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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Kerry Wins Virginia, Tennessee Primaries

Aired February 10, 2004 - 21:00   ET

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Once again, the message rings out loud and clear -- Americans are voting for change. East and west, north and now in the south. And I am grateful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight another big night for John Kerry, taking his primary winning streak to Virginia and Tennessee. We'll hear from John Kerry himself this hour, and from John Edwards, running second in Virginia, and from Howard Dean, can he regain momentum? Also ahead, Bob Dole, former Republican presidential candidate, Bob Woodward, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author and CNN's own Wolf Blitzer on this special edition, election night again, of LARRY KING LIVE. We begin by getting an immediate update and going to Wolf Blitzer at our election central -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS": Thanks very much, Larry. Let's check the numbers. Let's check the winning tallies right now, as we've been projecting for some time now, in Tennessee, the winner, John Kerry, a clean win for him. Let's take a look at what we have now with about 18 percent of the vote now and 41 percent for the senator from Massachusetts in Tennessee, 25 percent for Wesley Clark, Edwards at 24 percent, Howard Dean at 5 percent, Al Sharpton and Kucinich trailing.

In Virginia we projected the winner, once again, the Massachusetts senator John Kerry a decisive win in Virginia with almost 90 percent of the vote now in. 51 percent for John Kerry, 27 percent for John Edwards. Clark, Dean, Sharpton, Kucinich trailing far behind. Larry, two for two for tonight for John Kerry. 12 for 14 so far in all of these primaries and caucuses.

KING: Thank you. Wolf will be with us throughout the hour as will Bob Dole and Bob Woodward. Let's check in now with Howard Dean standing by in Milwaukee. Governor, what's your read on the results tonight in the south?

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think John Kerry should be congratulated. He had a great night and the one thing I would disagree with John Kerry on, this is not a prescription for change. John has served in the United States Senate for 19 years, he's taken more special interest money according to the "Washington Post" than any other senator 15 of those years. We'll find out if Wisconsin voters think John Kerry is really about change or not. I think we need real change in this country and that means getting away from special interest politics.

KING: If you're not the candidate, will you heartily endorse the Democratic candidate? Will you campaign for...

DEAN: I see no reason not to. We need to beat George Bush. There's no question that we need to beat George Bush.

KING: Now what changed your mind? You said last week if you lose in Wisconsin you would drop out and then you said supporters came and said to you stay in until Super Tuesday, what?

DEAN: Well, first of all I'm not going to run a quixotic campaign to ruin the Democrats chances of beating George Bush. I'm in this to beat George Bush and if it's not me, certainly I'll support whoever it is. We need remove George Bush from office. He's been terribly destructive to both the economy and our foreign policy in this country.

Secondly, I believe, what my supporters want is a real choice. They, many of them believe that they don't have a real choice if Senator Kerry is the nominee, that Senator Kerry is certainly a big improvement on George Bush but that what they were hoping for is fundamental change, a change that would get ordinary Americans, middle class people, working class people some interest back in Washington D.C. They don't see that, and that's why they want know stay in.

KING: And it was they that changed your mind?

DEAN: They did. It's very powerful to have people come up to you speaking or, you know, hundreds of thousands of people literally on the Internet begging you not to quit. They feel like they really have a chance to take this country back, and obviously when it becomes mathematically impossible to win the race, I'm not in this to embarrass Senator Kerry though I think every day there are emerging more and more fundamental differences between myself and the senator.

I had the courage to stand up against the war when it was not popular to stand up. Now Senator Kerry is criticizing the administration. I stood up against "No Child Left Behind" when it was not popular to stand up. Now Senator Kerry criticizes "No Child Left Behind" so there are still some very fundamental differences between us and I think voters get to make the decision about who the Democratic nominee is. So far they very much prefer Senator Kerry.

I respect that, but Wisconsin is a state that often will vote for independent-minded candidates. It's also a state that's a great state for me because it more represents the general election, Independents and Republicans vote in the Democratic primary in this state and frequently that is an indicator of who is an attractive candidate in the general election.

KING: On March 2, we have a super, super Tuesday, ten states will be voting including the two biggest, New York and California. On March 26 -- February 26 there will be a major debate at Southern California University. I'm going to moderate that debate in cooperation with CNN and the "Los Angeles Times" you'll be on that debate since you're staying in the race. What can do you on Super Tuesday, the 2nd?

DEAN: Well, we have a strong organization in California, a very strong organization in New York. I think we're the only candidacy that has full delegate slates in every single district in New York. So again, I hope that organization will do well. So far, momentum has been a very big factor and Senator Kerry's done very well with that momentum. There are a lot of people who don't really know much about Senator Kerry and I think this will give us an opportunity so they'll know as much about him as they do about me.

