LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES
Democratic Hopefuls to Debate
Aired September 4, 2003 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Less than an hour from now, the nine leading Democratic presidential candidates square off in the first of a series of major debates.
Our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley, is covering the debate in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We called her outside before things get going.
Candy, good evening. It looks like there's a big target on Howard Dean.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean you can sort of see one of the big differences between this debate and one they had in South Carolina a couple of months ago is that the Dean contingent is a lot louder and a lot bigger.
Howard Dean is clearly the man of the moment. He is, the last we saw, leading in polls both in New Hampshire and Iowa. Iowa is huge, New Hampshire by a very big lead, Iowa by a lesser one.
So he's clearly the target tonight, but there's a broader sort of audience target for all nine of these Democrats, and that's the Latino vote. Pretty much considered some of it as swing vote, and Democrats want to be in here early and often to begin to court the Latino vote, which of course, they're doing simply by being here in New Mexico and also by having this broadcast on Univision this weekend -- Daryn.
KAGAN: Let's talk a little bit about what that is leading up to and this thing next year that's called Hispanic Tuesday, February 3. Why is that significant, not just in the southwest, but how it might play out with the presidential race?
CROWLEY: Well, February 3 is one week after New Hampshire. Now, it's very likely looking in this field right now, all nine of them, that we could come out of New Hampshire without having a real frontrunner.
So that means that the next sweep of primaries could be decisive and in that sweep of primaries, which includes South Carolina and I believe Delaware, are also Arizona and New Mexico. Both of them have huge populations of Latino-Americans who they are trying to register now and so they can get out to vote.
A lot of Latinos and a lot of Democrats are saying that this could very well be an historic year for Latino voters and they could very well help shape who's going to be the Democratic nominee and change the outcome of the election next fall. KAGAN: All right. As we said, it's just about an hour away. We'll let you get inside and get a good seat. Candy Crowley in Albuquerque, thank you for that.
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