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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Democratic Race for White House Heats Up

Aired February 3, 2004 - 21:00   ET

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

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the Democratic race for the White House heats up. Who's got the upper hand? We'll have two shows on today's seven-state contest with another live show at midnight Eastern, 9:00 Pacific. We'll hear from some of the candidates right in this hour, including John Edwards, who won his birth state of South Carolina today, and Howard Dean. Also, expert analysis with Bob Dole, former Republican presidential candidate, Bob Woodward, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and best-selling author, and CNN's own Wolf Blitzer. You are watching a special edition of LARRY KING LIVE. It's all next.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, let me...

KING: We'll be checking in shortly with Howard Dean and then we'll be talking with Bob Dole and Bob Woodward, but we're going to go right to Wolf Blitzer for some breaking news.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Larry. CNN is now ready to project a winner in Arizona. The polls now closed in Arizona. John Kerry will win in Arizona, CNN projecting based on exit polls, General Wesley Clark will come in second. We're projecting based on our exit polls. As far as New Mexico, the party caucuses closing at this hour as well. We're waiting to get some more information. We're waiting to hear from the Democratic party officials in New Mexico before we project anything in New Mexico.

One additional note, Larry, before I throw it back to you. Our John King has now confirmed, quoting a Democratic source, Joe Lieberman, the senator from Connecticut, will drop out. We're expecting to hear from him soon -- Larry.

KING: OK. So what we have is that Kerry, we're calling the winner in Arizona, Delaware, Missouri. Edwards in South Carolina. Three-way battle in Oklahoma. And nothing yet in North Dakota and New Mexico?

BLITZER: That's right, Larry, it's a fierce battle underway in Oklahoma right now.

KING: Let's go to Tacoma, Washington. Standing by is Howard Dean who seems to be our first guest every one of these primary nights. Howard, how would you describe your feelings thus far tonight?

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We feel fine. We knew that we didn't put any money into these states in advertising. And we had good field operations, but that's not enough.

And I'm out here in Washington. We're trying to win Washington, Michigan and Maine. And that's the next battle.

This is a long haul. We got 10 percent of the delegates decided after today. And we got 90 percent to go. So we're feeling good. We're feeling upbeat. And on to Michigan and Washington State and Maine.

KING: Governor, what state disappointed you tonight, if any?

DEAN: Well, we didn't expect any wins, so we can't be disappointed. It appears that we might have had a shot at getting some delegates in Delaware, and we didn't. And that, I think, is too bad.

But, you know, basically, we put a lot of energy into these states that are coming up, into Wisconsin as well. And this is a long, long haul.

Ten percent of the delegates decided. You know, this is going to go on for a long time. You know, we wouldn't want to disappoint Florida. They didn't get to have their votes counted in 2000. They're going to count in the primary in 2004. And that's all of the way down to March 17th, I think.

KING: So you can say you're definitely going to go the bigees, California, New York, Florida?

DEAN: Yes. We believe that we can compete.

Look, this is an election about whether you want change or not. Senator Kerry is a fine person, but he's -- I think The Washington Post reported he took more special interest money than anybody else in the Senate for the last 15 years.

That's not the kind of fundamental change that I'm looking for or any of the people that are supporting me are looking for.

We want health insurance for all Americans. I can do that, and I've already done that for everybody under 18.

I can balance budgets. Nobody else has done that in this race.

I want to give Americans the choice they deserve. And I think they ought to have a choice for fundamental institutional change in this country so that ordinary people can take back their government.

KING: On reflection, Governor, what happened? What went wrong from four or five weeks ago, the front covers of Time and Newsweek, an obvious front runner and Gore supporting you and Bill Bradley? What happened?

DEAN: I think there's an enormous amount of resistance to institutional change in this country. A lot of people have stakes in leaving things the way they are. I don't think things can continue the way they are.

Enormous corporations have the power. You get senators saying they're going to change it, but the truth is, they get their money from the same places.

Eighty-nine percent of our money comes from ordinary Americans. And they're the ones that I think really are taking it on the chin in the Bush administration. I don't think the inside-the-Beltway folks have helped them.

One thing that people understand about me is I'll stand up when I think I'm right, whether it's popular or not. John Kerry, John Edwards, good people, all supported the war, they all supported No Child Left Behind.

