The Web    CNN.com      Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
TRANSCRIPTS


 

Return to Transcripts main page

CNN PRESENTS

CNN PRESENTS: John Kerry, Born to Run

Aired July 25, 2004 - 20:00   ET

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


AARON BROWN, ANCHOR, CNN PRESENTS: We now return to CNN PRESENTS. John Kerry, born to run.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Who knows when he first thought about it? We only know people began to talk about it very early on.

WILLIAM WELD, FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: He was very interested in policy and debating. I know a lot of people who were classmates with John at ST. Paul's or at Yale. And you know, the knock on him at that point was that he had been running for president since he was 12 years old.

CROWLEY: By the time he was 27, John Kerry and his ambitions were the talk of Washington.

GEORGE BUTLER, FRIEND: He was like a rock star in those days. He was articulate. He was well connected. He could get anyone in the country in that era on the phone instantly.

CROWLEY: Soon, Kerry and Vietnam Veterans Against the War would part ways. The group was growing more militant. Kerry chose a more traditional route.

CAMERON KERRY, BROTHER: I think he has always had an abiding sense that you can make change through politics. That you can have an impact on the system.

CROWLEY: But there would be no city councils. No state legislatures. With the ambitions of a lifetime, and the brashness of a 20-something. Kerry plowed into politics at the national level.

DAN PAYNE, FORMER KERRY ADVISER: Kerry had been pretty openly thinking about running for congress, and decided to take a chance.

CROWLEY: Massachusetts made sense. His parents lived there, and he has spent time in the state as a youngster. Kerry went district shopping. At one point he had three mailing addresses. Finally, he found what looked like his best shot, in the fifth congressional district of Massachusetts.

PAYNE: Kerry had decided to move to Lowell. Kind of a depressed blue-collar community. Probably not a city would pick to live in if he weren't running for congress.

HOWE CARR, COLUMNIST, BOSTON HERALD: There's a famous cartoon that still hands at the "Lowell Sun." Kerry is sitting at the Yale club in New York. He's got his feet up. And a waiter -- a snooty waiter is bringing him a martini. And he's taking a martini. He's on the phone, and he goes the fifth in Massachusetts, I'll be right up.

CROWLEY: District shopping may have been a bad move, but a former primary rival thinks Kerry's motives were good.

PAUL SHEEHY, 1972 OPPONENT: I think he went into politics because he legitimately thought there were things that could be done to improve the country. And one of them was to get us out of the war in Vietnam.

CROWLEY: But Lowell was no hot bed of anti-war activism. Kerry's big issue was not a big plus.

PAUL SULLIVAN, COLUMNIST, LOWELL SUN: You can't think of five people in the nation who were more anti-war, more radical by the standards that were being set than he was. And it wasn't going to play here.

CROWLEY: The conservative publisher of the "Lowell Sun" newspaper went after Kerry.

DAVID THORNE, FRIEND: They tried to wrap him up with Jane Fonda. And then they called him a radical anti-war liberal. I remember the big back page editorials. So that you just got a sense of this opportunistic, superficial, dangerous person. And it was very effective.

CROWLEY: Kerry won the primary using the $250,000 he raised. Much of it from way outside from his adopted district. Film Director Otto Preminger (ph) and Peter Yaro of Peter, Paul, and Mary were among the donors. By the time the general election rolled around, it was the most expensive congressional race in the country. Kerry lost.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was probably one of the best things that could have happened to him as a person, and as someone who is in public service. The fact that he realized he couldn't just be handed a congressional seat.

CROWLEY: Congressional race in 1972. What went wrong?

JOHN KERRY, SENATOR, MASSACHUSETTS: Just about everything. How is that? You know. A bunch of young kids who were filled with idealism, and energy, and excitement, and a lot of naivete.

CROWLEY: Time may have dulled the pain of that year. Friends say Kerry was devastated.

THORNE: We gained national fame with the Veterans Against the War. He became a national hero. Suddenly he is defeated for congress. Suddenly he is back to square one.

KERRY: When you put your heart and soul into it, and you are out there working hard, it kind of crushed you for a while. But you -- the test is whether you get up. Pull the pieces back together, and go on. THORNE: I remember saying it is going to take you ten years to get back.

CROWLEY: Ten years it was. Ten years spent at Boston College Law School. And as Assistant District Attorney, in Middlesex County.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: Kerry professionalized the office. He made all the prosecutors full time. He hired highly qualified people. He hired women for the first time. And he brought a professionalism. And a concerned for victims rights that had never been there before.

