Congressional Black Caucus Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate
Baltimore, MD, September 9, 2003
GUESTS: Elijah Cummings
BYLINE: Brit Hume, Tony Snow, Fred Barnes, Mort Kondracke, Ceci Connolly, Carl Cameron
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS WASHINGTON MANAGING EDITOR: Good evening and welcome to Gilliam (ph) Hall on the campus of Morgan State University, home of the Bears.
I'm Brit Hume. Fox News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute are bringing you the first of two debates with the Democratic presidential candidates. Before we meet them and the journalists who will question them, we have some opening comments from Congressman Elijah Cummings, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Good evening. I'm Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland. On behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute, its chairman, Congressman Benny Thompson of Mississippi, and Fox News Channel, I welcome you to Baltimore's Morgan State University and this evening's nationally televised debate among the leading Democratic candidates for president of the United States.
As a nation we have placed our faith in the democratic process. Yet we must prepare ourselves to become informed participants in that process by doing our homework to determine where the candidates stand on issues of importance to our families, community and nation.
We Americans are living through difficult and dangerous times. Our informed choice in the presidential election next year will affect each of us, our children and generations yet unborn. For these reasons, tonight's debate is critical and it reminds us that we, the people, remain the ultimate authority in America.
My friends, our decisions will shape the substance of our future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUME: Thank you, Congressman.
Now, let's meet the candidates.
Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois, elected to one term in the United States Senate and served as well as an ambassador to New Zealand.
The Reverend Al Sharpton, civil rights activist in New York and founder of the National Action Network.
Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, now serving his first term in office.
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, now in his fourth term in Congress.
Howard Dean of Vermont, former five-term governor of the Green Mountain State.
Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, serving in his third term in the Senate.
And former vice presidential candidate.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, the former mayor of Cleveland, now in his fourth term in the U.S. House.
Congressman Dick Gerhardt of Missouri, serving a 14th term in the House, where he was formerly Democratic leader.
And Senator Bob Graham of Florida, serving now his third term in Congress, former governor of the Sunshine State.
The candidates' positions on the stage were chosen at random by representatives from each of their campaigns.
Here's the format for our debate.
Each candidate will be asked questions pertaining first to foreign policy and in subsequent rounds to domestic issues, with some focus on issues of importance to the Congressional Black Caucus.
Answers are limited to one minute each. We have green, yellow and red lights to help the candidates keep track of their time, and if an answer runs long, candidates will hear this sound.
At the end of the program, each candidate will also have one minute for a closing comment.
Asking the questions tonight will be three noted journalists. Farai Chideya, former television correspondent, author and now editor of thebeehive.org.
Ed Gordon, known to many of you from his work with NBC and Black Entertainment Television, currently contributing editor of Savoy Magazine.
And Juan Williams, author, senior correspondent of National Public Radio,analyst for Fox News and host of the syndicated program “America's Black Forum.”
We ask the audience, please, not to applaud during the question and answer portion of the debate.
The first series of question swill deal with the war on terror and foreign policy.
And Juan begins that first round.
JUAN WILLIAMS, NPR: Good evening, Reverend Sharpton.
It's now been two years since the September 11th attacks on America. No other attacks have taken place. Is this proof that the Bush administration policies have been effective? And if not, why not?
REV. AL SHARPTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, first of all, other attacks have taken place. But let us begin with what the Bush administration promised.
They promised us bin Laden. We are almost at the second anniversary, where is bin Laden?
That's what we need to ask George Bush.
George Bush has tried to distract us with other engagements. He has not gone after and successfully taken us out of harm's way of the people that did this.
And what they have attacked is the civil liberties of Americans. What has changed with the PATRIOT Act and the Anti-Terrorist Act is the liberties of Americans are now under attack, not the terrorists that did such a vicious and despicable act.
So I think that what we all need to do on September 11th is say to George Bush, promises made were not kept. We still have bin Laden at large. Newsweek magazine can find him, video and audio coverage can find him. This guys has out more videos than a rock star, but George Bush's intelligence agencies can't find him.
WILLIAMS: Senator Edwards, you recently said you supported a larger international force going into Iraq to take some of the pressure off of the U.S. military presence there.
If international forces don't show up, should we increase the U.S. presence or leave?
SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I don't accept that premise. I think that, in fact, I've been saying this for more than a year, which is that we have to have the help of our friends and allies, the United Nations, NATO, our other friends and allies around the world.
It's critically important for a number of reasons. One is to help relieve the burden on American troops and be able to bring some of these troops who've been there a very long time home.
Second is to reduce the burden on the American taxpayer. And I would remind everybody listening, this is the same administration who says we can't afford a real prescription drug benefit, we can't afford to invest in our public schools, we can't afford to address the serious health care crisis in America, but the American taxpayer can afford to pay for everything that's happening in Iraq right now on the ground.
Well, they're wrong about that. We need our friends and allies in this effort. And we also need it for the purpose of helping the lower—the anti-American sentiment on the ground in Iraq right now.
We need to lead in a way that brings others to us and creates respect for America, because at the end of the day we'll be safer in a world where America is looked up to and respected.
WILLIAMS: Ambassador Moseley Braun, Ambassador, what concessions would you make to France to get their vote in the United Nations? How much authority or control should the United States concede to join—to win, I should say, the U.N. mandate for a multinational force that would operate under U.S. command?
