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New Hampshire Primary: Dean's Final Push; Interview With Joe Lieberman

Aired January 26, 2004 - 15:30   ET


SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tomorrow, in New Hampshire, we mark the beginning of the end of the Bush presidency.

ANNOUNCER: A shot of Kerry confidence on the eve of the New Hampshire primary. But he's not the only Democrat claiming high hopes.

HOWARD DEAN (D), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have every intention of winning the New Hampshire primary.

ANNOUNCER: Reaching out to Main Street America. Joe Lieberman talks to Judy about his political appeal, despite what the polls may say.

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have a rising sense of expectation about how this is going to come out tomorrow.

ANNOUNCER: Sleepless in New Hampshire. We go behind the scenes for the final frenzy before the primary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we work hard, long days here trying to catch a few Zs, whenever you can.


ANNOUNCER: Now, live from CNN's New Hampshire headquarters in Manchester, JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS.

JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: And thanks for joining us. The Democratic presidential candidates have literally hours left to make their cases to primary voters here in New Hampshire. Depending on their perspectives, those hours may speed by or feel like a lifetime, especially after the whiplash-inducing turns of the past week.

On this primary eve, the candidate who has been shaken most, Howard Dean, says he is closing in fast on the leader here, John Kerry. Our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley, is here with me in Manchester. She's been covering the Dean campaign.

So what are they saying?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'll tell you one thing for sure, you definitely get the feeling going out and looking at Dean that they feel that they are now back on terra firma after a pretty rough week. The candidate is more relaxed than he's seemed for several days. His wife remains by his side. His cold is better, and so are the polls. Howard Dean is within striking distance of John Kerry.


DEAN: Where was John Kerry when George Bush was giving out all this misinformation about Saddam had something to do with al Qaeda? He was voting in favor of the war. And it turned out all the reasons the president gave us were not true. Foreign policy expertise depends on patience and judgment. I question Senator Kerry's judgment when he voted no in 1991, and yes, I think it should be the other way around.


CROWLEY: In his morning remarks in Nashua, Dean made passing reference to dirty tricks played by rival Democrats. He didn't name any names. Later, his campaign spokesman rattled off several infractions: faxes in the middle of the night, putting out bogus Dean talking points, calls questioning Dean's religious affiliation, e- mails soliciting campaign workers, listing a variety of offensive qualifications.

However, on the platform there is none of that. Dean's closest rival obviously is John Kerry, but it is not his only target. As always, the biggest audience pleasers are Dean's riffs on the president.


DEAN: I'm sure it my not come as a surprise to you that most of what the president does, does not help ordinary Americans. Most of what he does is aimed at helping his friends who are financing his re- election.


CROWLEY: At this point, Judy I can tell you that Dean's crowds are substantial. They seem enthusiastic. But we find a large population of out-of-staters, which was what we found in Iowa. Now this is unusual in campaigns.

We're right across the border from Massachusetts and Vermont. A lot of the campaigns bring in a port-a-crowd, as we call them. But they are very enthusiastic. Tough to tell, though, on the ground where this campaign is headed. But they certainly have very high hopes.

WOODRUFF: Well, if he does well here, where do they stand? As you know very well, resources get so important after New Hampshire. What kind of shape are they in with their finances?

CROWLEY: Well, if he does well, one assumes their fund-raising picks back up. They say it hasn't really fallen off, regardless of what happened in Iowa. However, we do know that in the week following Iowa, this past week, Dean spent more than $1 million on advertising alone in New Hampshire. That's almost half a million more than anybody else.

So he is putting major bucks in here. You get the sense that money is not as free-flowing as it used to be. But obviously campaigns don't like to talk about that. They say, look, we raised about $41 million last year. We're in fine shape. We can go through March.

They don't want to tell you about cash on hand. Because the fact of the matter is, that's just a way to signal your opponent. So definitely it seems tighter than it was before. He's spending a lot more money than he thought he'd have to.

WOODRUFF: Spending, meaning they think it is very important to do well, of course. All right. Candy, thank you very much.

In the latest round of New Hampshire tracking polls -- and there are half a dozen of them -- Dean is trailing John Kerry by as much as 21 points, and as little as three points. Most of the surveys, though, give Kerry a double-digit lead.

Our poll shows Kerry with an eleven-point advantage over Dean and suggests that a close race for third place is out there among Wesley Clark, Joe Lieberman and John Edwards. Kerry has been on the rise in this state for most of the past week since his Iowa victory. Dean seems to have stabilized in recent days after his post-Iowa tumble.

Well, John Kerry is clearly trying to seal his front-runner status and a primary victory by reminding New Hampshire Democrats of the battle ahead against President Bush. Asked about a possible fall showdown with the president, Kerry told New Hampshire voters that if the worst thing Republicans can say about himthat he's "a liberal," then he said "bring it on." We'll have a live report on the Kerry campaign a little later on INSIDE POLITICS.

