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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Interview With John Edwards; Interview With Alexandra, Vanessa Kerry

Aired October 25, 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, Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards, on that race that's still neck and neck a week before election day.
And then, John Kerry's daughters, Vanessa and Alexandra Kerry. It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

First half of our show tonight, we spend with Senator John Edwards, the Democratic vice presidential candidate, the senator from North Carolina. He is in Dubuque, Iowa, one of the key states, as we head down to the election one week from tomorrow.

The big news today, Senator, your thoughts on this huge cache of explosives that disappeared from a major site in Iraq. Your standard bearer has been very critical of the administration. What are your thoughts?

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I agree with that. I mean, this is just a continuation of the failures that we've seen in Iraq from George Bush and Dick Cheney.

And our military has done everything they've been asked to do. Our men and women in uniform have been extraordinary. They've been heroic, but we have a mess in Iraq. And we have a mess in Iraq because George Bush and Dick Cheney didn't plan.

And we see that every day. I mean, we see it with the news that Zarqawi, the military had apparently put together a plan for going after Zarqawi in northern Iraq before the invasion. Nothing was done about it. Zarqawi's still at large, still playing a role in the insurgency.

On top of that, there's over 300 tons of explosives that have now been -- has now been discovered are missing, even though the administration was told they need to be secured, they need to be protected. Apparently, these were the same kind -- same kind of explosives that terrorists like to use because of their power.

And the reality is that they didn't secure them. The Bush administration didn't secure these materials. They haven't taken the steps necessary to be successful in Iraq. And we're seeing the consequences of it every single day.

KING: You praised the military, though, but whose fault would this be, to have all these explosives missing, if not the people in charge there?

EDWARDS: No, it's the responsibility of the president and the vice president, Larry. It's that simple. The president -- listen, the military invasion worked. It was successful. It was for the president to decide how many troops they needed initially.

And even Paul Bremer has been critical for the failure to have enough troops so that we could provide security in the initial phases, when we lost control, when we lost the initiative, when the looting began.

And then on top of that, we see things like what's happening right now with these -- this explosive material disappearing. We don't know where it went. We got terrorists -- think about this. We have an explosive combination here. We have terrorists flowing into Iraq and as far as we can tell, we may have explosives, dangerous explosive material flowing out of Iraq or into the hands of terrorists in Iraq.

This was the planning that George Bush was supposed to do. George Bush was told that this material was there, that it was extraordinarily dangerous, that it had been used by terrorists in the past and in attacks in the past. That in fact, some of this kind of material had been found -- found in al Qaeda training camps.

The reality is it was the president's responsibility to make certain that this material was secure, and he didn't do it, as he didn't do a whole host of things in Iraq.

KING: Former Vice President Gore, speaking in Florida today, said, quote, "We are mired in another Vietnam." Would you go that far?

EDWARDS: I'd say -- I'd say it in my own words. Iraq is a mess. I think it's a mess created by George Bush. I think he took his eye off the people who attacked us on September the 11th, Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.

They didn't finish the job at Tora Bora, when they had Osama bin Laden cornered. They turned the job over to Afghan warlords, and then immediately started planning for the invasion of Iraq.

And they were in such a rush to go to war in Iraq that they didn't do the hard work that was necessary to be successful. And I might add, on top of all that, at the same time that all that was happening, Iran and North Korea, the two other countries in George Bush's axis of evil, were moving forward with their nuclear weapons programs.

I mean, all these things, taken as a whole, show that this administration has been a failure when it comes to doing the things overseas that need to be done to keep us safe.

KING: If they were to say, Senator, the administration, that, look, we have not been attacked since 9/11. Isn't that a successful record? EDWARDS: No. Here's what I would say about that. First of all, we have done some things that are good since September the 11th. There's no question about that. The invasion of Afghanistan was the right thing to do, but for -- by way of example.

But they didn't finish the job in Afghanistan. We didn't provide security for the rest of the country outside of Kabul. Now, as a result, we have warlords and drug lords with control over parts of Afghanistan. On top of that, their drug trade is back up. They are providing 75 percent of the world's opium.

And then here at home, where three years later we still don't have a unified terrorist watch list to keep terrorists out of this country. Three years after September the 11th. On top of that, we have over 120,000 hours of tapes, surveillance tapes that could give us a clue about a potential attack by a terrorist group that have never been translated. Why haven't they been translated? Because President Bush didn't hire the translators to turn those tapes around.

I mean, over and over and over this administration has shown that they are not following through, that they are not focused, and as a result has been failure after failure.

KING: We're going to touch a lot of bases. Senator, Bill Clinton spoke this morning in Philadelphia with Senator Kerry, and he is in Miami tonight. What do you make of his entrance and how important will that be?

