lead our nation to a safer place, fight a more effective war on terror, do a better job of building relationships in the world. And I know I can put people back to work and-and protect the middle class and-and be more responsible with respect to taxes than George Bush. We have a $477 billion deficit...

SMITH: Hang-Senator, hang on a second.

Sen. KERRY: ...and the president wants to make...

SMITH: Some of your opponents, though, say the-it's a problem, is that you've been in Washington too long and that if left to the Washington insiders, things will never cha-turn around.

Sen. KERRY: Yeah, but I'm not one of those insiders. I've taken on those interests. I've stood up against Newt Gingrich's efforts to undo the Clean Air and Clean Water Act, and I won that fight. I led the fight to stop the drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge. I stood up against Ronald Reagan's illegal unconstitutional war in Central America. People who know me know I've been one of those people who fights against the status quo and holds it accountable. And I believe that in the White House, I will be able to represent the real interests and concerns of working people who, frankly, are getting hurt by this administration. And we have a $500 billion deficit, and the president wants to make tax cuts permanent for wealthy people. That is the wrong thing to do for our economy, and it's unfair to the average working person of America.

SMITH: Right.

Sen. KERRY: I'm going to change that.

SMITH: Let me l-let me jump ahead to November. Let's assume for a second that you win the election. You'll be saddled, in most likely scenarios, with a Republican Congress. How can you make your agenda work-assuming you're electable, how can you make your agenda work with a-with a-a Congress that's-that's-you're a-in opposition to you?

Sen. KERRY: Well, I-I can do that just as effectively as Bill Clinton did that. This will not be the first time that we've had a president of another party working with the Congress. In fact, a lot of Americans like that. And President Clinton managed to get things done. But that's not the measure. I-I think you're making a presumption. I think there's an enormous degree of anxiety in the country, worry about the way the president is conducting foreign policy, a lot of people upset about the cost of tuitions, the cost of prescription drugs, the lack of health coverage. I-I wouldn't bet that we can't win the Congress back. I think as the...

SMITH: All right.

Sen. KERRY: ...campaign takes shape, there's a-there's a great capacity to change the politics of our country, and that's what I intend to do.

SMITH: All right. We're going to count that as a prediction then. All right. Senator Kerry, good luck to you today. Thanks for being with us.

Sen. KERRY: Well, I didn't say that. I said we can.

SMITH: OK. We won't hold a-hold your feet to the fire. Thank you so much. Take care.

Unidentified Man: ...want to pull a soundbite from him?

SMITH: Now let's go back to Hannah and Julie in New York.

HANNAH STORM (Co-host): All right. Harry, thanks. Up next, we're going to break down the jury tapped to decide Martha Stewart's fate.

JULIE CHEN (Co-host): And in our second hour, the battle to be the ultimate Survivor champion is about to begin. We're going to introduce you to the Mogo Mogo Tribe. You're watching THE EARLY SHOW on CBS.


Copyright 2004 CBS Worldwide Inc.

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