John Edwards, meantime, riding his campaign bus across southern New Hampshire today, hoping to pick up the support of undecided voters along the way. Let's check in with CNN's Suzanne Malveaux in Portsmouth.

Suzanne, hello.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Judy. Edwards has really been performing to overflow crowds, just packed crowds throughout the day. The strategy of the next 24 hours is quite simple, to keep the message positive, and to keep it consistent. Also to capitalize off of Edwards strengths, that being his personal appeal, as well as his ability to communicate, and even command the media.

Now, his stump speech is focusing primarily on domestic issues, the economy, education, as well as health care. Some of his opponents up at the top, of course Senator Kerry and General Clark, criticizing him, saying he doesn't have enough experience in the military or foreign affairs.

But I asked Edwards to weigh in on one of the most pressing issues of course concerning Iraq, where are these weapons of mass destruction that the administration claimed posed an imminent threat to the United States and justified the U.S. going to war. What does he think of the former administration's point man for finding those weapons, David Kay's statement saying he doesn't believe that they exist, and whether it's the intelligence community or President Bush that should be held accountable.


SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It depends on what he was told. And I think that's what we have to get to the bottom of. What information did the president have? Not just the president. but other members of the administration.

Was any of that information exaggerated? Did they tell us something that they didn't believe to be true? I mean, these are all things that an independent commission can determine.


MALVEAUX: Now, the Edwards camp expects that he's going to pull a strong third in New Hampshire, but really they're looking forward to South Carolina. That, of course, is the birthplace of Edwards, and that's where the polls are already showing him in the lead. Twenty- one percent for Edwards, 17 percent for Kerry. I asked him just how important he thought the South was?


EDWARDS: South Carolina is important not just for the nomination. It's important for the country and for the election. I mean, we have to have a candidate, as Democrats, who can compete everywhere in America.

And probably more important, you know, I grew up in the rural South. I know what problems people face in their day-to-day lives up close. I've been representing them in the Senate. And the problems that they have, they're transferable to almost everywhere in the country.


MALVEAUX: And that's certainly what he is banking on. I talked to several of his aides who say, look, they believe that New Hampshire really is going to be the toughest fight here. This is a low watermark for them. But they believe that even a third place finish will be a victory for him, considering that there's three people from New England who are in his race here in New Hampshire. And also, if they can get more support than Lieberman or Clark, that's a good thing, considering how much money and time they spent their resources in this state -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: OK. Suzanne Malveaux traveling with the Edwards campaign. She's in Portsmouth. Thanks.

Checking in now on other New Hampshire Democratic hopefuls, Wesley Clark told an audience this morning that he is the only outsider in the race. And he said the only candidate who grew up poor. But a short time later, Clark told reporters he may have overstated his case. He said he was only comparing himself to what he called the top two candidates in the race.

Senator Joe Lieberman and his wife, Hadassah, plan to make five campaign events before holding a rally tonight in Manchester. Liberian's mother, meanwhile, tells the "LA Times" that she expected her son to fare better in his race for the White House. Eighty-nine- year-old Marsha Lieberman (ph) told the newspaper, "He's such a good man. I don't know why he didn't catch on."

As for the other two hopefuls, Dennis Kucinich has multiple stops planned today in New Hampshire. The first was bright and early at 6:00 this morning. And Al Sharpton left the state days ago and moved on to South Carolina, where he is counting on a strong showing next week.

In this election cycle, Democratic voters have seemed especially focused on electability. And that helps to explain John Kerry's leading man status here in New Hampshire. Our tracking poll shows that 56 percent of likely Democratic primary voters think Kerry has the best chance of beating President Bush in November. Compared with just 16 percent for Howard Dean.

Mr. Bush had a campaign-style swing today into Arkansas. He touted his plan for limiting medical liability lawsuits. I'll talk to a key Bush ally here in New Hampshire a little later on INSIDE POLITICS.

Coming up next, my one-on-one interview with Joe Lieberman. Is he feeling discouraged by the reception he's been getting in New Hampshire?

Plus, I'll get a rare inside look at Wesley Clark's Granite State headquarters.

And we'll have snapshots of the Hollywood stars playing a role on the trail.

This is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.


WOODRUFF: Just to show you this campaign going right down to the wire. Here are live pictures of Vermont. Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean campaigning in Durham, New Hampshire, at the University of New Hampshire, one of a number of campaign stops the former Vermont governor making this day in the first-in-the-nation primary state.

Over the weekend, a slight up-tick in Senator Joe Liberian's poll numbers prompted him to tell supporters that he's got some Joe-mentum. Even so, he is still looking at a likely third, fourth or even fifth place finish after all of his hard work. When I spoke with Senator Lieberman earlier today I asked if he gets discouraged.


