Howard Dean interview on Hardball
with Chris Matthews, December 1, 2003
ANNOUNCER: Live from the John F. Kennedy Institute of Politics at Harvard University, HARDBALL's battle for the White House.
Tonight our series of interviews with the Democratic candidates for president continues. Here's Chris Matthews.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: For the next hour-- he was governor of one of the nation's smallest states, but his opposition to the Iraqi war have made him-- some say-- the leading Democratic candidate for president. For the next hour former Vermont Governor-Howard Dean.
MATTHEWS: Thank you governor.
HOWARD DEAN, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: I forgot to say, but let's play HARDBALL.
DEAN: I had a feeling that was coming.
MATTHEWS: But Wendell Holmes described Franklin Governor Roosevelt as man possessed by a third-rate intellect, but a first-rate temperament. What do you think of that. And how would you rate yourself on those two scores?
DEAN: The temperament-We'll leave intellect out of it, but there temperament's fine most of the time. Most of the time.
MATTHEWS: If we elect you president, when can we count on the geyser going off?
DEAN: Probably not very actually. You know, I was re-elected five times as governor. If the geyser went off too long, I don't think I would have been re-elected five times.
MATTHEWS: But the last time was pretty tight, wasn't it?
DEAN: When was that?
MATTHEWS: The last re-election was close.
DEAN: It was. It was a little-actually it wasn't that close. It was a third party person in there. So, I still won by the same margin in 1998, but since it was a third party, I barely got 50 percent.
MATTHEWS: So they got to know you really well, and they squeaked...
DEAN: I signed a really controversial bill, and then I squeaked in the last time.
MATTHEWS: What was that called?
DEAN: It's called the civil unions bill. And it's a bill that allows gay couples to have the same rights as everybody else.
MATTHEWS: OK. We're going to get to that later. I want to find out what the difference is between a civil marriage-everybody wants a civil marriage. what's the difference between a civil union as described by Vermont law that you signed and a civil marriage?
What's the difference?
DEAN: The bill actually says marriage is between a man and a woman, but- or and same-sex couples may enter into a civil union and, therefore, have all the same legal rights as people who are married, including hospitalization, insurance rights, inheritance rights. There is no inequality of rights in the state of Vermont. We chose not to do gay marriage because there were many people who felt that marriage was a religious institution, and churches ought to be able to make their own decisions about who gets married and who doesn't. But we felt it was really important to do equal rights under the law for every single American, and Vermont is the only state in the country where everybody has the same rights as everyone else.
MATTHEWS: For all practical purposes, whether it's Vermont or New Mexico, is there any difference between civil union and civil marriage?
For practical reasons.
DEAN: Well, in terms of legal rights, no, there is not.
MATTHEWS: So why are we quibbling over a name?
Because marriage is very important to a lot of people who are pretty religious.
DEAN: Is it important to you, the name?
MATTHEWS: Would you fight for the word marriage not to be in a civil union agreement or civil union law?
MATTHEWS: If you wanted to go that direction.
DEAN: As president, no. As president-first of all, marriage none of the federal government's business. Marriage is a state issue. We chose not to do gay marriage in our state. California chose to do domestic partnerships. As president of the United States, if a state chooses to do gay marriage, that is their business. That is not the federal government's business. Equality under the law is what's important. How states get to that is their business, not the federal government's business. What I have said...
MATTHEWS: Are you confident of that? Scalia-- the Rehnquist-Scalia court went into the Lawrence case in Texas and said that the federal government had an interest in whether you can have what was called sodomy or not, legalized. And so obviously the federal government, through its courts, can interpose its judgment as to what are civil liberties are. How are you so confident that the federal government will not say what goes for Vermont, goes for the rest of the country?
You have to accept the Vermont or Massachusetts license out in the rest of the country?
DEAN: I actually, didn't say that. Here is where I am on these issues. I think equal rights under the law is critical. We fought for that in the 1950's and 1960's. It culminated in the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. Equal rights under the law for every single American. That's part of the American dream. Now, how you get there is going to be a state-by-state basis. Different states have different laws. as long as everybody is equal. Now, the question about equal rights for gay people. This federal government has often said you must have equal rights, but in terms of marriage, it doesn't say that you have to have marriage, it just says you have to have equal rights. And that's what I interpret the Texas decision to have meant. That we're not going to discriminate against people who are gay and lesbian. It did not say you have to allow gay marriage in your state. It did say there can be no discrimination, and I agree with that.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me ask you about the national policy or foreign policy. According to The Washington Post, today's paper, up in Manchester yesterday you said, Mr. President-- if you can pardon me. You are talking to President Bush sort of in third hand here. I'll teach you a little about defense.
What did you mean by that?
DEAN: I think the president did a great thing when he went to the Thanksgiving dinner in Baghdad. I think it gave the troops a great morale boost, but the truth is the president hadn't served our troops all that well. He sent them over there on what I believe was a series of reasons that turned out not to be true. And then when they got there, he doubled their term, so reservists over there spends 12 months, probably will lose their civil job, can't support their family, and then when-- one August night before the news dead-- or just after the news deadline, he tried to cut combat pay for the people in Iraq.