CROWLEY: And a prosecutor position for the resume is gold chip for a Massachusetts liberal looking to run again for a national office someday.

TOOBIN: There was a lot of suspicion of Kerry in the office. Because he came in already well known. He obviously looked like he wanted to run for a public office. But most people said to me you know, he didn't just talk the talk. He walked the walk. Sure he was ambitious. But he was also very good at his job.

CROWLEY: By 1982 Kerry had put in his time and was itching to move up and on. A run for Lieutenant Governor seemed like no-brainer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The next lieutenant Governor of the United States.

CROWLEY: This time he won, even in carrying the fifth district that had rejected him exactly 10 years earlier. Kerry's path to Washington became well worn. Governor Dukakis asked him to staff the D.C. office.

MICHAEL DUKAKIS, FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: He our representative down there. I'd go down occasionally. But he was the guy on the scene. And it was just a natural for him (ph).

CROWLEY: It was a good place to make connections. And very soon, there was an opportunity. The junior senator from Massachusetts was retiring.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This decision is a surprise to me too. But I knew at that time what had to be.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paul Siegis (ph) announced out of the blue he was sick. And he was not going to be running again. And John came to me and said look, if you want to run it's yours. But if you don't, I'd love to take a crack at it.

CROWLEY: When CNN PRESENTS continues...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's good at two things. He's good at getting himself elected. And he's good at marrying rich women.

CROWLEY: John Kerry does both.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CROWLEY: Arriving in January of 1985, the junior senator from Massachusetts was a precocious politician. The first freshman ever appointed to the Foreign Relations Committee.

Freshman senator got on the Foreign Relations Committee. That was pretty big at the time. What did you think of that appointment?

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: Well when President Kennedy came to the Senate, he had to wait seven years to get on the Foreign Relations Committee.

CROWLEY: It was a high profile gig for a high profile guy. Kerry's ambition and lust for the headlines earned him a nickname, "Live Shot."

CARR: He always loved to be on camera. He would do a live shot for anybody.

CROWLEY: Did you see that in John Kerry? That sort of driving need to be in the spotlight?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well I see it everyday with 99 colleagues in the Senate.

CROWLEY: Kerry gravitated toward big time bright light investigations. International drug cartels, banking scandals, Iran- Contra.

BOB DOLE, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: He was pretty partisan (ph). He liked to be on the offensive. He liked going after Republicans in the White House. No question about that. I mean, John Kerry is a very partisan Democrat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: These are the moral equivalent of mobsters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Part of it was natural. Kerry had been a prosecutor. Part of it was survival. He needed space not occupied already by the senior senator from Massachusetts.

SULLIVAN: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the nation may think of Ted Kennedy. He is the best local U.S. senator there is.

CROWLEY: John Kerry's legislative portfolio is light for a senator of 20 years. He is ready for this one.

KERRY: Early childhood education. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) acts of our country. The Arctic Wildlife Refuge. The COPS program. Youth Build program. The nursing. Reinvestment Act.

CROWLEY: But no hallmark legislation baring the name of John Forbes Kerry as chief architect.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to the Senator of Massachusetts?

KERRY: Mr. President, I support the amendment that is offered.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: I learned that when you are not chairman of the committee, you often have to take your bill, and put it on someone else's as an amendment.

CROWLEY: Politically, his voting record is among the most liberal in the senate. Collegially, his differentness showed.

DOLE: I think John was just a little -- I don't know if he is shy or aloof. I've never quite figured it out.

CROWLEY: At the beginning of his second term, Kerry's past and present merged in ways both painful, and healing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He took on the hottest political challenge of all. And that was the missing in action in Vietnam.

CROWLEY: It had been almost two decades since the war's end. But 2,000 Americans were still unaccounted for in Vietnam.

THOMAS VALLELY, FRIEND: The missing is an issue that needed to be dealt with. And there were strong feelings about how to do it.

CROWLEY: A POW/MIA select committee was formed. It was a toxic assignment. A no win mission. Determined the likelihood of whether any American was still alive in Vietnam.

JAMES CARROLL, JOURNALIST: How do you tell a family without the remains, that we're not going to call your husband missing anymore? It's a tragic human dilemma.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hearing will come to order.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Kerry agreed to chair the committee.

