CNN's Inside Politics

Clips and Interview, January 14, 2003

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ANNOUNCER: How do you rise from the bottom of the Democratic pack? Presidential hopeful Howard Dean shares his strategy.

HOWARD DEAN, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think people would like to be told the truth for a change, and that's what I plan to do in the campaign.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean is here in Washington today, trying to drum up support for his presidential campaign. I spoke with Dean this morning about his disadvantages and his assets when compared with other Democratic candidates with bigger names and bigger political resumes.


(voice-over): Howard Dean may be way back in the polls, but he's getting a lot of attention, as you can see by the standing-room-only crowd at the National Press Club. What's the appeal? For one, he's a former governor in a field crowded with senators and he says he's not afraid to take tough positions.

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm running as the candidate who is not afraid to tell the truth. Everybody I'm running against in the Democratic Party voted for the Iraq resolution. I think every one of them voted for the Every Child Left Behind bill, the school bill the president has had, which is undoing American education. The state of Ohio has already reduced its standards. And that's exactly the opposite of what we should be doing.

They're now going to pass some tax cut which is going to put the budget out of balance even further. I think people would like to be told the truth for a change. And that's what I plan to do in the campaign. I think that's a pretty marketable commodity these days.

WOODRUFF: Dean says the president's tax plan is a budget buster and says his rival Democrats' tax cut proposals, such as a payroll tax cut, make no sense either.

DEAN: Here's the problem with the payroll tax holiday. It's a very attractive idea. The problem with it is, it's completely irresponsible. Who is going to play fill-in-the-gap with Medicare and Social Security? That's what the payroll tax pays for. If you take money out of that to give it as a tax increase, what's the difference between that and President Bush taking money out of Social Security in order to give tax increases, other than who it goes to?

I want a balanced budget. I've done that as a governor. Nobody else in this race has ever balanced a budget before.

WOODRUFF: One more point of contention with the other Democrats running: Iraq. Dean says he would have voted against the resolution giving the president authority to go to war with Iraq. And he says he will remain opposed until the president can prove that Saddam Hussein has nuclear weapons.

DEAN: We are amassing 200,000 troops on the borders of Iraq to disarm somebody who the president has never said possesses nuclear weapons. I think he needs to make that case to the American people before we're going to support sending our kids to die in Iraq.

WOODRUFF (on camera): So, you're saying if they're able -- if they come and say it and say, we have intelligence that proves it, but we can't share it all with you, that's enough for you.

DEAN: That's right. That's enough.

WOODRUFF (voice-over): Dean says he has not yet begun to raise serious money, a few hundred thousand dollars so far. But his proximity to the kickoff primary state of New Hampshire gives him a geographical edge.

If he does well in New Hampshire, he'll have to follow up, with the next significant contest likely to be in South Carolina, where the Confederate flag is a divisive issue.

(on camera): In the state of South Carolina, where you'll be campaigning, on the state Capitol grounds flies a flag with the insignia of the Confederate flag. Should that come down?

DEAN: I don't like it, but that's a matter for the people of South Carolina to settle, not me.

WOODRUFF: So, you wouldn't urge them to change it?

DEAN: I just said, I don't like it, but it's not for somebody from out of the state to fix that problem. That's an in-state problem.


WOODRUFF: Howard Dean talking to me a little earlier today.

Well, the GOP has its eye on Howard Dean in our Tuesday edition of the "Campaign News Daily." An e-mail sent to reporters and congressional offices criticizes Dean on a wide range of social issues. The mailing notes his stands on abortion, health care, and civil unions for gay couples and characterizes Dean as -- quote -- "an ultraliberal." Vermont's "Burlington Free Press" finds the label ironic, since Dean is considered a moderate in the state known for electing Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist, to Congress.

Howard Dean is among the Democrats heading to Iowa for one of the first so-called cattle calls. Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry are scheduled to join Dean at a party event this Saturday in Linn County. The Iowa caucuses are tentatively scheduled to be held 366 days later, January the 19th, 2004. But who's counting?

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