Harry Truman used to say if you run a Republican against a Republican, the Republican always wins.

We need fundamental change in this country, institutional change. We understand there's going to be a lot of resistance to that, but I think we've got to do that.

KING: So those numbers of four weeks ago were exaggerated, you think?

DEAN: I don't know about that.

KING: Well, I mean, what happened to...

DEAN: What numbers?

KING: When you were way ahead in the polls and then you tell us institutional change is hard. But four weeks ago...

DEAN: No. What I mean by that is, if you remember what happened is that all the other candidates decided that we were too far out in front, they all walloped us, all the media went after us with scrutiny.

Now, I'm not complaining about that. I think if you're going to run for president, you better expect a lot of pressure. And if you can't take it, you shouldn't be in the race.

But that is in fact what happened. That's what made the difference. And now we're back, and we're not quitting.

KING: Bob Woodward, do you have a question for Howard Dean? Does Bob Woodward have a question?

BOB WOODWARD, WASHINGTON POST: Yes, sir.

Governor, my question is, if you put a time line on this, your decline really could be marked with the Al Gore endorsement. As you look back on that, do you think maybe that was a mistake? Would you reconsider that? With this theme that you're the new person, you don't represent the old establishment, and certainly Gore did, if you'd said no to Gore, would you be in a better position?

DEAN: Al Gore's has given the two best speeches in this campaign: one last March talking about the war and the president not being candid with us, and the other in September talking about the loss of our democracy.

I actually do think the endorsement of Al Gore began the decline, not for the reason that you said, because the establishment in Washington really realized that I might be the nominee and they did not like that.

The media folks didn't like it, the other folks in the race didn't like it, and they did everything they could to make sure we weren't.

Now look, I think the voters -- I have a lot of faith in the voters in this country. I'm going to present them with a real alternative to change: health insurance for every American, just like we have for everybody under 18 in my state; balanced budgets, which nobody in Washington seems to have any interest in of any sort; early child intervention. We dropped our child abuse rate by 43 percent in my state. That's a real record that somebody can run on. I'm going to offer that to Americans. And I hope they take it.

KING: We're waiting -- in a couple of moments, we imagine we'll be hearing from Senator Joe Lieberman. The report is that he will pull out of the race tonight. As soon as he makes that statement, we'll go to it.

Bob Dole, do you have anything to say to Howard Dean?

BOB DOLE (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, Howard, you're a good person. I remember the time we flew back together from the funeral of the governor of South Dakota.

DEAN: Yes, and I thank you for that. I remembered that. And I hope Sheila's doing well. She was a wonderful human being. And she did a great job for you.

DOLE: On health care, right.

But, you know, it's a lot more fun winning. I've been there, you've been there.

I don't have any questions. I think you're going to decide if you think it's still there. And I assume you must feel that way, though it's pretty tough when you don't -- I don't know if you even finished third anywhere today. But that's your decision. You're a good person. And hang in there.

DEAN: Bob, I appreciate it very much. That means a lot to me.

DOLE: Better to have Al Gore's endorsement than mine, Howard.

KING: Wolf, do you have a question for Governor Dean? BLITZER: Governor Dean, I spoke earlier today with Steve Grossman, your campaign chairman. He confirmed of the $42 million you've raised, you've already spent about $40 million, most of it on Iowa and New Hampshire, which didn't necessarily pay off. How bad is the financial situation you're facing right now?

DEAN: We're raising money. Our supporters really do want change in this country. We're getting a fair amount of money in over the Internet on a daily basis. And we're going to continue to fight. We can fight all the way through Super Tuesday. And we have a financial plan to do that.

KING: Governor, how are you going to do in Michigan Saturday?

DEAN: All I can tell you is we're going to do the very best we can. We're going to try to pick up some delegates there. You know, the momentum thing is helping Senator Kerry a lot. But again, here's a guy, who, as The Washington Post reported, took more special interest money than anybody in the Senate in the last 15 years.

I just -- I think that people are really going to want to have a close look at his record. And I suspect he'll get the same kind of scrutiny that I did when I was the front-runner. And then we'll let the American people choose.

KING: Thanks, Governor.

Governor Howard Dean coming to us from Tacoma, Washington.