EDWARDS: Well, we are very glad to have President Clinton campaigning. He -- first of all, I am glad that he is well enough to campaign. We were worried about his health after his heart surgery, but we certainly welcome him. We would have loved to have had him earlier had he not had his heart surgery and his heart problem, but I think it's a good thing. I mean, President Clinton is out there talking about what worked in the '90s, how we were successful economically. I mean, he helped create 22 million jobs with the help of the American people, and instead George Bush has sort of turned this around.

We've lost over a million private sector jobs. George Bush is the first president actually in 70 years to lose jobs. And then on top of that, Bill Clinton took us from deficit to a $5 trillion projected surplus when he left office. That surplus is now gone, and we are trillions of dollars in debt. So we like to have President Clinton talking about what he did, how it worked, and how it contrasts with what George Bush has done.

KING: Are you concerned about election night and counting? Are you concerned about Florida?

EDWARDS: Well, concerned of course, but we have done everything humanly possible to ensure, first of all, that as many voters as can get to the polls go to the polls. I mean, we are very organized, we are working very hard to get people to the polls. We have had extraordinary registration efforts in other parts of the country in addition to Florida, and we have put in place people who were responsible for overseeing and watching the polls to make sure no irregularities occur, and we put the best legal teams as possible in place to engage if it becomes necessary on Election Day.

Now, actually I feel very optimistic. I think we are going to have a huge turnout in this election, and if you look at the number of people who watched the presidential and vice presidential debates, I think there is an enormous amount of interest among the American people in this election, and I am optimistic that things will go well.

KING: Why, Senator, and this is just based on polls -- remember, people with cell phones haven't been polled. We poll likely voters, what about people who may vote who we don't think will vote -- why is this apparently so close?

EDWARDS: Because George Bush has done an extraordinary job of dividing this country. I mean, I just would remind people who I think probably know this already, that he ran in 2000 saying he was the man who could unite America. I mean, have we ever seen America this divided? I mean, it is the direct result of the choices George Bush has made and the partisanship that he has shown.

It is not good, it is not healthy, but I think the reality is that it reflects itself in where we see the voters, at least the people who have voted a lot in the past, show in the polls.

Now I just make the point you make, I don't know what the result of it is, but there are an awful lot of people who would never show up on a poll as a likely voter who have been registered since 2000 and who are going to vote. And a lot of young people, who I think can have a profound influence over the outcome of this election. We really want young people to vote.

KING: We'll be right back with Senator John Edwards, the Democratic vice presidential candidate. John Kerry's daughters will be with us at the bottom of the hour. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My fellow Americans, we can do better. And in eight days we're going to do better with President John Kerry. Bring him on.

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The senator calls America's missions in Iraq a mistake, a diversion, a colossal error. And then he says he's the right man to win the war? You cannot win a war you do not believe in fighting.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Senator Edwards, how would you respond to that? Can you win a war you don't believe in?

EDWARDS: Well, first of all, I'd point out that George Bush is the person responsible for the mess we now see in Iraq. George Bush is the person responsible for Iran moving forward with its nuclear weapons program without confronting them. George Bush is responsible for North Korea going from one to two nuclear weapons, to as many as six to eight, or maybe more, nuclear weapons without confronting them.

In both cases, Iran and North Korea, he gave responsibility in Iran's case to the Europeans and in North Korea's case to the Chinese, instead of America leading and dealing with these potential threats.

We still have loose nukes in the former Soviet Union, which create an enormous risk for the American people. And there are so many things that should be done here at home have not been done.

But the answer to your question is yes, John Kerry is committed to success in Iraq. He's made that very clear, and both of us have made that very clear.

And the reason we have to be successful now, Larry, is because George Bush turned Iraq into something it wasn't before the invasion. It's now a haven for terrorists, and that is combined with the fact that we now have over 300 tons of explosives that have disappeared. So we have to be successful in Iraq, and we're committed to success there.

KING: Senator, we know that Vice President Cheney, his particular area of interest has been in foreign affairs and the like. Where do you see your role as vice president? If elected, what kind of areas do you want to really be involved in?

EDWARDS: Well, there's been a real change in the responsibilities of the vice president over the last 30 years. And you've seen it. You've seen it evolve. You saw it with George Bush's father, as Reagan's vice president. You saw it in the case of Al Gore, who was very engaged and very involved in President Clinton's presidency from the very beginning and had sort of specific responsibilities that he was focused on. And in the case of Dick Cheney, you could argue the most powerful vice president in American history.