LIEBERMAN: I don't get discouraged at all because I just came out here now and two people came over and said, "I'm with you. You're the one guy who tells us one thing on every issue. We can trust you. And we actually think you're going to bring the country together, win the election and get something done."

So I have a rising sense of expectation about how this is going to come out tomorrow. I'm optimistic.

WOODRUFF: You, among other things, are not only going after Democrats in New Hampshire, you're going after Independents.


WOODRUFF: But many of them are saying they're not sure you can beat President Bush. We sat down with a group of voters last night in Concord, and all six of them said they wondered whether you had what it takes to beat President Bush. What do you say to those voters?

LIEBERMAN: Well, I start out by saying, they ought to listen to what President Bush and the Republicans are saying. I'm the one Democrat they don't want to run against.

The leading newspaper in this state, one that endorsed me, said that the Bush White House ought to worry if the Democrats are smart enough to nominate Joe Lieberman. The fact is, I've been in tough fights before. I know who I am. I know what I stand for. And I know why I'll make a better president for the American people than George W. Bush.

I'm the only candidate who has proposed middle-class tax cuts. I'm the only candidate who has the record of strength on security to reassure the American people. I'm the Democrat who has really provided a health insurance reform plan that will cover at the lowest costs the most Americans who don't have coverage now.

I've got a much better program for America's future than George W. Bush. And I can't wait to carry that choice to them.

WOODRUFF: Senator, you've been very clear about your message. You're very determined.


WOODRUFF: But if you come in less than third in New Hampshire, will you stay in this race?

LIEBERMAN: Well, I've said all along I'm going to do better than expected here in New Hampshire. I'm going to go on from here.

We've got a plane waiting at the airport in Manchester tomorrow night to take me to Delaware and South Carolina on Wednesday -- I'm sorry Delaware and Oklahoma on Wednesday, South Carolina on Thursday, Arizona on Friday. We go on to next week.

I have total confidence, particularly when people keep talking about the polls, which used to have me way down, that I'm going to do much better than expected. Counting on the Independents and Democrats, and it will give me the burst to go on to the next week.

WOODRUFF: But Senator, you know those polls as we'll as we do. We all hate to talk about them, but they are out there. And there are a lot of them. And they are showing you doing in single digits in these other states.

LIEBERMAN: Well, take another look. I love you, Judy, but people in the media talk about the polls. Thank god it's the voters who decide who gets elected.

And people here in New Hampshire are not going to let a lot of outside pollsters and pundits tell them how to vote. They're going to decide themselves, and they're going to vote for somebody who they have confidence in, can win the election, and be the president who will make their lives better and safer.

I feel very good about the unique message I've put before them. I'm the only Democrat who's been strong on security, socially progressive, and will restore fiscal discipline and job growth.

WOODRUFF: You agree with Terry McAuliffe, the chairman of the Democratic Party, that if a candidate doesn't win at least one primary on February 3 that they shouldn't stay in the race?

LIEBERMAN: Yes. I intend to win a primary on February 3.

WOODRUFF: All right. Last thing, Senator. What would you like to say to reporters like me who ask you these kinds of questions?

LIEBERMAN: Go talk to the people. You know? I mean, you got a job to do. I got a job to do.

What I've done is to put forward a record of 30 years of experience, independence, consistency, and new ideas for the future. And I'm the Democrat who can win and bring the country together. One vote tomorrow for everybody, for the one guy who said one thing on every issue, and we'll make America one country again.


WOODRUFF: Senator Joe Lieberman talking to me today in Nashua.

Well, like Lieberman, Wesley Clark skipped the Iowa caucuses to concentrate on tomorrow's New Hampshire primary. In a minute, we'll take a tour through the nerve center of his New Hampshire effort: Clark's campaign headquarters in Manchester.


WOODRUFF: Well, obviously tomorrow is New Hampshire's big day in the political spotlight. Are the Granite State Democrats ready? Joining me now, Kathy Sullivan, the chairwoman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

First of all, a prediction. Last time you had, what, 156,000 Democrats turn out for the primary in 2000? What are you looking at tomorrow?

KATHY SULLIVAN, CHAIRWOMAN, NEW HAMPSHIRE DEMOCRATIC PARTY: I'm guessing about 175,000. The secretary of state is expecting about 10,000 or 15,000 more. I'm a little concerned about the weather in the afternoon. The snow may drive down some of the turnout of people commuting back from Massachusetts.

WOODRUFF: Kathy Sullivan, a lot of talk about how many Independents are going to be voting in your Democratic primary tomorrow. They can show up at the polls, they can register as a Democrat and vote. What are you expecting in the way of Independents? And what effect does that have on the outcome, do you think?

