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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS

Carol Moseley Braun Backs Howard Dean; Interview With Carol Moseley Braun

Aired January 15, 2004 - 15:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ANNOUNCER: It's down to eight. The only woman in the race for the White House calls it quits, and backs a rival. We'll speak with Carol Moseley Braun.

With four days to go until the caucuses, it looks like a four-way race in Iowa.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have said all along that I'm always wary of polls, whether I'm up, whether I'm down.

ANNOUNCER: We're live from across the campaign trail.

You've heard from the candidates, and you've heard from the pundits. But what do actual Iowa's have to say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think down deep they know that George Bush is beatable.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Live from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS.

JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: And thank you for joining us today. We are in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In fact, the CNN Election Express has stopped right in the middle of an island in the middle of the Cedar River.

Right here in the eastern part of Iowa, temperatures dropped down to the 20s. The skies, in fact, are a little cloudy. And you can say the same about the forecast for the Democratic race for President right now.

There are now just four days left until caucus night. And today, the Democratic field was reduced by one. Carol Moseley Braun dropped out just about an hour ago, and she endorsed Howard Dean.

Our Candy Crowley was there for the announcement, and she joins us now from Carroll, Iowa -- Candy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Judy. And yes, in answer to your first question, and that is they picked Carroll County speak for Carol Braun, because she came here not just to step out of the race, but with a very specific request for Iowans. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAROL MOSELEY BRAUN (D), FMR. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am here today to thank those Iowans who were prepared to stand for me in Monday's caucuses, and ask that you stand instead for Howard Dean.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Carol Moseley Braun can help Howard Dean out in Iowa. However, it's clear, also, that the Dean campaign has plans for Carol Moseley Braun beyond Iowa, South Carolina, where we move into a state with the first significant minority population. Definitely, we have seen over the past couple of weeks Howard Dean's credentials on minority ranks questioned.

Just the picture here, Judy, is enough to help the Dean campaign as it struggles through the final week of this Iowa campaign, looking ahead to New Hampshire. So there are any number of reasons why this is, at least for the day, a very good thing for Howard Dean. He praised Carol Moseley Braun, of course, as a classy lady and said that he hopes to use her a lot in the upcoming campaign -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Candy, I'm going to be actually talking to Carol Moseley Braun in just a few minutes. I'm going to ask her about her decision to get out of the race, as well as her endorsement of Governor Dean.

But let me turn you to another big topic on the lips of many people in Iowa today. And that is the latest results from a statewide poll here in Iowa. The survey shows what amounts, really, to a four- way race among Kerry, Howard Dean, Dick Gephardt, and John Edwards. I just wonder what you're hearing from the Dean campaign about all this.

CROWLEY: Well, a couple of things. In fact, as you know, there have been several polls that showed that. Joe Trippi, campaign manager, said today -- we're in a school, that's why you're hearing a P.A. system. Joe Trippi said today, look, tracking polls, in particular, those nightly polls, are very unreliable. When one tracking poll showed us going way down, our tracking poll was showing us going way up.

Beyond questioning the reliability of the polls at this point, they say, look, we always knew this would be close. And they also say that, in fact, you know, as you know, Howard Dean has a considerable chest of money. He can survive a loss in Iowa. But it would be, obviously, a huge hit to that sort of invincibility aura that had begun to gather around the Dean campaign.

WOODRUFF: OK. Candy Crowley following on the Dean campaign in Carroll, Iowa.

Candy, thank you.

Another sign of the growing intensity on the Iowa campaign trail, John Kerry has scheduled seven different events around the state today. And he has resorted to air travel to complete his journey. Kerry is using a helicopter to make his appointed rounds all across the state. At his first stop, in Council Bluffs this morning, Kerry was asked about that new poll that shows the race getting very, very crowded at the top.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: I have said all along that I'm always wary of polls, whether I'm up, whether I'm down. You just keep working hard. And I intend to go out and meet every voter I can in the next few days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Congressman Dick Gephardt also has multiple campaign stops around the state. And CNN's Dan Lothian has been with him every step of the way. Dan is with me now from Algona, Iowa.

Dan, tell us a little bit more about Congressman Gephardt's day.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, we are at a truck stop, where he just wrapped up one of his campaign stops here in Iowa. He has been campaigning in mainly smaller communities, where one of his aides tells me he is trying to reach out to some of those undecided voters in smaller communities.

