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Iowa Countdown; Interview With John Edwards

Aired January 13, 2004 - 15:30   ET


ANNOUNCER: Winning isn't everything, but why are the Democrats competing for third place in Iowa running so hard?

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I feel really good about things here now. I never had this much fun.

ANNOUNCER: Judy goes one on one with John Edwards. How badly does he need an Iowa bounce?

The state of Iowa: has the pulse of life changed all that much in the heartland?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we grew by six people the last 10 years. At least we didn't go backwards.



JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: Thank you for joining us.

We are in Ames. We're on the campus of Iowa State University, along with the CNN Election Express, right there.

At a time when people all across this state are getting a refresher course in rough and tumble presidential polics, with just six days to go before the Democratic caucuses, Iowa frontrunners Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt both are back on the East Coast today. But John Kerry and John Edwards are more than happy to fill the void.

Let's check in first with our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley. She's in Des Moines.

Hi, Candy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Judy. You know, what's interesting about Iowa is that even a third place can be a win. And what we have here with the two people who are in the state today John Edwards and -- I'm sorry, John Edwards and John Kerry, is a very tight race for third. Both of them struggling at this point to get their campaigns up and running.

John Edwards has never really met expectations. John Kerry has stumbled through some of the earlier part of his campaign, after being seen as the frontrunner. But if you take for John Edwards a couple of very good debate performances, an endorsement, a key one from the "Des Moines Register," and put in a fresh face and some southern charm, what you have is a very energized Edwards campaign.


EDWARDS: I came here to ask every single person in this room to caucus for me, every one of you. I want you to get your friends, your family, every -- your neighbors, everybody you can reach out to. I need you, every one of you. I don't mean as a group. I'm talking -- if I can reach out in those chairs and grab you, I would.

I need you. I need you at the caucuses.


CROWLEY: Up a little north, John Kerry campaigned today among veterans, who he will depend upon heavily for a campaign structure to get those people out to the caucuses on that very cold January 19, a structure that John Edwards does not seem to have at this point. Kerry's problem has been sort of a lackluster campaign. He is looking to rejuvenate that campaign here in Iowa, but more and more often, he is having to explain to voters why they should pick him over the others.

KERRY: ... so that we as a party can convince America we know how to make this country safer than they do. And I say to you, Bob, this president is not conducting the war on terror in a way that, in fact, is the most effective way to win and to protect Americans in the long run. When you shove your allies aside, when you break the relationships that the presidents have worked years to build, that have been essential to our security internationally, when you walk away from the United Nations...


CROWLEY: John Kerry, of course, selling his experience both when it comes to Governor Dean and to Senator Edwards. But both Dean and Edwards, though -- they disagree on a number of things -- are selling the fresh face, the new look for the Democratic Party.

But as I say, Judy, a very fierce fight here for third, although both those campaign also tell you they're going for the gold, and, you know, that's where they're headed. But a third place, a very strong third place here for either one of them would be a big help to their campaigns -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Candy, based on what you're seeing, people interested in following this campaign? Are Democrats sick of it? There are ads all over television, we're seeing that. But are Iowa Democrats still paying attention at this point?

CROWLEY: You know, a lot -- the Iowa Democrats that count at this point are paying attention. Now, many of them feel that they need -- I'm always surprised, Judy, as I'm sure you are, to go to a campaign event and find out that there are a lot of undecideds there. I mean, we're used to on a national level going where only the faithful showing up. But in Iowa, people are undecided.

And we're told that, you know, 19 percent, maybe 25 percent. So, yes, they are paying close attention. Maybe not so much to the ads, but certainly to what these people are saying.

WOODRUFF: All right. Candy Crowley reporting for us from Des Moines. Thank you, Candy. We'll talk to you later.

And as we've been telling you so many times, the nature of these caucuses means advance polling is not always as reliable as we would like. But just to keep you updated, a daily tracking poll from Iowa now shows Dean at 28 percent, slightly increasing his lead over Dick Gephardt, with 23 percent.

John Kerry inching up to 17 percent. John Edwards bouncing back a little bit to 14 percent.

Well, with Dean's competition in Iowa getting all the fiercer, he's launching a new ad here today that takes direct aim at his main rivals by name. The spot criticizes Dick Gephardt, John Kerry and John Edwards for their votes in Congress supporting the war in Iraq.

Meantime, Iowa underdog Dennis Kucinich is out with his own new ad that uses Iraq as a weapon against Dean, even though they both oppose the war.


REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: U.N. in, U.S. out. If you believe it was wrong to go into Iraq, then you know it's just as wrong to stay there. Each day our presence creates new terrorists.

As a commander in chief, I will take a new plan to the U.N. to bring in U.N. peacekeepers and bring our troops home. Unfortunately, even Howard Dean says we have to keep our troop there for years. Sounds like another Vietnam. Let's not fall into that trap again.


WOODRUFF: That Kucinich ad begins airing today in Iowa and in the state of New Hampshire.

