National Public Radio's Morning Edition

January 28, 2004

HEADLINE: Dr. Howard Dean discusses his campaign



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

The Democratic presidential primaries go nationwide next week. Seven states have primaries or caucuses. Senator John Kerry won New Hampshire, and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean came in second, and he joins me now from Burlington, Vermont.

Good morning, Governor.

Former Governor HOWARD DEAN (Democratic Presidential Candidate): Good morning to you, Bob.

EDWARDS: How do you feel about last night's second-place showing?

Dr. DEAN: Well, it's what we needed to do. Of course, you always want to do better, because you try to win every one, but we did what we had to do, and it's on to South Carolina and points west.

EDWARDS: Well, you finished third in Iowa, second last night. Maybe you're going up.

Dr. DEAN: Maybe so, maybe so.

EDWARDS: What is your campaign momentum like?

Dr. DEAN: Well, we do have some momentum now. It's carried-we've regained our momentum. We had a tough time in Iowa, there was no question about that. You know, we had the exalted perch of front-runner crowned by Time, Newsweek (technical difficulties) for along time, and then everybody was reminded that the media doesn't make front-runners, that the voters do, and so we won't be running from the front-runner's position, but I'm glad we're still in it.

EDWARDS: Do you change your strategy now?

Dr. DEAN: Not really. I does free you up a little bit to talk about the central message, which really is about beating George Bush, and I don't think we're going to be George Bush by putting up a Washington insider for our nomination. I think we've got to beat George Bush by talking to ordinary American families about what's not happening in this administration and what's not happening in Washington for them.

EDWARDS: Well, maybe in addition to going after George Bush, you need to go after John Kerry.

Dr. DEAN: Well, you know, I prefer to concentrate our efforts on the president. The president has a long record of really doing things that are very harmful to working families, including most recently eliminating overtime for most working people. There are some strong differences between myself and Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards and the others, the war in Iraq being one, No Child Left Behind, which I have fought for a long time, which is going to harm American schools and is doing so, you know. But what I'm really campaigning on is my ability to stand up for what I think is right, not what I think is popular.

EDWARDS: What do you think the voters are seeing now in John Kerry they didn't see a month ago?

Dr. DEAN: Don't know the answer to that. I think you're going to have to ask the voters about that one.

EDWARDS: Was it something he's done or something you've done?

Dr. DEAN: I don't know the answer to that, sorry.

EDWARDS: Well, there are seven contests next Tuesday. Are you going to travel to all of those states?

Dr. DEAN: No, we won't be traveling to every single one of them, although we do have teams on the ground in every single one of them, and in the states beyond that.

EDWARDS: Are there particular ones on which you're going to focus?

Dr. DEAN: Well, no, we try not to focus on particular states. We try to win everywhere, knowing that, of course, that's impossible. We also, you know, include Michigan and Washington state and Maine, 'cause those that come very quickly on the 7th and 8th of February, and our message is very simple. You want somebody-you want health insurance and a balanced budget, elect somebody who's actually done that, and one of the advantages I have is having been governor is that, you know, we delivered health insurance for everybody under 18, prescription benefits for a third of our people. Governors balance budgets; that's what we do, and that's not something that anybody else has been able to do in this race, including the president himself, who never did balance the budget even in Texas because the lieutenant governor handles budgetary matters in Texas.

EDWARDS: Where do you think you have your best shot next Tuesday?

Dr. DEAN: Oh, I don't really know. I mean, you know, we're just going to try to work hard everywhere. This is a long-term race to pick up delegates. That's why we're everywhere. We're not going to try this state or try that state. We really going to have an effort to try to place high enough in every state, including hopefully coming in first, in order to pick up some delegates, because that's really what it's all about.

EDWARDS: Well, Senator Edwards is expected to be strong in South Carolina. So is Al Sharpton, too, because of so many black voters there. How about Missouri, where Dick Gephardt is no longer in the race?

Dr. DEAN: Well, as I said, we'll be in every state, talking about things that ordinary working people need-jobs, for example. I'm hoping that in the general election, we're going to start winning again in the South instead of allowing the Republicans to divide us, which they've successfully done along racial lines since 1968; talk about things like jobs, which everybody needs whether they're black or white or brown, talk about things like health insurance, which everybody needs, talk about things like education, where-everybody needs educational opportunity, and I'd like to fight this battle on the grounds that the Democrats are good at and not the grounds that the Republicans are good at, which is divisive grounds.

EDWARDS: If you don't have a win or two next Tuesday, are you going to reassess?

Dr. DEAN: I don't think so. I think we're good right through Super Tuesday. I've got a lot of people who've worked hard for me, delegate slates all over the country. We want to send some of those folks to the convention, so even if we lag behind it's likely that we'll keep going. But I think we are the campaign that's most likely to beat George Bush because we're able to bring so many new people into the process, which other campaigns aren't able to do. I think we're also the campaign that still has a shot at winning the nomination. We want to do more than just change presidents. We really want to change America.

EDWARDS: Governor, thank you.

Dr. DEAN: Thank you, Bob.

EDWARDS: Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean.

Copyright 2004 National Public Radio . All rights reserved.

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