As you know, though, this is a must-win state for Gephardt. And he obviously is feeling some heat now as this poll is tightening up here in the state where he was hoping that he would be the clear winner. He still feels that he is going to be, at the end of the day, a winner here in Iowa.

We asked him about those poll numbers, and he said he's not very concerned. He always knew that this was going to be a tight race. And he said that is exactly what it is.

Now, he is also, in response to Howard Dean's ads that have been criticizing him on his stance on Iraq, and also voting for the funding for Iraq, he now has come out with his own ad, a 30-second ad which is now running statewide here in Iowa, which is attacking Howard Dean on Medicare and Social Security. It's called a know ad, k-n-o-w ad.

Someone asked him if he was getting desperate, this was an act of desperation, and now going back and attacking Dean. And he said, "No, this is just my way of pointing out the differences which the voters want to know." -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Dan Lothian, traveling around. Thank you very much.

Well, Senator John Edwards is also barnstorming across the Hawkeye State. This afternoon Edwards kicked off his Five Days to Change America Tour with a rally in Des Moines. Edwards is telling voters that he can beat George Bush everywhere, including in the South.

Well, this afternoon, Howard Dean said that he will miss Carol Moseley Braun coming to his defense during the presidential debate. What's next for the former senator and now former presidential candidate? Let's ask her.

Carol Moseley Braun joins me now from Carroll, Iowa.

Ambassador Braun, you were in this contest right up until this week. You were in the debates. You were making the argument for your candidacy. What happened?

BRAUN: Well, in the end, our nontraditional campaign was not able to overcome the funding and organizational difficulties. And frankly, I thought it was important at this point to make the decision to support a candidate in this early primary state who I think has -- you know, cannot only beat George Bush, but give us the kind of government that I'd like to see.

WOODRUFF: When did you make the decision? And when did you first talk to Governor Dean?

BRAUN: Well, it was an organic decision. It just kind of came over time. And we had had several conversations.

But specifically, we began to explore, you know, whether or not I would be -- actually, it didn't even go that far. We had a good conversation after the last debate in Iowa, last Sunday. And after that conversation, I just reached a conclusion that this was a sensible thing for me to do.

WOODRUFF: So the timing of this endorsement was whose choosing?

BRAUN: I'm sorry, I didn't hear you.

WOODRUFF: Was this your choosing, the timing of the endorsement?

BRAUN: Well, actually, it was your decision. Because the press kind of got ahead of us a little bit. I wanted to touch out, touch base with all of my supporters, and friends, and the people around the country.

I've been scrambling to make conference calls to people around the country, oh, for the last 24 hours, really. Because I really did want to make certain that the people who helped me, and who sacrificed themselves so much, that I thanked them for their support and I told them how grateful I was that they did this.

WOODRUFF: Well, Ambassador, why Howard Dean? And why not, say, Al Sharpton? Or why not one of the members of Congress you've served with, like John Kerry or Dick Gephardt?

BRAUN: On the substance of the issues, health care reform, making sure every American has health care, making certain that we start creating jobs in this country again. We created all of 1,000 jobs in the month of December for the whole country, 20 jobs a state. It's an outrage.

We need to get our economy working for everybody. We need to create health care. We need to understand that state and local government have to work together with the national government to provide for quality education.

These are things that because of his involvement, I think at the state level, Howard Dean has a real good handle on how government really works. And he wants to make it work for people. And I agree with that.

WOODRUFF: What does your endorsement bring him, do you think?

BRAUN: Well, I hope it brings him support across the board. I just had some people stop me a few minutes ago here in Carroll County, Iowa, saying they were going to stand for me at the caucuses, but now they were going to stand for Howard Dean. And I'm happy of that.

WOODRUFF: Somebody was just saying, well, maybe he promised her he'd help her retire her debt or something like that. You know how people like to talk when something like this happens.

BRAUN: Yes, yes. But let me -- you know, there's government and then there's politics. And for me, it's a governmental dynamic. What we're doing to make government work for people has always been the most important.

Howard Dean has promised to go and break up the influence of the special interests, to make this government -- give this government back to the American people again. And I want to help him do that.

WOODRUFF: And very quickly, do you see this Iowa contest as closely bunched as some of the observers do, political observers?

