NBC Today

January 19, 2004



Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean was the front-runner for a long time in Iowa. Now he is locked in a tight four-way race.

Governor Dean, good morning.

Governor HOWARD DEAN (Democrat, Presidential Candidate): Good morning to you.

BROWN: Well, let me ask you, a month ago the conventional wisdom was that Iowa was yours to lose. Again now, it's a dead heat. What happened?

Gov. DEAN: Well, we have taken a lot of fire from all of the other candidates and from the press and so forth. And that's what you've got to do if you're going to be president of the United States. I am very optimistic. I think we are going to win tonight because we are the only folks that can really generate enormous numbers of people. We had a meeting-a gathering of 3,000 people last night at Iowa State-University of Iowa, the largest gathering that anybody has seen in this campaign. We have been doing that since August. We are going to get young people back into this race, and then we're going to get a lot of people who haven't voted for a long time. I think we are going to win the Iowa caucuses tonight. Only Iowans know that.

BROWN: Your wife Judy Steinberg Dean made a surprise appearance with you on Sunday night. She hasn't appeared with your campaign really since you announced your candidacy. Do you think that's hurt you with voters that they haven't had a chance to get to know her as well?

Gov. DEAN: No, I don't really think so. I think voters want to know my wife because she's-certainly has a lot of influence on what kind of a person I am. But, you know, she's a full-time practicing physician. We have a 17-year-old son who is a senior in high school at home. And she's made the choice, and I support that, for her to be home making sure the family life goes well, because that's the most important thing to both of us is our family.

BROWN: Let me ask, you have accused President Bush of not being straight with the American people on the reasons for going to war in Iraq. At the same time, though, you have still refused to release sealed records from your time as governor of Vermont. There is a lawsuit going on now. You're saying now, 'Let the judge decide.' Why not just come out and release those records and put an end to the controversy?

Gov. DEAN: Every governor has their records sealed in Vermont for a period of time and that's true in almost every state. And the reason for that is to protect people who give you confidential advice, people who might write in and have written in saying 'I am gay,' and this and that and the other thing. And I don't think that's proper for the press to-to put out in the public field. So what we agreed to do is let a judge look at all of those documents. The real issue here, though, is not records and who did what four years ago. It's who is going to do what for the country. We're interested in getting jobs back in America. I have delivered health insurance for everybody under 18 in my state. I've balanced budgets. None of these other candidates, good people that they may be, have ever done anything like. We need somebody from outside of Washington. You should see what is going on here in Iowa. People are being crowded off their farms by big corporations, small businesses being shuttered. We need a complete change in this country, a real change. And these other guys are great guys, but I don't think we're going to fix Washington by hiring a Washington insider.

BROWN: Governor Howard Dean, thank you for being with us.

Gov. DEAN: Thanks very much.

BROWN: And still to come, Tim Russert with analysis. Plus, it ranks 30th in population and first in home production, so why is Iowa first? We'll answer that question. But first, this is TODAY on NBC.

Copyright 2004 National Broadcasting Co. Inc.


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