KING: You think you'll win Wisconsin next week?

DEAN: I'm going to try as hard as I can. That's all I can tell you.

KING: Thanks, Governor.

DEAN: Thanks, Larry.

KING: Governor Howard Dean in Milwaukee. Bob Dole in Moscow. What are you doing in Moscow, Bob?

BOB DOLE, FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Doing a little business. It's very cold here. It's 5:00 in the morning and it looks like John Kerry's had another great evening.

KING: In your opinion, before we ask Bob Woodward, Senator Dole, is he stoppable?

DOLE: I don't see how you stop him. I mean, I think the last stand strategy about over. I don't see where Clark goes. I don't know where Edwards goes. I don't know where Howard Dean goes. Now here in Russia, one of the candidates for president disappeared for four days. Maybe that's a strategy yet hasn't been tried in the Democratic primary. It got a lot of attention, probably his numbers went up. Maybe if Howard Dean would just disappear, maybe a lot of people would be looking for him.

KING: Maybe you should have done that, Robert.

DOLE: Maybe I should have done that when I ran.

KING: Bob Woodward, the assistant managing editor of the "Washington Post" he's got a big book coming all about the war in Iraq. When is that book coming, by the way?

BOB WOODWARD, ASST. MANAGING EDITOR, "WASHINGTON POST": It will be out in a couple of months.

KING: Still don't have a title, right?

WOODWARD: We don't. We're still considering all of the options on it. But it will be -- go ahead.

KING: It will be as per usual Woodward revealing? WOODWARD: Yes. Hopefully it's an attempt to explain what really happened in the decision to go to war with Iraq, and what the debate was, and it's a very intimate detailed look at decision-making in the Bush White House.

KING: What's Bob Woodward's read on this evening so far?

WOODWARD: Well, obviously it looks like Kerry -- what's interesting is that the Democrats decided after flirting with Howard Dean for awhile, and many people thinking he's the sure nominee, the mood is mainstream. Voters looking for somebody in their party who represents the center of the Democratic tradition, and they have found that in Kerry, and it's interesting that that, you know, why exactly voters are in that mood at this moment, but they clearly are.

KING: Bob Dole, why didn't Edwards do, I mean finish the strong second in Virginia? He's running neck and neck second in Tennessee. Why didn't he do better in the south?

DOLE: Well, I don't know. He said before that the south, his neighborhood obviously now he's been joined in the neighborhood with John Kerry. Again, I think this is not a question about a regional candidate. John Edwards had a lot of appeal, did well on South Carolina, and I kind of felt early on he might do well in maybe Virginia, not maybe as well in Tennessee.

Again, he has to take a hard look. Where does he go to win a state and I went through this in 1988 trying to find out where I could go to beat then Vice President Bush. I probably stayed in the race too long, but I think in reality John Kerry has the nomination. I don't want to totally agree with Bob Woodward he's sort of mainstream. He's a liberal Democrat with a liberal record that's been around for 19 years. It's going to be a classic conservative versus liberal race if it's Bush and John Kerry. Both fine men and it will be a real tussle.

KING: But Kerry is a genuine war hero. We'll get back...

DOLE: No doubt about it.

KING: That's going to play a part, isn't it?

DOLE: Are you talking to me?

KING: Yes, the fact that he's a war hero will play a part?

DOLE: Well, I don't know. It may play some part, but I think -- I remember in '96 there wasn't much a lot of difference between my record in service and President Clinton's, but Clinton didn't have any trouble with me. I mean, people were concerned about the issues, about employment, about jobs, and I think it's pretty much the same. Obviously the record, the fact you're a veteran, you're proud of it, other people are proud of it. But you've got to keep in mind if you're the veteran standing up there on the podium, when you look out across the crowd, probably more of those men in the crowd did not serve. Doesn't mean they tried to avoid or evade the draft, they just were too young or for other reasons did not serve. So it's a plus. Obviously a plus for John Kerry but if you overplay it, then it's, could hurt him a bit.

KING: We'll get Woodward's comment, bring Wolf Blitzer, meet more candidates on this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Before we get more comments from the panel and we expect Senator Kerry to be with us momentarily, Wolf Blitzer, I guess the only thing of interest right now is who finishes second in Tennessee.

BLITZER: It's a close fight that's under way. You're absolutely right, Larry. John Kerry will go ahead and carry Tennessee. John Kerry, the winner. And look at this with only 30 percent of the vote in, but it's a real battle underway for second place. John Kerry, so far got's 40 percent. Look at the difference, not very significant difference, only about 400 or so vote between Wesley Clark and John Edwards for second place in Tennessee. Dean, Sharpton, Kucinich considerably behind. We'll look carefully to see who comes in second place, that battle in Tennessee.