SULLIVAN: I'm guessing that probably somewhere around 40 percent, maybe a little more, maybe a little less, of the people voting in the Democratic primary are going to be Independents. That's where all the action is, is on the Democratic side.

I think as a result of that, there may be some numbers that are not showing up in the polls. Because not all of the polls are including as many Independents as I think will vote. Some of them are. It's kind of a bit of a wild card, and we'll see what happens. But if you've got more Republican-leaning Independents voting in a Democratic primary, that can skew the results a little bit.

WOODRUFF: And who does it help?

SULLIVAN: It may help Senator Lieberman. It may help General Clark. You know, the more moderate, Senator Edwards, too. People perceived as more (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and more moderate.

But it's hard to tell. It is just so hard to tell. I mean, I've had people calling me today saying, "Who should I vote for? I haven't made my mind up yet. What's going on? What do you think?" It's just very volatile right now.

WOODRUFF: Well, what go you think? What are you hearing? Who's got a good organization? I mean, could this literally be any one of these four, five candidates that are in there? I mean...

SULLIVAN: It's really hard to tell. I mean, I'm hearing some numbers that say it looks like it's not going to be close at the top. I'm hearing other stories that are saying how it may very well be close. But it's a very volatile electorate today. I do believe that there are probably about 10 percent of the people who are still making their minds up.

WOODRUFF: But John Kerry's ahead in every poll but by different amounts. You don't have any reason to believe he's not going to come in first, do you? SULLIVAN: You know, I'm not going to predict who's going to come in first, because this is so difficult in New Hampshire. And with these other variables, nothing really going on, on the Republican side, a lot of Republican-leaning Independents coming in to vote in our primary -- the weather is another wild card because, as I said, the snow may drive down turnout at the end of the day.

Boy, it's tough to tell. It's exciting though. I'm having a great time.

WOODRUFF: A lot of people gunning, though, for the New Hampshire primary being first in the nation. Could this be the last time you're first?

SULLIVAN: No. In fact, we received a letter on Saturday that was signed by all the candidates who attended our 100 Club Dinner. Six out of the seven, Reverend Sharpton wasn't there, and they all committed to working with the DNC to keep the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire Democratic primary first.

WOODRUFF: This wouldn't be a good time for them to pull out of that agreement, would it? All right. Kathy Sullivan, chairwoman of the New Hampshire Democratic party. Good to see you.

SULLIVAN: It's good to see you, too. Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Thanks very much.

SULLIVAN: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: All right.

Well, celebrities are converging on the Granite State in our "Campaign News Daily." Wesley Clark is cashing in on its home state connections to Hollywood actress Mary Steenburgen. Joined by her husband, actor Ted Danson, Steenburgen traveled around the state with Clark on Sunday. Steenburgen says she's known Clark since their younger days back in Arkansas.

John Edwards had his own Hollywood escort over the weekend. Actress Glenn Close joined Edwards and his family on the stump yesterday. Edwards introduced the actress as "our friend."

And the fictional president from TV's "The West Wing" has become a regular fixture on the campaign trail. Actor Martin Sheen appeared with Howard Dean and his wife yesterday in Manchester. The town hall meeting on health care issues.

One more celebrity sighting to report. Just a few hours ago, actress Drew Barrymore was spotted aboard Wesley Clark's campaign bus. She joined reporters in tossing questions to the candidate. We're told that Barrymore is filming a political documentary aimed at younger voters.

Well, the polls all seem to agree that Senator John Kerry is the man to beat tomorrow here in New Hampshire. But he isn't leaving anything to chance apparently. Stay with us for a look at what's being done to make sure, in Senator Kerry's camp, that he exceeds expectations.

Later, I'll ask New Hampshire's governor how much attention he and his fellow Republicans are paying to all the Democratic commotion in their state.



ANNOUNCER: Five candidates in New Hampshire in search of a bounce. Our Bill Schneider breaks down the expectations game.

You've heard from the politicians and the pundits. But what do the people think?

WOODRUFF: Edie (ph), what about John Kerry? You're still thinking this over. What's your impression of him?

ANNOUNCER: On the eve of the primary, Judy sits down with some Granite State voters.

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, this didn't come out the way we wanted.

ANNOUNCER: Three hours in Iowa, plus three months of work in New Hampshire down the drain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Enormous shock, denial, disbelief. Just serious sadness.

ANNOUNCER: But can this campaign worker bounce back?

Live, from CNN's New Hampshire headquarters in Manchester, JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: And welcome back to New Hampshire, where over the years presidential candidates have been crowned, crushed, and even reduced to tears. When Democrats vote tomorrow in the first primary of this election year, John Kerry clearly hoping for a victory to book-end his upset win in Iowa.

On the trail here in New Hampshire today, Kerry said he's the only Democrat in the race who hasn't, quote, "played games on the issue of abortion." Even though all seven Democratic contenders support abortion rights. Kerry urged Granite state Democrats to focus on the big picture when they go to the polls tomorrow.


SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're down to the last hours here. And some people are counting hours, I'm not counting hours. What I'm counting is the importance of our mobilizing and coming together in order to make clear that tomorrow, in New Hampshire, we mark the beginning of the end of the Bush presidency.


WOODRUFF: Howard Dean is using his last full day of campaigning in New Hampshire to try to recover the ground that he lost to John Kerry. Dean again criticized senator Kerry for voting in 2002 to authorize the U.S. invasion of Iraq while voting against the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Dean says that raises questions about Kerry's judgment.

Wesley Clark is once again touting his military credentials and defending his Democratic credentials as he campaigns across New Hampshire today. Clark is planning to stop in all ten counties in this state. CNN's Dan Lothian is with Clark in Concord. Hello, Dan.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, retired general Wesley Clark says he is happy with the way that his campaign has been run here in New Hampshire. He says that he is continuing to focus on the voters and the issues that are important to them and he's not watching the polls. Another thing he's having to deal with is correcting statements that he's been making out on the campaign trail. It happened again today, an even in Key (ph), New Hampshire, when during his speech trying to explain his background he said, quote, "I didn't go to Yale."

This appeared to be a swipe at Kerry, at Bush, at Lieberman, at Dean. they went to Yale. Later on, when approached about that question, he said that he was simply talking about himself. But also in that speech he went on to say that quote, "unlike the rest of the people in this race, I did grow up poor." Of course John Edwards has talked about his humble upbringings when asked about the remarks that he made, Clark again said that, well, I may have made some overstatements on that particular fact. Backing down from those statements.

But this again points to what critics have been talking about throughout this campaign. That Clark is not ready for prime time. That Clark is spending a lot of times correcting statement that he has made and not focusing on the message. The Clark campaign says that they are, indeed, focusing on the message. They are trying to talk about things that are important to the voters, such as jobs, health care and national security.


WESLEY CLARK (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm an outsider. I'm not part of the problems in Washington. I have never taken money from lobbyists. I've never cut a deal. I've never run for votes. I've never cut deals for votes. I'm not part of the problem that's gone wrong in this government.


LOTHIAN: The Clark campaign is on a ten-county bus tour. They're calling it a 10K bus tour. They will wrap up way up north in the northern part of the state in Dixville Notch. That is where they will be the first community to vote just after midnight -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Dan, thank you. I've seen the neighborhood where Clark grew up in Arkansas. I wonder if his neighbors would consider themselves poor. It's an interesting question.

Heading into tomorrow's New Hampshire primary, national polls are reflecting John Kerry's post-Iowa bounce. A new Quinnipiac survey of registered Democrats nationwide shows Kerry with 30 percent support. Howard Dean 17 percent. Wesley Clark and John Edwards 14 percent. In a CNN/TIME magazine poll less than two weeks ago, Dean led the pack, and Kerry was tied for third place.

In that new Quinnipiac national poll, President Bush gets 49 percent to Kerry's 45 percent. In a hypothetical matchup. Kerry did better against Mr. Bush, though, than any of his Democratic rivals.

John Kerry has learned a thing or two, you might say, about bounce. But what kind of momentum does he hope to take out of New Hampshire? Our senior political analyst Bill Schneider considers the bounce that each Democratic contender is looking for here.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Landslide for Kerry. John Kerry is expected to win next door New Hampshire. But to get a bounce the perception has to be he wins big. Ask Kerry if he's even the front-runner in New Hampshire.

KERRY: No, I don't believe so. I still resist it, because you know, I was so far behind a few weeks ago. And things change.

SCHNEIDER: He wants any margin of victory in New Hampshire to look big. Dean rebounds. He certainly would if he won New Hampshire. Then Howard Dean could claim the coveted title of comeback kid. But Dean's being cautious.

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's getting very close and it's going to continue to get closer. We don't know if we can make it up in the last two days.

SCHNEIDER: For Dean, after all he's been through, a close second place finish would look like vindication. Then, he'd be entitled to say...

DEAN: Yeah!

SCHNEIDER: Surprise! Edwards third. After his second-place finish in Iowa, a third place finish in New Hampshire would give John Edwards the bounce he's looking for. Remember, Kerry and Dean are from next door states. So Edwards could say I beat everybody but the locals, because after New Hampshire, Edwards is the local.

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Once we leave New Hampshire, we go to places where I'm very strong. South Carolina, Oklahoma.

SCHNEIDER: Clark tops Edwards. Who you callin' local, boy, Wesley Clark says? I'm the southerner in this race.

CLARK: You've got an incredibly strong base of support, especially in the south. But really all across the country.