I can tell you what I believe John and I will come up with. What we believe, what we want to do now is we want to rely on each other. We have developed a very close, personal relationship, a relationship of trust. We've talked many times. Sometimes we talk many times in the same day about what's happening, what positions we are taking, how to make it clear to the American people what our vision for the country is. And I think as a practical matter, because of the personal relationship of trust that has clearly developed between the two of us -- I trust him, I want him to be our president, and I believe he feels the same way about me being his vice president, that we'll be involved, I'll be involved in everything that the president is involved in. KING: Why is this campaign so harsh?

EDWARDS: Well, I think the reason is because if you look at what George Bush and Dick Cheney have done and their friends, they have engaged in a lot of personal attacks against John Kerry, a lot of rhetoric and I believe distortion of John Kerry's record, and I think there is a reason for that. I don't think it's an accident.

I think that they have decided they can't run based upon their own record during the four years they have been in office. I mean, when you have lost -- millions of people have lost their health care, and millions of people have gone into poverty, and you are the first president in over 70 years to lose jobs, and you try to tell the American people things are going well in Iraq but they see something very different every day on their television screens, you've got to try to divert attention, and I think what has happened is they have tried to divert attention.

And when people engage in false personal attacks against a presidential candidate, in this case, John Kerry, you have to respond. You can't just leave it laying out there. So we responded. We responded strongly. And then we go back to the things that really matter in people's lives. How we are going to create jobs, what we do about the health care crisis, what we would do about the situation in Iraq.

KING: All right. Some other areas. You said when Christopher Reeve passed away, you said he was a powerful voice for the need to do stem cell research. If we do that work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve will get up out of the wheelchair and walk again. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said that those remarks were crass and shameful and misleading. How do you respond?

EDWARDS: Well, first of all, members of Chris Reeve's family have now appeared and campaigned with John Kerry. We're proud to have their support. I think what Christopher Reeve represented for a lot of people was hope, hope that if we did the kind of stem cell research that we should be doing in this country and that George Bush has been blocking, that we can in fact move forward on spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's, juvenile diabetes, serious eye diseases. I mean, there is an enormous amount of potential out there and I have even heard Christopher Reeve's doctor saying in the beginning he didn't talk about a cure for Christopher Reeve's condition, but then he began to talk about it because what happens is we believe, and I think most of the scientific community believes, that if we do the stem cell research that we should be doing in this country, that it's impossible to know what we might be able to achieve.

We know we can do better than we're doing now. We know that we can -- there is a great potential out there. And unless and until we do this research, it should be done. And what's the argument against it? We're not going to have a cure tomorrow, therefore we shouldn't start? I mean, it makes no sense at all. That's why John Kerry and I are so strongly for stem cell research.

KING: So you wouldn't take back what you said?

EDWARDS: No, what I was talking about was the hope that Christopher Reeve represents, and I believe he did represent, and does represent hope to a lot of Americans.

KING: Today we have learned that Chief Justice William Rehnquist has thyroid cancer. He had a tracheotomy over the weekend. He will be on the bench on November 1. Some say that there is nothing more important a president does to affect everyday lives is who he puts on the Supreme Court. What are your thoughts on Mr. Rehnquist and future Supreme Court selections?

EDWARDS: Well, first of all, we want Justice Rehnquist to get well, and we want he and his family to know that we're thinking about them and we're praying for them. That's the starting place. I think without regard to Justice Rehnquist, it is possible, obviously, that the next president of the United States will have the responsibility of naming a Supreme Court justice. And I love the way John Kerry talks about his test for naming a Supreme Court justice. He refers to Justice Potter Stewart and describes a justice who when you read his opinion, you have no idea whether they're a liberal justice or a conservative justice; you just know that they're a good judge. And I think that would be John Kerry's test for an appointment to the United States Supreme Court.

KING: And as a lawyer, that would be what you'd want, just a good judge?

EDWARDS: That's exactly what we'd want.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with our remaining moments with Senator John Edwards. And then, the Kerry daughters, Vanessa and Alexandra, on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: What I'm really fighting for is the privilege of waking up on November 3rd and starting to work to build a country again that we're all proud of, that the world respects, so that I can go to that Oval Office every single day, look you in the eye and say to every American, I've got your back! That's what this is about! Let's go out and make it happen. Let's win the presidency! Let's take back our democracy. Thank you and God bless you all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: The people of the United States will choose the leader of the free world in the middle of a global war. The choice is not only between two candidates, it is between two directions in the conduct of the war on terror. Will America return to the defensive, reactive mind-set that sought to manage the dangers to our country? Or will we fight a real war with a goal of victory? (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: And Senator Edwards, you said you can win the war on terror. How? Isn't it probably logical that some terrorist was born today somewhere? Will it ever be won?