DEAN: He cut 164,000 veterans off their veterans administration benefits. That's not serving the troops well, and I think what I meant by that quote was, Mr. President, people matter. You can't expect to have a strong defense without treating the people who defend the United States of America, whether they're in Iraq or where I wouldn't have sent them in the first place-whether they're in Iraq or veterans at home. Let's see some money on the table to keep the promises you made though those veterans instead of sending the money to Ken Lay and boys at Enron with $3 trillion worth of tax cuts.
MATTHEWS: Howard Dean, this is what Senator John Kerry, who is running against you in Iowa and New Hampshire said, Howard Dean has zero, no foreign policy, military, national security experience.
If that's true, where does your expertise come from?
DEAN: Well, John Kerry and the other Democratic candidates and I all get advice from the same kinds of people, and in many cases the same people. Most people will advise many of the presidential candidates. And they do, and they're very good people. People like Madeleine Albright, Sandy Berger. Most of them from the Clinton administration, some not. Here is the interesting thing about this foreign policy stuff that...
MATTHEWS: Don't you think advisers define national policy or the president does?
DEAN: No, but I think any president-the president clearly makes up his mind or her mind.
MATTHEWS: Does this president make up his mind?
Do you think he is on his own or being pushed around by Cheney and the rest of them?
DEAN: I think this president-- I don't know because I'm not in the White House.
MATTHEWS: Do you have any confidence that this president is calling the shots?
DEAN: I think the president does make the last decision. I do think that. I think he gets a lot of advises. The problem is that the people he gets advice from are people he ought to not be paying so much attention to. If he paid more attention to Colin Powell and less attention to Dick-
Donald Rumsfeld, we wouldn't be in Iraq right now.
MATTHEWS: Do you think he would be a good secretary of state for you, Colin Powell?
DEAN: I think he would be a good secretary of state, period. He is a loyal person. He knows, what he is doing. And he has what-let's get back to the question...
MATTHEWS: Do you agree with him on foreign policy, Colin Powell?
DEAN: In many cases I do. I read his books. I like them a lot. You don't go into a place with no exit strategy. We clearly went into Iraq with not exit strategy.
Let me answer the question about Kerry's comments about my foreign policy.
DEAN: Kerry, Gephardt, Lieberman, Edwards and Wes Clark at first, all of us were in favor of this resolution that was a preemptive unilateral attacks on Iraq. I was not. We all had information from the papers. They presumably had some intelligence information, with the exception of Wes, who may have had some or not. He was out of the government by them. I came to a different conclusion because a lot of what is required of a president for foreign policy is judgment and patience. If I came to a different conclusion than they did, given the amount of trouble we're now in Iraq, given the fact that al Qaeda is in Iraq now and it wasn't there before, it seems to me that their kind of foreign policy experience is not the kind we want in the White House and mine is.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about-- let me ask you about your own almost-experience with the military back in 1970. Describe, if you can, just lay it out, what it was like-- how you got your deferment and how it worked. Tell me what happened that day.
DEAN: I was a-- I think I was a junior when the lottery came out.
My number was 143, which was a pretty low number. I figured I was going to get drafted. I knew I had a back problem. I had it for four years because I had back pain during my track career in high school. So I went down to have a draft physical in 1970. I think it was February. I went through the draft physical, which is like a scene from Alice's Restaurant, and-- for those of you who haven't seen Alice's Restaurant, and the-- the army-- they basically said we will not take you except in times of national emergency. So I failed my draft physical.
MATTHEWS: You make it sound rather passive.
Now, you have read The New York Times. You know how they described it-- quote-- In the winter of 1970, a 21-year-old student from Yale walked into his armed services physical in New York carrying X-rays and a letter from his orthopedist, eager to know whether a back condition might keep him out of the military draft.
Is that accurate? Did you carry materials into argue your case against being...
DEAN: Yes. No, I brought my-- I didn't argue any case.
MATTHEWS: Then why did you bring materials to a draft physical?
DEAN: Because I knew I had a back problem and I knew they would want to know about it. And they did know about it. And...
MATTHEWS: Did you do it with the idea this would help you get out of the draft or just, you thought it would be informative?
DEAN: No, I was not...
DEAN: I was not--
MATTHEWS: But, seriously, because you've been pretty honest about your attitude towards the Vietnam War.
DEAN: Yes. No, I was not looking forward to going to Vietnam.
There's no question about that.
MATTHEWS: Would an average poor kid growing up in a different part of New York City, say, from Harlem, say, who didn't have an orthopedist, didn't have X-rays, didn't have a letter from his doctor, he would have been drafted, wouldn't he?
DEAN: Not necessarily.
MATTHEWS: A Howard Dean that didn't have those materials, walk in, would have been drafted, right?
DEAN: That's the case that The New York Times tried to make. But, unfortunately, it's not accurate.