SCHNEIDER: Clark needs to top Edwards in New Hampshire to get the bounce on him in the south. Then Clark can claim to be the electable alternative to between and the outsider alternative to Kerry. Mo for Joe. A surprise third place finish for Joe Lieberman would put him in the game.

LIEBERMAN: I've always said not that I would win here, but I'd do better than expected.

SCHNEIDER: So what if he needs conservative crossover votes to do it? That just bolsters Lieberman's claim to electability.

LIEBERMAN: I can get Democrats, independents, and a growing number of Republicans who are disappointed with George Bush, but won't vote for any Democrat. They'll vote for me.


SCHNEIDER: We may see five contenders claiming victory Tuesday night. All looking for bounce. Now, isn't that what we saw Howard Dean doing Monday night after he lost so badly in Iowa?

WOODRUFF: Maybe we'll hear a whoop from all five of them.

SCHNEIDER: They'll all try.

WOODRUFF: OK, Bill, thanks very much.

What about New Hampshire Republicans? Are they feeling left out? Coming up I'll ask New Hampshire governor Craig Benson what he and his fellow Republicans think of the Democratic candidates.

But it is the voters who have the final say. And quite a few minds are made up. Coming up, a roundtable with some very decided voters.

Later, what's a Dick Gephardt supporter to do? We'll follow one activist's dilemma.


WOODRUFF: Democrats are getting all the attention these days, so it is worth remembering that Republicans control both chambers of the New Hampshire state legislature, the entire congressional delegation, and the governorship.

Republican Governor Craig Benson is with me now. Governor, good to see you.

GOV. CRAIG BENSON (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: Nice to be here, Judy.

What's it like to have the state crawling with Democratic candidates for president and all their staffs?

BENSON: It's great, it's great for our economy, and it's great for people to get an understanding from different leaders from different parties and what they believe in and how they stand.

WOODRUFF: What kind of turnout do you expect in tomorrow's Republican primary?

BENSON: We're expecting 70 percent across the board. I know you told me the secretary of state is expecting about 160,000. Generally he's a little conservative. So we'll probably see a touch more than that.

WOODRUFF: We all have a pretty good idea who's going to win the Republican primary here because the challenges to President Bush are not well known.

What about on the Democratic side? Do you have any expectations about who's going to win on the Democratic side?

BENSON: It really depends upon how independents break. And I know we've been talking about that all day long.

But how many come out, how many people decide to pull a Democratic ballot versus Republican ballot. And that's all in the mix. And the interesting part is it's hard to poll those people because generally they're not active supporters.

So pollsters will call people that have actively gone out and voted in the past. These people fall off the radar screen.

WOODRUFF: What is your intelligence telling you and what's your gut telling you? You know the state. How big an independent turnout do you...

BENSON: I think we're going to have a pretty big size independent turnout.

WOODRUFF: On the Democratic side?

BENSON: On the Democratic side and on even on the Republican side I think we'll get a pretty good number too.

I think a lot of people have been piqued by this whole process and by all the media attention and the commercials that have run. And I think everybody in New Hampshire understands that their ability to weigh in is important.

WOODRUFF: Governor Benson, a lot of speculation talk about which one of these Democrats is going to be most, quote, "electable" against President Bush. You are a Republican. You obviously talk to a lot of smart Republicans in this state and around the country. Which Democrat do they think would put up the biggest challenge, the toughest challenge for the president?

BENSON: Well i think the president stands on his own record. He's made decisions, done a great job. And there are some Democrats that have significant track records, there's some that have very limited track records.

And I also think that this process is far from over. We've already seen some stumbles and some changes in attitude based on one's personal beliefs in the past. And that's all still to play out. A New Hampshire primary is a valuable part of this whole thing because we get people to really be committed to what they say, and make sure that they are committed to following through on those.

WOODRUFF: For example, there are some people saying well, Senator Kerry -- some Republicans, I hear them say, well he's a, quote unquote, "New England liberal." The president could knock him off very easily. Do you think that about Senator Kerry?

BENSON: Well, I think that every single one of them presents certain challenges. And there's some that have interesting twists. But I'd hate to say which one's going to win. New Hampshire's very, very fluid at this point of time.

WOODRUFF: New Hampshire voters have been known to speak their minds.

BENSON: And they do.

WOODRUFF: Once again.

Governor Craig Benson thank you very much for talking with us.

BENSON: My pleasure. Good to see you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Good to see you. Thank you.

The final hours have arrived here in New Hampshire. Can the candidates change anyone's mind at this late hour? I'll talk with a group of New Hampshire voters, some still undecided. And find out what it takes to win their votes.


WOODRUFF: After today the polls and the pundits no longer matter. It's all up to the voters of New Hampshire.

Last night I sat down with a group of voters at the home of Judy Fox and Jeff Trombly in Concord. I started by asking Jeff why he has decided to support John Kerry.