BRAUN: Again, I don't do -- I mean, I don't really get into the punditry. I'm told that it's close. But you always knew that.

I mean, Iowans take their politics very seriously. And they're gauging the candidates very closely. And this will be an important first set of decisions.

So whether the Dean campaign comes out one, two, or three, I think will set the stage for New Hampshire and then for the states that follow. So I think -- I hope that Iowans will go to the caucuses and stand for Howard Dean, and I'm going to do what I can between now and Monday to help that happen.

WOODRUFF: Former ambassador, former presidential candidate, Carol Moseley Braun. Thank you very much. We wish you well, and we'll be seeing you maybe out there campaigning for Governor Dean.

Thanks very much for talking with me. We appreciate it.

BRAUN: thank you.

WOODRUFF: President Bush, he's also on the road. Coming up, a quick look at the president's day in the Deep South.

Why is the Iowa race getting tighter, and do the Republicans really care who wins here? Bay Buchanan and Donna Brazil are standing by to take issue.

Later, I'll listen to what some Iowa voters have to say about the presidential campaign in their upcoming choice.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: With us now, former Gore campaign manager, Donna Brazile, and Bay Buchanan, president of American Cause.

All right, Donna, to you first. We have a candidate dropping out of the race today, Carol Moseley Braun. Is that having any effect? And what about the notion that there are four candidates in Iowa all bunched up? What are you hearing?

DONNA BRAZILE, FMR. GORE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, first of all, I think Carol made the correct decision to step down. She's run a very important campaign. Once again, here's another woman who's made a tremendous leap by getting into the presidential race, and she decided today to endorse someone that she feels that she's become very close to.

I'm not surprised that the race has tightened up. As more people tune in, I believe the race will continue to close in the coming days. And this will be a game of turnout to see how many people will turn out on caucus night this coming Monday.

WOODRUFF: Bay, what about it from a Republican perspective, the effect of Braun getting out of the race and endorsing Dean, and just how does the race look?

BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: Clearly, this is beneficial to Dean. There's no question about it. I mean, whatever numbers she had out there in Iowa, whether it's 200, 400, 600, if they go to the caucuses and side with Dean, that's enormously beneficial to him. And it shows movement, some excitement there, some new developments.

So it's all to his benefit. But the race out there is very, very interesting, in my opinion. I think it's without question that it shows that all of these candidates out there, they spent a lot of money, there's some movement there. It's excellent for Democrats to see that excitement in there.

But I think it's clear that there's a feeling amongst Democrats that the electability of Dean is, indeed, an issue, a very serious one. And they want to get in and see if they might be able to help someone else be able to run against him and beat him.

BRAZILE: I really do believe it's just the undecideds breaking, Bay, and it's not Dean dropping. It's more people tuning in and selecting someone other than Dean. I think that's what's happening out there.

BUCHANA: And Donna could absolutely be correct about that. I haven't seen the polls, but -- well, I did see the polls, and I saw him coming down somewhat. His greatest concern is that the people feel there's something wrong with his campaign, that he's dropping like that. And if the people feel a concern like that, they could turn and go elsewhere. He has to at least maintain his numbers in order to keep that momentum, I think.

WOODRUFF: Donna, what about the Bush campaign? And what does it have at stake here in Iowa?

You have Bush surrogates coming into the state. You have the Republican, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Ed Gillespie, going out and making speeches in the home state of a number of these candidates: Wesley Clark, Dick Gephardt, and Howard Dean.

What's going on with the republicans? What do they have -- how much interest do they have in this outcome?

BRAZILE: Well, they have to pretend that they're running a campaign. Look, they raised over $130 million. And they know that they will face a battle-tested Democratic nominee. Part of that is re-energize, and part of that is ready to take on the president in the fall.

So I think they're doing the right thing by sending surrogates. After all, they have to spend some money on something credible other than just a bunch of consultants.

BUCHANAN: Listen, Donna, the Republicans are out there. Obviously they've got a wonderful opportunity, a free run here. There's nobody in their way, they're going to do everything they can to build up the president's popularity, you know, to get the base excited about what's up front. But I think the Democrats are in trouble.

This primary has -- makes mud wrestling look clean. I mean, this is a real ugly, a lot of nasty statements being made out there, thrown at each other, some accusations that are going to be heard again in the general election. I think the longest this thing runs it's harmful to the Democrats. It has really diminished the nominees' opportunity to win this general election.