If you develop back pain, the Army is going to want to know about it. And they're going to want to find out why you have back pain. I had a condition that the Army decided did not qualify me for service.
MATTHEWS: How did you know that?
DEAN: Because I had back pain. And I had had it for four years. It prevented me from doing some things. And I went to an orthopedist, who took an X-ray. Now, even a poor kid would have an opportunity to go to a doctor.
DEAN: Beforehand, and say: What's the matter with my back? I can't do X-- in my case, run track anymore.
And so-- now, what I'm not doing, Chris, is making the case that the draft was fair. It was not.
DEAN: And it did discriminate against kids who did not have the means...
MATTHEWS: Did you feel good about having this advantage? You had more information about your health situation. You obviously had enough basic money to pay for health costs-- I mean information that you got to take in with you. Did you feel anything about the tens of thousands of people getting killed every year who didn't have those advantages?
DEAN: I thought the war was wrong.
MATTHEWS: What about the people who went to war to fight instead of you?
DEAN: I thought it was really important not to disrespect them. I think one of the things we have learned about the Iraq war is, support our troops, even though we may disagree with the fact that they're over there.
MATTHEWS: But did it bother you that some kid from the wrong part of town was taking your place? Because it bothered me.
DEAN: I never felt that way about it. I felt that, if they took me, they took me, and, if they didn't, they didn't. I never felt like somebody else was going to take my place.
MATTHEWS: You never felt, there, but for fortune, go you or me?
DEAN: No, because they wouldn't take me. It wasn't like I was trying to dodge the draft. All I did was say, hey, look, here is my information. Do with me what you will. And they did.
MATTHEWS: Do you think, if you hadn't brought that information in with you, they would have grabbed you and nailed you?
DEAN: You know, that's really interesting. That's what The New York Times asked me. And-- but they didn't put it in the article.
MATTHEWS: Let me you it as a question. Do you think they would have drafted if you hadn't brought that material with you?
DEAN: If I had concealed my condition and lied to them about my back pain?
MATTHEWS: Just didn't bring it in.
DEAN: No, I think they would have asked me, do you have any problems with your back or anything else? And I would have said, yes, I got a problem with my back.
MATTHEWS: When you went in to the draft board that day, were you hoping to get deferred?
DEAN: I was not looking forward to going to Vietnam.
MATTHEWS: Were you hoping to be deferred?
MATTHEWS: Thank you very much.
We're going to come right back. We got a lot of questions, an honest man in front of us here.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: The war in Iraq, Howard Dean is against it. But would he have supported the war if the French and Russians were aboard? I'll ask him.
We're coming back with HARDBALL's Battle For the White House, live from the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
ANNOUNCER: In Vermont, a governor's term is only two years long. Howard Dean became governor of Vermont in 1991 and won reelection five times.
You're watching HARDBALL's Battle For the White House.
MATTHEWS: Coming up: Howard Dean on the war in Iraq. He is one of President Bush's biggest critics, but what would he do positively?
I'll ask him when HARDBALL's Battle For the White House returns.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: We're back with Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont in neighboring Massachusetts.
Let's go to the first question.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Governor Dean, have you allowed the media to portray you and your policies as more liberal than they actually are?
DEAN: I haven't allowed them to do that. I don't have any choice over what they do.
DEAN: There's something funny about the media. Eventually, they do get it.
And there was an interesting article in The Los Angeles Times today about somebody who came to Vermont, spent the time, and found out that I was actually much more conservative than George Bush was about money, since he can't manage money and has a $500 trillion-- a $500 billion deficit.
DEAN: So, I figure, the media will get around to figuring out something about me eventually, right around the time of the general election.
MATTHEWS: You have to cross the country to Los Angeles to get a favorable story?
MATTHEWS: Let's go to the next question.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Governor Dean, you said you would-- you would bypass federal matching funds to compete financially with President Bush. But doing also frees you from spending caps in several key primary states. Will you still respect state spending limits? And, if not, how can you say you are committed to public financing, when you abandon the system because you can afford it, while others still abide by its limits?
DEAN: Well, actually, I abandoned the system not because we could afford it, but because we could beat George Bush that way. We planned the look, our campaign is campaign finance reform. We raised three times as much money as everybody else in the last quarter, average donation, $77 from 200,000 people. That is campaign finance reform.
Interestingly enough, one-quarter of all our donors are under 30 years old. This campaign is about taking back this country and giving it to the generation who's going to have to live with all the horrendous policies that George Bush is inflicting on us.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Governor Dean, could you tell us how your administration will actually get bin Laden?
DEAN: I think this president is conducting the war on terror in exactly the wrong way. About three months ago, ABC News smuggled uranium into Los Angeles, California, from Jakarta, Indonesia, and we didn't find out about it. That was the purpose, just to see if they could do it. And they did.
