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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Braun Withdraws From Presidential Race
Aired January 15, 2004 - 14:12 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: But let's get over to Carol, Iowa, where Carol Moseley Braun is about to address her supporters. Introducing her, Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa. And there she is, with Howard Dean also behind them.
SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), IOWA: Hello Carroll County. It's great to be here...
... and to see so many familiar faces and longtime friends. I see some people out there I knew when you didn't even have gray hair...
... like me.
So it's great to be back in, sort of, I guess, my home territory, if you want to say that.
Howard and Carol, this is the county that I represented for so many years in the House of Representatives and, of course, later in the Senate. And I want you to know that every single time I ran, we carried this county and I want to thank you so much for your support here.
My friends in Carroll County and surrounding areas who may have come here, again, I want to thank you so much for entrusting me to represent you for, gosh, now almost 30 years.
I hope that, in most ways, I have earned your trust and that I have returned to you the kind of representation that you wanted in the United States Congress.
As I looked around to the campaigns last year and we had our forums and I said I wanted everyone to have a fair and equal chance to come out and make their case, to do their organizing, get their message out, I had not really intended to endorse anyone. But as the year drew to a close and as I began to think about what was at stake both nationally and for our party, I decided I couldn't sit on the sidelines any longer.
I decided that I had to look at these candidates and think about which one, which one would be our best nominee to win back the White House, which one to take a powerful message to bring people together in this country and to help broaden our party and bring our democracy back to the people of this country.
HARKIN: And when I examined all these candidates and all the campaigns, one person rose the top. And that was Howard Dean of Vermont.
I looked back, a year ago, he was at the bottom of the heap and now he's up at the top. That says something about his ability to organize and motivate and get people together.
He's broadening the base of our party. And Paul Wellstone and I -- God love him -- Paul Wellstone and I used to always say, "If all we're going to do is just fight over a shrinking pool of voters, we lose."
The Republicans know as well as we know, that the people who are not voting, who have been out of the political system, start to come in and vote, they're our voters.
And I can tell you this: In my entire adult lifetime, I have never seen anyone broaden our party and bring people in and excite young people, bring moderate Republicans in and independents in, like Governor Howard Dean of Vermont.
That's what we need in America.
And you know, Bush last week, they announced they got $130 million in the bank to trash our candidates, to go after our party. So we're going to have to have the resources to go up against him.
Well, Howard Dean is raising those resources. And here's how he's doing it: over 600,000 Americans contributing an average of $77. That's the kind of money we got to be raising around America, not the special interest money, but the money from ordinary working Americans. That's who's contributing to this campaign.
And his message, what a powerful message and the right message. It's a message that some of us have been carrying for a long time: that it is time to get Washington out of the grips of the special interest and get it back to the people of this country.
Harry Truman once said it best. He said, "The real question," in his campaign in 1948 was, he said, "are the special interest boys going to run the country or the people going to run it?" Well, we got the same thing facing us again today.
And I can tell you this message: This is one tough candidate. This is the person who can go up against Bush and Rove and that crowd and go toe to toe with them and whip them in the general election.
Make no mistake about it, Bush and Rove and that crowd, they're going to try to sow cynicism. They want to keep you afraid. They want to keep you powerless, because they know that if you don't vote, if people don't go out and vote, if they feel powerless, if they're afraid, then big money comes in and they win.
Howard Dean's message is very straightforward: Don't be afraid; you are not powerless; you have the power to take back this country and don't let big money and don't let the special interests stop you.
HARKIN: This is the campaign that can change it. This is the person, Governor Howard Dean, who can change this system.
Now, as we've been traveling this morning, I understand there's a new ad running on television. I haven't seen it, I just heard about it. Something about: You don't know the real Howard Dean, that somehow he's opposed to Medicare and he's opposed to Social Security.
I'm saying, "Who are they talking about? I've known Howard Dean since I ran for president in 1991. I've watched how he's run for re- election, five times in Vermont, got re-elected five times. And that's not a Democratic state.
I watched how he balanced the budget in Vermont and yet provided health care to every child under the age of 18 in the state of Vermont; how he provided prescription drugs to the elderly in his state.
Medicare -- hey, look, my folks, I'll tell you, we all support Medicare. But you know as well as I do, Iowa is on the bottom in terms of Medicare reimbursement. We pay the same Medicare taxes as everyone else in this country. We're on the bottom. We're 50th. Vermont's 49th.