Well, the two presidential candidates who are skipping the contest here in Iowa are out campaigning today in New Hampshire. Joe Lieberman and Wesley Clark will face the first real test of their political strength in the Granite State, and that's two weeks from today.

CNN's Jeanne Meserve is in Dover, New Hampshire. She's, tracking the primary campaign there.

Jeanne, hello.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Judy. In 2000, Senator Joe Lieberman was part of a Democratic ticket that tried to distance itself from Bill Clinton, but what a difference four years makes. He has come to this location, the Elks Lodge in Dover, New Hampshire, to make a major speech.

This is the site where, in 1992, Bill Clinton gave his famous speech, calling himself the comeback kid in that speech. He thanked the people of New Hampshire for sticking with him in the primary, and he said he would stick with them until the last dog dies.

Today, Senator Lieberman is here, saying he is heir to the Clinton legacy. He has slammed President George W. Bush, saying he has abandoned the middle class, accusing him of growing the debt instead of growing the economy.

But Lieberman is not the only one laying claim to the Clinton legacy here in New Hampshire. General Wes Clark is, too. His campaign announced today that a number of Clinton administration officials and campaign officials will be coming to New Hampshire this weekend to campaign on General Clark's behalf.

Clark weighed into the controversy today over former Treasury secretary, Paul O'Neill, and whether or not he had leaked some confidential documents to the press. In a press conference today, Clark compared this to the slow pick-up on an investigation into who had divulged the name of a CIA operative.


WESLEY CLARK (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They didn't waste 24 hours initiating an investigation on Paul O'Neill. They're not concerned about national security, but they're really concerned about political security. I think they got their priorities upside-down.


MESERVE: General Clark today also responded to Howard Dean and his accusations that the other Democrats in the field had supported the war in Iraq. General Clark said he had opposed that war from the start, and he also called for a congressional probe today into why President Bush chose to go ahead into that conflict.

Judy, back to you.

WOODRUFF: All right. Jeanne Meserve reporting for us from New Hampshire. Thank you, Jeanne.

Well, checking the headlines now in our "Campaign News Daily," Howard Dean speculates about President Bush's relationship with his father in the upcoming issue of "Rolling Stone." Dean says "I admire George Bush's father. He tried to be a good president. This president is not interested in being a good president." Continuing to quote, "He's interested in some complicated psychological situation that he has with his father."

Former Treasury secretary, Paul O'Neill, as you just heard, continues to make headlines for his critical statements about President Bush. But he says he will probably vote for Mr. Bush in November. O'Neill also told the "Today" show that he regrets making the statement that during cabinet meetings Mr. Bush was "like a blind man in a room full of deaf people."

Vice President Dick Cheney is out West raising money for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. Cheney raised more than $300,000 in an event in Denver last night after a visit to Colorado's Buckley Air Force Base.

From Colorado to Washington to Oregon today, for state Republican Party fundr-raisers. Next he heads to Los Angeles for events on Wednesday, followed by stops in Las Vegas and Phoenix on Thursday. Got all that.

Well, in the nation's capital, Democrats are going to the polls today to register their presidential preferences, even though the District of Columbia primary is unofficial and doesn't count towards choosing the nominee. Turnout is reported to be minimal, as you might expect. Still, we found some voters who went to the polls to make a political statement.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's important to show that -- show that D.C. is eager for representation. And any opportunity to vote, we'll take advantage of.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's an important issue. We pay taxes and we don't have representation in Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is absolutely a statement primary, but I'd like to make a statement about candidates, too.


WOODRUFF: Only Howard Dean, Carol Moseley Braun, Al Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich chose to be on the D.C. primary ballot.

Well, back here in Iowa, John Edwards says that his campaign is picking up steam.


EDWARDS: I need to do well here and be competitive. And we're clearly doing that.


WOODRUFF: Up next, my interview with Edwards. How well does he have to do in Iowa to claim success?

And later, I'll talk with another White House hopeful, Joe Lieberman, about the state of his campaign and why he is out defending the Clinton legacy.

Plus, Iowa snapshots. As much as things have changed here, have they also stayed the same? This is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.


WOODRUFF: Presidential candidate John Edwards is moving back on to the political radar screens. You can hear the clock tower behind me. The Zogby Tracking Poll shows Edwards in fourth place here in Iowa, within striking distance of number three, John Kerry. I talked with Senator Edwards earlier today and I asked him if he sees Iowa as a race for third place or for a shot at the very top.


EDWARDS: All I'm doing is out here working. I'll let you guys decide where I need to end up. But what I could tell you is, it's just extraordinary what's happened here in the last few weeks.

I mean, we've got hundreds of people signing up for the campaign. We go to events where we're getting three or four times the number of people. I mean, there's a huge energetic excitement in the campaign right now.

WOODRUFF: So when Dick Gephardt says, I have to win -- he says himself, I have to win Iowa to stay in this race -- how well does John Edwards need to do to...