BRAZILE: You know, Bay...

WOODRUFF: Donna, what about that?

BRAZILE: Well, primary fights are always nasty. Let's not forget what happened in 2000, especially in South Carolina. The Republicans slung more mud in that state than I've ever seen before.

So this has been a very interesting primary season. Democrats are on a shopping spree. And I believe come Monday they will begin to winnow down the field. And by the time they reach South Carolina, we will have a battle-tested nominee for the party.

BUCHANAN: Battle tested, but when you look at Howard Dean, I think there was a freshness, an attraction about him, some newness in those early months. He did very, very well.

That has worn off. I don't think he's worn well in this primary. I don't think people are as excited.

His number one issue, the war. The energy has been pulled out of that. People aren't as interested in that issue as they once were.

And so I don't think he's as strong a candidate today as he was six, seven months ago. Win or lose, I think if he wins this thing, the Democrats are going to have to figure out a way to recreate him.

BRAZILE: Well, the good news, Bay, is if they don't like Howard Dean, they have Dick Gephardt, John Edwards, and someone else to pick from.

WOODRUFF: All right. We're going to have to leave it there. I can hear you both, most of what you're saying.

Donna, Bay, thanks very much.

Speaking of President Bush, taking aim at his tax cuts. We'll take a look at what the Democratic presidential hopefuls are saying about that, and what they would do about the tax cuts if they end up in the White House

That's next, INSIDE POLITICS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: We're happy to tell you the sun's coming out in beautiful Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Well, all eight presidential candidates on the Democratic -- we have to get used to saying eight. It was nine until today. All of them oppose President Bush's tax cuts. But they differ on what to do about them. The debate over the tax cuts has intensified in recent days in the lead-up to the first contest of this presidential election year.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF (voice-over): Two leading contenders here in Iowa, Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt, want to roll back all of the Bush tax cuts.

HOWARD DEAN (D), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Middle class people did not see a tax cut. There was no middle class tax cut.

WOODRUFF: Some critics say a full repeal of the Bush cuts would mean a tax hike on the middle class.

KERRY: I don't think we should be asking the middle class to be the people who are going to pick up for George Bush's mistakes.

WOODRUFF: Faced with this sort of criticism, the Dean camp has been looking at ways to give the middle class relief. But details aren't expected for weeks.

JOE TRIPPI, DEAN CAMPAIGN MANAGER: It's going to be an entire tax reform package. It won't be, name your price middle class tax cut.

WOODRUFF: Dick Gephardt says his health care plan would help the middle class more than any of his rivals' tax cuts.

GEPHARDT: I help the middle class more than either Wes Clark or John Kerry or George Bush.

WOODRUFF: Among the other top candidates, John Kerry, Wesley Clark, John Edwards and Joe Lieberman, all have plans to repeal the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, while preserving breaks for the middle class.

KERRY: The president of the United States gave a speech, suggesting that his tax cuts have actually created an enormous recovery in this country. Well, it's a Republican recovery, folks.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: All eight Democratic candidates charged that the Bush tax cuts favor the rich. A likely general election rallying cry for whichever Democrat wins the nomination.

Well, whether the polls are right or wrong, they do have an effect. Coming up, Bill Schneider looks at the very real expectations raised by the ever-changing numbers.

Also ahead, Al Gore talks about his favorite subject, while delivering one of his harshest attacks yet on the Bush administration.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: They're up, they're down. Does it really matter who's flipping to the top of the polls on any given day?

A talk with Iowa's Democratic voters reveals many favorites. But on one thing they agree.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This man has done incredible damage to this country in four years, and he's going to do worse in the next four years if he gets back in.

ANOUNCER: And, political involvement in Iowa from different sides of the generation gap.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got two kids. And I'm a third generation teamster.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Live from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, JUDY WOODRUFF's INSIDE POLITICS.

WOODRUFF: Welcome back to Cedar Rapids, and the island in the middle of the Cedar River.

Carol Moseley Braun today called off her presidential campaign, and in the process, Howard Dean picked up another high-profile endorsement. Braun's announcement that she is abandoning her White House hopes will do little to change the immediate dynamics of the race. Her campaign never really got off the ground. But here endorsement of Dean could pay dividends for Dean down the road, when the road -- when more diverse states like South Carolina hold their Democratic primaries.

