CNN American Morning

Iowa City, IA, Monday, January 19, 2004

BYLINE: Bill Hemmer

HIGHLIGHT: Dean discusses the polls that show that he's gone from the front runner in Iowa to a close race and that Senator John Kerry may be in the lead. He says the voters will decide and discusses his vision for the country.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Back here in Des Moines, Iowa right now, Howard Dean has run an Internet fueled, anti-Washington, anti-war campaign from the very start. For months here in Iowa, he was the front runner. In polling all across the state, Howard Dean was always number one. But a series of withering attacks from his rivals bringing the contest now to a four way fight.

The former Vermont governor right now joins me from Iowa City.

Nice to see you, Governor Dean.

Good morning to you.


How are you this lovely Iowa morning.

HEMMER: I'm doing just fine. Yes, that it is, two degrees outside, real temperature 14 below. It's going to be cold later tonight.

Do you consider John Kerry the front runner?

DEAN: Oh, I don't know who's the front runner. I think the people of Iowa are going to decide that tonight, that's one thing for sure. Look, we've brought a lot of new people to this party and they're all out working like crazy knocking on doors. We're going to see a huge turnout and it's, a lot of it's going to be people who haven't voted before. That's what this campaign is all about, is taking back Washington for ordinary Americans.

HEMMER: Governor, the local paper, the "Des Moines Register," says this about your campaign, suggesting you peaked too soon too early.

Did you come out too fast, too strong?

DEAN: I think what people want to decide this afternoon or this evening is do they want health insurance from an experienced governor who's provided that and provided balanced budgets and do they want somebody from outside Washington to take on George Bush. You know, the Democrats in Washington are all good people that are running against me, but they all supported the war. They supported no child left behind. They haven't done what Democrats need to do in order to win the election. That's what this caucus is about and in about 14 hours from now, we're going to find out who the front runner is.

HEMMER: Your wife Judy, rarely on the campaign trail with you. She was out yesterday in Iowa.

What does that suggest, bringing your wife along with you yesterday for the first time in this campaign that we've seen?

DEAN: Well, I've always said that Judy would some campaigning. She is a full-time doctor and she-we have a son at home who's a senior in high school. So family has always come first for us, and it will continue to come first. But I was delighted that she could take a day and come out. We just, she just came out for the day and it was great. And it was great for me, of course, to have her next to me.

HEMMER: Yes, governor, there's a suggestion in the state that if you do not win, that's a disappointment.

What does a second place finish do to your campaign?

DEAN: We're not planning on a second place finish. We've got thousands of young people and older people who haven't voted for years coming to this state to knock on doors and get people out, and that's what we're going to do. So, you know, tomorrow we'll have a chance to talk about who did what and what it all meant. We want to win this caucus. We've worked here for two years, 99 counties. We want to win in Iowa and this is-this battle tonight, that's starting at 6:30, is all about what kind of a country do you want. Do you want a country of special interests and corporate control inside Washington or do you want a different kind of a country with a strong president who's willing to stand up when it counts?

HEMMER: You've picked up countless endorsements throughout this entire campaign. You picked up another one yesterday, Jimmy Carter, who really put the Iowa caucuses on the map back in 1976, again in 1980. You were down in Plains, Georgia.

Do you believe these endorsements are helping you? And, if so, why is that not reflected in the polling?

DEAN: Well, to be-just let's be candid about this, Jimmy Carter did not issue a formal endorsement, although I was delighted to be by his side and he was very, very complimentary. I do think they help. I mean people love Jimmy Carter in this state. I think Jimmy Carter is a loved figure all over America for his moral standing and the way he has conducted himself in helping others since he's left the presidency. And so of course it's a wonderful thing for Jimmy Carter to give me a blessing and I appreciated the opportunity very much.

HEMMER: Your final day today. You've spent about 80 days in the State of Iowa.

How will you spend the day today, Governor?

DEAN: We're going to do the same thing we've always been doing. We're going to be meeting people all across the state. We're going to a Martin Luther King observance ceremony a little earlier, then trying to get people to get out the vote.

HEMMER: Howard Dean, thank you for your time.

DEAN: Thank you very much.

HEMMER: Iowa City this morning.

We'll track you throughout the day and later tonight.

You've got it.

We'll talk to you very soon.

The top of the hour, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry is our guest here on AMERICAN MORNING. Stay tuned for that.

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

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