CNN Judy Woodruff's Inside Politics

Nashua, NH, January 23, 2004

GUESTS: Howard Dean, Bill Shaheen, Stephen Colbert, Patrick Healy

BYLINE: Judy Woodruff, Candy Crowley, Dan Lothian, Jeanne Meserve, William Schneider, Ron Brownstein, Stuart Rothenberg

Howard Dean campaign is trying for a comeback. Then, interview with Howard Dean. Finally, Comedy Central is hosting a panel discussion in Manchester tomorrow with Jon Stewart as mediator.


ANNOUNCER: The big chill. Are New Hampshire Democrats freezing out Howard Dean? Judy talks to Dean about his scramble to make a comeback.

HOWARD DEAN (D), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think we're starting to get the momentum back. Starting to today. And anyway, we closed the gap. Whether we can close it all the way or not I don't know. That's up to the people of New Hampshire.

ANNOUNCER: From underdog to top dog, can John Kerry keep the momentum going through Tuesday's pivotal primary?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, I applaud you, because you are the next President of the United States.

ANNOUNCER: We'll have live reports from our correspondents covering the candidates as they crisscross New Hampshire. But there's a New generation of reporters on the trail, too.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I usually don't get a chance to do this but, you know, Judy Woodruff...


ANNOUNCER: Now, live from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS.

JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: What did you think about that? Well, thank you for joining us here in Portsmouth, the nation's third oldest city on the Piscataqua River, dividing New Hampshire and Maine. Heading into the final weekend before the lead-off presidential primary, let's begin with the big picture.

Our daily tracking poll shows John Kerry now leading Howard Dean by 12 points, 34 percent to 22 percent. Wesley Clark has 17 percent, John Edwards 12. This poll was taken Tuesday through Thursday after the Iowa caucuses, but before last night's Democratic debate.

Our trend line shows Kerry has gained nine points in New Hampshire just this past week, while Dean has lost 10 points. Clark's support has inched downward, while Edwards numbers have crept up. This all helps explain the shift.

Eighty-six percent of likely Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire say that Kerry has a kind of personality that a president should have. About three-quarters say that about Clark and about Edwards. But only 50 percent say they think that Dean's personality is presidential. I sat down with Howard Dean at a restaurant in Nashua today, and I asked him if his campaign can survive a loss here in New Hampshire.


HOWARD DEAN (D), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We'll be in South Carolina the 29th of January for the debate down there, and then we're going to be going to New Mexico and Arizona. I haven't figured out the itinerary yet. That's what we're doing.

WOODRUFF: So even after-in other words, after two significant losses, you think the voters would take a third look at Howard Dean? Is that really what we're talking about here?

DEAN: You know, this is not just about Howard Dean going to the White House. This is about the American people taking their country back. And you know, I like all the people I'm running against, but they're all Washington insiders. This is about ordinary people getting rid of the special interests and having a real opportunity to take their country back.


WOODRUFF: More of my interview with Howard Dean just ahead on INSIDE POLITICS.

Our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley, has been following Dean on the trail today. She's with us now from Manchester-Candy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Judy, as you know, it was a devastating third in Iowa and then, of course, that controversial concession speech in Des Moines. Yesterday, Howard Dean was in full damage control mode.

He first put in a very sedate debate performance, no harm, no foul, stay on policy. Then there was that hand-holding, sweater- wearing interview with his wife on network TV, where Howard Dean showed his deliberative, his softer side. And then he capped off the night with an appearance on “David Letterman,” giving the top 10 ways he can turn his campaign around.

Today, it was back on the trail looking very much like business as usual. And what Dean found is that there are still some true believers who still believe.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Governor Dean. My name is Cheryl Whitney (ph). I'm from Derry. And just for the record, I really enjoyed your speech in Iowa.



CROWLEY: End of that, “Well, take that, CNN.” So we will take that and tell you that what Howard Dean is trying to do at the moment is stick to his roots, talk policy, talk about his successes in Vermont; try to make no mistakes. And he believes it's working.

This was Dean along the campaign trail.


DEAN: I believe we've turned this around in New Hampshire. We've got a long way to go to catch up from the loss in Iowa, but I think we have turned it around. We're seeing some indications of that. And I think we can win it, too. In the last four days-New Hampshire is a state that, one, likes underdogs, and two, it likes-New Hampshire likes people who stand up and say what they think.


CROWLEY: Certainly, as you know, Judy, Dean has the money to go on. The question is, will he have the support Tuesday in the primary?

He seemed determined not to make any news in these closing days. Although I know, as you know, he had some remarks about the Federal Reserve board chairman. I know he talked to you about those, Judy, in your interview. So we will see if he can go the next couple of days without making any news but good news-Judy.

WOODRUFF: That's the question for the weekend to come until Tuesday. All right. Candy, thanks very much.

