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CNN "Live Today" - Transcript: Presidential Election


Location: Washington DC

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Democratic Congressman Edward Markey of Massachusetts is with us now to help handicap a potential match-up between Kerry and President Bush-and excuse us for getting a little ahead of ourselves.

Congressman, good morning.


KAGAN: As I understand, you were on the plane flying into New Hampshire with Senator Kerry?

MARKEY: Yes, I was with him for the last six days. And we landed about 6 a.m. this morning with 1,000 people in the ice cold, frigid New Hampshire weather ready to greet this red-hot candidate coming back from his Iowa caucus victory.

KAGAN: What a difference a few days can make. What was it like on board that plane and at that rally?

MARKEY: Well, obviously, people were elated with the response of the people in Iowa. You know, they really take this very seriously out there. And as the weeks were unfolding, you know, it looked like they were going to go with Dr. Dean, and then they decided to get a second opinion in the final five or six days.

KAGAN: Very clever.

MARKEY: The more that they looked at John Kerry, the more that they decided just to move to him. And he was picking up three, four, five points a day as the decision had to be made by these Iowa caucus-goers. And I think that says a lot about John and it's going to, I think, pay big dividends now as he hits New Hampshire.

KAGAN: One of the things that I was hearing last night, one of the sayings, "Date a Dean, marry a Kerry," that when it came down to it, that people wanted-when they're serious about their vote or about their support in Iowa, that they went with John Kerry.

But if you take that further, do you honestly believe-and this seems to be the question for a lot of Democrats who don't want to see George Bush have another term-can John Kerry beat George Bush?

MARKEY: Well, I think that's what they decided to do in Iowa. They decided not to send a message. They decided to send a president. They decided to send someone who they could see in October in a debate with President Bush answering any charges about national security, or homeland security, deflecting those charges because of his credentials as a war hero, and then moving in on health care, environment, education, job creation-the issues that affect every American family.

And I think Iowa made the right decision and I think that the hard work of the Kerry volunteers all across New Hampshire are going to pay dividends a week from today and he will leave here with a victory as well.

KAGAN: And as we're looking at the results from last night in Iowa, this reshuffling of the deck is, of course, rejuvenating for the Kerry campaign. It's very interesting for the media that has now something to talk about instead of this just being over. But is it really good for the Democratic Party because this is going to mean a lot more spend, spend, spend when the Republicans can just be stashing the cash?

MARKEY: It cannot be bad for the Democratic Party to have twice the number of caucus-goers in Iowa in history, to have the street corners of New Hampshire now dotted with volunteers from every single candidate.

This kind of interest combined with the Internet-once we coalesce behind the nominee-and I believe it will be John Kerry-I think it's going to put together the best grass roots and fund- raising operation that our party has seen in a generation. And I think as a result, George Bush now has a real fight on his hands. And I don't think the Republicans any longer think that this is just going to be some walk-away. They now realize that they have the fight of their lives on their hands.

KAGAN: Well, here's the beauty, Congressman. This is CNN and we have a Republican standing by. So I'm going to thank you for your time.

That's Congressman Ed Markey, of Massachusetts...

MARKEY: Thank you for having me on.

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