We're spending a lot of money in Iraq. We're spending money building tactical battlefield nuclear weapons, which are never going to be helpful fighting terrorism. And we're not spending money on human intelligence and on cyber-intelligence and on cargo inspection and on buying the enriched uranium stocks of the former Soviet Union. If that stuff gets in terrorist hands, we have a major national security problem.
So what we're going to do is focus on terrorism and not on nation states, unless the nation states merge with the terrorist organization, as they did in Afghanistan. And I supported the action we took in Afghanistan to fight terror.
But, by and large, this president, I don't believe, has any idea how to fight terror. And I don't think he is being particularly successful at it either.
MATTHEWS: Is there any way to reduce the hostility between East and West, the hatred that's growing toward us from the East?
DEAN: Yes, treat people with respect and they will treat you with respect. And that's in short commodity.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: Why did you-- if that's the case, why did you abandon your statement that you were for an even-handed policy in the Middle East? What's wrong with an even-handed policy, if you want respect from the other side?
DEAN: There may not be anything wrong with an even-handed policy, but even-handed is a code word, which I belatedly found out.
MATTHEWS: Well, then drop the code word. What about the principle? Are you for an even-handed foreign policy towards Arab countries, as well as Israel?
DEAN: What I-- yes.
What I believe is that-- look, Israel has a special relationship with the United States. It's always had a special relationship with the United States.
DEAN: It's the only democracy in the Middle East.
But we have to, at the negotiating table, have the confidence of both sides. Only an American president can ever be the catalyst for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and the truth is that most people on both sides of the green line would very happily settle for a two-state solution if they could only guarantee the security of their borders.
Eighty percent of the Palestinians live below the poverty level now. There are Israeli mothers who have no idea if their kids are going to come back in one piece from school when they send them. These are two people who are ready for peace. Now we have got to get heavily and intensely involved in the peace process and bring the leadership together.
MATTHEWS: Was Clinton on the right track?
DEAN: Not only was Clinton on the right track. The first thing I'm going to do if I get to be president of the United States is call Bill Clinton and ask him to go to the Middle East and represent me so we can have the presence of an American president trying to bring peace to that region.
MATTHEWS: Would you consider him for the secretary of state?
DEAN: Would I consider Bill Clinton to be secretary of state? You know, I appreciate the label of the media has put on me as the frontrunner, but the truth is not one single vote has been cast yet in any primary, and it's a little...
MATTHEWS: Do you think he would make a good secretary of state?
DEAN: I'm sure he would, but it's a little presumptuous of me...
MATTHEWS: OK, that's what I mean.
DEAN: ... to say so not having a single vote to my name yet.
MATTHEWS: We're coming right back with Howard Dean at the Institute of Politics at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. And this weekend, join me for THE CHRIS MATTHEWS SHOW on Sunday. Check your local listings.
MATTHEWS: We're back with Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont at the Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. The man many people consider the frontrunner, but he hates the title.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Governor Dean, John Kerry's wife has said that suspected terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay should be given prisoner of war status. Is this a campaign position (ph) you can support? Do you think that these suspected terrorists being detained should be given POW status?
DEAN: I do. I think they need to be treated according to the Geneva Convention. I think the Bush administration has tried not to do that, and they're not meeting with much appreciation for that position around the world. Just because other countries don't treat prisoners of war properly doesn't mean that we have to set-we have to agree with that kind of example. They should be given POW status and treated in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.
MATTHEWS: Who should try Osama bin Laden if we catch him? We or the World Court?
DEAN: I don't think it makes a lot of difference. I'm happy...
MATTHEWS: But who would you like to, if you were president of the United States, would you insist on us trying him, since he was involved in blowing up the World Trade Center, or would you let The Hague do it?
DEAN: You know, the truth is it doesn't make a lot of difference to me as long as he is brought to justice. I think that's the critical part of that.
MATTHEWS: How about Saddam Hussein? Should we try him in criminal and execute him...
DEAN: Again, we are allowing the Bosnian war criminals to be tried at The International Court in The Hague. That suits me fine. As long as they're brought to justice and tried, and so far we haven't had to have that discussion because the president has not been able to find either one of them.
MATTHEWS: Is the president as commander in chief-- is the president as commander in chief responsible for other failure to catch bin Laden? I mean, he is six foot eight. He's on dialysis and he's riding a mule. Why can't we catch-- why can't we catch this guy?
DEAN: I think there are some real problems in our intelligence community, and I think there have been for a long time. And I also think that something went terribly wrong on our way into Iraq. Whether it was the president not being candid or whether it was his advisers misinforming him or whether it was information from the intelligence community that wasn't complete. But there are some really serious problems in the United States government's ability to process intelligence, and I wish I could answer that question. We need to fix that. That's where the problems are in finding bin Laden.
MATTHEWS: We'll have more with former governor of Vermont. We're going to talk with the former governor of Vermont, Howard Dean, about his view of American exceptionalism, if he shares that view, and our view-history of our world role. Back with more with Howard Dean. Back in a moment.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL's Battle for the White House. This half hour, Howard Dean's view of America's role in the world in just a minute, but first, the latest headlines right now.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: We're back.