KERRY: I saw it as an obligation of duty. I had worn a uniform. I had fought in that war. And if anybody was left behind, if there were anybody alive, somebody had to feel the connection to those families, and to those people to get to the bottom of it. CROWLEY: There was widespread suspicion among M.I.A. families that the committee was more interested in reconciliation with Vietnam, than accounting for their loved ones.

BOB KERREY, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Everybody was wearing these bracelets around (ph) with names of guys that had been shot. What do you say to her? She says my husband is still alive. I know he's still alive. And you can't talk to the Vietnamese. You can't normalize with them until we get a full accounting. The problem was you couldn't get a full accounting until you normalized.

CROWLEY: The final report stated; "There is at this time, no compelling evidence that proves that any American remains alive in captivity in Southeast Asia.

ANN MILLS GRIFFITH, NATIONAL LEAGUE OF POW/MIA FAMILIES: It accomplished a very political result. Which was to pave the way and lay the groundwork for the normalization of political and diplomatic recognition.

CROWLEY: So how deeply does it cut when you know that there are people who had loved ones over there that felt that they were kissed (ph) off for political gain. I mean, you have heard that I know.

KERRY: Let me tell you something. We have Candy, the most exhaustive, most extensive, most thorough effort to account for our missing and dead still going on. At this instant as you and I sit here, of any nation in all of human history, or the history of warfare. So I am not going to take a second seater criticism to anybody. And no family was kissed off. And they are still working at trying to find answers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: Today I am announcing the normalization of diplomatic relationships with Vietnam.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: Only then really, did the war come to an and.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kerry means jobs. Kerry means jobs.

CROWLEY: A year later, John Kerry's reelect was in trouble. In Massachusetts, they called it the battle of the Titans. The incumbent senator, versus the sitting governor.

WELD: Both of us were at the height of our powers. We both had 70-75 percent approval ratings. And that is one of the things that made it such a zesty yeasty race.

WELD: He has a great way with words. He is very cool. Believe me. I landed some HAYS: makers in those eight debates that we had.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WELD: If you spend your time in the senate chasing willow (UNINTELLIGIBLE) wisps (ph) like that, it's no wonder you don't have time for the meat and potatoes.

KERRY: You don't know what you are talking about.

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: It was close most of the way. Many who covered the race believed it turned toward Kerry after the combat veteran gave a slam-dunk answer to a question about the death penalty.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: I know something about killing. I don't like killing. And I don't think a state honors life by turning around and sanctioning killing. Now that is just a personal belief that I have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Kerry won by eight points.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: Well, as Jackie Gleason said, how sweet it is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WELD When I called John up to congratulate him on election night, my first words were John, I just made you President of the United States.

CROWLEY: When CNN PRESENTS continues...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERESA HEINZ KERRY, WIFE: I like to tent (ph). I like to hug. And I think all of those things were things he needed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: The heart of John Kerry. Who holds it? What's in it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are dealing with a very complex man here.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: We now return to CNN PRESENTS; John Kerry, born to run.

CROWLEY: Who is this man who wants to be president?

HEINZ KERRY: I think he would like to be a renaissance man. He started playing the guitar. Now he wants to take up painting. And I said wait a second. You have a wife. We haven't been married that long. Give me a break.

CROWLEY: He dabbles in poetry. He skis. He snow boards. He wind surfs. He climbs mountains. He plays ice hockey. He flies planes. He is 60 years old.

HEINZ KERRY: I think he likes to do things that give him liberty, freedom of the air and of the water, and the snow. Of flying. He likes all of that.

CROWLEY: Do you see yourself as a risk taker? Do you see yourself ...

KERRY: No.

CROWLEY: Well what accounts for all of that?

KERRY: I see myself distinctly as not one. I don't like to do things where you can lose control, or you lose control, or whatever. I mean I disagree with people who make that assessment. When I am flying an airplane, I am very careful. I'm very confident. Likewise, when I am on the water, I am confident about what I am doing. You don't find me jumping out of airplanes.

CROWLEY: In late 2002, as his carefully planned campaign began, Kerry was told he had prostate cancer. He moved to regain control with the most aggressive treatment.

KERRY: Challenge. Challenge. That's what I saw. I didn't think I was going to -- I just said OK. We're going to beat this.

CROWLEY: You never thought I might die?

KERRY: No. I mean I always knew you can. But I said we're going to beat this.

CROWLEY: He says the failure of his first marriage is his biggest disappointment. She didn't take to public life. He was consumed by it.