Well back when Howard Dean was the front-runner, new endorsements seemed to come his way almost every day. Now that John Kerry is leading the pack, though, big names are suddenly rushing to his side.

A Kerry campaign source tells CNN's Kelly Wallace that former vice President Walter Mondale is set to endorse Kerry. A statement expected later today.

Campaigning here in New Hampshire today, Kerry kept trying to stay above the fray, talking about health care, and continuing to court fellow veterans.


KERRY: We have the money for tax cuts for people who earn more than $200,000 a year, but we don't have the money for our veterans. Well, ladies and gentlemen, this campaign is about making it clear not just to veterans, but to everybody in this country, that we're not going to take any lessons in patriotism from those who don't understand that the first definition of patriotism is keeping faith with those who wore the uniform of our country.


WOODRUFF: You can see more of Senator Kerry in just under an hour when he steps into the “CROSSFIRE” with Paul Begala and Robert Novak. That's at 4:30 p.m. Eastern.

We check in on other White House hopefuls in today's “Campaign News Daily.” Wesley Clark is accusing the sponsors of the latest Democratic debate of emphasizing issues that do not matter much to voters. Clark was questioned last night about his past votes for Republican presidents. On the trail today he said he believed voters understand that he's a Democrat.

John Edwards is denouncing what he calls “war profiteers” winning contracts to rebuild Iraq. Edwards told factory workers in Concord that companies appear to be winning contracts in Iraq in part because of their political contributions to the president. Edwards is stumping in South Carolina this afternoon, hoping to beef up support before the February 3 primary there.

Joe Lieberman is again defending his support for the Iraq war, saying that Saddam Hussein himself was a weapon of mass destruction. And Lieberman told reporters in Manchester today that he thought he was at his best in last night's debate.

Guess who's coming to New Hampshire next? President Bush. He's scheduled to come here on Thursday, two days after the Democratic primary. So his would-be rivals should have cleared out of the state by then.

We're going to have live reports on the Clark and the Edwards campaign later on INSIDE POLITICS.

Also just ahead, my interview with Howard Dean. Would he try to get rid of Fed chairman Alan Greenspan? Find out what Dean is saying.

Plus, inside Kerry campaign headquarters. I'll take you along for a sneak peek.

And New Hampshire is set to become “Comedy Central.” We'll talk to a “Daily Show” correspondent who's playing the campaign for laughs.

This is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.


WOODRUFF: INSIDE POLITICS coming to you from beautiful Portsmouth, New Hampshire today.

Well, at his campaign stops, Howard Dean is reminding Granite State voters today that New Hampshire likes to undo what Iowa does. And Dean says he has a feeling that his situation in New Hampshire will improve before next Tuesday's primary. In an exclusive interview today, we sat down this afternoon at the popular Martha's Exchange Restaurant in Nashua to talk about the state of his campaign.


WOODRUFF: Governor, thank you very much for taking time here in Nashua.

DEAN: Happy to do it.

WOODRUFF: The analysts are looking at the polls and they're saying the momentum has left your campaign, it shifted to John Kerry. They're saying you could come in a distant second in New Hampshire, maybe even third. What do you believe?

DEAN: I think we're starting to get the momentum back. Starting today. I think we're going to close the gap. Whether we can close it all the way or not, I don't know. That's up to the people of New Hampshire.

WOODRUFF: Do you have evidence that things are turning around? I mean, is there...

DEAN: It's just a feeling that I have when I'm going to groups. They're really wanting to hear the message. There are a lot of undecideds coming. There are undecideds telling people they were nervous about it, but now they're with us.

WOODRUFF: You have embarked on, some would say, a rehabilitation campaign. You went on an ABC program last night. In the debate you were more restrained than people were accustomed to seeing. You were on “David Letterman” last night. Is this working for you, do you think?

DEAN: Well, I think there's two things going on. First is, yes, it's working. And I think a little ability to laugh at yourself is always a good thing. And that's what you need when you're not the front-runner anymore.

And the other thing is that I think the American people have seen that tape so many times they actually don't think it's as bad as the inside-the-Beltway people think it is. Some of them like it. So, you know, I can't explain it, but I think it's a little overplay.

WOODRUFF: But if it happens-this primary is only four days away. I mean, obviously every minute counts at this point. If you're not able to turn it around, if you do end up coming back a distant second or worse, can you keep going? I mean, do you have the resources?

DEAN: Yes. We'll be in South Carolina on the 29th of January for the debate down there. And then we're going to be going to New Mexico and Arizona. I haven't figured out the itinerary yet. That's what we're doing.

WOODRUFF: So even after-in other words, after two significant losses, you think the voters would take a third look at Howard Dean? Is that really what we're talking about here?

DEAN: You know, this is not just about Howard Dean going to the White House. This is about the American people taking their country back. And you know I like all the people I'm running against, but they're all Washington insiders.