The Washington primary coming up next week. We're going to take a break. And when we come back, more with Bob Dole, Bob Woodward, Wolf Blitzer, our analysts, and the expected announcement by Joe Lieberman. You're watching a special edition of LARRY KING LIVE. We have two tonight. Another live show at midnight Eastern, 9:00 Pacific. We'll be back with the Lieberman announcement right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back. There's Senator Lieberman. He's in Arlington, Virginia. We're expecting an announcement from him on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. He's being introduced now. And as soon as he's ready to say something, we will go right to him.

Bob Woodward, what do you make of tonight?

WOODWARD: People are still shopping. Voters are -- the Kerry victory in South Carolina -- I'm sorry, the Edwards victory in South Carolina, and the strong showing apparently in Oklahoma means that there's somebody else on the stage here.

KING: How do you assess it, Senator Dole?

DOLE: Big night for John Kerry, no doubt about it. He's on the road, I think, to victory. But Edwards had a good night in South Carolina. He's even been visiting North Carolina some recently. And -- but he's got to be more than a reasonable candidate. He's got to win something north of the Mason-Dixon line.

KING: What do you make of Dean staying in, Senator Dole, right through, he said until Florida?

DOLE: Well, I used to say that, too, and I didn't really mean it. Now, he may mean it, but if you don't have any money, and don't have a state where you can win to pick up a little momentum, after a while, it's like W.C. Fields said one time, try, try again, but then give up. Don't make a damn fool of yourself. And I think that's what I probably went through that process in '88.

KING: We -- Wolf Blitzer, what's your assessment here?

Obviously Lieberman's going to quit this race.

What effect does that have?

BLITZER: It's a sad moment for Joe Lieberman. Someone all of us know, someone all of us like. We're seeing his colleague from Connecticut, Chris Dodd, who supported him strongly. Hadassah Lieberman, his wife have been introducing him. Joe Lieberman underscores a problem, and I wonder if Senator Dole might want to talk about it why these distinguished members of the United States Senate, and you can go back over many years and look at someone like John Glenn, you can look on the Republican side like Phil Graham.

Why don't they do well when it comes to these races for the presidency?

What is it, Senator Dole, about the U.S. Senate that doesn't necessarily bode well?

You being one of the exceptions, you did get the Republican nomination.

DOLE: Well, we haven't had a senator elected since Jack Kennedy. And another one you might name is Lloyd Benson, who I thought would be a great president, never did that well early on. Maybe it's your voting record. Maybe people think you've been there too long. You're part of the group that's made all these mistakes. But I think experience is very helpful. John Kerry may be another exception. He's demonstrating that people want experience.

KING: Yes.

Bob Woodward, what do you make of the fact that in early polling, Kerry leads Bush or is that just too early?

WOODWARD: Way too early. And it shows some other Democrats would beat Bush. I don't think it really has much meaning at this point. At the same time, it does suggest that anything can happen.

DOLE: I was leading Clinton at this time, I think, in '96. It's good for fund raising. I sent out a fund raising letter and enclosed the poll. It brought in some money, but it didn't really mean anything. KING: Why didn't Gore and Bradley help more, Bob?

Bob Woodward, why didn't Gore hell more, and Bradley?

WOODWARD: Well, you heard Howard Dean acknowledge that the decline really can be marked with the Gore endorsement. It didn't help. Voters -- alarm bells go off when somebody says I'm the outsider candidate, and then they have Mr. Insider, Al Gore, endorse them. And they say, well, now, wait a minute, who is he, what is he, and so you have to be careful about endorsements.

KING: What do they mean -- Bob Dole, you're used to this. You're used to being endorsed and giving endorsements, right.

What do they mean?

DOLE: I think at the moment feel good about it. You have this very important Democrat or Republican standing there with you. You get press coverage. But then after a while, people forget about it. It's up to you, the candidate. Endorsements, you know, I don't think -- they're nice to have. They're like editorials, they're nice to have, but they don't really mean that much anymore.

KING: What about Clark, Wolf?

He's in a three way battle.

Wait a minute, here comes Joe Lieberman introduced by his good friend Senator Chris Dodd, the other senator from Connecticut.

Here is Joe Lieberman speaking now at his headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.

(INTERRUPTED FOR LIVE EVENT)

KING: Senator Joe Lieberman removing himself from the race tonight, after defeats in every one of the primaries. He expected a possible win in Delaware. Finished poorly there as well.