The Braun announcement and her poll of Iowa voters shared today's spotlight out on the campaign trail. Our Kelly Wallace is traveling with Senator John Kerry, who said he's ignoring the polls.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KELLY WALLACE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Senator Kerry says they're not putting much stock in the Zogby poll which shows the senator with a very small lead over Howard Dean. We asked the senator about the polls earlier this morning when he was making pancakes. He says he is wary of polls when he is up, and wary of polls when he is down. He pretty much echoed those comments after an event here in Sioux City.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, I'd rather have it going in one direction than another, but it's early. We have another four days. And there's a lot of talking, and a lot of work yet to be done. This is a rough race and it will remain that and I understand it.

WALLACE: What Kerry and his team continue to say, they believe they have the momentum, and they say their goal is one of three tickets out of Iowa, and then moving on to New Hampshire. The senator does appear to be more pumped up, more fired up on the campaign trail, and he is also doing something else. He tells us he's trying to see as many voters as he could possibly can, and so he's using a helicopter for part of the day. In all using a helicopter and a bus, the senator hopes to make seven stops pretty much moving across the state of Iowa. Just a few days before caucus night. Kelly Wallace, CNN, reporting from Sioux City, Iowa.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Meantime a new Iowa poll that points to a Monday showdown among the four top Democrats has people talking here in the Hawkeye state. But how valuable are the polls when the candidates are competing in an event where caucus goers can come and often do change their minds on caucus night? Our Bill Schneider takes a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: First Dean's hot, now he's not. Kerry's dead, now he's come back to life. Clark opens strong, then he fades. And all of this is based on what exactly -- remember, not a single Democrat has voted. It's all based on the polls, of course. The polls in a nomination race are notoriously unreliable. You don't know who's going to vote.

KERRY: I don't mean to take on polls but they don't necessarily know how to screen the caucuses.

SCHNEIDER: All the candidates belong to the same party so there's a lot of switching back and forth. Polls taken before a caucus have special problems.

KEATING HOLLAND, CNN POLLING DIRECTOR: It's extremely difficult, some would say it's impossible, to find Iowa caucus goers in a big state like Iowa. Maybe 100,000 people will show up, there's 3 million people in Iowa. It's finding a needle in a haystack.

SCHNEIDER: Polls are not very useful for making predictions. But they do play a role in setting expectations. And expectations are part of the game. Remember it's not enough to win. You have to do better than expected. That's what Bill Clinton did when he came in second in New Hampshire in 1992 and declared himself...

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The comeback kid.

SCHNEIDER: Right now, Iowa is expected to be a tight race. The campaigns have been saying that all along, and now the polling is beginning to reflect that, as well. Which means, if a candidate wins Iowa by a sizable margin Monday night, he will do better than expected. Candidates play the expectations game, as well. They try to lower expectations. Even when they are rumored to be doing well.

KERRY: I have said all along, that I'm always wary of polls. Whether I'm up. Whether I'm down. You just keep working hard.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: Expectations also help you raise money. If you're expected to do well, people will put their money on you. If you're not, and they don't, well, look at what happened to Carol Moseley Braun -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Some say it's a vicious cycle. We shall see. Bill Schneider, thanks very much.

Now let's turn our focus to New Hampshire and today's campaign news daily. Joe Lieberman is all over the map in the Granite state today, with six events, six different cities. Lieberman's day includes stops at a restaurant in Manchester, a high school in Hudson, and a town hall meeting in Concord.

A new American research group survey of likely New Hampshire voters finds that Senator Lieberman may have some work to do. Howard Dean got 29 percent, Wesley Clark is up to 24 percent, followed by John Kerry with 15 and Joe Lieberman at 7 percent.

Wesley Clark is also in New Hampshire this afternoon, but he started the day in South Carolina. Where a new poll there finds the retired general tied for second. A new insiders advantage survey gives Howard Dean the edge with 12 percent. Clark and John Edwards are at 9 percent. 50 percent, though, say they are still undecided.

Wesley Clark, by the way, has picked up the support of movie director and outspoken political activist Michael Moore. In Moore's words, "that's right, a peacenik is voting for a general. What a country."

