NBC Saturday Today

Burlington, VT, February 7, 2004

HEADLINE: Former Governor Howard Dean discusses his campaign



Former Governor Howard Dean is in Burlington, Vermont, this morning at Dean For America headquarters.

Governor Dean, good morning.

Governor Howard Dean (Democrat, Presidential Candidate): Good morning to you.

BROWN: I want to clear up some confusion, if I can, over some comments you made Friday in an interview with a Milwaukee radio station. You were asked if you would consider an invitation to be vice president if you were not the nominee. And you said you would do whatever you think it takes to beat President Bush. And then later you and your staff seemed to back away from those comments. Yes or no, would you be vice president?

Gov. DEAN: Well, I think I would do whatever I could. I intend to win the nomination so I intend to certainly look closely at all the other people and see if they would like to be vice president. But I'm going to do whatever I can for the Democratic Party to beat George Bush. We cannot afford another four years of George W. Bush with a 500 trillion-billion-dollar deficit.

BROWN: Well...

Gov. DEAN: And having lost the moral leadership of this world for the first time since World War I.

BROWN: Yeah, but yes or no, if John Kerry is in fact the nominee, given all the criticism you have directed at him over his alignment with special interests in your view, would you be vice president?

Gov. DEAN: Well, first of all, let me say, if John Kerry is the nominee, I'm going to support him. Second of all, if John Kerry were the nominee, I would advise him not to pick me because you don't need two people from New England on the ticket. I will do whatever I can, however, to help beat George Bush.

BROWN: Let's look at some of the poll numbers in Michigan.





DEAN 10%




BROWN: Kerry is well ahead, 47 percent. You are at 10 percent in Michigan. You have made Wisconsin your do or die state. Kerry's got 35 percent there, you are at 8 percent. If you don't pull this off and turn it around in Wisconsin, are you definitely getting out of the race?

Gov. DEAN: Well, we plan to win in Wisconsin, so, you know-I know that question has been asked of me for a lot. We plan to win in Wisconsin. Our supporters have raised over a million dollars in the last three or four days, and we're going to do everything we can to win in Wisconsin.

BROWN: How much do you think Congressman Dick Gephardt's endorsement of John Kerry hurt you?

Gov. DEAN: I don't think it hurt a particular amount. You know, Al Gore has endorsed me, Bill Bradley has endorsed me. You know, I think endorsements are great, but they don't translate into votes really. Voters decide who the president is going to be. Voters decide who the nominees are going to be. And that's what we're going after.

BROWN: You-you made a big deal of this a few weeks back and got a lot of attention for it, talking about the need for Democrats to reach out to voters in the South. And yet you're not even competing in Virginia and Tennessee on Tuesday.

Gov. DEAN: Well, we need to win in Wisconsin. That-that is the place we have to win. And I think I have a chance there. I'm the only person who's ever had health-done health insurance for anybody in the-for anybody in the-in the country. I'm the only person-I've got big-time feedback with the IFB. I don't know what is going on here. Hello?

BROWN: Yeah, Governor, can you hear me OK?

Gov. DEAN: I can hear you now. Look, I think I have an advantage in Wisconsin. I've delivered health insurance to everybody under 18 years old. I've delivered health prescription benefits to a third of our seniors and disabled people. Nobody has done that who is running for president except for me. I'm also the only person who's running for president who has ever balanced a budget. We've got to balance the budget. We cannot continue to have half-trillion-dollar deficits every single year. So there's some real assets I bring to Wisconsin. Let's see what happens. That is the place we have to win. I understand that, and we're going to win.

BROWN: I-I want to look at your rivals. As I mentioned before, you have taken particular issue with Senator Kerry campaigning against special interests. Senator Edwards is also doing it. Wes Clark is campaigning as a Washington outsider. These were all themes that you originally pushed.

Gov. DEAN: It's true.

BROWN: Is it political posturing on their part?

Gov. DEAN: Well, you know, they don't have the record to back up what they're saying. I really have balanced budgets. I really have delivered health care. Those folks are all fine folks, but Washington is the only place in America where sitting on a committee seems to qualify as experience. George Bush has never balanced a budget. George Bush, as the governor of Texas is so weak, that the lieutenant governor actually presents the budget. So George Bush certainly hasn't balanced an American budget because half-trillion dollar deficits is not balancing the budget. We need change in this country and I hope to provide it.

BROWN: You were front-runner for quite a long time. When do you think exactly you lost that position? Was it the night of the Iowa caucus and that speech we've heard so much about?

Gov. DEAN: Well, hardly, since-since I came in third in the Iowa caucuses. I was the front-runner. I think people really thought I was going to win. Washington doesn't like changes. The inside the beltway folks nervous about the change, the media folks nervous about real change. And I think we need real change in America. But I'm going to support whoever the front-runner and the nominee may be because we need to get rid of George Bush. He's the most dangerous president for America in terms of our economic policy in my lifetime. But the fact is that the other folks are not going to change a lot. I want health insurance for every American. We haven't had that since Harry Truman promised it in 1948.


Gov. DEAN: We need change in America. I think an outsider is going to give change. The other folks are not outsiders.

BROWN: Governor Howard Dean, appreciate your comments. Thanks for being with us.

Gov. DEAN: Thank you.

BROWN: And now back to Lester.

LESTER HOLT, co-host:

Campbell, thank you.

Copyright 2004 National Broadcasting Co. Inc.


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