EDWARDS: I just don't want to set those standards. I really think that you guys have to decide that. What I do believe is that I need to do well here and be competitive. And we're clearly doing that. I mean, what it feels like to me is it feels like we're moving and we're moving dramatically over the last few weeks.

WOODRUFF: But you're not going to predict you'll come in first?

EDWARDS: I'm not going to make any predictions.

WOODRUFF: All right. Howard Dean is out there saying, we not only need a change in presidents, we need a change in Washington. And he said people who have served in Washington are the wrong people to win this election. What do you say about that? You've been in Washington.

EDWARDS: I'll say to Governor Dean and to, more importantly, caucus-goers and voters in New Hampshire, that if people believe we need change in America and change in Washington, and if they believe that somebody who has been in politics for 20 years will bring about that change, then they've got other choices besides me. That's not me.

My campaign -- and, by the way, if they want somebody who's everyday sniping and doing a good job of sniping at the other candidates, that's not me. My campaign is a positive campaign based on hope and optimism. That has never changed and is not going to change.

WOODRUFF: Sniping a reference to Governor Dean? EDWARDS: Well, you see it going on among all of the candidates. It's not just Governor Dean.

WOODRUFF: All right. The other thing Governor Dean has said, specifically referring to you, he said, if somebody says he's only been in Washington three years, he's still been in Washington, as if that's a negative.

EDWARDS: Well, I've spent -- unlike these other candidating, Judy, I haven't spent most of my life in politics. And actually, a lot of people believe that's a good thing, because I have a real life perspective on the problems that people face. I know that we have to change, not just Washington, but change America. And I don't believe I can do that alone.

I think I have to do it with the help of the American people. It's the way I think about things. I don't think about it the way people who've spent their lives in politics do.

WOODRUFF: But his suggestion is, you've been tainted even if you've only spent three yaergs there.

EDWARDS: Well, he can suggest whatever he wants. He's not what my campaign is about. It's the reason my campaign is working, Judy, is because it's not focused on Howard Dean or John Kerry or Dick Gephardt. It's focused on the people that I want to be serving.

WOODRUFF: I hear you. One other thing, though, that he says about your vote on the war in Iraq. And I'm quoting him. He said, "These folks voted to go to war before an election, when the pressure on them was to get this issue off the table." He said, "That's a serious charge and it's something the voters of Iowa ought to consider."

EDWARDS: Well, he's wrong. I took my responsibility about this very seriously. I thought about it a long time, worked on it extremely hard, and did what I believe was right. And I had a lot of sleepless nights about it.

I think it's a very serious issue. And I think I did what I believe was right at the time.

WOODRUFF: So is that an irresponsible statement on his part?

EDWARDS: It's just politics. It's just typical politics.

WOODRUFF: Dick Gephardt, I asked him yesterday about your endorsement by the "Des Moines Register" over the weekend. He said, that's fine, that's great, even. But he said what really matters in Iowa are what Iowans think, because he said this is an intensely personal vote, newspaper endorsements don't matter.

EDWARDS: I agree with everything up to the last part. I think it is true that it's an intensely personal campaigning that works here. You have to seek caucus-goers.

I've been in all 99 counties. I've been meeting with these folks. That's why they're responding.

I think the "Des Moines Register's" endorsement does mean something, because it's the best-known, most respected newspaper in the state. People look to it. Particularly Democratic caucus-goers look to it for guidance, particularly in a crowded field, where they're having trouble making decisions.

And I think it has some weight. At least historically it's had some weight.

WOODRUFF: Talk to some Iowans -- and you even refer to this out here in talking with these senior citizens. They say, I like John Edwards, he's very appealing, but he's only been around a few years. It's sort of the flip side of the Dean argument.

EDWARDS: Right. Right.

WOODRUFF: What about this notion that you should have waited a few years, gotten a few more years of experience?

EDWARDS: First of all, the election is not about me, as we talked about earlier. It's about changing this country. And I believe that kind of change can best be brought about by somebody who's been in Washington long enough to see the problems and know what works and what doesn't work, and is committed to that change.

I think if you stay either in the political system for a long time or in Washington for a long time, it's very hard to bring about those changes. I believe I can bring about those changes with the help of the American people.

WOODRUFF: Will you pull a surprise Monday night?

EDWARDS: Oh, I feel really good about this here now. I've never had this much fun.


WOODRUFF: Senator John Edwards of North Carolina fighting hard in Iowa.

Well, thanks to its party caucuses, this state gets a turn in the spotlight once every four years. It is still farming country, dotted with small towns and small cities like this one, Ames. What, if anything, has changed over the years?

Bruce Morton went to find out.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The smoke pours out, the trucks role in. It's the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ethanol plants making 5,000 gallons an hour, 24 hours a day. And it may be saving a town.