Al Gore at it again. Another blistering attack on President Bush. Also ahead, Bob Novak here in the Hawkeye state. We're glad that he just got here. We'll hear what he's hearing about Monday's first in the nation caucuses.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Former Vice President Al Gore today lashed out at President Bush, calling him, quote, "a moral coward when it comes to environmental issues." Speaking in New York, Gore accused Mr. Bush of abandoning the public interest in order to accommodate his financial contributors.

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Bush likes to project an image of strength of strength and courage. The real truth is that in the presence of his large financial contributors, he is a moral coward, so weak that he seldom, if ever, says no to anything that they want to do, no matter what the public interest is.

WOODRUFF: Al Gore's speech was co-sponsored by the liberal activist group Moveon.org, and Environment 2004.

INSIDE POLITICS back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: We're live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. You know, every four years Iowa voters are polled, they're analyzed, they're courted by out-of-state politicians. And they are subjected to a barrage of advertising. Well, with just four days to go before the big caucuses, I sat down last night with some Iowans to get firsthand their own impressions of the candidates and the 2004 campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LARRY BAKER, 56, WRITER: A year ago I was supporting John Kerry. And I paid no attention whatsoever to Howard Dean. He came to Iowa several times. Finally met him, talked to him, didn't think he had a chance.

And then the more he was here and the more I listened to him, the more I understood this connection he was beginning to build between voters like me, which is we really are upset. I don't use the word anger, because that's the word used by the media now.

But we are upset with what happened in 2000. We're upset with what happened to this country in the last three years. And Dean was the first person to really express the intensity of that dissatisfaction. And that's why I was drawn to him. WOODRUFF: Bob, what about Howard Dean? You've taken a look at these candidates.

BOB ENGE, 71, RETIRED PROFESSOR: Met Howard Dean first in May. And have met him since then and visited with him. But he's not my candidate. I was drawn to him immediately, though. He has a lot of sparkle. But, then I kind of cooled on that, because the spark didn't have enough in and of itself.

WOODRUFF: Why?

ENGE: I felt that he answered things sometimes too glibly, too quickly.

And then I had the opportunity in mid-November to meet John Edwards, in a home much like the home we're in right now. Intimate kind of situation although with lots of people packing the house. And I listened to him answer questions. And I happened to be standing next to him, and watched him very closely.

And then I asked him a couple questions myself. And I thought gee, this man has the energy of a Howard Dean, but a brain that is great, and he's articulate. He is thoughtful.

BRIAN BRANDSMEIER, 25, YOUTH COUNSELOR: Howard Dean, in my opinion sort of has foot-in-mouth disease. That I'll take vote of the Confederates. That comment was a little distasteful, maybe. But I think it's his candor that people appreciate. I think people find it refreshing. I have some friends in Vermont and they say that they like that.

WOODRUFF: Mike, let me jump over to you. What do you think about all this that you're hearing?

MICHAEL EIVINS, 42, TEAMSTER: I got a -- I'm probably the most (UNINTELLIGIBLE) beyond Howard Dean. I think there's been a lot about the anger and the divisiveness sometimes. I think Howard Dean has brought the divisiveness to this. And my heart just starts to race when I hear -- I'm from the Democratic wing of the party. And I'm part of the DLC. I contribute there. And that's the Republican part of the party.

The party is a big tent. And Howard Dean wants to make it a little tent.

BAKER: I'm very concerned about Dick Gephardt, who has done this year after year, and has not been able to generate the kind of support in the past, and can't do I think in the future in the general election.

Howard Dean is going to motivate people. And he's going to get all the votes that Al Gore got, 90 percent of the Nader votes, and he's going to get a lot of those independents.

WOODRUFF: I want to move quickly to Beth. What about Howard Dean? BETH GREGORY, 19, COLLEGE STUDENT: Dean, I think is a very personable man. And I believe that he has a lot of following, which would give him a good measure of support for beating Bush in this election.

I feel that he's maybe not as change oriented as I would like to see. I think that Kucinich, and what he's doing can make the most changes in many aspects.

WOODRUFF: What about John Edwards? Let's come back over to Mike.

EIVINS: I like John Edwards. I could very easily support John Edwards as presidential nominee, spot for the small man. He's plain spoken. I love that. He's the son of a working man from a (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I just think that's fantastic instead of a rich kid from park avenue.

And it just was the health care was my breaking point. I just love Dick Gephardt's health care plan.

WOODRUFF: Edwards? Any other thoughts on John Edwards?