We're back with Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, who many people believe, me included, that he is doing as well as anybody in this campaign for president.
Let me ask you about a big, important question. Do you think America, this country of ours, has a special role to play in the world? Do you believe in American exceptionalism?
DEAN: I do.
I think this is the country where there is less cynicism and more hope than there are-- than there is in most other countries. And I think that's the great tragedy of the Bush administration, is, we're losing our ability to have hope and to believe that any problem can be overcome, if you are willing to work hard enough. That is something that really is a beacon to the rest of the world. And if we lose that, the world has lost a true leader.
The president has already given up our moral leadership in the world. We cannot afford four more years of this president, because moral leadership matters.
MATTHEWS: You know, when I listen to your campaign, I hear something of...
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: I do pay attention to the words of the candidates. And you sound like you are saying something much bigger than Bush bashing. It seems to me, you are running against not just this Republican administration, but Washington, D.C., that the-- if you want to put it into alliteration, the caving, the compromise, the corruption of all these years, going back, at least back through Clinton. Is that true?
DEAN: Here is what...
MATTHEWS: Are you running against the system and not just this president?
DEAN: Some of that.
You know, there's-- life goes in cycles. And we're in a cycle now where it's more like William McKinley or Hoover, Coolidge and Harding. Corporations are their ascendancy. If you ask people about...
MATTHEWS: That makes Clinton Grover Cleveland, of course.
MATTHEWS: Not an attractive notion, in fact, probably too many similarities.
DEAN: I'm not touching that one with a 10-foot pole.
DEAN: Not with a 10-foot pole, am I touching that one.
Where we're at right now in this cycle is that we need somebody to mitigate the power of corporations. Corporations are not bad things. They're neither good nor bad. But the problem is, they're a bad influence on society if they get too much power, because their basic interest is the bottom line. And they forget that human being have-- human beings have souls. We're not meant to be simply cogs in a machine.
And right now, we're at that cycle where we are cogs in a machine. When I first went to Iowa, the lesson I learned from about 20 ordinary people was, we don't trust our employers anymore because they don't value us, because they'll move our jobs anyplace, including offshore.
MATTHEWS: How do we reregulate America? Is that what you want to do, put-- enforce more public policy?
DEAN: I want accountability. What I really want is accountability. I don't think it's OK for ordinary people to invest in mutual funds and then find out that you've been cheated in the stock market.
I don't think it's OK for Enron to steal ordinary working people's pensions. If the CEOs goes broke, so be it. They took a lot of risks. They made a lot of money. There are a lot of ordinary people who have nothing to retire on because of what happened at Enron. And its Tyco and its Global Crossing, and again and again. And this administration is permitting it and winking at it. And I've had enough of that.
MATTHEWS: What about the Democrats that went along with...
DEAN: And so have the American people.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: Would you have had airline deregulation?
MATTHEWS: Travel, the Democrats' Ted Kennedy was part of that deregulation, the deregulation of radio. There are so many things that have been deregulated. Is that wrong trend and would you reverse it?
DEAN: I would reverse in some areas.
First of all, 11 companies in this country control 90 percent of what ordinary people are able to read and watch on their television. That's wrong. We need to have a wide variety of opinions in every community. We don't have that because of Michael Powell and what George Bush has tried to do to the FCC.
MATTHEWS: Would you break up Fox?
MATTHEWS: I'm serious.
DEAN: I'm keeping a...
MATTHEWS: Would you break it up? Rupert Murdoch has The Weekly Standard. It has got a lot of other interests. It has got The New York Post. Would you break it up?
DEAN: On ideological grounds, absolutely yes, but...
MATTHEWS: No, seriously. As a public policy, would you bring industrial policy to bear and break up these conglomerations of power?
DEAN: I don't want to answer whether I would break up Fox or not,
MATTHEWS: Well, how about large media enterprises?
DEAN: Let me-- yes, let me get...
DEAN: The answer to that is yes.
I would say that there is too much penetration by single corporations in media markets all over this country. We need locally-owned radio stations. There are only two or three radio stations left in the state of Vermont where you can get local news anymore. The rest of it is read and ripped from the AP.
MATTHEWS: So what are you going to do about it? You're going to be president of the United States, what are you going to do?
DEAN: What I'm going to do is appoint people to the FCC that believe democracy depends on getting information from all portions of the political spectrum, not just one.
MATTHEWS: Well, would you break up GE?
DEAN: I can't-- you...
MATTHEWS: GE just buys Universal. Would you do something there about that? Would you stop that from happening?
DEAN: You can't say-- you can't ask me right now and get an answer, would I break up X corp...
MATTHEWS: We've got to do it now, because now is the only chance we can ask you, because, once you are in, we have got to live with you.
MATTHEWS: So, if you are going to do it, you have got to tell us now.
MATTHEWS: Are you going to break up the giant media enterprises in this country?
DEAN: Yes, we're going to break up giant media enterprises. That doesn't mean we're going to break up all of GE.
