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CNN Live Event/Special Transcript

Location: Unknown

CNN Live Event/Special
January 27, 2004 Tuesday 10:00 PM Eastern Time

GUESTS: John Kerry, Joseph Lieberman, Teresa Heinz Kerry

BYLINE: Wolf Blitzer, Kelly Wallace, Judy Woodruff, Jeff Greenfield, William Schneider, James Carville, Paul Begala, Candy Crowley, Carlos Watson

HIGHLIGHT: Interviews with John Kerry and Joseph Lieberman.

BLITZER: We're breaking away so we can speak with the winner of the primary here tonight in New Hampshire, John Kerry. The 60-year- old junior Senator from Massachusetts is joining us live. Senator Kerry, first of all congratulations on your second win in as many weeks. How does it feel to win New Hampshire?

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, this feels really wonderful because it's been an uphill battle, as you know. We came from way behind and turned it around and I'm extraordinarily grateful to the citizens of New Hampshire for listening and for keeping their hearts and their minds open.

Tonight I think was a victory for people who want to stand up to powerful interests in our country that are really walking away with the store at the expense of the average person.

There's an unfairness and I think most people in America see it. There is a favoritism to the cronies and special interests. That has to stop. We have to do a better job of reaching out to the world and I think New Hampshire spoke tonight with this victory and I'm very grateful for it.

BLITZER: As you already know, Senator Kerry, the Republicans, many Republicans are trying to brand you as nothing more than a Massachusetts liberal, a Democrat, a tax and spend liberal Democrat.

How do you expect to project your message now outside of New Hampshire, outside of New England, outside of Iowa into the other states next week, South Carolina, Missouri, Arizona, these other contests that are coming up?

KERRY: Well, we're doing very well in those places because Americans are tired of the labeling and the slogans. What they really want is leadership, real leadership, and as they say in the south well that dog won't hunt.

There's no way to (unintelligible). I've been part of the deficit reduction effort since 1985. There's a reason Fritz Hollings came up from South Carolina to be supportive of me.

I led the fight to put 100,000 police officers in our streets to make our communities safer. I helped lead the fight to overhaul our education system. I voted for welfare reform. It just, it doesn't fit, and what they're trying to do is cloud up the issue because they're afraid to talk about why they don't provide healthcare to all Americans.

They're afraid that we're going to hold them accountable for leaving millions of children behind and making a mockery of the words. They're afraid that their favoritism in the Medicare bill is, in fact, cheating seniors out of a real Medicare benefit and all of these issues.

They're backwards on the environment. They've broken our relationships around the world. They don't want to talk about the real issues so they throw the labels around. I look forward to talking to real Americans about the real issues and I'll tell you we're ready. Bring it on. Let's go do it.

WOODRUFF: Senator Kerry, it's Judy Woodruff. I want to join Wolf congratulating you on your fine showing tonight in New Hampshire.

KERRY: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUF: But I want to follow up what Wolf said. It's not just the label of Massachusetts liberal Senator Kerry. It's a 20-year voting record in the Senate. We already hear Republicans pointing to...

KERRY: Right.

WOODRUFF: ...votes on taxes, on same sex marriage, defense spending and guns and on and on that Republicans are going to try to use to keep those so-called red states red.

KERRY: Well, those are the things we need to fight about in our country and I look forward to that debate. You know I've been a hunter all my life and I'm a gun owner and I've never thought of going hunting with an AK-47. I believe in the Second Amendment.

We can have a reasonable debate about safety and about the responsibilities that come with rights. I voted for tax cuts. I have voted for a fairness in the tax system but I'm not going to take a defensive position when George Bush wants to make tax cuts for millionaires permanent while we have a $500 billion deficit.

We're going to have a heck of a good debate in this country and, look, if balancing the budget is called liberal in America let's go. You can go ahead and call me that. If taking care of our schools and kids and really keeping your promise to fund reform in education is considered liberal go ahead and call me that.

You know, I don't think it's very conservative to run up deficits. I don't think it's very conservative to trample on civil rights and disrespect the Constitution and I don't think it's very conservative to cross that line of division between church and state in America. We're going to have one of the best debates long overdue in this nation and people are fed up with the labels. They want real leadership and real programs.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: Senator Kerry, it's Jeff Greenfield. Bill Clinton became a two-term president and challenged Democrats on a lot of orthodoxies. What are you prepared to challenge the Democratic Party on?

KERRY: Oh, there's a lot that as we go down the road, Jeff, if you look at some of the efforts I've made with respect to education reform. I've already done that.

If you look at where I stepped out on the budget, I mean it was heresy back in 1985 for a Democrat to stand up and say we ought to be serious about the deficit. I had cartoons in the "Boston Globe" of me as this baby elephant latched on to a large elephant hooked up by our trunks. That was a tough choice back then.

I've made plenty of tough choices and I will in the future and I think people who know me know I've never hesitated to take on powerful interests and take risks on behalf of our democracy and on behalf of our promises in this country.

BLITZER: Senator John Kerry wins impressively here in New Hampshire, as he did a week ago in Iowa. Senator Kerry, thanks so much for joining us.

KERRY: (Unintelligible.)

BLITZER: We know you have a busy schedule ahead. You're getting ready to go on the road right away. We'll be speaking to you many times in the days and weeks to come.

KERRY: Thank you.

BLITZER: Senator John Kerry, the winner here in New Hampshire.

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

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