DANIEL BARBIERO, FRIEND: When you work, and focus so hard on something, you tend to exclude a lot of outside influence. And you tend to also exclude people around you.

KERRY: I did a lot of self-examination. And shame on you if you don't. Curse the thought. So I did. Yes. And I learned a lot. And I'm not going to share any of it with you.

CROWLEY: You get a lot of that when you talk to John Kerry.

THORNE: John is not an intimate guy. He does not show his feelings, and his intimacy -- in public.

CROWLEY: Do you feel like you know this man?

HEINZ KERRY: Not enough. I mean I have been married nine years. But you know. We have had two senate campaigns. And now this campaign. I would like to get to know him a lot better.

CROWLEY: In public, he can across aloof, detached. Even in private, he can seem distant. His campaign has worked to warm up that northeastern patrician reserve. Vietnam War buddies help.

PAYNE: The transformation was amazing. I mean you could see it physically. He just looked differently. And when they brought that veteran in, a guy he had pulled out of the drain (ph), and saved, it was really kind of like a revolution inside John Kerry.

CROWLEY: Mention his daughters, and the ice breaks.

KERRY: I'm a dad who even gets talked to about boyfriends, which is tricky stuff. I'm not sure I should have said that. I may be in trouble now.

KENNEDY: I told him the best story he has had in recent times was the picture with himself and Vanessa at the Red Sox game. He said that's the best time I've had. And I said John, you don't have to go out and make speeches on health care, and Medicare, and the rest of the things in the environment. Just go to those Red Sox games a few more times. And you'll see what will happen.

CROWLEY: Not bad advise, since truthfully the speeches can be deadly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: About $1.5 billion of loans that is waiting to come to farmers for the Conservations Security Trust.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAYNE: John was a remarkably gifted speaker until he got to the United States Senate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: Under the normal courtesies of an institution that runs on courtesy normally ...

PAYNE: That whole special language they speak, that has really stripped him of some of the power of his ability to move an audience.

CROWLEY: In the bumper sticker world of presidential politics, John Kerry is a fine senator.

DUKAKIS: There are very few of us who communicate like a Bill Clinton. Or a Ronald Reagan for that matter.

BUTLER: The real John Kerry that people don't see is somebody who has got -- who is funny. And somebody who has got a lot of heart, and a lot of sensitivity. And is very caring. A very caring kind of person. And that caringness and that sensitivity does not come across when he is speaking about world affairs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: I actually did vote for the $87 billion. Before I voted against it ...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WELD: The torture in positions is not terribly persuasive in the heat of the battle of a political campaign.

SULLIVAN: His problem is that in my view, people don't think that he has a real soul. John McCain seems to be willing to say to people, I know you may not like this, but. You are not going to hear that from John Kerry. You are going to hear, well you may not agree with this, and don't forget I voted for something very similar which may have corrected that. And therefore, in the House bill 602 and Senate -- what's his main core value? I bet you any amount of money it is not a one-sentence answer.

CROWLEY: Polls show it is the criticism that sticks. That John Kerry says what he thinks you want to hear. He voted for the war when public support was high. Criticized it as support fell. Voted for the Patriot Act in the frightened aftermath of 9/11. Attacked it as the horror faded.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: The Patriot Act needs to be fixed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Does his ambition trump his principles? Or as friends suggest, is it that the INA (ph) Senate world distorts the depth of Kerry's thinking?

BUTLER: The fact of the matter is that a flip-flop can indicate that you know both sides of an issue. And my contention has always -- not does John just know two sides to an issue, he probably knows eight or nine, or 15 or 16.

CROWLEY: As John Kerry stands on the eve of the presidential nomination, it is easy to look at where he has been, and believe this is always where he intended to be.

THORNE: No one would accuse Derek Jeter of being calculating because he is a great shortstop. But he has always wanted to be a great short stop.

CROWLEY: The serious young boy from a pedigreed family who idolized the president who shared his initials. Educated in some of the most elite schools in the world, where they whistled hail to the chief as he walked by. A veteran of both a war and a movement to end it. A politician with 20 years of national experience.

Maybe he was born to run. Or maybe it is a lot simpler than that. THORNE: I asked John a couple of years ago, do you really want to run for president? He said yes. And I said why in the world would you want to do that? I mean look. You are a senator. You've got all the money in the world. You have a beautiful wife. I mean. Why? And you know. His answer was I can do it. And I can make a difference. And worst case is I'm a senator with a beautiful wife, and a lot of money.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AARON BROWN, ANCHOR, CNN PRESENTS: We now return to CNN PRESENTS. John Kerry, born to run.