EDWARDS: Well, yes, it can be won. It can be won if we go on offense, if we find terrorists where they are, and hunt them down before they can do harm to the American people, if we disrupt their cells so that they don't have operational capability, so that they don't have the ability to inflict the kind of attack that we saw on September the 11th, if we disrupt and stop their activity not just abroad but the people who are also here within our own borders.

I am convinced that we can be successful and win the war on terror.

KING: All right, some other areas. The flu shot controversy. By the way, have you had a flu shot?

EDWARDS: No, sir.

KING: You don't fit the profile. What do you make of this, though?

EDWARDS: I think that it's another failure of the Bush administration.

KING: How?

EDWARDS: It was pretty clear -- well, here's why. Because it was pretty clear about a year ago that there was a real -- a real potential for a serious problem out there. I mean, for a lot of different reasons. The Bush administration did nothing about it. They waited until it reached crisis stage, and then the response has been inadequate.

Now, the reality is, the president said, as you know, in the debate, that he was not going to get his flu shot. But that's not a serious solution for the American people. And I might add, we also have Tommy Thompson, the secretary of HHS, out campaigning around the country at a time when we've got a flu vaccine shortage, and we've got the surgeon general in Florida recently giving a speech while we still got this serious crisis. What I want to know is who's minding the store, because these people need to be back in Washington, dealing with what I think is a very serious problem.

Here's the bottom line. What we ought to do about flu, the flu vaccine, is we need to create some serious incentives to make sure we're producing enough vaccine here within our borders so that we have control over the supply and we know we have an adequate supply.

KING: Senator, how have you -- is enjoy the right word -- have you enjoyed this campaign?

EDWARDS: It's been the most amazing experience of my life, Larry. I mean, being able to be out here and listen to what people are concerned about, and to see the kind of strength and courage that's inside the American people. I mean, whether they're Democrats or Republicans or independents, forget all that for a minute. I mean, we have a remarkable group of people in this country, and they are strong and optimistic and positive, and believe in here, inside, that tomorrow can be better than today, if we just work hard enough at it. And it says an awful lot about why our country has gotten to the place that it's been able to get over the last 200 plus years.

KING: What is going to happen next Tuesday?

EDWARDS: John Kerry is going to be elected the next president of the United States.

KING: And you base this on?

EDWARDS: Gut feeling. What I see happening with -- in the world, out here and both here at home and abroad, people's sort of insecurities and concerns about the possibility of losing their job and losing their health care and what are we going to do about the situation in Iraq? And they've seen I think now in John Kerry over the course of these debates a man who's strong and clearly ready to be commander in chief, who has a command of what's happening here and abroad. And I think because of that, he will be elected the next president of the United States.

And I might add, probably more importantly, I think he's going to be an extraordinary president.

KING: Do you think about the other side? Do you think about not winning and what you might do if that happens?

EDWARDS: Not for a second.

KING: You don't?

EDWARDS: I have not spent any time, no, sir, no, sir. First of all, as a practical matter, 18 hours a day I'm out here campaigning everywhere across the country, but no, I am totally focused on making sure that John Kerry is the next president, because it's so important for my country that I love so much and for my own children.

KING: And should we look, from your standpoint, at the turnout during the day? Do you want or need a big turnout?

EDWARDS: Of course we do. The more people who vote, the more likely that John Kerry will be elected president. And I made a passing reference to this earlier, but I may want to say it again: You know, probably one of the best tests for how we're doing on Election Day is if you all heard a pollster say this, if you look on Election Day at a long line, number one, at the polls, and then number two, there are a lot of young people in that line, then the odds are John Kerry will be the next president of the United States. And I believe that.

KING: Do you believe that there is a large amount of undecideds? EDWARDS: No. I think the number of undecideds is relatively small, but I have this feeling inside that there are an awful lot of people whose views are not being reflected in the polls. Now, I don't know if I'm right about that, but I think there are a lot of people who've been registered, a lot of people who don't show up on anybody's list, particularly a lot of young people, who care about this election, care about their country, and they're going to vote. And I think they're going to have an enormous influence over what happens.

KING: Are you disappointed that Ralph Nader stayed in?

EDWARDS: Oh, of course. I mean, it would be better for us if he wasn't in it, it would be better for the country if he wasn't in. But the more important thing for us is to make sure that anybody who would consider voting for Ralph Nader knows that, you know, fighting for the environment, the quality of our air and our water, or fighting against any corporate abuses, I mean, those are the kind of things that John Kerry and I have fought for our entire lives too, so we want to reach out to those same voters who might consider voting for Ralph Nader.

KING: And what's your schedule this last week?