What we're going to do is say that media enterprises can't be as big as they are today. I don't think we actually have to break them up, which Teddy Roosevelt had to do with the leftovers from the McKinley administration.
MATTHEWS: ... regulate them.
DEAN: You have got to say that there has to be a limit as to how-- if the state has an interest, which it does, in preserving democracy, then there has to be a limitation on how deeply the media companies can penetrate every single community. To the extent of even having two or three or four outlets in a single community, that kind of information control is not compatible with democracy.
MATTHEWS: How-- how far would you go in terms of public policy?
MATTHEWS: This is not-- what you describe is not laissez-faire.
It's not capitalism.
DEAN: It is capitalism.
MATTHEWS: How would you-- what would you call it?
DEAN: I am absolutely a capitalist. Capitalism is the greatest system that people have ever invented, because it takes advantage of bad traits, as well as our good traits, and turns them into productivity.
But the essence of capitalism, which the right-wing never understands-- it always baffles me-- is, you got to have some rules. Imagine a hockey game with no rules.
MATTHEWS: Would you--would you
DEAN: Nobody benefits. Nobody benefits. So you have got to have reasonable rules. And the rules have to protect everybody in the game.
MATTHEWS: Do you protect-- do you protect the right of the person to go work somewhere and not have to join a union? Do you accept the right of right-to-work states to say you don't have to join a union.
Dick Gephardt sat here and came out and said he was going to say no more right to work and we get rid of 14B, get rid of Taft-Hartley, repeal that, and force people to have to join unions, where they're organized.
MATTHEWS: Would you go along with that? Would you buckle to the unions on that?
DEAN: Would I buckle to the unions?
MATTHEWS: Yes, because the unions want you to do it.
DEAN: This isn't a values-loaded question, by any chance, is it?
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask it-- let me ask it totally open. Do you think a person has a right to work somewhere if they don't want to join a union?
DEAN: I do.
No, wait a minute. I don't.
MATTHEWS: Why not? What's wrong with an open shop where you can...
DEAN: I'll tell you what's the matter with it. Here is the problem with open-and, look, there's obviously arguments to be made on...
MATTHEWS: A lot of states have right-to-work laws. You would get rid of them?
DEAN: I don't like-- well, I very much believe that states ought to have the right to recognize-- to organize their own laws. So I'm not likely as president to-- even though I don't like right-to-work laws, I'm unlikely to order states to change them.
MATTHEWS: So you wouldn't repeal 14B?
DEAN: No, I would not, but...
MATTHEWS: So you are different than Gephardt. He is with the unions.
You are not.
MATTHEWS: I'm serious.
DEAN: All right...
MATTHEWS: I hate it. It's called HARDBALL. This isn't Success magazine, OK?
DEAN: Let me tell you what-- I actually believe in card check. I believe you shouldn't have to have an election, that people who want to join a union should just be able to sign a card and join it. Let me tell you where I am on...
MATTHEWS: You are against-- you do not believe in repealing 14B?
You're not going to accept the challenge from Gephardt to do that?
DEAN: If I got a bill on my desk that repealed 14B, I'd sign it in an instant. I'm just not going to push it hard...
DEAN: Because I do believe states have to have make their own judgments of that.
DEAN: I hate right-to-work laws.
And let me tell you why it's OK to be forced to join a union. The union is out there negotiating for your wage increases. Why should you get a free ride? Why should you should be able to go to work for that company, get the same benefits as everybody else who paid their union dues and you paid nothing? That's why I'm against right-to-work laws.
DEAN: But I do believe it's important for states to be able to make their own laws.
MATTHEWS: You understand why a libertarian would disagree with you, right? A libertarian would think they had a right, he or she, to work where they can do the job.
DEAN: Yes, but why should they-- but why should they get the benefits of everybody else who is paying dues and get a free ride?
MATTHEWS: Because it's a free country.
JOSEPH NYE, DEAN, KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT: Governor, let me take you back to foreign policy.
You've been critical of President Bush's going into Iraq over weapons of mass destruction. But there are two countries that are much closer to nuclear weapons than Iraq ever was. And one of them is North Korea and the other is Iran. If you are elected president, how will your policy toward North Korea and Iran differ from the administration's?
DEAN: Well, first of all, we'll have bilateral negotiations with the North Koreans.
The idea that the most powerful nation on the face of the world is somehow going to be blackmailed if we don't agree on the size of the table, which is essentially what the present argument is about, is ludicrous. This president has wasted 15 months, or more, doing nothing about the fact that North Korea is almost certainly a nuclear power, that we can't tolerate North Korea as a nuclear power. We need to work with the Chinese, the Japanese, the South Koreans.
But we also need to engage in a deal that I think the North Koreans
want to make, which is, let them enter the community of nations. In turn -
and, in turn, they will disarm, verifiably, and rid themselves of nuclear weapons. They don't need nuclear weapons. We can make them-make that problem go away if we'll do certain things, such as, perhaps, sign a nonaggression treaty, if it allows us to fully protect our allies such as South Korea and Japan, and of course, ours. There is a solution to North Korea. We need a president who believes in negotiation and not simply posturing.