CROWLEY: Who knows when he first thought about it? We only know people began to talk about it very early on.

WILLIAM WELD, FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: He was very interested in policy and debating. I know a lot of people who were classmates with John at ST. Paul's or at Yale. And you know, the knock on him at that point was that he had been running for president since he was 12 years old.

CROWLEY: By the time he was 27, John Kerry and his ambitions were the talk of Washington.

GEORGE BUTLER, FRIEND: He was like a rock star in those days. He was articulate. He was well connected. He could get anyone in the country in that era on the phone instantly.

CROWLEY: Soon, Kerry and Vietnam Veterans Against the War would part ways. The group was growing more militant. Kerry chose a more traditional route.

CAMERON KERRY, BROTHER: I think he has always had an abiding sense that you can make change through politics. That you can have an impact on the system.

CROWLEY: But there would be no city councils. No state legislatures. With the ambitions of a lifetime, and the brashness of a 20-something. Kerry plowed into politics at the national level.

DAN PAYNE, FORMER KERRY ADVISER: Kerry had been pretty openly thinking about running for congress, and decided to take a chance.

CROWLEY: Massachusetts made sense. His parents lived there, and he has spent time in the state as a youngster. Kerry went district shopping. At one point he had three mailing addresses. Finally, he found what looked like his best shot, in the fifth congressional district of Massachusetts.

PAYNE: Kerry had decided to move to Lowell. Kind of a depressed blue-collar community. Probably not a city would pick to live in if he weren't running for congress.

HOWE CARR, COLUMNIST, BOSTON HERALD: There's a famous cartoon that still hands at the "Lowell Sun." Kerry is sitting at the Yale club in New York. He's got his feet up. And a waiter -- a snooty waiter is bringing him a martini. And he's taking a martini. He's on the phone, and he goes the fifth in Massachusetts, I'll be right up.

CROWLEY: District shopping may have been a bad move, but a former primary rival thinks Kerry's motives were good.

PAUL SHEEHY, 1972 OPPONENT: I think he went into politics because he legitimately thought there were things that could be done to improve the country. And one of them was to get us out of the war in Vietnam.

CROWLEY: But Lowell was no hot bed of anti-war activism. Kerry's big issue was not a big plus.

PAUL SULLIVAN, COLUMNIST, LOWELL SUN: You can't think of five people in the nation who were more anti-war, more radical by the standards that were being set than he was. And it wasn't going to play here.

CROWLEY: The conservative publisher of the "Lowell Sun" newspaper went after Kerry.

DAVID THORNE, FRIEND: They tried to wrap him up with Jane Fonda. And then they called him a radical anti-war liberal. I remember the big back page editorials. So that you just got a sense of this opportunistic, superficial, dangerous person. And it was very effective.

CROWLEY: Kerry won the primary using the $250,000 he raised. Much of it from way outside from his adopted district. Film Director Otto Preminger (ph) and Peter Yaro of Peter, Paul, and Mary were among the donors. By the time the general election rolled around, it was the most expensive congressional race in the country. Kerry lost.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was probably one of the best things that could have happened to him as a person, and as someone who is in public service. The fact that he realized he couldn't just be handed a congressional seat.

CROWLEY: Congressional race in 1972. What went wrong?

JOHN KERRY, SENATOR, MASSACHUSETTS: Just about everything. How is that? You know. A bunch of young kids who were filled with idealism, and energy, and excitement, and a lot of naivete.

CROWLEY: Time may have dulled the pain of that year. Friends say Kerry was devastated.

THORNE: We gained national fame with the Veterans Against the War. He became a national hero. Suddenly he is defeated for congress. Suddenly he is back to square one.

KERRY: When you put your heart and soul into it, and you are out there working hard, it kind of crushed you for a while. But you -- the test is whether you get up. Pull the pieces back together, and go on. THORNE: I remember saying it is going to take you ten years to get back.

CROWLEY: Ten years it was. Ten years spent at Boston College Law School. And as Assistant District Attorney, in Middlesex (ph) County.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: Kerry professionalized the office. He made all the prosecutors full time. He hired highly qualified people. He hired women for the first time. And he brought a professionalism. And a concerned for victims rights that had never been there before.