JEFF TROMBLY, KERRY SUPPORTER: I was leaning towards Kerry almost from the beginning, when I heard he was getting into the race, which seems like twelve years ago now. It's been so long.

But, I saw him right off the bat as presidential, first of all. I know his track record pretty well, from being all those years in the Senate, and he's from neighboring Massachusetts. And whenever, in my mind, I put him side by side with George Bush, I just see that he, you know, he beats Bush in almost every facet.

WOODRUFF: When you say he's presidential, what does that mean to you?

TROMBLY: If you do that quick take and you first see him, he stands there, he stands tall. He's lean. He looks sincere. He looks strong. He looks resolute.

WOODRUFF: Now, Judy, you're married to Jeff.



WOODRUFF: But you don't necessarily share his view of John Kerry. What is your view of John Kerry?

FOX: I do like John Kerry. We saw him a couple times this week and he does have a presidential presence.

What I don't like about him is sort of that he has the presidential presence. I want someone that is somehow different. Somehow appeals to people on a different level. That something special that Dean has that Kerry doesn't have.

WOODRUFF: Tim, as you think about what Jeff said about John Kerry, what do you think about John Kerry?

TIM KEARNS, UNDECIDED: He's somebody that I'm going to be looking at further to see where he comes out, what issues he comes out on. But he's been in the Senate for how long now? And I can't think of a bill that has had his name on it.

So looking back at his track record, where has he been? What has he done? I need to find out more about that.

WOODRUFF: Tenley Callaghan, what about John Kerry? What's your impression?

TENLEY CALLAGHAN, EDWARDS SUPPORTER: I've also wondered exactly what in the Senate that he's done. I mean I know he's been a senator for a long time and I'm sure he's, you know, done many things. I just couldn't name anything.

WOODRUFF: What about you, Walter? What's your impression of John Kerry?

WALTER CHAPIN, CLARK SUPPORTER: I think John Kerry is a fine, fine person. And I think one of his strengths, too, is in foreign policy, which is of great interest to me.

I think to me, I see John Kerry as a little bit more of a traditional -- more to the left Democrat than appeals to me personally.

WOODRUFF: Edie, what about John Kerry? You're still thinking this over. What's your impression of him?

EDIE JONES, UNDECIDED: I like John Kerry. And I like his stance on the environment. I like his foreign policy. But I'm worried about the education. His position on No Child Left Behind could determine who I vote for.

One of his supporters called me and I said, Will he actually rewrite that law? And they said yes. But I want to hear him say that. I don't want to hear it from his supporters. I want to hear what he's going to say about that law because I'm very, very worried about it.

WOODRUFF: And, Judy, you just said a minute ago that you settled on Howard Dean. Why?

FOX: When he was surging in the polls, I got psyched about it. And now that he's not doing so well, I've been doing more research to make sure that I know what I'm talking about.

And I think I do. I think -- I don't want to say anger, but his ability to excite people, get us enthusiastic, and to get us angry enough to get beyond the fear that Bush is trying to put us in.

WOODRUFF: So you're sticking with Howard Dean?

FOX: I'm sticking with him.

WOODRUFF: Despite all the publicity of the last week about the speech in Iowa?

FOX: Oh, that. That didn't bother me at all.

WOODRUFF: Why not? Because it was all over the news.

FOX: When you look at it in context, though, he was at a rally. And like he said all those kids gave their heart and soul to them and he was just trying to pump them up. And I didn't even think it was that bad in itself.

KEARNS: Well from governor of Vermont to president of the United States I think is an awful big jump. He has good ideas. I'm glad to see his enthusiasm. But I think part of me just wants a little bit more experience on the world stage than governor of Vermont, which has about seven people.

CALLAGHAN: I think that, Judy, when you talk about inspiring people, and speaking your heart and all that sort of stuff, I agree. I want a candidate who can do that.

But I think that the divisive, angry element does not appeal to me, more the passion for wanting change and wanting a new America and putting forth ideals instead of criticisms is more what appeals to me.

WOODRUFF: What do you say to that?

FOX: Usually I think I would agree. But the fact that we have an incumbent president, and we're not officially at war, but we're at war, he has such control over the souls of our nation. He can make us afraid.

And it's one thing to be in a regular election and you know, just stir up people's passions and our positions are right and your positions are wrong. I don't think that's good enough now. I think if he's going to make us afraid we've got to get someone else to say no. That's not what it's about.

WOODRUFF: Edie, what about Wesley Clark?

JONES: I think that you're right. Of all the candidates he has the most viable background to deal with our current situation. And his background in the military, and with NATO, I think would serve us well. So I may put him back on my list.

CALLAGHAN: One thing that concerns me when he made the statement, I think it was about a week ago, or maybe two, that 9/11 wouldn't have happened were he on the clock, and it couldn't happen again if he were on the clock. That gravely concerns me.

