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CNN American Morning - Transcript

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October 13, 2004 Wednesday 9:29 AM Eastern Time

HEADLINE: Two Very Different Audiences Targeted in Tonight's Debate; Interview with Rep. Peter King; Interview with Ty Hensley; "90-Second Pop"

GUESTS: Rep. Peter King, Ty Hensley, Toure, Sarah Bernard, BJ Sigesmund

BYLINE: Bill Hemmer, Heidi Collins, Daryn Kagan, Kelly Wallace, Andy Serwer, Jack Cafferty



HEMMER: Now, Capitol Police say they have not received word of any specific threat. So, the question now: Is Senator Dayton's decision appropriate?

Congressman Peter King is a member of the Select Committee on Homeland Security in the House. Good morning to you.

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Morning, Bill.

HEMMER: You think Senator Dayton is paranoid-why?

KING: Yeah, I have no idea what he's talking about.

Listen, I got the same briefing he did, so did 534 other senators and congressmen. Obviously there's high threats to the country. New York and Washington are always in the crosshairs. It's no different now than it was a month ago or two months ago.

And why he's decided to do this-either he is, you know, overreacting, whether he's showboating or what, I really don't know-but it's sending a terrible signal to the country. It's really an abdication of responsibility and leadership.

HEMMER: Now, you say you get the same intelligence information. He on the Senate side-would he be privy in his position to get anything else that you would not be privy to?

KING: No, not at all. We got the same briefings. The FBI, the CIA, Homeland Security-they gave the briefings the same day. And he had-no other senator is doing this, no other member of Congress is doing this.

And again, if we follow this here in New York, we wouldn't have the World Series, we wouldn't have the Republican Convention, we wouldn't take the subways. I mean, there is no doubt that New York and Washington are going to be targets. That's the world we live in.

HEMMER: Hasn't the security level in the nation's capital been raised though going back to August, right?

KING: Sure it has, just like it's increased here in New York. I mean, there is no doubt about that. But you know, we have-this is what we have to live with. And to be, you know, bailing out, to be running away, totally sends the wrong signal.

HEMMER: Well, one of the reasons why we brought you in here today is because of this quote you gave. And you said, "To me, either he is paranoid"-which I just asked you about-"or he just wants his people back home working the election."

That's a heavy charge.

KING: Well, I was just trying to make some kind of sense out of what he's doing. You know, Minnesota has become a close state. I'm trying to think of some rationale as to why he'd be doing this.

And again, he may have serious reasons. He may have overreacted. I'm just trying to make sense out of what he is doing. I can't make any.

I mean, listen, sure, there's reason to be concerned. There's reason for you and I to be concerned right now being here right in the middle of Manhattan, but we're not going to run and hide.

HEMMER: Peter King, thanks for coming in and talking about it...

KING: Thank you.

HEMMER: ... clarifying your own comments this morning.

KING: Thank you.


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