Earlier, Virginia John Kerry the decisive winner in Virginia now. Take a look at this with 94 percent of the vote in, 51 percent, more than half going to John Kerry. John Edwards a decisive second place with 27 percent. Clark, Dean, Sharpton, Kucinich considerably further behind.

We'll see what that battle for second place does in Tennessee, Larry, and what if anything it does to the decisions by both Clark and Edwards to move forward. Edwards insisting he's going to go forward to Wisconsin next week. A lot of people wanting to hear about Wesley Clark and his intention. We should know more in the coming hour or two.

KING: And we'll go right to Bob Woodward for a thought on that.

What does Clark do in your opinion, Bob Woodward?

WOODWARD: I don't know. It's probably not that significant. You know, were talking about who's going to dropout. There's been a lot written and a lot said that a -- the Democrats need to get their nominees settled on so they don't have a rough and ugly fight. I think there's another side to that, a rough and ugly fight is often good for the candidate. He can road test his ideas, message, road test himself. Certainly if you look at Senator Kerry he's a much better candidate now than it was six months ago. He learned a lot. He had to shake up his campaign staff. He's now much more seasoned, and if there were continuing primary fights, that might, in the end, be a good thing for him, rather than a bad thing.

KING: Excellent point.

Wolf Blitzer, in a sense, McCain helped season George Bush four years ago, didn't he -- Wolf.

BLITZER: That's a great point and a lot of people should appreciate that. There's no doubt that, whatever kind of bruising John Kerry might get now from the other Democratic candidates, it's nothing. It's going to be small potatoes compared to the bruising he's going to get from Republicans, including the president, if in fact he gets the Democratic nomination. This is sort of the minor leagues, the preseason. Get ready for the real season once the real general campaign begins.

KING: Bob Dole you were in this position. You won the nomination of your party.

Is John Kerry thinking now about his vice presidential selection?

DOLE: I don't think so. I think it's way too early. He's got a lot of things to do. The campaign really is not going to start for a few months if it's Bush and Kerry. I used to go to every -- time I'd go to a different state, I'd looked around the crowds and spot anybody that might be a good running mate. But, you know, you think about it. But I didn't -- I didn't decide really until the last week, and almost the last day, because you keep trying to figure out, you know, will this be better, will this be better.

But John Kerry, let's give the guy credit. He's had a great run here, 12 out of 14, and I think, I don't know who finishes second in Tennessee, does that get you a better spot in the inaugural parade?

I don't think it gets you anything in this contest. Kerry seems to have it locked up. Dean could pull an upset in Wisconsin but that doesn't appear to be in the cards. And the other two, I don't know where they go. Maybe they already have some money spent other states on television, and they always hope that lightning might strike or a story somewhere that might change people's minds. But I would say, if I were John Kerry, I think he's probably sleeping pretty well tonight or will sleep pretty well tonight.

KING: Bob Woodward would you respond when Bob Dole said he didn't that I John Kerry was mainstream, want to elaborate on what you mean by mainstream.

WOODWARD: He's mainstream in the Democratic. It's the liberal or progressive party. And Kerry is very much of that. Senator Dole spends a lot of his time hanging out with Republicans who have a different view of the world. But you can't say particularly, and I'm sure Senator Dole would agree with this, compared to Howard Dean, John Kerry is mainstream, and represents more of the center of the Democratic party. Now, that does not mean that people are not going to throw labels around and people are going to look at votes and so forth, but that's the reality of what that party is, I think.

KING: As we go to break and come back with more comments from our messieurs Dole, Woodward and Blitzer here's more of John Kerry's victory speech in Virginia a little earlier. We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KERRY: Together across the south, you have shown that mainstream values that we share, fairness, love of country, a belief in hope and in hard work, are more important than boundaries or birth place, and I thank you for that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: ... Virginia, John Kerry easily won, look, with 95 percent of the vote in, he got 51 percent of the vote; 27 percent for Edwards, Wesley Clark not doing well in Virginia, with only 9 percent of the vote. So we'll watch Tennessee, see how, if anything, that has an impact, Larry, on Wesley Clark and John Edwards as they move forward.

KING: Senator Dole, has Wesley Clark been a disappointing candidate?

DOLE: I think Wesley Clark's a fine man and probably was a great -- I didn't serve under him or with him -- a great officer, but I don't -- I really don't believe and I say this as honestly as I can, he was ready for presidential politics.