NYE: In Iran?
DEAN: Iran is a more complex problem because the problem support as clearly verifiable as it is in North Korea. Also, we have less-fewer levers much the key, I believe, to Iran is pressure through the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union is supplying much of the equipment that Iran, I believe, most likely is using to set itself along the path of developing nuclear weapons. We need to use that leverage with the Soviet Union and it may require us to buying the equipment the Soviet Union was ultimately going to sell to Iran to prevent Iran from them developing nuclear weapons. That is also a country that must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons much the key to all this is foresight. Let's act now so we don't have to have a confrontation which may result in force, which would be very disastrous in the case of North Korea and might be disastrous in the case of Iran.
MATTHEWS: We're going to come right back and talk to Howard Dean. His book is called Winning Back America. he is also running for president. We'll be right back to talk about his view on a lot of things. Favorite books, favorite movies, all the interesting stuff. Back in a moment from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
MATTHEWS: We're back. We're back from trust busting, Fox and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and everybody else they ever knew.
Let's go to fun questions and lighten it up here. Governor, it's nice to meet you in this circumstance in front of these smart people here. It's sort of like a cock fight here. Let me ask you, what's your favorite movie?
DEAN: Oh, probably A Beautiful Mind. Pretty impressive movie.
MATTHEWS: Do you like Jennifer Conley. She's pretty good. Just guessing. Let me ask you about-you know you don't have to have one. Your favorite book.
DEAN: Well, Chris, I hate to do this to you, but...
MATTHEWS: Oh, no.
DEAN: It's actually issued today, by Simon and Shuster and it says To Chris, with warmest wishes, Howard Dean.
MATTHEWS: You know, it's amazing how all these books go straight to paperback. Lets go too...
DEAN: Chris, that's 20 percent off on amazon.com, but Kerry's is 40 percent off. So, I'm still ahead.
MATTHEWS: I hope you get to write a new chapter.
Lets go to favorite philosopher. Do you have one?
DEAN: Lao-Tse probably because his favorite-- my favorite saying is, The longest journey begins with a single step.
MATTHEWS: OK, who is your favorite musician or piece of music or both?
DEAN: This is a tough one. I was asked this before, and I just got a new CD, it has to be Wyclef Jean.
MATTHEWS: OK. That's not the Carson Daly Show, so I have no idea what you are talking about.
So, let's go to-what did you think of the following presidents and you can do this in a few words if you don't mind-- Ronald Reagan.
DEAN: Great charisma. Lousy policy.
MATTHEWS: That's it? You are a cold man.
George Bush Sr., Herbert Walker Bush?
DEAN: Excellent on foreign policy. Not too great on domestic policy.
MATTHEWS: William Jefferson Clinton?
DEAN: Excellent on domestic policy and excellent on foreign policy. A few other little problems which we won't go into.
MATTHEWS: As we used to say in the Catholic church, is there a modicum of social value to George W. Bush?
Is there anything good about this president you could say for the history books that you believe in?
DEAN: I am sure there is, but I'm not in that mode to think that way just at this particular time.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about who-- take a minute on this because I think it tells who people are. Who are your heroes, male, female, contemporary?
DEAN: Well, I'll just name two presidents, George Washington and Harry Truman. George Washington because of the critical time during the development of the rule of law in the western world. He turned down a third term and wouldn't take a title establishing permanently in the western world the notion that the office was much more important than the person who held it. Harry Truman because he made tough decisions and didn't give one damn about what the polls said.
MATTHEWS: Great, lets go to the next question.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Governor Dean, you often criticize the Bush administration for its secrecy.
How do you reconcile this with the steps you have taken to seal away documents from your time in Vermont?
MATTHEWS: Are you working for any campaign?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Not at this time.
MATTHEWS: Not tonight or...
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I would be a Bush supporter.
MATTHEWS: You're a Bush supporter?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I am a Bush supporter.
MATTHEWS: OK, good nice to know that.
MATTHEWS: I say that because this guy just put his t-shirt on right behind the candidate.
DEAN: Actually, to be honest with you, I am actually glad there are this many Republicans at Harvard.
DEAN: At least 15 percent, that's fine.
MATTHEWS: What's-- what's in the water at Yale. You have Lieberman, you, John Kerry and the president, all from Yale. Is this skull and bones secret you have been keeping?
DEAN: I was never in skull and bones, nor was I asked.
MATTHEWS: Do you want to answer the question?
DEAN: Yes. Every governor in Vermont and most governors around the country, maybe every governor for all I know, has a process by which certain records are sealed and certain records are left open. The vast majority of my records are open. You are welcome to go, as ever opposing campaign has done, and rummage through them for the next six months. There are some that are left private, and I don't exactly know all the things that are in those because those are attorney-to-secretary-of-state negotiated. But some of the kinds of things might be a letter from a constituent saying, dear governor, I am an HIV, AIDS victim, can you please help me?