We're going to go to break on this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE. When we come back, we'll talk with Senator John Edwards, a winner tonight in South Carolina. Still in the race. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tonight, we stand at a crossroads. Will we have a leader, a president who actually understands the problems of working people? Will we have the courage to use new, fresh ideas to solve old problems like poverty? Will we have the strength and conviction to make this vision of hope and optimism into a reality? If the American people give me a shot at George Bush November -- next November, I will give them back the White House!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Welcome back to this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE, with Bob Dole, Bob Woodward, and Wolf Blitzer. In a moment, I'll talk with Senator John Edwards of North Carolina. But first, Wolf has an update on North Dakota -- Wolf.

BLITZER: North Dakota caucuses, Larry, CNN is now ready to project that John Kerry will win North Dakota by a wide margin. Another win for John Kerry tonight, the North Dakota caucuses, big win for him there.

Let's take a look at votes we're getting right now. These are the caucuses of North Dakota, with half of the votes now in, John Kerry showing 50 percent of the vote right now; Wesley Clark at 22 percent, Howard Dean at 14 percent, John Edwards at 10 percent, and Dennis Kucinich, Joe Lieberman way behind.

Let's move to Oklahoma right now, where there's a virtual three- way tie under way. Sixty-one percent of the vote now officially in. Edwards and Clark both at 30 percent. John Kerry not all that far behind, at 26 percent. Lieberman, Dean, Sharpton, further behind. A three-way race in Oklahoma.

The big prize of the night, Missouri. Right now with 26 percent of the vote in, CNN is projecting that John Kerry will carry Missouri. Fifty-one percent of the vote right now, with 26 percent of the vote in, 25 percent for John Edwards. Howard Dean, Wes Clark, Joe Lieberman and everybody else way behind.

Delaware, 92 percent of the vote now in. Another big win for John Kerry, 51 percent of the vote of the Delaware primary for John Kerry. Lieberman, Edwards, Dean, Clark, Sharpton trailing significantly.

South Carolina, we projected that win long ago. South Carolina going to native son John Edwards, 45 percent of the vote, with 74 percent of the vote voting. Now 30 percent for John Kerry. Al Sharpton, Wes Clark, Howard Dean, Joe Lieberman significantly behind.

We also are projecting, Larry, that John Kerry, when the vote comes in, and all the dust settles in Arizona, will carry Arizona. Still no word on what's happening in New Mexico, in the caucuses there. We're continuing to check. We'll bring that to you and our viewers as soon as we get it --Larry.

KING: Thank you, Wolf. Let's go to Columbia, South Carolina, for Senator John Edwards, the victor tonight in South Carolina and running a pretty strong second in Missouri. What is your assessment, Senator Edwards, of this evening?

EDWARDS: It's been a big night for me, Larry. We won South Carolina by double digits, which no one predicted. I think South Carolina is a great test for winning in the South, winning among rural voters and also being able to win among African-American voters.

And it looks like we're second in Missouri, as you pointed out, and I think we're in a pretty hot contest for first in Oklahoma. So this is a huge night for us.

KING: Did any state disappoint you?

EDWARDS: No. Everything exceeded my expectations. We had no idea -- I'd not seen anything suggesting we could win South Carolina by 15 percent, which is what we're up by now. I had not seen anything that indicated we -- I'd never seen anything where we were above third in Oklahoma. And it looks like we're either first or tied for first. And in Missouri, we were much further behind in all the polls I saw than the second we're doing in Missouri.

I think this is a continuation of the surge we've seen in other caucuses and primaries, Larry.

KING: Howard Dean told us a little while ago that he's going to stay, definitely right through Florida, all through the big states. Can you say the same thing tonight?

EDWARDS: Oh, I'm not going to stay. I'm going to be the nominee. We are in as good a financial shape and maybe the best financial shape of any campaign. We've proven we can win in the South.

You know, we had a huge showing in Iowa. Of course, you know, I was on your show that night. I came out of nowhere. We're proving in Oklahoma that we can contest in the heartland of this country.

I absolutely believe that I will be the nominee. I think, honestly, after tonight we'll probably be down to a couple of candidates, or maybe three at the most.

KING: Do you expect to do well in Michigan?