He had never run for office. And that may sound good to a lot of people, but this is about experience and it's about dealing with the federal government, dealing with the states. And that's why I believe that whether it was Howard Dean or one of the senators had the experience, and I think he made so many mistakes along the road that somebody with experience would not have made. We probably -- I made plenty of mistakes, don't misunderstand me, but I think if just -- not quite a fair match for General Clark. Something else, maybe if he ran again he'd be much better suited.

But he's learned a lot. He's -- certainly people like him, but they're not certain about first, his politics, and secondly, his message. The Democrat with the real message is Howard Dean. The problem is people have stopped listening to Howard Dean. He really has a message that separates him from the other Democrats, as well as President Bush.

KING: Bob Woodward, as a veteran observer, has Senator Edwards impressed you?

WOODWARD: He certainly has run an excellent campaign, and he struck a note, this note of optimism. He didn't waiver from it, is to be commended for that. In the primaries, as you know, come one after another, and there isn't that time to really get traction. If -- spring is coming up, and spring in the presidential election is very, very important. It often seems like a lull if there isn't a primary battle going on, but Senator Dole can remember this in '96, when he was running against Clinton. Clinton's chief political strategist, Dick Morris, you remember him, boasted that the Clinton presidency was the first fully advertised presidency in U.S. history, and in that spring of 1996 they ran television ads, making Clinton virtually into the father of his country. They almost had pictures of him in that boat crossing the Delaware with George Washington.

And the ads -- the negative theme was that it was Dole-Gingrich. And they ran the names together, and they said Dole-Gingrich are going to do this, they've done that, they are going to kill Medicare and so forth. In a sense, when you look back, that election was over in the summer of '96, because Clinton and Morris had defined Dole in such a way that almost no matter what he did, he couldn't get out of that hole.

KING: And first, Bob Dole, do you agree with that, and second, do you think the Bush people will try to do that to Kerry or whoever?

DOLE: No, I agree with that. That's the one advantage for the Republican, have this drag on longer, the Democratic primary. It gives the Republican an option to define Kerry before he can define himself. He has to fight off the Democrats.

But I think Bob Woodward is exactly right. We never got off the map. I mean, every ad was Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich glaring at each other and the voters, glaring at the voters, we were going to taking everything away, and Clinton was crossing the river, whatever, he was in a boat or walking on water, maybe, I don't know. But he certainly drowned us.

WOODWARD: It was a masterful advertising. It was a masterful advertising campaign that they ran. If you go back and look at those ads, they had Clinton in the Oval Office with the American flag, sounding totally reasonable. Everything he was for, you know, the average viewer or voter was going to be for, and they just solidified that message. And Senator Dole's right, they had these pictures of Dole and Gingrich looking like they were ready to get in for a mud wrestling match, and it created an impression which did not go away.

KING: Well said. I am going to get a break, come back, and then Wolf Blitzer will get us up to date. And also, I want to ask Wolf how this National Guard story is playing and also what our panelists think of this story. There was some harsh treatment of the press secretary today by the press when he was revealing payroll records from back in the time when George Bush served in the National Guard. We'll ask about that. Lots of other things, more results. Stay with us. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with more on this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

You're looking at Edwards headquarters. John Edwards is in Milwaukee tonight, in advance of the Wisconsin primary and he's expected to speak shortly. We'll carry that and also be talking shortly with Senator John Kerry.

As I looked at the map there, Wolf, Clark was second in Tennessee, right?

BLITZER: It's a close battle between Clark and Edwards in Tennessee right now. Let's take a look at the boards, look take at the numbers that we're getting in Tennessee right now. Take a look at this, with 46 percent, almost half of the vote. Yet, there he is John Edwards with 26 percent, Wesley Clark with 24 percent. Slightly ahead, Edwards pulling ahead with almost half of the vote in, 40 percent going to the winner so far, John Kerry in Tennessee. A clean win for John Kerry in Tennessee, and Virginia also. A much more impressive victory for John Kerry in Virginia, 51 percent with 96 percent of the vote in, 27 percent for Edwards, 9 percent for Clark. So Edwards looks like at least now he could come in second in both of these states. He's said going into tonight he needed to come in first or second in both Virginia and Tennessee.

He might wind up doing that which would set the stage for next Tuesday's battle in Wisconsin, where Howard Dean is saying it's going to have to look good, but if you have a second, Larry, I'll share some numbers we've been getting in the last couple of days, polling numbers from Wisconsin looking very good for John Kerry, not necessarily good for the others. There was a "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" poll that came out today, 45 percent for John Kerry, Wesley Clark at 13 percent.

Take a look at this, this is the "American Research Group." That was a poll that came out a couple days ago, 41 percent for John Kerry, 15 percent for Clark, 10 percent for Edwards. Howard Dean who says he has to do well in Wisconsin only at 9 percent. He's doing better in this other poll in "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel," 45 for Kerry, Clark 13, Dean 12, Edwards at 9. But still, presumably these two decisive victories for Kerry tonight should help him in Wisconsin as well.

