National Public Radio's Morning Edition

January 20, 2004



This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Bob Edwards.

Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean is campaigning in New Hampshire after his third-place finish yesterday in the Iowa caucuses. Senator John Kerry finished first. I asked Dean what happened in Iowa.

Dr. HOWARD DEAN (Democratic Presidential Candidate): What happened is we came in third. And, you know, I would have liked to come in higher, but we got a ticket to New Hampshire, and that's where we are right now.

EDWARDS: Your organization was supposed to bring in a lot of votes. That was your strength. Did your organization let you down?

Dr. DEAN: No, the organization did the right thing. Momentum played a much bigger role than I realized in the Iowa caucuses. We were the front-runner for a long time. We took every kind of incoming flak you could get from everybody, and I'm pleased that we're here in New Hampshire. We're ready to go and ready to fight another day.

EDWARDS: A survey by the Associated Press shows more support for Kerry among voters who strongly disapprove of the war in Iraq. That was one of your key issues.

Dr. DEAN: It is true that I'm the only candidate that did not support the war in Iraq, but I think in the long run there were other issues that turned out to be more important. But a lot of this is momentum. I had a lot of momentum; unfortunately, I had it very early. John Edwards and John Kerry developed it later. But again, the issues are the things I care about: balancing the budget, health care for all Americans. We've done those things in my state. I'd like to be able to do those things for the country.

EDWARDS: What changes now about the way you run if you're not the front-runner?

Dr. DEAN: Actually, it's kind of a relief. I won't have such a target as I have had for the last few months painted on my back. And it's going to be a scrum here in New Hampshire to see who comes ahead, and we'll all just work as hard as we can.

EDWARDS: How do you draw the distinction between you and Kerry and Edwards, who now are also running against what they call the special interests in Washington?

Dr. DEAN: Well, I think, you know, John and John are both good people, but they looked at the polling and my speeches and decided to run against the special interests. That's what happens in Washington. I'm the only person with experience, who has balanced a budget. I'm the only person with experience that's ever had anything to do with creating jobs or getting health care for people. And so that's what the distinction is. The distinction is, do you want someone from inside Washington to run against George Bush, or do you want a fresh face, an outsider who thinks it's time to do some things in this country that haven't been done for a while?

EDWARDS: Iowa Democrats are fairly liberal. You're heading now to New Hampshire and then a group of Southern and Midwestern states, where Democratic voters are a little more conservative. Does that, you know, not bode well for you, perhaps?

Dr. DEAN: I think that'll be fine with me. You know, the media wrote a lot of stuff, but much of it was not terribly accurate. The truth is, I am a centrist. This is what happens when you get out in front. People say things, the media writes; now the media'll have a chance to readjust and maybe they'll take a look at my record in Vermont.

EDWARDS: Do you think there are doubts about your electability in November?

Dr. DEAN: I think there are doubts about everybody's electability in November.

EDWARDS: Anything you think you should change about your approach in the campaign?

Dr. DEAN: Well, we're just-all I know how to do is stand up for what I think is right, and the trademark is I don't look at the polls first. I say what I believe, and that's what I'm going to do in New Hampshire, too.

EDWARDS: Thank you, Governor.

Dr. DEAN: Thank you, Bob.

EDWARDS: Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean.

Copyright 2004 National Public Radio .

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