This is about ordinary people getting rid of the special interests and having a real opportunity to take their country back. And that is what this is for. That's what the whole campaign is for. So that message never goes away.

WOODRUFF: So those analysts who were saying those impressions from earlier this week are the kind of impressions that never go away, your answer is?

DEAN: You know, my test is, if you turn off the tape, turn off the sound, the times that I've done badly on television I turn off the sound and I looked really grumpy. And this time I didn't. I was joyful. I was-you know, I had a big smile on my face.

Some people have said it wasn't presidential, and it certainly wasn't. But it was pumping up 3,500 kids waving American flags that worked their heart out for me. I can't make an apology for that. You know, all I'm going to do is go out and do what I know how to do best, which is stand up for ordinary people again, which is not happening in Washington.

Look, what's not happening in this race is you have the Republican, George Bush, promising a trillion-dollar tax cut when he already has a half a trillion deficit. You have all the Democrats promising middle class tax cuts, health insurance, everything else. I think we ought to balance the budget. I'd like to hear somebody talk about that, because we're not going to have jobs in this country again unless we balance the budget.

WOODRUFF: Speaking of the economy, just a few minutes ago to this crowd-well, earlier this morning you were talking about Alan Greenspan, and you said you think he's making decisions that are too political. And you think the fact that he went along with the Bush tax cuts means that he ought to be replaced.

Does that mean if you're elected you would remove him before his term is up?

DEAN: No, of course not.

WOODRUFF: So then what are you saying?

DEAN: What I'm saying is what I'm looking for in the chairman of the Federal Reserve is Paul Volcker, who I think was the most significant figure in America during the '80s. He's the person who finally pushed us back into a position where we could get rid of inflation and grow the economy by making some very courageous decisions, and Alan Greenspan, who has done a fine job.

Except the two times I question his judgment are his support about the Bush tax cuts, which has driven us into deficit, and then not coming out and standing strongly about the danger that these kind of deficits pose to us. That's a concern of mine.

I think you've got to be above politics to be chairman of the Federal Reserve. And I think Chairman Greenspan has not made it clear in the last year or so that he's truly above politics.

WOODRUFF: Governor, another thing. Last night in the debate you tied the votes of your opponents, John Kerry, John Edwards, Joe Lieberman, to the deaths of 500 U.S. servicemen in Iraq and thousands of service people wounded in Iraq. Are you saying that they bear some of the responsibility for those casualties?

DEAN: Sure, sure. If you vote to send people to war, you bear responsibility for the casualties.

WOODRUFF: That's a pretty heavy thing to lay on them, isn't it?

DEAN: I think it's a pretty heavy thing to vote to go to war. It's the most awesome and difficult decision that any chief executive ever has. If I become president, I'll have to make that decision. It's a very difficult decision.

I've had to make that kind of decision before on a patient-by- patient basis, and it's not easy. If you vote to go to war, or if you're the president and you send people to war, you have a responsibility for the deaths of the people that you've sent. And I think that ways heavily on everybody who ever sent anybody to war.


WOODRUFF: Talking to Howard Dean today in Nashua, New Hampshire. We'll have a little more of that interview at the top of the hour.


WOODRUFF: All right. Jeanne Meserve following the John Edwards campaign. Jeanne, thank you very much.

We honestly hate to dwell too much on polls, but let's face it, they help us and the candidates get a sense of where this race stands. So in case you missed these numbers earlier, our New Hampshire tracking poll shows John Kerry widening his lead over Howard Dean to 12 points. We should note that some other tracking polls show Kerry ahead by a slightly wider margin. And at least one survey shows Wesley Clark moving into second place ahead of Dean.

Howard Dean has been working hard to recover lost ground here in New Hampshire. He continues to try to show what you might call his kinder, gentler side on the trail, and on television, an antidote he apparently hopes to his now infamous concession speech in Iowa. In a new television ad running in the Granite state, Dean veers away from the kind of attacks that seemed to hurt him in Iowa.

Among other things, the spot highlights Dean's opposition to the war in Iraq. In my interview with Dean earlier today I asked him about the war as a political issue since it apparently was not a major factor for caucus goers in Iowa.


DEAN: My campaign has never been about the war in Iraq. You all made it that way because I was the only guy who stood up against the war in Iraq. My campaign was about health insurance for all Americans and balancing the budget and telling the truth about what's going on in this country so that ordinary people would get their share of the goodies that we create in this country.

Right now we have a president who signed a pharmaceutical bill where the money goes to insurance companies and drug companies. An agriculture bill where the money goes to corporate farms. An energy bill where the money goes to gas and oil revenues. Where are the American people getting anything back from this government?


WOODRUFF: Again, part of that interview today with Howard Dean in Nashua.

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

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