HOWARD ROE, BANKER: If we've decided that we want to maintain a community, we have to come up with some jobs for people, and we have to create more value-added for our farmers.

MORTON: Banker Howard Roe of Manning, Iowa, went looking for farmer industries, then, like Rod Backhaus, who (UNINTELLIGIBLE) under contract -- an agriculture business company owns them -- he grows corn and soybeans. He wanted a diversified income.

ROD BACKHAUS, FARMER: We went out and raised our capital from 450 farmer investors. And just things kept progressing from there. And we finally got our ethanol plant built.

MORTON: And it makes a profit.

BACKHAUS: We had our first dividend on the end of October, and I think there's definitely going to be more in the way.

MORTON: Iowa is a state with old people. A lot of its young college graduates leave, seeking to make their fortunes somewhere else.

SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), IOWA: We're losing too many of our college graduates. We've just simply have lost the kind of high-tech, high- paying kind of jobs that our college graduates need here in the state of Iowa.

MORTON: New people are arriving, too. In Iowa, as in the country, Latinos are the largest and fastest-growing minority. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) has had to build a bigger store.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I came to Des Moines 20 years ago. And at that the point it was very difficult to find all of the Latinos, number one, or services for Latinos. Things have changed dramatically since then.

MORTON: New folks arriving, others leaving. What about the little towns, the Mannings?

ROE: I think you have to have determination and you have to hook up with the right people. And if you can get a half a dozen people that have a real interest in making the community better, I think things will happen.

MORTON: Manning has some high tech jobs at this new hospital. Will the young people stay?

ROE: I think we grew by six people the last 10 years. At least we didn't go backwards.

BACKHAUS: I think it's going to help. I don't know if it's going to stop it. There's still, I don't know, the stigma, I guess, that farming is, you know -- it's a lot of hard work

MORTON: Rod is staying, making money, a happy man. Except, well, he's a bachelor and he would like to find a wife.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Manning, Iowa.


WOODRUFF: It's still what we think of, though, when we think of Iowa.

Well, the Democratic hopefuls agree on the need for better health care, but they differ on how to get there. A look at just where they do stand, just ahead.

And a panel of celebrity judges makes its decision. We'll have the winner in the contest to create the best anti-Bush TV ad.


WOODRUFF: As we've been telling you, we're on the campus of Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. A little crowd of students and others gathering around the CNN Election Express.

We've got John Kerry supporters, Dennis Kucinich, Howard Dean, and even supporters of George W. Bush, President Bush. They're all here watching. And we're glad to have them.

Well, the Democratic presidential hopefuls agree on the need we know to extend health coverage to all Americans. But when it comes to details, they have some major differences of opinion. Here's a look at where the candidates stand.


SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is about health care for all Americans.

EDWARDS: One health care system that works for everybody.

WOODRUFF (voice-over): The top six Democratic presidential contenders all have plans to move the nation toward universal healthcare coverage, using tax incentives to build on existing programs. But they differ on how far to go, how to get there, and how fast.

For instance, Dr. Howard Dean would broaden state health insurance programs for poor children, much as he did as governor of Vermont.

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In my state, everybody under 18 has health insurance.

WOODRUFF: Of the top-tier candidates, Dick Gephardt, by most accounts, has the boldest plan and the costliest.

GEPHARDT: And so as my first week as president I will ask the Congress to lay aside the Bush tax cuts, they have not worked. And I will use that money to see to it that every person in this country has good health insurance that can't be taken away from you.

WOODRUFF: Gephardt would spend $2.5 trillion over 10 years to expand employer-based insurance systems. That's more than four times the price tag of the least expensive plan offered by John Edwards.

Only the three underdog candidates dare to support reform anywhere near as sweeping as the Clinton plan that was famously shot down by Congress more than a decade ago. Dennis Kucinich, Carol Moseley Braun and Al Sharpton support a government-run, single payer plan, similar to Canada's.


WOODRUFF: And as we move toward caucus day, we're going to continue our look at where if candidates stand on the key issues that voters are concerned about.'s controversial Bush in 30 seconds ad contest wrapped up last night. Fifteen finalists were judged by a celebrity panel that included Jeanine Garafalo and Michael Moore. Everyone's favorite was an ad that contained no words, just music and images of children working at grown-up jobs, with the caption, "Guess who's going to pay off President Bush's $1 trillion deficit?"

There were also winner in other categories, including the funniest ad.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George, you left our child behind.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's the toilet. That's my daughter.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And over here's the sink.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll take it. She'll pay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh. Hi, honey. I know it's not mom, but it's OK. She's rich.


WOODRUFF: Several days ago, apologized for allowing two ads comparing President Bush to Adolph Hitler to be posted and included on its Web site.

Well, early on, Joe Lieberman decided not to concentrate on the Iowa caucuses. Coming up, I'll talk live with the senator about how his campaign is going elsewhere.

You'll also get an inside look at Howard Dean's Iowa headquarters.

