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CBS The Early Show Transcript

Location: Unknown

March 2, 2004 Tuesday

HEADLINE: Senator John Kerry comments on the race and Super Tuesday


HARRY SMITH, co-host:

As we noted, it is Super Tuesday and that means voters in 10 states will head to the polls today to pick the Democratic candidate they want to face President Bush in November. A strong showing could seal the deal for front-runner John Kerry, and the senator joins us this morning.

Good morning, sir.

Senator JOHN KERRY (Democratic Presidential Candidate): Good morning, Harry.

SMITH: It's a very big day for you, and assuming the polls are correct, you win big today, this is a point at which you have to start uniting the party. I want to voice to you some concerns from an impromptu focus group I did about a week ago in Minnesota. Here are what some of the people were thinking about voting you-said to me about you a week ago. Number one complaint they said, 'You know, we're not sure this guy has ever had to earn a paycheck in his life. Does this guy really understand the concerns of the common man?'

Sen. KERRY: Well, the answer is yes. Yes to both. I have earned a paycheck. I'm actually at a Roadway truck depot here in Atlanta today, and it reminded me of my college days when I used to load trucks. I joined the Teamsters and I used to spend my full day punching in on a time clock and loading trucks just like these. Now I didn't have to do it for a lifetime or a living, but I'll tell you, throughout my life, whether it was serving my country in the armed forces or working later on in life, I've always understood and fought for working people. I've always fought for people to have the same opportunities in life that I've had.

You know, Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy came from places of privilege, but both of them had a great understanding of the needs of America. I hope I have that understanding and my programs, incidentally, do more than George Bush to help working people. I have a plan for health care for all Americans.

SMITH: All right, hang-all right, hang on a second. Let me ask you one other focus group question. Now some people in this...

Sen. KERRY: Sure.

SMITH: this union hall that I talked to in Minnesota said they weren't sure you had the fire in the belly to go the next nine months against the president. What's your answer to that?

Sen. KERRY: Boy, wait till they see the fire in my belly. I didn't win 18 out of 20 caucuses and primaries so far because I don't have the fire in the belly. And people who know me well know that fire is raging and on behalf of the working people of America I intend to make sure that we restore fairness in our country again. People are getting hurt every day and I intend to fight for them.

SMITH: New polls-new poll shows that if you pick John Edwards as a running mate that you could beat the president and Dick Cheney by eight points. Do you want to w-make an offer on our show this morning?

(Graphic on screen)

CBS News Poll

November 2004 Vote

Bush/Cheney Kerry/Edwards 42% 50%

Sen. KERRY: Sounds pretty good to me.


Sen. KERRY: That sounds pretty good to me.

SMITH: Do you want to make him an offer?

Sen. KERRY: It's not appropriate for me. Obviously, I have great respect for John Edwards. The voters are going to decide what happens today and I'm here in Atlanta campaigning. I take nothing for granted. I've worked hard all the way from Iowa to here and I will work-if the voters will trust me with this nomination, I will work with every ounce of energy I have till November 2nd and then hopefully work for four years for the American people to put America back to work and to get health care for all Americans.

SMITH: There you go. Senator Kerry, we thank you for your time this morning. Thank you.

Sen. KERRY: Thanks a lot.

SMITH: Take care.

Copyright 2004 CBS Worldwide Inc.

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