KING: And we notice that John Edwards greeting his supporters in Wisconsin. He's expected to speak shortly. We'll carry part of that and also be talking with Senator Kerry.

Bob Dole in your opinion, how big an issue is this national guard story?

DOLE: I think it's an issue but I don't think it's a big, big issue. Here say man who has an honorable discharge. They can talk all day long and try to make like he avoided service or didn't -- or AWOL as Terry McAuliffe said which I think was totally over the top. But he got an honorable discharge. It's been reviewed. He's released pay records now.

It seemed hard for some of the Democrats who defended Bill Clinton who actually evaded service to come hammering after George Bush who was in the national guard. The national guard is honorable service. Millions have served in the guard, many have died in Iraq, guard members. So, I think, again, one of the issues you can't push too far. People don't like George Bush, this may be another log on the fire, but I don't think it's going to make that much difference in the final analysis.

KING: Bob Woodward, what do you think?

We may have to interrupt you if John Edwards starts to speak.

What do you think about the national guard story? WOODWARD: It's probably, based on the information that's available, not that significant. I think it kind of shows that George W. Bush wasn't on a career path to be a general. He was -- you know, he, like lots of people in the military...

KING: Let me cut you in a second. All right lets go to John Edwards in Milwaukee.

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... all of you, the voters who voted today in the election, for saying to the country that we're going to have a campaign, and an election, not a coronation.

(APPLAUSE)

EDWARDS: Because the truth is, this election is important, so important. It's important for America. It's important for the people of Wisconsin. And the reason it's important is because tonight, a father will come home from work, something he's done many times, year after year after year, coming home from his job at the factory where he's worked for many years, work he's proud of. He's proud of what he does, proud of the work he does, proud of what he makes. He makes something. His factory makes something that the American people need, that the American people buy. But the difference is when he comes home tonight, he'll have something different to say to his family.

He'll come home, see his little girl, who he's seen every night, in fact she's the end of his night every night. He knows his night is over when he gives her a hug. But tonight, when he comes home, he'll be coming home to tell you that his factory is closing, that he's about to lose his job, that in fact, his life and his family's life is about to change and it's not because he's done anything wrong. He's done what he's supposed to do. He's been responsible. He's worked hard. He's raised his family.

It's not because the product that his company makes is no longer going to be made. They're going to continue to make it. The problem is they're going to make it somewhere else. They're going to make it somewhere outside of his community, outside of his country. His life will change forever when he looks into the eyes of his little girl tonight. His family's life will change forever. And don't tell me that this doesn't happen, because I have seen it with my own eyes.

How did we get to this place?

What happened in our country?

One thing that happened is we have one America that controls what goes on in Washington D.C. They only care about the bottom line. They only care about profits. They have lobbyists everywhere, and they own this White House. And that America, that America...

(APPLAUSE)

EDWARDS: And the problem, of course, is that America doesn't see the other America. They don't hear the other America. They don't see the face of this father who had to come home and tell his little girl that he no longer had his job, that he'd lost more than a job and a paycheck, that he'd lost some of his self-respect, some of his dignity, some of his soul. Well, what you and I are going to say to that father and that family is we will stand with you. We will fight with you. We will be the kind of president that you deserve.

(APPLAUSE)

CROWD: Edwards! Edwards! Edwards! Edwards! Edwards!

EDWARDS: Because in the America you and I build together, these families...

KING: Senator John Edwards speaking in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has finished second tonight in Virginia, a very decisive, an easy second. He's running slightly ahead for second place in Tennessee. He was behind by a couple points, now he's ahead by a couple points and we'll be talking momentarily with Senator John Kerry at his victory headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia.

Wolf, how is that national guard thing playing there in Washington?

BLITZER: Well, it got started really over the last couple weeks. Terry McAuliffe, the chairman of the DNC, the Democratic National Committee simply said flat out, the president was AWOL while he served in the Texas Air National Guard, while he lived for a while in Alabama. He simply didn't go to meetings. He had no hard evidence to back that up other than there was nobody corroborating that he actually did go to meetings. So, the White House released pay stubs suggesting that he was paid during the period, he did get an honorable discharge and they're really angry that the DNC, especially Terry McAuliffe is trying to make an issue out of this. But, I've got to tell you, Larry, there are a whole bunch of reporters to chase down the story to see if there's more to it than meets the eye.

KING: Are we correct, nobody's come forward who has served with him?