And he didn't win the Iowa caucuses, but he did win the Demarcating Party's 1988 presidential nomination. I'll talk with former Massachusetts governor, Michael Dukakis. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


ANNOUNCER: Howard Dean versus Bill Clinton. Is the Democratic front runner battling for the heart and soul of the president's party?

DEAN: I am a threat to the Democrat establishment in Washington. They're very cozy there, they're comfortable there.

ANNOUNCER: Joe Lieberman steps up his defense in the Clinton legacy. He'll join us live from New Hampshire.

It sounds like something from a spy movie, but there's plenty of disinformation going on in real life in Iowa.



WOODRUFF: And welcome back to Iowa. We are in Ames.

Howard Dean's rivals these days accusing him of increasingly negative campaign tactics. And they are warning or perhaps hoping the tactics will backfire. One day after Dean declare had he's tired of being a pin cushion for his opponents, his renewed fire is raising questions about his strategy. And his vision for the Democratic Party. Here now our senior political analyst Bill Schneider.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Howard Dean is back on the attack against what he calls the Democratic Party establishment. It's the theme Dean first used almost a year ago to draw attention to himself as a different kind of Democrat.

DEAN: I'm Howard Dean and I'm here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.

SCHNEIDER: Could that be a veiled criticism of Bill Clinton and his third way?

DEAN: Democrats need to do more than damage control.

SCHNEIDER: The other Democrats rush to claim the Clinton legacy.

LIEBERMAN: I will take us forward, building on the policies of Bill Clinton, not abandoning them as George W. Bush has and Howard Dean would.

CLARK: What I'm talking about today is in the best tradition of Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It's in the tradition of John Kennedy, LBJ and Bill Clinton.

SCHNEIDER: With a lot of former Clinton adviser's now working for Wesley Clark, the perception has grown that Clark is Clinton's guy and Dean wants to pull the Democratic Party back to the left.

Rank and file Democrats see a difference between Clark and Dean. A third of them labeled Dean a liberal. Only 12 percent called Clark a liberal. Is that fair?

When he was governor of Vermont Dean was very much a new Democrat in the Clinton mold.

DEAN: In Vermont, most people think I was a moderate. I was a pro-business Democrat.

SCHNEIDER: Dean's attack on the Democratic establishment may be more anti-Washington than liberal.

DEAN: We need a change in Washington and we're not going to get it by hiring somebody from Washington.

SCHNEIDER: And maybe a little bit more than that.

DEAN: I have two big policy differences with almost everybody up here. I oppose the Iraq war...

SCHNEIDER: And he opposed President Bush's education bill. Dean is pro trying congressional Democrats as selling out to President Bush, even if one of those Democrats was Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.


SCHNEIDER: When Bill Clinton won the Democratic nomination in 1992, he didn't run as a third way Democrat, he ran as a populist, out to protect the Democratic Party legacy from those who, in the liberal mind, would betray it like Paul Tsongas. Dean is running just like Clinton did in 1992 -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Bill Schneider, thanks very much.

Well, another example of the establishments embrace of Dean, he picked up the endorsement today of Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson. Dean now has more supporters in the house than the chamber's former Democratic leader Dick Gephardt.

Speaking of Gephardt, he gave a foreign policy speech in New York City today and he hammered Dean for claiming that America is not even safer after Saddam Hussein's capture. Gephardt also explained why he was in the Big Apple, instead of campaigning in Iowa.


GEPHARDT: For my own sake I probably should be in Iowa right now, tending to next Monday's caucuses and other more parochial concerns. But the very heart of my candidacy, one of the central reasons I'm running for president in this time of trial and terror, is to restore American leadership in the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WOODRUFF: Dick Gephardt in New York City. And as we said, he was on David Letterman last night.

Now, let's go back to New Hampshire where Joe Lieberman is looking for fertile political ground after deciding to essentially skip the caucuses here in Iowa. Senator Lieberman joins us from Dover.

Senator, good to see you. All the media attention or most of the media attention, I should say, here in Iowa, are you feeling a little left out of it?

LIEBERMAN: No, I'm not. I think I made the right decision. This is a very different process this year. Nine primaries and caucuses in two weeks. It's not a sprint, it's a marathon. I decided to begin in the first in the nation, New Hampshire primary. We're making progress here and I think that's going to give me the momentum to go forward to victories in the weeks that follow.

So the folk in New Hampshire are paying attention. They take it seriously. They know they have a responsibility to the rest of the country to make a decision and I put my trust in them.

WOODRUFF: Apologies in advance, Senator, for a handicapping question. But how well do you think you need to do in New Hampshire?

LIEBERMAN: Well, I've said better than expected. A while ago I was sixth in the polls and the polls don't pick presidents, the people do.

But every indication we have is that we're coming up. And I think it's because I'm offering something different. I'm the one, as I said in a speech here at the Dover Elks Lodge where Clinton give his memorable I'm going to be with you until the last dog dies speech, that I'm building on Clinton legacy. Pro-jobs, socially-progressive, out-spoken on values, and strong on security.