And I've talked to Howard Dean. I tell you, when he's president, he's going to change that system and he's going to make Medicare more fair for all of the people of this country.
So at the last minute, you're going to hear all this stuff. Don't be distracted. Don't be distracted by all this late-type stuff or things coming out like that.
Keep in mind, we need to change this country. We need to take it back from the special interests. We need to send George Bush back to Texas and Dick Cheney back to wherever he came from. And we need a president who is going to empower you, the people of this country.
And so you have entrusted me all these years.
HARKIN: I'm telling you, I've looked at these candidates. They're all fine people. I've worked with them all. I know them all. Some of them I've served with for 25 years. They're all good, decent, respectable people.
But in my judgment, having represented you all these years, there is one person, as I said, who can energize the party, broaden it, raise the resources, take a powerful message, who's straight-speaking, straightforward, who will take on Bush and Rove, whip them and win that White House for us. And, my friends, there's no doubt about it, it is Governor Howard Dean of Vermont.
And we're joined today by another longtime friend of mine. I first met Carol Moseley Braun when she was Cook County recorder. And I was running for president, and she supported me. And I've always appreciated that. She's been a great friend of mine.
And then later, we served together in the United States Senate. What a breath of fresh air when Carol Moseley Braun came into the United States Senate.
You know, there are some things you wait for in your life, you know, you kind of wait for, you hope it kind of happens.
Now, my friends, I had been in the Senate for I guess about 14 years, I guess, maybe 12 years, when Carol came to the Senate. And for 12 or 14 years I had to sit there and listen to Jesse Helms go on and on with his, sort of, subtle, kind of, racist remarks and things like that.
What a wonderful day that was when Carol Moseley Braun stood on the Senate floor and put Jesse Helms in his place.
One of the great moments in Senate history -- one of the great moments in Senate history.
But the one thing that Carol always did as a senator, later as an ambassador -- but I knew her as a senator and I talk about her in those terms.
HARKIN: I never visited her when she was an ambassador, so I talk about her when she was a senator. She brought people together. She worked with us, not to divide people up by any kind of division or race or sex. She brought people together. And she worked with us on all kinds of issues. You know, I got to tell you, she's from Chicago, but we dubbed her the Ethanol Queen because she was so supportive of ethanol and clean energy.
And you've seen her in this campaign -- you've seen her in this campaign. Every single time you've seen her, in every debate, she's been positive, uplifting. And in that last debate, when one person tried to get some division in there, she said: Let's bring this thing back together again, folks; we're all in this same thing together.
And so when I found out she was going to be in Carroll, Iowa, today -- I'm not certain what she's doing here in Carroll, Iowa, here today -- but as long as I found out she was in Carroll, Iowa, both Governor Dean and I said, "Well, yes, come on over and meet the wonderful people of Carroll, Iowa."
And I can the wonderful people of Carroll, Iowa, you won't meet a finer person, someone who is more in tune with your views and how you feel and what we got to do with this country than my good friend, Carol Moseley Braun.
CAROL MOSELEY BRAUN (D), FRM. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you, I'm very honored.
Thank you so much.
I want to thank you, Tom Harkin, for those wonderful words. And, my old friend, I know we're going to be on the trail together.
I want to thank everybody for your kindness to me and for allowing me to participate as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States.
This campaign has been a wonderful learning experience for me, one that restored my faith in the political process and renewed my belief in the goodness of the American people.
MOSELEY BRAUN: 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.
Your support is precious to me, and so I make this recommendation with the most sincerity and thought I have ever brought to any decision. Governor Dean has the energy to inspire the American people, to break the cocoon of fear that envelopes us and empowers President Bush and his entourage from the extreme right wing. And he has a program to put our country back on track to tax fairness, job creation, balanced budgets and an economy that works for everyone, regardless of race or sex.
He has the experience to know that state and local and national governments have to cooperate and collaborate and end the destructive game of monetary musical chairs that creates unfunded mandates and failing schools.
He understands that the real war on terrorism starts with putting the domestic security of the American people first.
He can, as they say, work well with others around the world and craft a foreign policy that is neither arrogant nor preemptive, but that begins with respect and builds on alliances.
He takes seriously our stewardship of the planet and our environmental responsibilities.
Howard Dean is a Democrat we can all be proud to support.
Now, I am so very grateful to you who have made my candidacy possible and who believed, as I did, that my campaign offered Americans a unique opportunity for progress.