CHAPIN: It means a lot to him to be able to protect our country and I think that's just his enthusiasm coming through, much the way Dean's did in his speech, but just in a different situation.

KEARNS: Your first elected job shouldn't be president of the United States. Maybe secretary of defense, something along that line. Come in as a senator, something along that line rather than go right to the president.

CHAPIN: I guess I would say that Wesley Clark is a very persuasive and fabulous communicator, and I think that that's -- those are so very strong requirements for the job of president.

I happen to think the discipline that he demonstrates is something that we need in our government.

FOX: I don't connect to Wesley Clark. I just don't think of him as -- I think of him as a great American, a great leader, and obviously intelligent. Did great at west point. But I just can't connect to him.

And that smile, I don't trust him. It's just something. I don't trust him.

CALLAGHAN: You were talking about the connection with candidates. I do feel a connection to John Edwards. I feel he's fought the same battles that we all fight.

I love when he says, This is our America that we want. And he talks about his plans for education or health care. I agree with what he says. He excites me.

WOODRUFF: OK. Jeff, what about John Edwards?

TROMBLY: He just hasn't been around long enough in the area of politics. He just doesn't have that resume. He will make a great president down the road -- if he sticks with it. And I don't think it's his time.

CALLAGHAN: I feel thrilled to be the person in the room that didn't settle on somebody but that actually was inspired by their passion.

TROMBLY: If it ended up having bush be in for another four years, is it worth it?

CALLAGHAN: To me, if you get Edwards that nomination, and if he's our guy, then that's not going to be the battle I'm worried about because I know he can beat Bush. I'm confident.

TROMBLY: And I'm confident Kerry can beat Bush. And I think that everybody else falls just a little bit short. And that just a little bit short is the part that I don't want to take my -- I don't want to risk at this point. Because the alternative is -- I can't imagine it getting worse.


WOODRUFF: Six voters in Concord, New Hampshire, all of them divided over who they're going to vote for in tomorrow's primary.

Well thousands of people have mobilized to elect Dick Gephardt president. So where are they now? Up next a former Gephardt staffer puts defeat in the past and signs on to work with a former rival's campaign.


WOODRUFF: Last week in Iowa, years of planning and hard work came to an abrupt end for Dick Gephardt. His withdrawal from the Democratic race also dashed the hopes of his supporters and staffers, many of whom were suddenly out of work. CNN's Aneesh Ramen looks at how one Gephardt loyalist reacted to last week's defeat.


SHANE LAVIGNE, JOHN KERRY CAMPAIGN: Hi, It's Shane Lavigne from the John Kerry campaign. How are you?

ANEESH RAMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (VOICE-OVER): Shane Lavigne never thought he'd make this call. Just days ago the 23-year-old recent college grad from New York was on Dick Gephardt's payroll, until...

REP. DICK GEPHARDT (D-MO), FRM. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This didn't come out the way we wanted.

LAVIGNE: On caucus night I actually didn't get in touch with anybody. I just watched the results. A moment of shock. Denial. Disbelief. Just serious sadness.

GEPHARDT: God bless you all.

RAMAN: The day after Iowa this tearful good-bye from the candidate at the same time his presidential campaign was shutting down.

LAVIGNE: During his speech I was packing my office up. We had been instructed that it was over. So that's what we were doing, breaking our offices down.

RAMAN: In three Iowa hours, four New Hampshire months of work gone for Gephardt's nearly 20 staffers.

LAVIGNE: You work 14 hour days, seven days a week for one man, you believe that he's going to be the next leader of the United States.

RAMAN: For Lavigne, a decision to move on.

LAVIGNE: I decided that I had unfinished business in New Hampshire. We're here ultimately for one goal and that's to get a Democrat back in the White House.

RAMAN: So he joined the Kerry campaign, for them, a huge new asset, one helping to swing Gephardt supporters their way.

LAVIGNE: I know when I spoke to you last I was with the Gephardt campaign. And I know you were supporting Congressman Gephardt. And I'm now with the John -- yeah. So it was pretty your honor fortunate. And I feel awful.

But I moved on, and went to the John Kerry campaign.

RAMAN: And days after a bitter defeat feat, Lavigne back at work, sitting in an unfamiliar office, talking up a brand new candidate, relying on a favorite political punchline.

LAVIGNE: I think we've got the winner here.

RAMAN: Aneesh Raman, CNN, Claremont, New Hampshire.


WOODRUFF: Quite a story, a personal story.

Well that's it for today's INSIDE POLITICS. One day to go. I'm Judy Woodruff. Join me again tomorrow, Primary Day here in New Hampshire for a special expanded edition of INSIDE POLITICS. That's at 3:00 p.m. Eastern.

"CROSSFIRE" starts right now.


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