EDWARDS: I expect to compete very hard in Michigan. There are others who have spent more time in Michigan than I have, but we have -- you know, some huge number of African-American ministers in Detroit, for example, all of the largest African-American churches. The head of the AFL-CIO in Michigan is a supporter of mine. We've got folks all over the state organized.

And in Tennessee and Virginia, which come just a few days later, we have real strength and organization also.

KING: Let's go around the panel. Bob Woodward, do you have a question for Senator Edwards?

WOODWARD: Yes, Senator. You're clearly the other candidate on the stage, with Senator Kerry. What might kick it your way in the coming weeks? What issue, or what is your strategy for winning the nomination, as you say you're going to?

EDWARDS: Well, there are -- first of all, Senator Kerry is a friend of mine. I have a very high opinion of him. I think he would say the same thing about me.

There are policy differences and background differences between us, Bob. I come from a working family. My father worked in a mill all his life. I was the first person in my family to go to college.

And I've experienced the same problems that most Americans experience every day in their lives, paying their bills, sending their kids to college, providing health care.

The same thing is true of policy. I mean, Senator Kerry and I -- I'll just pick one issue, trade. I myself have been against NAFTA because of the damage it's doing to our economy, against the other trade agreements that I don't believe incorporate fair trade elements that need to be there. That's the difference between Senator Kerry and myself. And I think these differences will become clearer and clearer as the race focuses on the two of us.

KING: Senator Bob Dole, a thought or question for John Edwards?

DOLE: Well, again, John, congratulations. You told us last week this was a must-win in South Carolina. And of course, you won decisively. You're ahead, as I see it, by 200 or 300 votes in Oklahoma. So that's certainly another good omen.

But again, I think, my question would be, sooner or later, because I've been through this, you've got to tell the American people why you should be the nominee rather than, say, John Kerry.

And the NAFTA thing may be one issue, but I think you're going to have to go after the record somehow, and I don't know how you plan to do that. Maybe you don't want to tell us right now.

EDWARDS: No, Bob, you're right. I don't disagree with that. I think that's true.

The key for me, though, Bob, is I got to this place by running a very positive, uplifting campaign, which is something that you and your spouse know a lot about. And I would say I have to be very careful not to lose that. Because first of all, it's who I am. It's what my campaign is about.

That doesn't mean though -- and you make a very good point, that doesn't mean that I don't have to point out clear differences between myself and other candidates, differences between myself and Senator Kerry. And they go beyond trade and background. There are significant issue differences between us. And those differences will become clearer as we go forward.

KING: And before we take a break, Wolf, do you have a quick question for the senator?

BLITZER: Sure, a quick question.

Senator Edwards, the chairman of the Democratic party, Terry McAuliffe, said not long ago if some of these Democratic candidates haven't won anything by today, by February 3rd, they should seriously reassess what they're doing. Lieberman, of course, now dropping out.

What's your sense? Should Howard Dean, who's not winning anything tonight, hasn't won anything yet, should he drop out? EDWARDS: I don't think it's fair for me, Wolf, to tell Howard Dean or Wes Clark or any of these candidates what they should do. These are good men, they can make decisions -- and women, or, actually, Carol's out now. But these are good men. They can make decisions for themselves.

I do think, though, as a practical matter, this race has narrowed dramatically tonight and that it will be much more focused going forward.

KING: And finally, Senator, where do you head from here?

EDWARDS: Tonight I go from here to Memphis. I'll be in Tennessee. I'll be in New York. I'll be -- hopefully we're trying to arrange to go to Michigan. I'll be in Virginia. I'll just be working in these primary states. I'll be working my heart out, just like I have here in South Carolina and Oklahoma and these other states.

KING: Thank you, Senator.

Senator John Edwards.

Bob Dole, Bob Woodward, Wolf Blitzer. I'm Larry King. This special edition of LARRY KING LIVE will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. After tonight, 296 delegates going to be chosen tonight. 12 percent will be chosen at the end of the evening. Edwards has won South Carolina. Kerry, according to all our projections, has won Arizona, Delaware, Missouri and North Dakota. Nothing to report on New Mexico yet. And Oklahoma is a three-way battle. What do you make of Dean, Bob Woodward? What happened to Howard Dean?