MOSELEY BRAUN: When barriers of gender and race fall in America, our nation is richer for it and all Americans -- all Americans -- will benefit.
All Americans will benefit from the opening up of a reservoir of talent and capacity and contributions and ideas that have been locked up for far too long.
But in candor, to share with you the funding and organizational disadvantages of a nontraditional campaign could not in the end be overcome. And so this campaign was unable to compete effectively or support your hard work as it should.
Continuing would not have been fair to the hundreds of delegates, especially Congressman Bobby Rush and Danny Davis, and thousands of volunteers and millions of supporters who wanted to give the American people a message of hope and progress.
We were, and we are, determined to give the next generation of Americans no less than what we inherited from the first one. And we are committed to opening up our democracy. We will get there one day.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, and I quote, "The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice."
Progress for our republic will come when we live up to the ideal of equality and inclusion that is at the heart of the American dream. The political process is an avenue for building a more perfect union, if for no other reason than it is, in the end, a purely mathematical process: With one vote more than the next guy, you win, at least most of the time.
MOSELEY BRAUN: When women run for office, when people of color run, we open up the possibility that women and people of color can win. I have a record -- and I'm glad Tom referenced it -- I have a record of building bridges, bringing people together and breaking barriers. And I am proud of my role in breaking new ground with this campaign.
I was able to walk in the footsteps of my hero, former Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, and we qualified for ballot position in more states than any woman has ever done in the history of this country.
So to those of you who believed in this effort, I say: Take heart; you can claim the nobility of moving our country forward and of opening up possibilities for all our daughters. I thank you for your vision and your patriotism.
But today, especially, I ask that you share my view that Governor Dean is the candidate best-equipped to continue the progress we need to have, to bring Americans together, to renew our country and restore our privacy, our liberty, and our economic security.
His leadership will help us live up to our generational responsibility. And so I am happy to support him and hope that you will stand for him with the conviction and courage with which you would have stood for me.
I appreciate your continued support, and I look forward to dancing with you at the inaugural ball for Howard Dean this time next year.
Thank you so much.
I'm just going to bring on Governor Dean.
You've heard enough from me. Governor Howard Dean.
HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Ambassador Moseley Braun. What an extraordinary, classy person, Carol Moseley Braun was.
And I'm going to miss you at those debates stepping in and defending me from those outrageous things that people say.
I'll be really -- Carol Moseley Braun's right about one thing that she said -- you've been right about a lot of things -- but the thing that she said that's the most important thing she just said: You can only change America if you put yourself on the line, put yourself out there.
And because of what you have done in this campaign, I very much hope the day when we will have a woman president or a president who is an African-American step up and take the oath one January 20th.
Thank you for what you've done or...
And I want to thank my good friend Tom Harkin.
O'BRIEN: All right, we have been watching an event coming out of Carroll, Iowa. We're not sure if that dateline is a coincidence or not. We'll try to get Candy Crowley to track that down for us.
But in any case, Carol Moseley Braun just about out of the race throwing her support to Howard Dean who obviously doesn't like podiums very much, Bill Schneider. What's that all about?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: A podium is a barrier between the candidate and the people. He sees him self-as a candidate with a very close relationship with the people out there. No special interests and no podiums between him and the people.
O'BRIEN: OK. Because that podium can really get in the way of the message. Can't it?
SCHNEIDER: It certainly can.
O'BRIEN: We've spent an awful lot of time on this, probably spent more time on this than it means to the race. What do you think? SCHNEIDER: Look. She was a candidate who attracted interest, the only woman candidate. She got into this race because she wanted to bring a woman's perspective which she thought was missing from presidential politics these days. I think she took some (UNINTELLIGIBLE), brought some insights into those debates that were important.
She was also doing it, we talked about this before, to try to burnish her reputation which had suffered when she left the Senate because of some scandals overhanging her tenure in the Senate and the way she ran her campaigns.
So I think she'll be remembered as a woman who ran a credible, although very brief, race for president of the United States. I don't know if her endorsement of Howard Dean will mean a great deal, but again, she's an African-American, and African-American voters are the base of the Democratic Party.
Dean does not have a long history of working with African- Americans because there aren't very many in Vermont. It will be valuable to him as we go down the road to those Southern states.
O'BRIEN: All right, maybe next time she should try losing the podium. Seems to work for Dr. Dean. Bill Schneider, always a pleasure. Thank you very much.
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