BLITZER: Nobody has come forward in Alabama. When he was living in Alabama and he was going to meetings at weekend meetings once a month in the air national guard in Alabama, no one apparently has come forward and has remembered serving with him. That doesn't necessarily mean he didn't serve. It just means that nobody has remembered serving with him at that time.

KING: Let me now go to Fairfax, Virginia, where the victorious Senator John Kerry joins us. He is now well ahead in both Virginia, the winner in Virginia, and the winner in Tennessee. I go back to that day at the Regency Hotel in New York with Senator Kerry and I standing in front of that hotel. I think you were running at 3 percent then and you were very confident then, obviously more confident now. By the way, have you talked to any of the other candidates tonight?

KERRY: I have talked to them, Larry. I have talked to a couple of the other candidates tonight. They were very gracious to call, and we had a nice conversation. And now it's on to Wisconsin and Nevada, and I keep campaigning.

KING: Did General Clark call you?

KERRY: Yes, sir. General Clark did call. We had a very nice conversation, and I talked to Senator Edwards, and we go on from here. As I say, it -- the campaign continues.

KING: Is -- have you heard of anyone leaving the race tonight?

KERRY: Larry, I haven't heard anything. And if I did, it wouldn't be appropriate for me to comment, but I haven't heard anything. And as I say to you, you know, I'm focused on state by state here. I'm not picking one state to focus on or one state to concentrate on. I think you have to run for president as a national campaign. That's why I went to Iowa. That's why I've gone to New Hampshire and onwards from there, and now I go on to the next state. And I intend to ask every voter that I can find for their support and their help to turn this country around, and to have a fiscal policy that makes sense, and to start to change things.

KING: Do you think, Senator, that the race will be over on March 2, when 10 states vote, including New York and California? I've mentioned earlier, there's going to be a debate a week before that I'll moderate here in Los Angeles, sponsored by "The L.A. Times" and CNN. Do you think that will be the end of it, March 2? Do you think you'll win it that day?

KERRY: Larry, I have no way of predicting. I put my trust in the hands of voters. I go from state to state. And you really -- you know, there's no way to predict, and it's inappropriate for me to make any judgments. I intend to campaign consistently and hard. That's my nature. And we'll see when -- you know, hopefully I can secure enough of the delegates to secure the nomination.

KING: Your former compatriot, Senator Dole, is in Moscow tonight and he might have a question or a comment for you. Bob Dole for Senator John Kerry?

KERRY: I hope -- I hope he gives me some advice. He's been through this.

KING: I know.

DOLE: Yeah, well, but I lost. You don't want any advice from me. But the rumor isn't true, John, that I've heard over here that I'm on your short list, is it?

KERRY: Bob, I'd put you on my short list in a flash, my friend. I'm happy to get you on my short list.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Do you have a question or a comment, Senator Dole?

DOLE: Well, I just...

(CROSSTALK)

DOLE: You had a great campaign, so -- the last 12 out of 14 isn't bad. I don't see, somebody who has been there, where anybody goes now to stop you, but you have it just right. You just have to keep on campaigning. Every state's different. Who knows what could happen on the 17th or whenever, but seems to me, just as an outside observer, this thing is about over.

KERRY: Well, Bob, you're allowed to make that judgment. I would hesitate to do anything except respect each state's voters, and I'm going to head out to Wisconsin, and I look forward to campaigning there. I'm going to do a forum with the governor on Friday. I'm looking forward to that. And you know, I love campaigning. So I'm not adverse to continuing on in the same way that I've been doing, and I look forward to it.

KING: Bob Woodward, do you have a question for John Kerry?

DOLE: Don't forget Kansas -- Kansas on the 17th of March. Kansas.

KERRY: I will not forget it, Bob. I hope I can get you out there to endorse me.

KING: Bob Woodward, do you have a question?

WOODWARD: To Senator Kerry...

(CROSSTALK)

WOODWARD: ... congratulations, obviously. Those are lots -- that's a string of real victories. On the Iraq war and your vote in favor of the resolution to give President Bush authority to use the military in Iraq, if you could take a minute and go back to that time, the fall of 2002, you had to make the decision whether to vote for it or against it. With your record in the Navy and so forth, obviously that would not be an easy decision. You would weigh all of the factors. How did you do that? And how hard was the vote for you?

KERRY: Well, any vote about the authority for war, Bob, is always a difficult vote, and it's a serious vote. I made the vote based on the assertions of the president that, number one, he had agreed to go to the United Nations and respect the U.N. process, that he was going to build a legitimate international coalition and go to war as a last resort. And those words are particularly meaningful to me, and I think to our generation.