And that's unique among the candidates. I'm the only one with a 30-year record that they can look at and say, I know what kind of president Joe Lieberman will be. I didn't just get dropped in here out of nowhere.

WOODRUFF: Senator, I hear you saying you lay claim to the Clinton legacy and yet you've got other candidate in this race who are suggesting by doing that Democrats are not staking out enough of a claim of their own, moving the party to challenge President Bush.

I mean, clearly, Howard Dean is making that argument. Other candidates making that argument, that the only way a Democrat wins this year -- or any year in the near term, is to stand up to President Bush, distinguish the party from President Bush.

LIEBERMAN: Well, I think we've got to learn from the lessons of history. And remember that Bill Clinton beat the former President Bush by standing up for new ideas, finding common ground and telling the American middle class that he understood the stress they were under and, as president, he would stick with them until the last dog died. And I must say, at the end of his term as he likes to say, the last dog was still barking. Plenty of dogs were barking.

And that's what I'm going to do. I mean this is about an affirmative vision. You're not going to get elected president by just being angry and negative. I'm the unifying bridge building -- built on 30 years of experience, progressive, strong on security, alternative. And I'm putting the choice before the voters in the Democratic primaries and I have confidence that they'll make the right choice.

WOODRUFF: Senator, I want to raise one other point. And this too comes from Howard Dean. He is saying yesterday essentially that you and the other Democrats in Washington who voted with President Bush last year on the war in Iraq were making an election year decision, a decision facing an election year, feeling the pressure to get that issue off the table. And this is something that voters should consider. What do you say about that?

LIEBERMAN: Well, just absolutely wrong for Howard Dean to have said that. In the first place I didn't need George Bush to convince me that statement Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator, an enemy of the United States and we'd be a lot safer with him gone. In fact, John McCain and I sponsored a law that made that American policy in 1988.

When I voted to authorize the war against Saddam Hussein in the fall of 2002, I had no illusions, Judy. I knew that would be a controversial decision among Democrats. And I did it, nonetheless, because I believed it was right for the safety of our country. And there's no question in my mind that today, with Saddam Hussein in prison, we're a lot safer.

If Howard Dean and Wes Clark had their way, Saddam Hussein would still be in power, not in prison and the American people and the world would be a lot less safe. So I feel that I made the right decision in American history. I think historians will look back at it and say, how could others have felt otherwise about it.

WOODRUFF: Senator Joe Lieberman joining us this day in New Hampshire. Thank you, Senator. We appreciate it.

LIEBERMAN: Thank you, Judy. Take care. Have a good day.

WOODRUFF: Thank you.

Also on the trail in New Hampshire, Wesley Clark, contending that a 2002 statement he made about a connection between Iraq and al Qaeda is consistent with his views today.

In numerous campaign events, Clark has said there is no link between Iraq and al Qaeda. But while endorsing a House candidate in New Hampshire over a year ago, a reporter asked Clark about a possible connection between the two. And here's some of what Clark said then.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP -- 2002) CLARK: Certainly there's a connection between Iraq and al Qaeda. And I'm going to go here beyond what I've read in the intelligence that's been published and tell you what my experience has been (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

Intelligence organizations are connected in some way. In other words, their job, they don't have the same kind of protection between foreign intelligence (UNINTELLIGIBLE) we as American citizens enjoy. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) secret police know what's going on in that country and they have their connection with other intelligence agencies.


WOODRUFF: That videotape, we want to tell you, was given to CNN by the campaign of one of Clark's opponents. So, what's it like in the trenches where the hard work that really wins votes is going on? We made a quick visit to Howard Dean's headquarters in Des Moines to see his campaign operation first hand.


WOODRUFF: Here we are at Dean headquarters. It's Monday, late afternoon, and we wanted to look around and see what's here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Setting things up for his finance...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a volunteer with Governor Howard Dean's presidential campaign.

WOODRUFF: Tell me about the volunteers. The sign says volunteer center. Who are these volunteers?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a great number of volunteers. Instate volunteers, out of state volunteers, union volunteers.

WOODRUFF: You came all the way from Iowa?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's going to win.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he's the greatest. He's going to be the next president of the United States, Howard Dean.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm from right here in Des Moines. I go to the school at University of Kansas.

WOODRUFF: So what is it about Howard Dean?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really think that he's the candidate for young people. I think he understands what young people hope for this country and what our goals are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're making thousands of phone calls all of the time. The phone banks are full all day. This is Katie, one of our volunteers as well.

WOODRUFF: Hi, Katie (ph).


WOODRUFF: Where are you from?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm from Des Moines. I'm really interested in the campaign process. I agree with a lot of Dean's views and stuff. So I thought I would come down and help.

WOODRUFF: "Latinos for Dean." What does that mean?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have already six volunteers that are in Iowa, Ten more are coming from the rest of the country to help mobilize the Latino vote.