CROWLEY: And a prosecutor position for the resume is gold chip for a Massachusetts liberal looking to run again for a national office someday.

TOOBIN: There was a lot of suspicion of Kerry in the office. Because he came in already well known. He obviously looked like he wanted to run for a public office. But most people said to me you know, he didn't just talk the talk. He walked the walk. Sure he was ambitious. But he was also very good at his job.

CROWLEY: By 1982 Kerry had put in his time and was itching to move up and on. A run for Lieutenant Governor seemed like no-brainer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The next lieutenant Governor of the United States.

CROWLEY: This time he won, even in carrying the fifth district that had rejected him exactly 10 years earlier. Kerry's path to Washington became well worn. Governor Dukakis asked him to staff the D.C. office.

MICHAEL DUKAKIS, FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: He our representative down there. I'd go down occasionally. But he was the guy on the scene. And it was just a natural for him (ph).

CROWLEY: It was a good place to make connections. And very soon, there was an opportunity. The junior senator from Massachusetts was retiring.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This decision is a surprise to me too. But I knew at that time what had to be.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paul Siegis (ph) announced out of the blue he was sick. And he was not going to be running again. And John came to me and said look, if you want to run it's yours. But if you don't, I'd love to take a crack at it.

CROWLEY: When CNN PRESENTS continues...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's good at two things. He's good at getting himself elected. And he's good at marrying rich women.

CROWLEY: John Kerry does both.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CROWLEY: Arriving in January of 1985, the junior senator from Massachusetts was a precocious politician. The first freshman ever appointed to the Foreign Relations Committee.

Freshman senator got on the Foreign Relations Committee. That was pretty big at the time. What did you think of that appointment?

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: Well when President Kennedy came to the Senate, he had to wait seven years to get on the Foreign Relations Committee.

CROWLEY: It was a high profile gig for a high profile guy. Kerry's ambition and lust for the headlines earned him a nickname, "Live Shot."

CARR: He always loved to be on camera. He would do a live shot for anybody.

CROWLEY: Did you see that in John Kerry? That sort of driving need to be in the spotlight?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well I see it everyday with 99 colleagues in the Senate.

CROWLEY: Kerry gravitated toward big time bright light investigations. International drug cartels, banking scandals, Iran- Contra.

BOB DOLE, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: He was pretty partisan (ph). He liked to be on the offensive. He liked going after Republicans in the White House. No question about that. I mean, John Kerry is a very partisan Democrat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: These are the moral equivalent of mobsters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Part of it was natural. Kerry had been a prosecutor. Part of it was survival. He needed space not occupied already by the senior senator from Massachusetts.

SULLIVAN: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the nation may think of Ted Kennedy. He is the best local U.S. senator there is.

CROWLEY: John Kerry's legislative portfolio is light for a senator of 20 years. He is ready for this one.

KERRY: Early childhood education. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) acts of our country. The Arctic Wildlife Refuge. The COPS program. Youth Build program. The nursing. Reinvestment Act.

CROWLEY: But no hallmark legislation baring the name of John Forbes Kerry as chief architect.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to the Senator of Massachusetts?

KERRY: Mr. President, I support the amendment that is offered.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: I learned that when you are not chairman of the committee, you often have to take your bill, and put it on someone else's as an amendment.

CROWLEY: Politically, his voting record is among the most liberal in the senate. Collegially, his differentness showed.

DOLE: I think John was just a little -- I don't know if he is shy or aloof. I've never quite figured it out.

CROWLEY: At the beginning of his second term, Kerry's past and present merged in ways both painful, and healing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He took on the hottest political challenge of all. And that was the missing in action in Vietnam.

CROWLEY: It had been almost two decades since the war's end. But 2,000 Americans were still unaccounted for in Vietnam.

THOMAS VALLELY, FRIEND: The missing is an issue that needed to be dealt with. And there were strong feelings about how to do it.

CROWLEY: A POW/MIA select committee was formed. It was a toxic assignment. A no win mission. Determined the likelihood of whether any American was still alive in Vietnam.

JAMES CARROLL, JOURNALIST: How do you tell a family without the remains, that we're not going to call your husband missing anymore? It's a tragic human dilemma.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hearing will come to order.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Kerry agreed to chair the committee.

KERRY: I saw it as an obligation of duty. I had worn a uniform. I had fought in that war. And if anybody was left behind, if there were anybody alive, somebody had to feel the connection to those families, and to those people to get to the bottom of it. CROWLEY: There was widespread suspicion among M.I.A. families that the committee was more interested in reconciliation with Vietnam, than accounting for their loved ones.