EDWARDS: Everywhere you can imagine. It's been 17 hours a day. I think I'm in four, if I'm counting right, I am in four different states today. Ohio, Wisconsin. I am now in Iowa. I go to bed in Minnesota. And I think it will be four, five, six states a day. It's worth it, though.

KING: On election night, you'll be where?

EDWARDS: I think I am going to be in Boston with John Kerry.

KING: Thanks, Senator Edwards. Always good seeing you. Best of luck.

EDWARDS: Thank you. Please give my best to Alex and Vanessa too.

KING: I sure will.

Senator John Edwards, the vice presidential nominee of the Democratic Party.

When we come back. Vanessa Kerry, and Alexandria Kerry, on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. We're here in New York and we'll be here right through election night. We have got major election night coverage, by the way, coming from the Nasdaq headquarters in Times Square. We'll be telling you a lot more about it in the week ahead. We also have a special Sunday night live edition of LARRY KING LIVE this Sunday.

Great pleasure to welcome a return visit for both, Vanessa Kerry, daughter of John Kerry. Alexandra Kerry, or Alexandra, or as we call her, Alex. She is the filmmaker and actress. Vanessa is on leave from Harvard Medical School.

Election day is a week from tomorrow. I asked the senator this. Have you enjoyed this, Vanessa?

VANESSA KERRY, SEN. JOHN KERRY'S DAUGHTER: It's been an extraordinary experience. It's been...

KING: Glad you did it?

V. KERRY: Incredibly glad I took time off to be a part of it. In part, you know, mainly because I feel so strongly that this country deserves better than what it has now. And I feel very strongly that my father, our father, will make an extraordinary president of the United States.

So it's been a great honor to be a part of history.

KING: What's the experience been like, Alex?

ALEXANDRA KERRY, SEN. JOHN KERRY'S DAUGHTER: It's grueling and also incredibly energizing. I mean, lately we've been in a different state every single day. And you meet the most incredible people who come up to you and tell you their stories, which is incredibly motivating.

And you get to see the issues and the struggles and what's going on in the country firsthand, which is an amazing experience.

KING: How do you explain, ladies, the interest of the children of all of the candidates in this race? It seems unprecedented.

V. KERRY: Well, I think part of it is just, you know -- I think part of it is the families have entered the campaign race more so than probably in the past. But I think it's probably due, in part, to the fact that we've been trying to travel and talk about why we're a part of this and talk about who our dads are, you know?

I know that I've spent a lot of time, for example, talking about who my dad was growing up, and how invested he's been in my sister and my lives, whether it was going back every weekend from Washington to be with us, to watch us in our sports games. Whether it's been to celebrate any of our successes or help us mourn our losses.

And I think it's just been a great honor to be able to talk about him.

KING: How do you react to those, Alex, who say John Kerry is cold, aloof, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), above it, patrician?

A. KERRY: Is there another one?

KING: No.

A. KERRY: I was waiting. KING: The ones I'm thinking of.

A. KERRY: Yes. We laugh at it, and we're obviously biased, but it's so -- it's such an opposite experience that we've had with him as our father in terms of his warmth and his compassion. And you see it when you're on the trail, not in the sound bites, maybe, as much when you get to see his strength and his force.

But when you're actually with him and you see him interact with people on the rope lines. Or you see his care. Or when you're in the car with him and he points out to people, and he says, you know, "Look at that man. That's who I'm fighting for." You can see in the way he relates to people.

I just think he has so much warmth and so much compassion, and that's our experience.

KING: Were you nervous, Vanessa, during the debates?

V. KERRY: No.

KING: Were you? By the way, show your arm.

V. KERRY: Yes.

KING: Show it up. Put it on the camera. The Red Sox, as we speak, are two games up and ahead, and you've painted on your arm...

A. KERRY: She's extremely superstitious.

V. KERRY: I'm very superstitious.

A. KERRY: It's on a different place every day.

V. KERRY: Since I've -- since I've started writing, they've been winning. And so I'm not about to do anything that will...

KING: But you're not diminishing the votes of the people of St. Louis?

V. KERRY: No, actually. I think baseball and politics are very different. And I think it's very important that we celebrate a great comeback story and we celebrate the Sox. We celebrate the Cardinals getting the World Series.

KING: Congressman Gephardt is a fanatic Cardinal.

V. KERRY: Yes. I think it's very important that we honor the World Series as a wonderful American institution, but we -- we need to separate that from politics and what's happening in this country.

KING: In the interest of equal time, John Ashcroft is also kind of a nutty Cardinal fan. So the Cardinal fans get a little weird, too. And like Red Sox fans all over -- no one, no one like Red Sox fans. Maybe Cub fans.

All right. Back to the debate.

Were you nervous?