WOODRUFF: Big Latino vote in Iowa?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Large Latino vote in Iowa. It's unprecedented. It's never been done before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ask if you're planning on (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for Dean next Monday?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been really inspired by all of the people I work with and how hard working everyone in the local areas of Iowa have been organizing and calling their social networks and helping us out. So it's been awesome.


WOODRUFF: Dean headquarters last night in Des Moines.

Some of the presidential campaigns are already looking beyond Iowa and a new target. Coming up, "Hotline" editor Chuck Todd is right here next to me on the movement to stop Wesley Clark.

Also, we will catch up with the man who made it to the Democratic nomination in 1988, but not to the White House.

And Dick Gephardt takes on evening away from the campaign trail just for laughs.


WOODRUFF: With me now to share some of what he's learned here in Iowa is Chuck Todd. He's the editor-in-chief of "The Hotline" an insiders political briefing produced every day by the "National Journal."

Chuck, last night I was talking to Gordon Fisher, chairman of the Iowa state Democratic party. He is worried at this point about networks on caucus night reporting when the caucuses get under way, what they've learned, what the networks have learned in the so-called entrance polls. What he's worried about is people leaving the caucuses, just kind of giving up before they finished grouping and regrouping and so forth. What do you think?

CHUCK TODD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "THE HOTLINE": Campaigns are even more paranoid. Campaign managers are paid to be paranoid. But I've talked to two of them who are petrified of the entrance poll, not because of information it's going to find out but because maybe some network, one of the cable networks, you know, it's a consortium, I think, six different media, it could be one of the wire services, will characterize the attendance, that more people came to caucus for candidate X than any other, therefore, all of a sudden, inside the caucuses, where we have cell phones and PDAs, there will be all of this information that, hey, so and so's won.

During these groupings, somehow the caucuses will get manipulated a little bit. Maybe candidate Y who was supposed to win find out you're not and all of a sudden, they're disbursing. What they've trained their precinct captains to do, at least two of these folks, is to make sure that the...

WOODRUFF: Do you need a mike? Do we need a mike?

TODD: Sorry about that. They trained the precinct captains to teach, to yell out themselves and say, oh, you heard from that network? We just heard from that network that our guy's winning. It's disinformation campaign that's going to go on in the caucuses literally to prevent people from walking out.

WOODRUFF: Again, it's a new world, again, with cell phones.

TODD: It's the new world. It's the technology.

WOODRUFF: So-called blackberries.

TODD: We're all going to find out what the networks are saying while they're in the caucuses. It's very strange. Very different from '88.

WOODRUFF: At least we won't be asking some questions about this so we can clarify what our policy is at CNN and other networks. All right, separately. You picked up some information about negative campaigning. What are you hearing?

TODD: First of all, up until today, we weren't seeing any negative TV ads. In fact, every day, people would go home to their mailboxes and see four or five of these things showing up in their mailboxes. Well, the Dean folks, the SCIU, one of the service unions that is supporting Dean says, now has a new mailer out saying "don't believe all of the negative mail you're seeing out there."

And it's sort of a negative mail piece that's kind of positive but what's bizarre about the piece is that it repeats all of the negative stuff that's being said about Dean. There is some other campaigns that are excited about this piece because they think it's actually being very helpful to them because it's getting the negative message out there. Hopefully somebody will hear me as I'm talking.

WOODRUFF: We've got the mike on.

TODD: We're working on it. Live television.

WOODRUFF: Last question, very quickly. Stop Wes Clark, what are you hearing about that?

TODD: Well, it's funny, you know, for two months, we kept hearing about the stop Dean movement. Now, every campaign I talk to here in Iowa has one eye here and one eye on the New Hampshire tracking polls which every day, show Wesley Clark inching up.

They're worried that the media, if they don't perform well here, these are the candidates of Edwards, Gephardt and Kerry in particular, the media is going to write them off and suddenly create this Dean/Clark movement.

So there's almost this stop Clark movement going on. Kerry went negative on him for the first time. He's got generals stomping for him in New Hampshire, generals for Kerry. Gephardt today for the first time, mentioning doing a negative ad in New Hampshire talking about trade, mentioning Wesley Clark by name. The only candidate who hasn't done it is John Edwards because he's Mr. Nice Guy. He's going to have to do something if they do get some kind of wind behind their back. The stop Clark movement may be the new en vogue thing over the stop Dean movement.

WOODRUFF: So they're focusing on Iowa but they've got to keep an eye on New Hampshire. Chuck Todd, "The Hotline," it's always great to see you.

TODD: Yes, hopefully, I'll do better.

WOODRUFF: Next time we'll get the mike on you at the beginning of the interview. Chuck, thank you very much.

Coming up, the Democrat who tried to keep the first George Bush out of the White House.

I'll ask 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis what he thinks about the current Democratic field.