BOB KERREY, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Everybody was wearing these bracelets around (ph) with names of guys that had been shot. What do you say to her? She says my husband is still alive. I know he's still alive. And you can't talk to the Vietnamese. You can't normalize with them until we get a full accounting. The problem was you couldn't get a full accounting until you normalized.

CROWLEY: The final report stated; "There is at this time, no compelling evidence that proves that any American remains alive in captivity in Southeast Asia."

ANN MILLS GRIFFITH, NATIONAL LEAGUE OF POW/MIA FAMILIES: It accomplished a very political result. Which was to pave the way and lay the groundwork for the normalization of political and diplomatic recognition.

CROWLEY: So how deeply does it cut when you know that there are people who had loved ones over there that felt that they were kissed (ph) off for political gain. I mean, you have heard that I know.

KERRY: Let me tell you something. We have Candy, the most exhaustive, most extensive, most thorough effort to account for our missing and dead still going on. At this instant as you and I sit here, of any nation in all of human history, or the history of warfare. So I am not going to take a second seater criticism to anybody. And no family was kissed off. And they are still working at trying to find answers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: Today I am announcing the normalization of diplomatic relationships with Vietnam.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: Only then really, did the war come to an and.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kerry means jobs. Kerry means jobs.

CROWLEY: A year later, John Kerry's reelect was in trouble. In Massachusetts, they called it the battle of the Titans. The incumbent senator, versus the sitting governor.

WELD: Both of us were at the height of our powers. We both had 70-75 percent approval ratings. And that is one of the things that made it such a zesty yeasty race.

WELD: He has a great way with words. He is very cool. Believe me. I landed some HAYS: makers in those eight debates that we had.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WELD: If you spend your time in the senate chasing willow (UNINTELLIGIBLE) wisps (ph) like that, it's no wonder you don't have time for the meat and potatoes.

KERRY: You don't know what you are talking about.

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: It was close most of the way. Many who covered the race believed it turned toward Kerry after the combat veteran gave a slam-dunk answer to a question about the death penalty.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: I know something about killing. I don't like killing. And I don't think a state honors life by turning around and sanctioning killing. Now that is just a personal belief that I have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Kerry won by eight points.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: Well, as Jackie Gleason said, how sweet it is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WELD When I called John up to congratulate him on election night, my first words were John, I just made you President of the United States.

CROWLEY: When CNN PRESENTS continues...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERESA HEINZ KERRY, WIFE: I like to tent (ph). I like to hug. And I think all of those things were things he needed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: The heart of John Kerry. Who holds it? What's in it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are dealing with a very complex man here.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: We now return to CNN PRESENTS; John Kerry, born to run.

CROWLEY: Who is this man who wants to be president?

HEINZ KERRY: I think he would like to be a renaissance man. He started playing the guitar. Now he wants to take up painting. And I said wait a second. You have a wife. We haven't been married that long. Give me a break.

CROWLEY: He dabbles in poetry. He skis. He snow boards. He wind surfs. He climbs mountains. He plays ice hockey. He flies planes. He is 60 years old.

HEINZ KERRY: I think he likes to do things that give him liberty, freedom of the air and of the water, and the snow. Of flying. He likes all of that.

CROWLEY: Do you see yourself as a risk taker? Do you see yourself...

KERRY: No.

CROWLEY: Well what accounts for all of that?

KERRY: I see myself distinctly as not one. I don't like to do things where you can lose control, or you lose control, or whatever. I mean I disagree with people who make that assessment. When I am flying an airplane, I am very careful. I'm very confident. Likewise, when I am on the water, I am confident about what I am doing. You don't find me jumping out of airplanes.

CROWLEY: In late 2002, as his carefully planned campaign began, Kerry was told he had prostate cancer. He moved to regain control with the most aggressive treatment.

KERRY: Challenge. Challenge. That's what I saw. I didn't think I was going to -- I just said OK. We're going to beat this.

CROWLEY: You never thought I might die?

KERRY: No. I mean I always knew you can. But I said we're going to beat this.

CROWLEY: He says the failure of his first marriage is his biggest disappointment. She didn't take to public life. He was consumed by it.

DANIEL BARBIERO, FRIEND: When you work, and focus so hard on something, you tend to exclude a lot of outside influence. And you tend to also exclude people around you.