I don't think the president did any of the three of those things. I don't think that he built a legitimate global coalition. I don't think that he indeed lived out the U.N. inspection process the way it might have been, and I said in my speech on the floor of the Senate that if the president made an end run around it and disrespected it, I reserved the right to object to that.

KING: We are going to cut in, Senator Kerry.

KERRY: And finally, I don't think...

KING: Go ahead.

KING: I don't think he went as a last resort, Bob. So I think in the end the president broke his promises to the American people.

KING: Senator John Kerry, I know he has to leave us to do other interviews, and we'll keep that and respect that timeframe. Thank you, Senator.

KERRY: I'll look forward to talking with you. Thank you, Larry.

KING: I'll see you on the 26th of February in Los Angeles.

We'll be back with more of our panel right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: By the way, just a program reminder. Tomorrow night we're going to do a major program on weapons of mass destruction. Among the guests will be Condoleezza Rice.

Wolf Blitzer, what's our latest update on Virginia and Tennessee?

BLITZER: Well, let's take a look at the actual numbers coming in from Tennessee. A really close battle for second place, although Senator Edwards seems to be pulling ahead of Wesley Clark. John Kerry will go ahead and win Tennessee. With 66 percent of the vote in, he's got 42 percent. Twenty-six to 23 percent, Edwards over Clark. This is raising a lot of questions, Larry, about whether General Clark can stay in this race if he comes in third.

In Virginia, he came in a very, very disappointing third. Take a look at this, with almost all of the votes now in, 51 percent for John Kerry, 27 percent for John Edwards. Wesley Clark in this Southern state, only 9 percent. He's got to be taking a very, very close look at his future in this contest, doing as poorly in Virginia as he clearly has done. So far he won Oklahoma last week, Larry, but it was very, very narrow, and is not doing all that well tonight.

KING: Bob Woodward, why do -- why do Kucinich and Sharpton, it's the first time we've mentioned them tonight, why do they stay?

WOODWARD: Obviously, they've got personal reasons. I'm sure they have no expectation of getting the nomination, and, you know, they're getting a couple of hundred votes or a couple of thousand votes. I don't know their reasoning.

KING: Bob Dole, do you have a thought as to why people who run generally small percentages keep staying in these races?

DOLE: Well, some people just like to run. I mean, they get -- people applaud, you can get up and read your laundry list, you know, people applaud -- and I don't know. Al Sharpton, he is very clever, very bright. Dennis, I don't know where Dennis comes from, but, you know, maybe at the time you have that debate you're going to moderate in L.A. there won't be anybody in the race. Then it probably would be a very short evening. But you know, if Kerry keeps on winning, I don't know who is going to debate him. But -- unless you invite Bush.

KING: That would be good.

DOLE: But right now it looks like -- yeah, that's a good start, but I don't see, you know, just trying to be very honest about it, where do you go from here if you're somebody other than -- maybe John Edwards finishing second place, got some money maybe in some of these states, let's see what happens. I think for Clark and obviously Howard Dean is running a poor third or fourth in Wisconsin, he's made that his final hurdle, I guess, but it looks like to me if I were John Kerry, I'd be feeling very good and I'm certain he does. The odds are against anybody else.

KING: Wolf Blitzer, Edwards has said he is staying. Hasn't he said he's staying certainly through March 2?

BLITZER: He has said that. He said he needs to come in first or second in Virginia and Tennessee. Looks like he's going to come in second in both states. Tennessee too close to call but he's slightly pulling ahead in the latest numbers that we saw. He's certainly going to stay through Wisconsin. We'll see what happens in Wisconsin next Tuesday. He says he's going to continue beyond Wisconsin, but look, it gets increasingly problematic unless you get wins.

KING: Bob Woodward, project for me what a Kerry/Bush race will be like?

WOODWARD: Oh, Lord, I mean that, interesting to say the least. I mean, just on the question of Senator Edwards, he's run a very strong, more than respectable campaign. He clearly also has learned a lot from the campaign, and you know, suppose Kerry goes on to win the nomination, doesn't win the presidency, then Edwards has real presence in the Democratic party. So in whatever happens in a way he isn't a loser here.

The other thing, I just have an old reporter's attempt to look at this as we get into the coming months, March, April, May and this idea of what's going to be happening, what's going to be the campaign. As you suggest, between Bush and Kerry, there is a lot of money out there in both parties, a lot of people in the Republican party and Democratic party have looked at this and know that you can run independent advertisements.

You can spend millions and millions of dollars in this whole issue of getting the campaign going, getting the other side defined in a negative way is a reality, and I have talked to some people and there are some indications, I think this is what we're going to see in the spring of this year, and people ought to look at it real carefully, because it kind of slips in and you wonder, well, why are they running these television ads, and all of a sudden, millions of dollars have gone down the drain, and it's over.