WOODRUFF: Some people compare the 2004 Democratic presidential battle to 1988. That year also featured a large field of candidates and a wide-open race. The man who eventually captured the nomination was Michael Dukakis, then the governor of Massachusetts. He joins me now from Los Angeles.

Governor, thank you for being with me. First off, please size up the Democratic contest. As you see it are the polls right now, do you think?

MICHAEL DUKAKIS (D), FRM. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I wouldn't pay any attention to the polls, Judy. The polls are notoriously unreliable, not because they're not good polls but because this is a volatile race just as it was in '88. What happens in Iowa will have a profound effect of what happens in New Hampshire. What happens in New Hampshire will have a big impact on the rest of race.

I think what we're seeing is very much a replay in some ways of what happened in 1988 where we had, what?, seven candidates and it was wide open. And fortunately thanks to the good people of Iowa I did pretty well Iowa and then was able to win and win in New Hampshire and go on and win the nomination.

WOODRUFF: You did come in third in Iowa and of course went on to win later. Win the nomination. What is the significance of the Iowa caucuses?

DUKAKIS: I think it's your first test really of how people respond to you. Iowans are very special people. I mean I love them, they were very good to me and very good to me in the final. I beat George Bush the elder by a decisive margin in Iowa.

But you're on the ground, you're campaigning with real people. I was in every one of those 99 counties, Kitty was in 75 of them. I spent 85 campaign days in the state of Iowa.

But it was a wonderful experience. Not only that, it gives you a chance to really demonstrate what you've got with some people that care very deeply about their state and their country and about their politics.

WOODRUFF: You said don't pay attention to the polls, but right now you know Dean is ahead.

DUKAKIS: Nobody's ahead, Judy.


DUKAKIS: I wouldn't pay any attention to that.

WOODRUFF: How do you know that?

DUKAKIS: Because these polls are notoriously unreliable in the early primaries. I mean I started at zero. The front runner in the national polls at this point in our race was Gary Hart. And he didn't make it out of Iowa.

So I wouldn't say pay any attention to the numbers. It's what happens in those caucuses, it's the organization of the crowds. It's what happens in New Hampshire where I guarantee you 80 percent of the people that are going to vote in that primary haven't made up their minds. And then what happens after that?

WOODRUFF: So you're saying whoever comes in first in Iowa makes no difference after that? Is that what you're saying?

DUKAKIS: I didn't say that. But I wouldn't pay any attention to the poll numbers now. Obviously what happens in those caucuses and what actually happens when people in New Hampshire vote is going to be important. But I wouldn't pay any attention to these numbers.

WOODRUFF: Governor, what about the argument going around in Democratic circles that Howard Dean, if he got the nomination, couldn't beat George W. Bush?

DUKAKIS: Well, we hear that all of the time. I remember, who was it, Jimmy Carter, a lot of people said this guy can't win. You just don't mow know.

Obviously, Judy, I'm no expert in how to win a final election. So I'm the last guy in the world to ask. But the primary contest is a real test. If you make it through the primary, you've at least got some stuff.

And then the question is, can you put it together in a final. Unfortunately I was unable to go do that. Could Howard Dean do that? Sure he could.

WOODRUFF: Size up these other Democrats. Dick Gephardt, you ran against him 16 years ago.


WOODRUFF: Does he have a serious shot in this campaign?

DUKAKIS: Sure, he's got a shot.

Now look, a little truth in advertising. John Kerry was my lieutenant governor, he was terrific lieutenant governor. He's been my senator for 18 years. I'm a Kerry guy.


DUKAKIS: But I think it's a strong field. I'm very impressed. They are working hard. And I'm very encouraged. I think we're going to end up with a good strong nominee and then we're going to have ourselves a battle in the final. And I think we can win it.

WOODRUFF: To the rest of the country watching all of this, what do you say? People who say, why would Iowa and New Hampshire have this kind of early influence, what do you say?

DUKAKIS: Well that's the luck of the draw, I guess. On the other hand, as I discovered, I did reasonably well in Iowa, I won in New Hampshire, did pretty well on Super Tuesday. The I got absolutely creamed in Illinois, got beaten in Michigan. I mean this is a long race, even with the tightness of the schedules.

So it's going to go on for some time. And it's going to be a while before we know who the nominee is going to be.

WOODRUFF: All right. A very modest Governor Michael Dukakis joining us on this Tuesday before the Iowa caucuses. Governor, great to see you.

DUKAKIS: Thanks for having me. WOODRUFF: Thanks very much for talking with me. Wee appreciate it.

INSIDE POLITICS will be right back. The crowd is gathering here at Iowa State University.


WOODRUFF: Ames, Iowa, the home of the Iowa State Cyclones, that's right where we are, on the campus of Iowa State.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff. Tomorrow I will be in Iowa City, home of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes. I'll sit down with Democratic hopeful John Kerry, tomorrow, 3:30 Eastern.

But that's it for today. Now on to "CROSSFIRE."


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