KERRY: I did a lot of self-examination. And shame on you if you don't. Curse the thought. So I did. Yes. And I learned a lot. And I'm not going to share any of it with you.

CROWLEY: You get a lot of that when you talk to John Kerry.

THORNE: John is not an intimate guy. He does not show his feelings, and his intimacy -- in public.

CROWLEY: Do you feel like you know this man?

HEINZ KERRY: Not enough. I mean I have been married nine years. But you know. We have had two senate campaigns. And now this campaign. I would like to get to know him a lot better.

CROWLEY: In public, he can across aloof, detached. Even in private, he can seem distant. His campaign has worked to warm up that northeastern patrician reserve. Vietnam War buddies help.

PAYNE: The transformation was amazing. I mean you could see it physically. He just looked differently. And when they brought that veteran in, a guy he had pulled out of the drain (ph), and saved, it was really kind of like a revolution inside John Kerry.

CROWLEY: Mention his daughters, and the ice breaks.

KERRY: I'm a dad who even gets talked to about boyfriends, which is tricky stuff. I'm not sure I should have said that. I may be in trouble now.

KENNEDY: I told him the best story he has had in recent times was the picture with himself and Vanessa at the Red Sox game. He said that's the best time I've had. And I said John, you don't have to go out and make speeches on health care, and Medicare, and the rest of the things in the environment. Just go to those Red Sox games a few more times. And you'll see what will happen.

CROWLEY: Not bad advise, since truthfully the speeches can be deadly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: About $1.5 billion of loans that is waiting to come to farmers for the Conservations Security Trust.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAYNE: John was a remarkably gifted speaker until he got to the United States Senate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: Under the normal courtesies of an institution that runs on courtesy normally...

PAYNE: That whole special language they speak, that has really stripped him of some of the power of his ability to move an audience.

CROWLEY: In the bumper sticker world of presidential politics, John Kerry is a fine senator.

DUKAKIS: There are very few of us who communicate like a Bill Clinton. Or a Ronald Reagan for that matter.

BUTLER: The real John Kerry that people don't see is somebody who has got -- who is funny. And somebody who has got a lot of heart, and a lot of sensitivity. And is very caring. A very caring kind of person. And that caringness and that sensitivity does not come across when he is speaking about world affairs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: I actually did vote for the $87 billion. Before I voted against it...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WELD: The torture in positions is not terribly persuasive in the heat of the battle of a political campaign.

SULLIVAN: His problem is that in my view, people don't think that he has a real soul. John McCain seems to be willing to say to people, I know you may not like this, but. You are not going to hear that from John Kerry. You are going to hear, well you may not agree with this, and don't forget I voted for something very similar which may have corrected that. And therefore, in the House bill 602 and Senate -- what's his main core value? I bet you any amount of money it is not a one-sentence answer.

CROWLEY: Polls show it is the criticism that sticks. That John Kerry says what he thinks you want to hear. He voted for the war when public support was high. Criticized it as support fell. Voted for the Patriot Act in the frightened aftermath of 9/11. Attacked it as the horror faded.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: The Patriot Act needs to be fixed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Does his ambition trump his principles? Or as friends suggest, is it that the INA (ph) senate world distorts the depth of Kerry's thinking?

BUTLER: The fact of the matter is that a flip-flop can indicate that you know both sides of an issue. And my contention has always -- not does John just know two sides to an issue, he probably knows eight or nine, or 15 or 16.

CROWLEY: As John Kerry stands on the eve of the presidential nomination, it is easy to look at where he has been, and believe this is always where he intended to be.

THORNE: No one would accuse Derek Jeter of being calculating because he is a great short stop. But he has always wanted to be a great short stop.

CROWLEY: The serious young boy from a pedigreed family who idolized the president who shared his initials. Educated in some of the most elite schools in the world, where they whistled hail to the chief as he walked by. A veteran of both a war and a movement to end it. A politician with 20 years of national experience.

Maybe he was born to run. Or maybe it is a lot simpler than that. THORNE: I asked John a couple of years ago, do you really want to run for president? He said yes. And I said why in the world would you want to do that? I mean look. You are a senator. You've got all the money in the world. You have a beautiful wife. I mean. Why? And you know. His answer was I can do it. And I can make a difference. And worst case is I'm a senator with a beautiful wife, and a lot of money.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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


International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
SEARCH
   The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser.
CNN.com does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.