WOODWARD: We were just talking to him. He made it very clear that the Gore endorsement, at least, marked a decline. You know, he's still around. We ought to talk a little bit about dropping out, listening to Senator Lieberman's dropout speech, I thought that was really dignified. And you really saw somebody who got up there and said, look, I take my ideas seriously, but in a way, not myself. Or not this driving ambition to be president. And there was a certain gratitude that he showed toward his family and supporters that really ought to -- people who run for office ought to look at that and say, that's the way to get out. On the other hand, why get out if you think there's still hope. And obviously Dean thinks there's some sort of hope. And there have been lots of turns, bends in the river in this campaign. Some of the big states might provide that.

KING: And Senator Dole -- yes, go ahead.

DOLE: Well, my advice to Kerry and Edwards is, if Gore calls, don't take the call. I mean, it may be an endorsement. But in any event, I want to comment on Joe Lieberman. He really is an honorable man. I always thought Lieberman was sort of uncomfortable attacking President Bush or anybody else. He's just not that kind of a person. I've known him, I've worked with him. He is just a good, decent person. And he deserves a lot of credit for -- out there making a fight, telling the truth, not wavering on his positions. And not winning -- not winning the nomination, but winning the hearts of a lot of American people.

KING: Senator Dole, must General Clark win Oklahoma?

DOLE: I think so. I think -- I don't see how -- I mean, you've always got to find a place you can to win. Maybe he has another idea. I mean, Dean seems to be kicking the ball down the field, will play next week or maybe will play the next week. And Clark has to be looking, where do I go if I lose Oklahoma. And probably will be Arkansas.

KING: Are they already talking, Wolf, a lot of people say it around New York today, and Washington, I'm sure, that it's Kerry and Edwards as a ticket?

BLITZER: Well, there's a lot of people would like that, and a lot of people saying that, Larry. But Senator Edwards has flatly said repeatedly that he has no interest in being the vice presidential running mate. He has as recently as last Sunday said that he would not accept that under any circumstances. Politicians can change their minds, but Senator Edwards has been about as forceful as you can get in saying he's running to be the president of the United States. Doesn't want to be the vice president. I wonder if Senator Dole might want to say, can a politician after making those Sherman -- Shermanesque-like statements change their mind down the road?

DOLE: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

DOLE: I think the thing, Wolf, you'd have two senators on the ticket. Maybe that's OK. Maybe that would work. But it seem he might want to go to some governor or big-city mayor or somebody with executive experience. He's had the legislative experience. But again that's a choice he'll make. But I bet if he calls John Edwards, if he has a nomination sewed up, and said, John, you've got to do this for the country, I don't know how you say no.

KING: Bob, you got that call once from a sitting president.

You had to say yes to Gerald Ford, right?

DOLE: Well, yes, and I thought it over for about five seconds. And I said yes.

KING: Bob Woodward, they almost have to say yes, don't you?

When you're called upon by the now delegated leader of the party?

WOODWARD: Under many circumstances, yes. But I would not -- clearly the momentum in this is with Kerry. There's no question about that. But there is an appeal, that Edwards has. He's striking a chord with people. And if you went out and sampled thousands of people and said, are you really paying attention to this -- these primaries?

Do you know the candidates?

There are all kinds of people, it may be a majority who would say, well, I don't know enough. I'm still looking. And under those conditions, it's possible that things change. And clearly Senator Edwards is counting on that. He's going to get a lot of attention now. He's going to be around. People are going to be covering him much more intensely. You know, he is the other person clearly on the stage, so don't right it off yet.

DOLE: But I was going to say, Bob and I were talking before the program about this word, electability, which has been around for -- I don't know how long we've had elections, but you generally try to nominate somebody who can beat the other the guy, or the other person, woman, man, whatever. And I think when you look at the polls that I've seen on CNN tonight, some of the internals, electability is a big factor. I mean, Democrats obviously want to nominate somebody who can defeat President Bush. And I think Kerry does very well there. But again, Edwards, if he wins a state, maybe wins two states, that number may change.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with more Bob Dole, Bob Woodward and Wolf Blitzer on this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

We'll have a second live edition at midnight Eastern, 9:00 Pacific. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Wolf Blitzer, what do you hear on Michigan and Washington Saturday?