Now, those kinds of letters do not belong in the public, and they're not. That's why some records are sealed, and governor's offices throughout the country.
MATTHEWS: Next question.
Governor, you have built a lot of momentum in this campaign by portraying yourself as the candidate for the young voter. But, today, you became the first presidential candidate in this series to decline all invitations to meet with and interact with students outside of this show. Your campaign cited time constraints, but you arrived 4 ½ hours before the taping of this show.
So I'm wondering, if you don't have time for youth today, how can you expect us to take the time to vote for you?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: Can you explain what you are talking about, exactly what you are talking about?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Harvard has invited each candidate to come before the show and have a conversation with candidates over in Kirkland House and engage in an open dialogue.
MATTHEWS: I thought he-- go ahead.
DEAN: I apologize.
We do do really well. As I said before, one-quarter of all the people who are supporting us financially are under 30 years old. We couldn't do this, because there were a lot of things we needed to do in that time that I was here before the show started, including making a whole lot of calls to reporters who were harassing us about things like open records. But I do apologize and I'm happy to come back.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: Next question.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We still love you!
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: To follow up on what Chris mentioned before, after your Vietnam deferment, you went skiing in Aspen. And just looking back at your career in general, what have you done specifically that gives us confidence you are well-versed in national security and foreign policy, just one instance in which you have worked in that area?
DEAN: Oh, well, I'll give you one right now.
I just met with Ash Carter, who has agreed to be a senior adviser for us, who is a professor here at the Kennedy School and is a former assistant secretary of defense. We have a pretty good security team. I have spent time in over 50 countries during my lifetime, some of them as governor, some of them as not.
And so I would say that I have at least as much foreign policy experience as George Bush, Ronald Reagan or Jimmy Carter did before-- or Bill Clinton did-- before they became president. I was chairman of the National Governors Association, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.
I do have some experience in going through the process, thinking process, that you have to go through in order to make decisions and formulate policy decisions on national security.
MATTHEWS: We'll be right back with more with Governor Howard Dean.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: We are back with Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, five-time governor, who the political experts in the Democratic Party see as the front-runner.
He hates-- you hate the title, right, but you have been picked...
DEAN: I don't like it very much.
MATTHEWS: You have been dubbed. Why do you hate the title?
DEAN: Because not one single vote is cast. And, believe it or not, although you guys are wonderful, the actual voters get to choose who the front-runner is and who the nominee is.
MATTHEWS: If you blow Gephardt out in Iowa and you blow John Kerry out in New Hampshire, have you got it?
DEAN: If, if, if, if.
MATTHEWS: Well, I didn't say if you can beat John Edwards down in South Carolina?
DEAN: That's right.
MATTHEWS: But if you beat all three of them, are you in?
DEAN: Who knows.
MATTHEWS: OK, let's-- next question, up here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Dean, do you believe that Republicans use race to divide whites and blacks...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... as a campaign tactic?
DEAN: I do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And how do we overcome that as a nation?
DEAN: We talk very directly to both white working-class people and African-Americans about their common interests, which are jobs, education and health care.
We have got to stop having the campaigns run in this country based on abortion, guns, God and gays, and start talking about education, jobs and health care.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: President Jimmy Carter said this weekend that, if you, Governor-- in your reference to white conservative Southerners, had said guys who drive pickups, instead of guys who drove pickups with Confederate license decals on the back, it would have been great.
DEAN: I agree. It was a mistake. And I apologize for it.
MATTHEWS: So you weren't talking about the guys with the-- it was the vehicle you were talking about, not the flag?
DEAN: That's right. That's right.
MATTHEWS: OK, next question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Dean, what do you think the federal government can and should do in order to reverse the recent decline of civics education in American public schools?
DEAN: You know what I really think? This is a little self-serving, but I believe it is true. I tell this to people all the time. Get out and vote and join Dean For America.
DEAN: Well, I said this-- this is not entirely self-serving. It is somewhat self-serving.
Our campaign is about empowering people. A lot of people say, oh, Dean, he is the angry candidate. It's not-our campaign is not about anger. It is about hope. It's about giving people their power-the power back to take this country for themselves, instead of from the 1 percent the president seems to give tax cuts to, and cutting Pell Grants in order to give away our tax money to big corporations, who then move their corporations to Bermuda and their jobs offshore.
This country is an incredible place. The leadership is not as good as the people in the country. Your generation is driving our campaign. Without you, we are not a successful campaign. So what I really want to do is get people your age involved in politics again. Obviously, you are involved in politics. And it is happening more and more and more.
What we are seeing here is something that we saw with John F. Kennedy. We're seeing a generational transformation. It is not because I'm in your generation. It is because the people who are going to determine who the next president of the United States are, are under 30. If people under 30 vote heavily, that means we are going to win.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you very much, Governor Dean, for being here on the HARDBALL College Tour.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: Great night, let me tell you.
Dan Glickman, thank you for welcoming us. Thank you.
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