BAKER: John Edwards is an extraordinarily talented man. I just don't think he's ready to be president yet. But I'd love to see him...

Why not?

BAKER: I don't think he's got the experience. And I don't think he's got the breadth of sort of international knowledge that he needs to have.

ENGE: Probably has more international experience than Howard Dean, however. He is on the Intelligence Committee and has visited Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan. And talked to...

BAKER: That didn't help him on the vote.

ENGE: What vote?

BAKER: The war resolution.

WOODRUFF: What do you mean?

BAKER: You know, one of the sort of implicit litmus tests going on is where were you when this whole Iraq situation was being debated?

ENGE: Of course we don't know how Howard Dean would have voted because he wasn't in Congress.

CATHY LUCK, 42, PASTOR: Nobody's talking about John Kerry right now.

WOODRUFF: Let's talk about John Kerry. LUCK: Bob is the one who recommended to me that we look at John Kerry, and that's because my husband is a Vietnam vet. And he has been so thinking about this as, you know, how do we support the guys who are in the military and all the veterans if we don't support the war?

WOODRUFF: Brian, what about this? I want to bring you and Beth back in here. You said you're leaning to Dean. What about Kerry? I mean, you know, he's got international experience.

BRANDSMEIER: Kerry seems to be a little more on the hawk side than I'd like. America spends, what? As much money on defense as all 191, 192 other nations put together. And I don't think we need a president that's going to further that even more. Like I believe John Kerry -- I mean, I respect John Kerry. But the military is not a minor matter.

WOODRUFF: Beth, what about John Kerry? Did you even consider him?

GREGORY: I heard Kerry speak once. But, nothing really impressed me. And so I haven't followed Kerry.

WOODRUFF: Let's quickly get to Dick Gephardt.

ENGE: I supported Gephardt in 1988 and worked for him. And I think he's a wonderful person. I have a lot of respect for him. He has the most experience probably of anyone.

But I think his time has come and gone. I really don't think that he can win the election. And frankly, I'm interested in winning this election.

BRANDSMEIER: I think his time has come and gone.

EIVINS: This is why I think he's electable. It's going to be a close race no matter what. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Democrats will unfortunately lose the South. But I think where Democrats are weak is white male votes without college educations, the guns and gods. Dick Gephardt can win them.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: All six of those Iowa voters told me, though, that whatever their preferences are now, they said they will be able to support whoever the nominee is of the Democratic Party.

Well our own Bob Novak has also been out there talking to voters, as some of Iowa's political movers and shakers. In a minute he opens his notebook for the "Inside Buzz" from the Kerry campaign and more.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Bob Novak joins us now with some "Inside Buzz." Mr. Novak, welcome to this cold afternoon in Cedar Rapids. You've been talking to all the campaigns, but specifically what are you hearing about the movement maybe in the Kerry?

ROBERT NOVAK, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": People in the Kerry campaign that I talked to a couple weeks ago said he is really on the move.

But I was here last week, some of the Kerry people said that they thought he was moving, but the better victory was going to be Gephardt. He was going to take advantage of the votes that Dean had lost.

But now I get not only from the Kerry people but from other people that they think Kerry is the hot item here in Iowa. He is really on the move, and believe it or not, he could win it.

You know, one of the most interesting things, an old time Democratic politician who was -- happens to be for Clark told me that if Dean loses this Iowa caucuses, he thinks this could go all the way to the Boston convention, an actual convention. Wouldn't that be fun for us junkies?

WOODRUFF: Oh, yes. We haven't had one of those in a long time.

You like to talk about pork in politics and in Washington. You've come across an interesting example of pork.

NOVAK: Just before I left Washington -- I just got back into Iowa this morning -- I learned that the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Ted Stevens, had mailed -- had sent, not mailed, to several Republican senators who are on the hook on the big omnibus appropriations bill, a copy of the bill with an attachment all of the pork barrel projects in their own states.

So it's like they're saying if you don't vote for this when it comes up Tuesday, you're going to lose all this spending for your own state. Very interesting kind of politics.

WOODRUFF: Or you could say just helping point out to each member...

NOVAK: How beneficial. Yes.

WOODRUFF: Bob, separately, some fallout from the meeting down in Mexico between President Bush and Mexico's president?

