Connie Chung Tonight

December 16, 2002

CONNIE CHUNG, HOST: ...And that future is now wide open for the Democrats running for president.

One of the half-dozen or so often mentioned is Vermont Governor Howard Dean, who joins us now from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the state that holds the nation's first big party contest, the Iowa caucuses.

Thank you, Governor, for being with us.

GOV. HOWARD DEAN (D), VERMONT: Thanks for having me on, Connie.

CHUNG: All right, yesterday, you did say that it was a bittersweet day when you found out that Al Gore was not running in 2004. Now, you're running for president. It had to be a terrific day for you.

DEAN: Well, it is a good day in the sense that Al Gore and I actually shared something in common. We are the only people who are not in Congress. And we are the only people that have opposed the president's resolution on Iraq. We are the only people that did not support the president's education bill, because it's such a big unfunded mandate, it is going to raise a lot of property taxes around the country.

And now that the vice president is out, I am so very different than all the other candidates who are running, all of whom are from inside the Beltway, because I'm a governor. They're going to talk about health insurance. And they're good people. But I've done health insurance for every kid under the age of 18.

CHUNG: Governor...

DEAN: These are the kinds that make different primaries -- that make primaries interesting and set people apart.

CHUNG: Governor, with all due respect, I don't think a lot of people know who Howard Dean is.

DEAN: That's true.

CHUNG: Early polls show that you're down at maybe 1, 2 percent. Now, running for president costs a lot of money. Bush collected and spent maybe $70 million. Gore spent about $40 million. How are you going to play in this high-stakes game when you come from a small state?

DEAN: Well, part of it is, we are putting place the raising of the money now. I'm in Iowa here putting together an organization. We are going to announce our Iowa coordinator tomorrow.

A lot of it is message, though, as I said before. That's a disadvantage that I have. Everybody's from Washington. They all have fund-raising networks. The advantage I have is, I'm a governor. I've done it. And I have not done what so many Democrats in Washington have done, which is to try to pretend they're almost as Republican as the Republican president.

I think, if you want to beat the president, you have to know who you are. You have to be proud of the Democratic Party values. I think we ought to have a health insurance system in this country that includes everybody. And we've done a lot of that in Vermont. I think we can do that in the country as a whole. But, in Washington, they're mired down over arguing about things like the patient's bill of rights.

So, the advantage I have is message and being willing to stand up for a traditional Democratic message and Democratic values.

CHUNG: Governor Dean, thank you so much for being with us.

DEAN: Thank you.

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