Interview Fox News with Rick Folbaum
June 10, 2004
Rick Folbaum: 'You Decide 2004' and a look ahead at the race for the White House. Joining us now is a man who led in the polls in the early Democratic primaries. He's here to help us handicap the race. The former Vermont Governor Dr. Howard Dean. Governor Dean, good to see you. Thanks for being here.
Howard Dean: Thanks for having me on.
Rick Folbaum: You know we just heard from a couple of different reporters, one talking about the economy, and how unemployment numbers are down, and the other one talking about the situation in Iraq, and we know of course the unanimous UN resolution that's been passed this week. What's left for Democrats and John Kerry to run on?
Howard Dean: Well, the economy's a huge problem for President Bush. There was an interesting article in the Washington Post, which is not a paper I read often if I can help it.
(cameo footage of Bush walking into a building is added here)
Howard Dean: But I think the article was exactly right. The economy numbers are great if you're an investor, but they're not very good if you're a middle-class American.
(end Bush cameo)
Howard Dean: Most Americans are seeing their $20-an-hour jobs replaced by $8.50 with no benefits. They don't have health insurance, or they're worried that they may lose their health insurance. So even thought the numbers look great, it's not gonna help President Bush and it's not helping him in the polls at all.
Rick Folbaum: Well, the job situation has greatly improved. We have seen steady growth over the last few months, and that has been something that John Kerry has been trying to point out on the campaign trail. Has that issue been taken away from him?
Howard Dean: Well, actually, the job situation *hasn't* greatly improved. What's happened is there are a large number of manufacturing jobs between the Alleghenies and the Rockies that have gone overseas, and now they're being replaced by, as I said before, eight dollars and fifty cents an hour service jobs with no benefits. Most middle-class Americans don't think that's an improvement, and that's gonna be a big problem for President Bush.
Rick Folbaum: Governor Dean, let me ask you about your former opponent, Senator Kerry. One of your biggest draws, when you were on the campaign trail...
(cut to footage of Kerry at an enthusiastic rally)
Rick Folbaum's voice: ...was how feisty you were. When you look at John Kerry, do you think he has 'the eye of the tiger'?
Howard Dean's voice: I think John Kerry wants to be President of the United States very badly, and I found out just as Bill Weld found out in 1996: John Kerry is a very strong closer, and I think you're going to look for a close race all the way down to the end, and the last three weeks John Kerry's going to turn on his afterburners and he's gonna win.
Rick Folbaum's voice: I know that you're working very hard for Senator Kerry...
(end Kerry video clip, video returns to Folbaum and Dean)
Rick Folbaum: ...and you're making stops around the country and trying to unify the Democratic Party. Some might say, though, that perhaps you have hurt the Democratic Party by moving it too far to the left in a climate, a national climate where clearly so many people are in the middle, who consider themselves moderates. What would you say to that criticism?
Howard Dean: Well, I'd say I moved the country back to the center from the far right. I'm a guy who balances budgets, we don't see any of the conservatives doing that these days-- half trillion dollar budget deficits. I'm a guy who has a more conservative position on guns than most Democrats do. So I think if we can get this country back to the center, away from the extreme right, as exemplified by Congress, and even the President sometimes, I think the country will be stronger, we'll have better jobs. We've gotta balance the budget in this country, and you can't trust right-wing Republicans to balance budgets. This-- the spending in this Congress under this President-- everything's now controlled by Republicans-- has gone up at a much faster rate than it did under Bill Clinton. We can't afford that in this country.
Rick Folbaum: Speaking of Republicans, Governor Dean, I read that you've been studying some tactics used by conservative groups...
Rick Folbaum: ...and Republicans...
Howard Dean: True.
Rick Folbaum: ...to try to figure out a way to band your party together. What have you learned?
Howard Dean: Well, I think that Newt Gingrich and Ralph Reed were very, very effective in organizing the Republicans. I think that particularly Gingrich never let a seat in Congress go uncontested, almost, and we need to start doing that. We also need to form a credible opposition party. That was one of Gingrich's great strengths. He turned the Republicans into a really feisty, tough opposition party, and then it became the majority. Democrats have gotta do that and I think we're on our way to doing it.
Rick Folbaum: Can the Democrats learn any political lessons from the late President Reagan?
Howard Dean: Well, I think that the great thing about President Reagan was his optimism. Optimism is-- and Bill Clinton had it too-- it's a tremendous trait in a strong leader, and it's what made President Reagan a strong leader, and I think it's always a good idear to be on the positive side. That's what the voters want. They want strong leadership, they don't want somebody that just complains all the time.
Rick Folbaum: You've launched a group called DemocracyForAmerica. I mentioned that you've been making stops around the country, giving speeches. It seems like you still have your eyes on the prize here, don't you sir?
Howard Dean: I got into this race because I thought the country was in deep trouble, with enormous deficits. I wanted health insurance for every American just like all the other industrialized countries in the world have. I'm not gonna be the President in 2004, but I hope that we will change Presidents, and I hope that John Kerry'll be the President in 2004.
Rick Folbaum: Will you be running for President again in the future?
Howard Dean: Ah, I hope not at least until 2012. (laughs)
Rick Folbaum: The former Governor of Vermont, Dr. Howard Dean. Good to talk to you, sir. Thanks very much for your time.
Video: http://www.foxnews.com/access/video.html, about halfway down.