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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Monday, October 13, 2003


transcript: Inside Politics (10/7/03)

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, October 13, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
WOODRUFF: We're working on establishing a connection with Governor Howard Dean, who is in New Hampshire today. We're going to get that going just as fast as we can.

Mean time a question -- do we have him? All right. Terrific. Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean joins us.

Thank you very much, Governor. We appreciate it.

DEAN: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: First off, on the California recall. You said yesterday that you think Gray Davis is going to keep his job, that he can beat this recall. Do you still think so?

DEAN: I think so. It's going to be a close election, as is obvious by the exit polls and so forth. But I think that he will keep his job.

You know, there's been a lot of controversy around Arnold Schwarzenegger. I think the people don't want to make that kind of a switch.

Sure, people are mad at Gray, because he's had a tough economy to deal with, but the fact is that it's probably better to continue with somebody that you know, even though you may not be fully satisfied, than it is to take the enormous risk of having somebody with the kinds of charges leveled at them that have been leveled at Arnold Schwarzenegger over the last few weeks.

WOODRUFF: If Arnold Schwarzenegger were elected, and Gray Davis is removed, would it be impossible for the Democrats to win California next year in the presidential campaign?

DEAN: It's not impossible, but it's always more difficult to win a state that has a governor of the opposite party in it. They have the patronage mechanisms, they have all the levers they can pull with state workers. So it just makes it that much more difficult. And I think that's one of the reasons the right-wing congressman, Darrell Issa, decided to finance this recall.

You know, although the president has kept his hands off this, I suspect strongly that Karl Rove has not kept his hands off this, and I see this as another attempt, just as we had in Colorado and Texas, to undo a previous election because the right wing didn't like the way the election came out.

WOODRUFF: Governor Dean, I want to turn to an issue that's part of the presidential campaign, and that has to do with Medicare. Yesterday, Senator John Kerry, campaigning in Iowa, brought up the dispute over your support for Medicare back in the mid-1990s.

He said, quote, "He," meaning you, "was for deeper cuts in Medicare, beyond what President Clinton wanted. He's trying to have it a different way."

What do you say to Senator Kerry?

DEAN: You know, these guys came after me, saying I was like McGovern and I couldn't win, now they're claiming I'm like Gingrich and I can't win.

The truth is, a third of all of the seniors in Vermont have prescription drug benefits. The people who are running against me have served in Washington together for almost a century.

Tell me what seniors have to show for their stay in Washington, and compare it to what seniors in my state have, with prescription drug benefits.

If you want change in Washington, you had better get rid of all the Democrats and the Republicans who've sat on prescription drug benefits for all these years and support somebody who's actually delivered them to seniors. I've delivered it. Those guys can say whatever they want about my approach to Medicare.

Of course, I support Medicare. But I want health insurance for every single man, woman and child in America and I've come closer to delivering that than any of my Washington opponents.

WOODRUFF: Senator and a question about the middle -- I'm sorry, governor -- and a question about the Middle East. President Bush said today that what Israel did in striking Syria was an essential -- was part of an essential campaign to defend the country of Israel. Do you agree with him, that it was essential for Israel to go after -- to go into Syrian territory in order to defend Israel's security?

DEAN: I don't know the facts and I don't know -- have any intelligence information about that terrorist camp. If it was a terrorist camp, I think Israel had a right to strike it. You've got to defend yourselves, as we did in Afghanistan because terror does come from other countries and the Syrian government is known for supporting that.

In general...

WOODRUFF: So you would encourage the Israeli government to do this sort of thing on...

DEAN: Well, that's not the question you asked me. The question you asked me is is it essential for -- was it essential for Israel to strike in to Syria. And the answer I gave you was, if that was a terrorist camp, I think they had every right to defend themselves.

WOODRUFF: And in other words, if these situations present themselves again, Israel should do the same thing?

DEAN: If Israel has to defend itself by striking terrorists elsewhere, it's going to have to do that. Terrorism has no place in bringing peace in the Middle East.

It's -- you know, the attack -- deliberate attack of men, women and children is not permitted under the Geneva Conventions and nations have a right to defend themselves, just as we defended ourselves by going into Afghanistan to get rid of Al Qaeda. And if there are terrorist threats coming from other parts of the world, Israel has a right to defend themselves, if those are aimed at Israel.

WOODRUFF: Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean. Governor, thank you very much for talking with me.

DEAN: Thanks very much.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

DEAN: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Good to see you.

Question -- did Gray Davis run a smart recall campaign?


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.