V. KERRY You know, it's a funny thing. I mean, you're nervous by the nature of the fact that it's a debate and you know it's -- you know, a lot of people are going to be watching.

But I knew that this was a chance for the country to see my father unfiltered and see who he is, see the passion that he has for this country, his love of this country and the ideas he has to make this country safer, fight the real war on terror to provide health care to all Americans and all children, to make sure that we fully fund education.

KING: But you weren't, like...

V. KERRY: No because I know what my dad's ideas are and I know who he is and I know how strongly he feels about the kind of leadership this country needs and I've discovered in this process that when you talk about something that you really care about, when it comes from the heart, it is something that you tend to just be able to speak about easily. I didn't worry.

KING: This has been a very vituperative campaign. Are you antagonistic toward the President? Are you angry at him? Do you...

A. KERRY: No.

KING: ...dislike him?

A. KERRY: No. I don't know him personally. I think it gets dangerous when people in campaigns start making character accusations. I don't think that's particularly diplomatic. I think it's very important to look at the issues. Am I saddened by what's happening in our country right now? Yes. Do I feel that America deserves something more? I mean, I'm a young woman voter as much as I am John Kerry's daughter and I look at what's happening to our environment and the EPA regulations which have been rolled back, or I look at the fact that the health care premiums in this country have increased by $3,500 each year since he has been president and then you meet these people across the country and it becomes even more profound and those are the issues that rile me up. That's what concerns me.

KING: Let's get into some of the things that have happened. Do you think the thing with Mary Cheney was fair?

V. KERRY: I think to be honest, I think it is something that was public knowledge. It was something that came up in the vice presidential debate a week earlier and the vice president thanked Senator Edwards for his comments. What our father was stating was the fact that we need to celebrate everybody for who they are. We need to celebrate families for their -- just that, being a family and celebrating one another and honoring one another and I thought it was actually a very compassionate, caring statement and I think where I get troubled is the fact that it was used to distract from the fact that my father won all three debates, it was used to distract from the fact that there are some serious questions that need to be answered by this administration that weren't answered necessarily and I think that it's a shame to me that we took the debate away from the fact that there are 2.2 million women who don't have health care in this country under George Bush that we...

KING: What did you think, Alex?

A. KERRY: I agree very much with my sister. I think if you look at that actual delivery of the comment it was said with compassion and it was said as a reaching out across the aisle, which my dad has always done throughout his career, and also knowing him personally, knowing where he stands on the issues and the fact that he has been -- has one of the foremost records in Congress of voting for civil rights issues -- I know the intention behind the comment and also I know my dad, so it's not just political, I know how much -- I didn't ever have a hint when I watched it that there was something that was -- that there was an agenda in it or anything like that. I knew that it was very much of a compassionate comment towards their family.

KING: Because Lynne Cheney said that your father was not a good man after that reference. How do you react to that?

A. KERRY: Again, we've grown up in politics, so there is a part of you that has learned to float above the fray, but obviously when there are certain accusations or lies that you can't pretend not to take personally on some level and, again, as I said before, I don't think that character statements are appropriate in this realm, really.

V. KERRY: And that's why I sort of just pull back as you say that, because I think this is a debate about the future of our country, and...

KING: What kind of doctor do you want to be by the way?

V. KERRY: I haven't decided yet. I'm only half way through my third year, so I've got some time to figure it out...

KING: You should be deciding pretty soon, right?

V. KERRY: But you're not helpful!

KING: What do you think about family medicine? Why not family medicine? You could be a specialist.

V. KERRY: I am very interested in global health, so whatever I desire to be clinically, I want it to be translatable to...

KING: And you want to be a film director?

V. KERRY: ...infectious diseases. I want to hear the stories from her...

KING: You want to be a film director?

A. KERRY: Yes. Yes.

KING: And move out to the Coast?

A. KERRY: I have been living on the Coast, actually, so we'll see. We are focused right now on November 2, we can't see much past that.

KING: We'll be right back with Vanessa and Alexandra Kerry, the daughters of John Kerry. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

A. KERRY: We can't speak more highly and more personally about him and we really hope that you will also see the man that we've grown up with.

V. KERRY: And that we are incredibly, incredibly proud of.

A. KERRY: So thanks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I asked the president before we came out here, I said, Mr. President, can you tell me anything that you have in common with George W. Bush. And he thought for a moment and he said, "In eight days and twelve hours we will both be former presidents.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Hair is getting grayer, though, isn't it?

V. KERRY: Dad's?

KING: Dad's. I remember when he had all black hair.

A. KERRY: You do? Well, that was a little while ago.

KING: Yes, but I remember...