BLITZER: You know, it's very interesting, Larry. I haven't seen any significant, any really reliable polls as far as Washington state is concerned. But there has been a poll that's been published in the Detroit news, a poll that came out just over the past few days. And take a look at this, John Kerry, at least according to this poll, Michigan caucus goers, 56 percent, with Howard Dean down at 13 percent, Edwards at 6 percent, Clark at 3 percent, Kucinich at 2 percent. If Howard Dean seems to be relying on Michigan, at least according to this preliminary poll in the Detroit news, he's not doing very well in Michigan.

KING: Bob Woodward, what do you make of that?

That's an extraordinary lead poll wise.

WOODWARD: Again, you don't know. And it's a newspaper poll, which is a snapshot. Now, one of the things Senator Edwards raised, which I think is worth discussing for a moment, is this issue of biography. I looked at Senator Edwards' book, which is out, called "Four Trials," about some of the trials he handled as an attorney in the south. And he talks a great deal about his background. And he really did come up from this mill town family. And at the same time, Senator Kerry, there's a book about him and his time in the Navy called "Tour of Duty." And he has a fascinating biography. And as people get into this and start deciding they're going to look at things like that, and make judgments.

KING: From a loyal opposition standpoint, Senator Dole, if it were Kerry-Edwards, or Edwards-Kerry, is that a tough ticket in your opinion?

DOLE: Oh, I think so. I think we're fooling each other if we say Bush has this wrapped up. I think Bush will win, but it's going to be a very difficult race. The country is still pretty much divided.

One thing that could change it would be finding Osama bin Laden, reducing casualties in Iraq, and then getting people back to work. People want jobs. They want to go to work. And John Edwards has talked -- all the Democrats of course, have attacked President Bush on this. But I'm confident President Bush will win, but it's not going to be a cake walk.

KING: Is it better, Bob Woodward, to have a nominee earlier? Is it better for the Democrats to know by California, New York, who their nominee is?

WOODWARD: It can be, and it can be the opposite. Sometimes candidates don't wear well. And so you want to get them out there late rather than early. You can't tell on this at all.

I think one of the issues -- I'm working on a book about the Iraq war, and what went on in the Bush administration on this. And if -- the issue of who Bush is, and how he works, how he makes decisions and so forth, is really told in how he handled all of those very important matters about war and deciding to go to war. And I think that, though, the war issue, whether you're for it or against it, seems to have lessened as a campaign issue. I think again, in defining who somebody is, that's the Bush issue.

DOLE: But I think the point, Larry, is if this drags on, the primary drags on, it will give the Bush people time to define John Kerry, probably going to be the nominee. That's what happened to me in '96. Bill Clinton was able -- he thought I'd be the nominee, so he defined me as a bad guy, I didn't -- I wasn't for everybody. I mean, his campaign did. And I think that's the danger of having these primaries drag on and on and on, because it gives the opposition, whichever party, that opportunity to go out and define you in a way that people don't -- they're not attracted to you.

KING: Bob Woodward, would your book coming out right before the election have an effect? I think Al Sharpton's going to speak. Hold it, Bob. Let's go to Al Sharpton in South Carolina.

He's obviously been asked a question. He's listening to respond to the answer. We're expecting him to...

WOODWARD: I don't know the answer to your question... (INTERRUPTED FOR LIVE EVENT)

KING: That's Al Sharpton. We expect him to be one of our guests on the midnight edition of LARRY KING LIVE. We thank Senator Bob Dole, former Republican presidential nominee and former Senate majority leader. And Bob Woodward, the assistant managing editor of "The Washington Post," the number one "New York Times" best-selling author. His book, "Bush at War," is out now in paperback. He's working on an new inside account of that war in Iraq, scheduled to be published later this year. And Wolf Blitzer, of course, will remain with us and will anchor upcoming events.

I'll come back and close things out in just a moment. This is a special edition of LARRY KING LIVE, on CNN, your most trusted name in news. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think I'm the only candidate who did every state. And so I did every state, I asked the voters of each state for their votes, and I've been out there fighting for my message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: That concludes the early edition of LARRY KING LIVE. We'll be back at midnight Eastern, 9:00 Pacific with a full hour, more to go and more guests. Tomorrow night on the regular LARRY KING LIVE, at 9:00 Eastern, 6:00 Pacific, Ed Bradley of "60 Minutes" is the special guest. Wolf Blitzer is standing by and right now, CNN's election night coverage continues. Stay with us.

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




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