KING: John Edwards is standing by now, the senator is with us from Milwaukee. Are you there, John? There he is.

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm here, Larry. How are you?

KING: All right, you finished -- fine. You finished a very strong second in Virginia. You are ahead and appear to be pulling ahead a little in Tennessee, about 4 or 5 percentage points ahead. You said you wanted to finish second in both of those states. What are the prospects now?

EDWARDS: Well, it looks like we did what we needed to do tonight. Now we come here to Wisconsin, where I am tonight in Milwaukee, and I think there's a critical primary here going on this coming Tuesday that will be a very good head-to-head race I think between Senator Kerry and myself, where both of us get to campaign here. And always remembering the 75 percent of the delegates are left to be picked after Wisconsin. So it's clear that this race is going into -- is going into March. It looks like it's narrowed itself down to a two-person race now, and we're excited about our prospects.

KING: Do you think the general may leave?

EDWARDS: I can't predict that. And I certainly wouldn't speak for him. That's his decision to make, with his family.

KING: All right, now you said you think it's strictly between you and Kerry in Wisconsin, even though we have a "Milwaukee Journal" poll and another poll showing you running about 10 percent, with 21 percent undecided. Why do you think it's down to the two of you there?

EDWARDS: Well, I don't want to overstate that, Larry. What I think is the race is clearly narrowing. And it looks like, if you look at the results in Tennessee and Virginia tonight, look at the results of the week before, where I won in South Carolina and I beat Senator Kerry in Oklahoma, it's clear that this is becoming very focused now. And he's in front and I'm the underdog, and I'm fighting. And I think we're going to have a tough contest here in Wisconsin. But this is going to go on for many weeks to come. We have got the resources and the money, and honestly what's driving me in this anyway is not Senator Kerry and any of the other candidates. It's what I talked about tonight in my speech, trying to give people a chance to do what they're capable of doing, protecting jobs, providing health care.

KING: Why has Senator Kerry done so well?

EDWARDS: I think he's a good candidate. I think that actually, honestly I think both of us are good candidates. I think we've been good candidates from the beginning, but if you look at the evolution of this process, you remember what -- a little over a month ago, Larry, everyone was -- all the pundits on your show were saying, it looks like Governor Dean's got this thing wrapped up. And it's been about -- a little -- about five weeks since then, and now look what's happened. I mean, we've had somebody who was the presumed favorite already who is clearly not any longer, and that could easily happen again. I think this is -- the American people want to see this campaign play itself out, and I feel very strong about our position right now.

KING: Have you absolutely ruled out taking second place on a national ticket?

EDWARDS: I am completely -- I am completely focused on being president of the United States. Not even considering or thinking about anything else.

KING: Thank you very much, Senator. Good luck. We'll be talking to you next Tuesday.

EDWARDS: Thanks, Larry. Thanks for having me.

KING: Thank you. Senator John Edwards.

We have about a minute and a half to wrap things up. Wolf, the analysis of the night quickly?

BLITZER: I just wanted to point out, Larry, that last question you asked Senator Edwards. I didn't hear the kind of clear-cut Shermanesque (ph) statements in the past ruling out any possibility of him accepting the No. 2 slot, just a little my antenna going up as he said that.

KING: I agree. Bob Dole...

BLITZER: I will say this, Larry, a lot of people saying a Kerry/Edwards ticket could be pretty formidable.

KING: We're running out of time. Bob Dole, do you think Edwards would take second place if asked?

DOLE: Oh, I think so. I think it's a great honor to be on the ticket. If your party asks to you do it you do it for your party, your country. I think he would. I think Clark is probably finished. It is sort of a two-man race even though it's not really a two-man race. Kerry has a big lead over everyone. I think it's Kerry and Edwards and they might end up...

KING: Bob, the ticket? Bob Woodward, do you think Edwards would take it if asked? We only have about 15 seconds.

WOODWARD: I think you kind of heard it. He has shifted ground a little bit and there was the famous nondenial denial there in it. He may be headed for that. He clearly is an appealing figure, and if you were Senator Kerry looking at him you'd say there's somebody who, join up.

KING: Thank you all very much. I'll be back in a couple of minutes to tell you what's coming ahead. We thank Woodward and especially Bob Dole for getting up so early in Moscow to be with us. We'll be right back. Don't go away. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: One hour from now Wolf Blitzer will host a complete wrap- up of all of the evening's events. Tomorrow night, we'll talk about weapons of mass destruction. Among the guests will be Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser and now we head to New York in our continuing election coverage with one of the masters of the mike. The host of "NEWSNIGHT" Aaron "The B" Brown. Mr. B it's yours.

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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