A. KERRY: It was salt and pepper in between, right? Good memory, though, that's a good memory.

KING: OK. John Edwards is confident. Are young people going to vote?

V. KERRY: I think young people are going to vote.

KING: They never have in numbers.

V. KERRY: Well, actually they have if you look at 1960 when President Kennedy was elected, 1992 when Bill Clinton was first elected. Young people showed up in record numbers in those two years and I think that they were a huge part of electing those two presidents. I think we can see that again. There is a Harvard poll that just came out, the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that showed that 87 percent of young people are planning on voting in this election. That is quite...

KING: Young being 18-25?

V. KERRY: I believe so, ye. And so it's -- that's a record, twice, I believe, what we saw four years ago and that's an incredible fact that that many young people are that invested this election and I think it's important. It is our future.

A. KERRY: I also think it's unprecedented, the issues that are on the table right now and there is an electricity in the air in terms of how people care about what's going on and again a lot of our experience is from actually being on the ground. The other day I was in New Mexico and I was meeting with some young women, a lot of them were first time voters, and they were so articulate about the issues and so passionate and asked such intelligent questions and I think that it'll be really interesting to see -- I mean, I have a great amount of confidence and I am somebody who doesn't have a perfect voting record. When I was in college, certainly, my dad would not be proud, so I think...

KING: You didn't vote when you could have?

A. KERRY: Yes...

KING: Go ahead, come on. It's an honest show.

A. KERRY: No, no, it's true. I think it's important to talk about because I -- sometimes I had a paper or the weather was bad or I was in college at Brown and I had to drive up to Boston and something waylaid me and now, looking back, and looking at these issues, it is something that I regret and when you look at the fact that 537 votes made the difference in Florida, or New Mexico, it was 366, that's the size of a college dorm, that's the size -- that's the amount of people that go through a grocery market in one morning. I mean it's a very immediate, tangible number that makes you think -- it actually, I think, is empowering to know how much you can affect something.

KING: In that regard, Vanessa, are you worried about election complications, vis a vis Florida and others?

V. KERRY: No, I think, is it something that one would worry about? Yes, I think that's realistic, but am I optimistic about our democratic process? Yes. And I think that this country needs a chance to heal from what happened in 2000. We need a chance to move forward. And I feel very optimistic that we can have a president, you know, clearly on November 2.

KING: Should we have a uniform voting system? Should it be -- Florida has different machines than -- Florida has different machines depending on what county you are in.

V. KERRY: Yes. I think we need to make some corrections on the voting system, to some degree. What exactly they are, I will not profess to be an expert but...

A. KERRY: I think there's something to be said in that case for uniformity.

KING: Has this campaign been too negative?

A. KERRY: I don't know what too negative is the case of a campaign.

KING: Well, it's been harsh. You know, in previous campaigns, opponents usually said, "my distinguished opponent." You don't hear that...

A. KERRY: And I think there's something very honorable about that.

KING: You don't hear that in 2004.

A. KERRY: No, it's a shame in a sense. I mean, it should be also about the issues, and one of the things that I feel very proud of as the daughter of my father is that throughout this process, yes, there have been times where he has had to defend himself, and yes, nobody is perfect. I am not trying to say the Democratic Party is, but I will say that both he and Senator Edwards, since the second they became a team and before that, with my father, and before that, with Senator Edwards, when he was running by himself, they have been optimistic. They have been talking about a vision. They bring it back to the issues and the concerns about Americans. For my dad, and I know this because he has been a public servant since he was 10 years old, it's about working for Americans, it's about what those needs are, and this campaign for them is about trying to make something better.

V. KERRY: I'm just going to reiterate what she said. He said to me in December, we were talking, and I said, you know, dad, you know, what are you thinking about all this, you know, this whole process and where you are and what might happen? And he said, you know, as long as I'm fighting for something I believe in and I know that I'm telling the truth and I hold my head up high, I'll always know I've done my best, regardless of the outcome. But I think that's why he is where he is today, and I think that's the kind of -- I know that's the kind of president he will be, is somebody who will tell this country the truth, and fight for everybody.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with the Kerry sisters, right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with our remaining moments with Vanessa and Alexandra Kerry, the daughters of John Kerry, one Harvard Medical School student, the other a filmmaker and actress. What do you make of your stepmother's remarks about Laura Bush, which she has since apologized, that she never had a job, a real job?

V. KERRY: I think, you know, this has been a long and grueling experience, and I think people make mistakes in moments. I think Teresa is the first person to respect any woman who has been, you know, a mother, any woman who has held a job, any woman who has been through also this campaign process. And so I think there are more important things for all of us to be talking about.

KING: Is your stepmother a plus?