NOVAK: Yes, it was all very sweetness and light. But there's been some tariffs -- Mexico that the farm bill doesn't like. And Senator Grassley here in Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, is proposing some retaliatory tariffs against many Mexican items, including tequila. A tequila tariff.

And Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California is up in arms on that. Rohrabacher is one of the great tequila drinkers in America. He has his famous or infamous tequila and chili parties. And he said this will absolutely antagonize the California vote, because they all like to drink margaritas out there.

WOODRUFF: I was going to say maybe there's a margarita caucus involved.

NOVAK: Yes.

WOODRUFF: Finally, President Bush pretty much I think it's fair to say, prides himself on not sort getting around the city of Washington, not socializing in Washington. But you found out he went to a little luncheon in Georgetown this week.

NOVAK: Not on his schedule, no press. About 100 political contributors from around the country gathered in a private home, which is owned by a foundation, to hear an intimate session with the president for an hour. He talked to them for an hour. Cracked some jokes about his wife and his daughters.

See that's the thing, Judy, if you would only give some money to the president, you could be on the inside, as well.

WOODRUFF: Maybe both of us could have been invited.

NOVAK: I don't think I could get in even if I contribute.

WOODRUFF: All right. Bob Novak, welcome to Iowa, again. I know you're back after just being away for a couple of days. We'll be talking to you a lot.

Well, a generation gap battle in Iowa, you might call it. Teens in one corner, teamsters in the other fighting for the Democrat they believe can beat President Bush come November.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: A few die-hard political activists joining us here at the CNN Election Express. Kucinich, Kerry, Bush/Cheney folks we're seeing gather not too far from the Election Express here in Cedar Rapids.

Well, for Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt their battle here in Iowa pits supporters from opposite ends of the generation gap each determined to bring victory to their man on Monday. Our national correspondent Kelly Wallace looks at what both are doing to get out the vote.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KELLY WALLACE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It has the look and feel of a college campus. The place 19-year-old Santiago Stocker from Northern California and a handful of other Dean volunteers call home.

(on camera): You come here, living in cottages, not a lot of the comforts of home. Why? Why did you want to do it?

SANTIAGO STOCKER, DEAN VOLUNTEER: I thought it would be a lot of fun and I really wanted to get involved.

WALLACE (voice-over): His daily ritual, a 30-minute car ride to Dean headquarters downtown with a mandatory pit stop along the way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you want a Rice Krispie treat?

WALLACE: After all it will likely be another 12-hour day.

STOCKER: If Ken comes down and he's looking for me, will you tell him I'm back in database?

WALLACE: The Dean team calls it the Perfect Storm. More than 3,000 out-of-state volunteers, according to Dean aides, trying to get the attention of undecided voters, one door at a time.

STOCKER: I'm a volunteer here in Des Moines with the Dean campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.

STOCKER: Can I talk to you for a minute?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't, I'm just a baby-sitter and I've got a sick baby.

WALLACE: The teens.

STOCKER: Just a baby-sitter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your caucus is at Cal's school.

WALLACE: Dueling with the teamsters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're all supporting Gephardt. He's been there for us, you know forever.

WALLACE: Cory Haslam from Salt Like City, Mike Gillespie is from Indianapolis. They travel around in a PT Cruiser, heading to homes of union members.

CORY HASLAM, GEPHARDT VOLUNTEER: We're a team. I don't know in the car, he's got the map, I'm doing the driving.

WALLACE (on camera): Navigator, driver.

MIKE GILLESPIE, GEPHARDT VOLUNTEER: And we do a lot of U-turns.

WALLACE: They've never done this before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gephardt's the man!

WALLACE: They are part of a massive ground war operation spearheaded by unions to try and bring Dick Gephardt to victory.

GILLESPIE: I got two kids, and I'm third generation teamster. And it's changed a lot since my grandfather and my father ran. I want what's happening now to stop.

WALLACE: Cory and Mike work through the afternoon. So do Santiago and his pal Simon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is always nice when a pretty girl opens the door or something like that.

WALLACE (on camera): You might score some dates out of this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, right.

WALLACE (voice-over): A bonus if their guy doesn't win.

Kelly Wallace, CNN, Des Moines.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Does your heart good to see that real, genuine, political activism, old and young.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff today in Cedar Rapids. Tomorrow we'll continue to be live from the campaign trail, right here in the Hawkeye State. "CROSSFIRE" starts right now.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com



Carol Moseley Braun>


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