A. KERRY: A plus on this campaign? Yes, most certainly. I mean, she's incredibly intelligent. She is extremely passionate about the issues. Very well informed. She loves my father a great deal, and she loves her whole family a great deal. And so, I think she also really connects with and cares. Again, she has a similar compassion as my father does, and she cares about every single person when you see her working so hard on the trail. She's really trying to reach out to people.

KING: Have you gotten friendly with the Bush daughters?

V. KERRY: I've only met them once, at the third debate.

KING: That's all?

A. KERRY: Yes. Sorry.

(CROSSTALK)

V. KERRY: ... we understand what the respective families are going through.

KING: Sure.

V. KERRY: It's a strange and unusual position.

KING: Do you think about what if he loses?

A. KERRY: No. You really focus on every single day. You just move forward. And you think about what the needs are. And I don't know how to articulate that, in the sense that, in that, how that sounds contrived, but really, you do, you work on the process and you go out and every day you're meeting these incredible people. And you know what these issues are that you're fighting for and that propels you forward.

KING: But do you look and say, Iowa, it's a two-point difference in Iowa. Wisconsin...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: You don't?

V. KERRY: If we did, we wouldn't be standing here. Think about where we were a year ago, I mean, and my dad went on to win Iowa. I think what matters -- and this is exactly what our dad is doing -- this is a long path. And he knows what he's fighting for. He's fighting for the American people. He is fighting to make us safer. He is fighting to make sure that we are taken care of and vested in, that tomorrow is better than today, that this country can be united again, not divided.

A. KERRY: The United States of America.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: ...basically, you're in nine states, so you know that those are the states that...

V. KERRY: We're in more than nine states. We are contending in states nobody ever expected -- Colorado, Nevada. There are a lot of states...

A. KERRY: Arkansas.

V. KERRY: I mean, that people were not expecting. And I think that's a statement that this country knows that there is a lot at stake in this election.

KING: Are you always together, or do you go separate ways?

A. KERRY: No, this is the first time we've been together in a really long time.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: So they send you to one city and you to another?

V. KERRY: Yes

A. KERRY: Yeah.

KING: But is it the campaign that directs you? How does the scheduling work? What do you do...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: You're in New York...

A. KERRY: ...it's like the back phone calls and...

KING: This is not a key state, New York. Where are you going to be tomorrow?

A. KERRY: I am hooking up with my dad.

KING: And where is he going to be?

A. KERRY: I believe in New Mexico...

V. KERRY: This is what happened today. You just walk in the airport.

A. KERRY: Yes.

KING: Where are you tomorrow? V. KERRY: I go to Boston tomorrow and then I literally do some laundry, change some clothes, and then I go to New Hampshire and Maine.

KING: Those are not big question states. What are you going?

V. KERRY: Look, we take nothing for granted. We are fighting for every vote. We are fighting to talk to the American people.

KING: The truth: have you ever been in a city and forgot what city you were in?

A. KERRY: Yes. I have.

KING: Well, let's all come out, Milwaukee...

A. KERRY: No, no, I have done it actively...

V. KERRY: We haven't verbalized it, but...

A. KERRY: I have landed on a runway, more with my dad, because my dad's plane will go to three different cities in a day, and I will turn to the person on my right, and say, where have we landed? So it's very -- they all know. It's just me. It's my...

KING: Election night, you're all in Boston?

A. KERRY: We are.

KING: The whole family...

V. KERRY: Yes, and we're going to vote.

A. KERRY: Yes.

KING: And you will vote that day?

V. KERRY: Yeah.

KING: All right. Are you optimistic?

V. KERRY: Yes, incredibly.

A. KERRY: Yes. Follow dad's lead on that.

KING: You think you're going to win? John Edwards has said he has no doubt he's going to win.

V. KERRY: I think we can. I think we have to.

A. KERRY: We can, but we depend on every single person getting out there to vote. I mean, really, that is the most important thing to us. It's all the people who are out there, knocking on doors and canvassing, and who care about this election as much as possible, and again, it's those small numbers that make the difference. And I think if everybody feels empowered to turn out and feel that their voices are going to be heard, then I think that we really can.

KING: All right, I'll say no matter how people are voting, you two have made a wonderful impression on the American public. Stood by your father well.

V. KERRY: Oh, that's nice. Thank you.

KING: Vanessa Kerry, Alexandra Kerry. The election is a week from tomorrow, and I'll be back in just a minute to tell you what we're doing tomorrow night. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Thanks for joining us on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Tomorrow night a major discussion with religious leaders about politics and religion. And we're going to spend some time with the infamous, notorious, popular Tommy Lee.

That's all tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE. Right now "NEWSNIGHT" and Aaron Brown next right here in New York. Stay with us.

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