CAROL MOSELEY BRAUN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me say at the outset that this problem—and it is a problem—was caused in the first place when Congress advocated its Article 1, Section 8 authority under the Constitution and gave a president, who was not elected by the American people, the right to go on, on a free-for-all with a preemptory attack in Iraq. But that's beside us.
What he did was fritter away international goodwill, fritter away our international institutions, our friends around the world, Old Europe conversation—it was just over the top and unnecessary.
So now we're in a position of having to go back to those allies that that this administration thumbed its nose at and asked for help and burden- sharing.
I think in the first instance, it's not just about France; it's about Germany, it's about other members of United Nations and other members of NATO. We need to go back and make up. We don't have to relinquish and I don't think we can relinquish command and control. But at the same time, we have every responsibility to engage a multinational force to help us out of the quagmire in Iraq.
HUME: Next set of questions from Ed Gordon. Ed?
ED GORDON, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, SAVOY MAGAZINE: Thank you, Brit.
Senator Lieberman, let me start with you. No exit strategy; $87 billion asked for by the president. Some say that may be a low ball. Troops continue to die, and the United States is looking for better international support. Vietnam comparisons are now creeping up.
I'm wondering, and I've not heard this from this group specifically, is there a point that you feel it's fair for the United States to cut bait with all that we know, bring the troops home and simply send money over to rebuild?
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ed, let me say first that what President Bush gave the American people on Sunday night was a price tag, not a plan. And we in Congress must demand a plan.
The president, obviously, when he took us to war, which I supported, did not have a plan for what to do the day Saddam Hussein fell. We have a right to demand a plan today, how to get international peacekeepers in, how to get our allies in to help in the rebuilding of Iraq.
I do want to say to my friends who have said tonight that they want international peacekeepers—I've been saying that for more than a year, but they will not send American troops.
This is a very important answer for the 140,000 Americans who are in Iraq and the military today and their families here in America, a disproportionate number of whom are African American.
I would be prepared as president to send American troops in there to protect the 140,000 who are there today, because international peacekeepers may not be there for months to come.
Bottom line, to answer your question—this is a battle in the war on terrorism. Failure and defeat is not an option. We can win it if we work together.
GORDON: Governor Dean, let me try that question on you specifically.
Is there an scenario that you could give us where you would say I will pull troops out entirely?
HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can't do that. We cannot lose the peace in Iraq. I think the president's judgment was grossly called into question. I think if he wants to do something for veterans, he ought to figure out how not to have one-year tours and have six-month tours instead.
This is a battle for terrorism all right. It's a battle that was created by the president of the United States who ignored the greater danger in Iran and North Korea and al Qaeda at home to do it.
This was a mistake, this war. And the president's gotten into it, now we're going to have to get out of it.
But if we leave Iraq to chaos, al Qaeda may move in, if we leave Iraq to a fundamentalist Shiite regime with Iranian influence, we will be in both circumstances worse off than we were when Saddam Hussein was president.
Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. Saddam Hussein was a dreadful man. What we should have done is tried to focus on establishing a democracy in a Palestinian state and bring peace to the Middle East instead of invading Iraq and causing more complications and more death and more pain for our American families.
GORDON: Senator Kerry, let me address this to you. Picking up on what Governor Dean just suggested, do you see this war as a mistake? And you have, perhaps more than any other up here, suggested that the president has misled the country. I'm wondering if you believe he did so intentionally.
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I don't know the answer to that question until we have the full measure of the investigation into the intelligence and the intelligence failure here. We do know that that exists.
But we need to be successful. People keep asking what's the exit strategy. The exit strategy is victory. It's success in what we're seeking to do. But it's to be smart about it.
This president has turned his back on 200 years of tradition of our country in foreign policy. This president rushed to war against the advice of many in this country. He clearly didn't plan for the peace.
And it's extraordinary, it's an act of negligence of remarkable proportions, because this president began this war on his schedule. And there's no excuse for not having done what everybody said you need to do, which is build the support structure internationally.
We have to de-Americanize this war, we have to take the target off of American troops as fast as possible, we have to cede some authority for the humanitarian and the governance components of this, even as we take control of the security piece. That's the only way to be successful. And no, we do not need or want more American troops to do that.
HUME: Farai Chideya has the next questions.
FARAI CHIDEYA, THEBEEHIVE.ORG: Thank you, Brit.
Congressman Kucinich, in Sunday night's speech the president said, “We have learned that terrorist attacks do not come from the use of strength, they come from the perception of weakness.” Do you agree?
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think we have to understand that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, nor with al Qaeda's attack, nor did they have anything to do with the anthrax attack.
I think Senator Kerry described well the direction we should be going in. I only wish that he had joined with me in an effort to organize Congress to vote against the war.
I think that what we need to do now is to get the U.N. in and to get the U.S. out. And the way to achieve that is to have the United Nations handle the collection and distribution to the Iraqi people of the oil revenues with no privatization, have the U.N. handle all the contracts, no more Halliburton sweetheart deals, and have the U.N. create the circumstances for rebuilding an Iraqi government. I think that nothing less than that will enable the United States to get out of there and extricate ourselves.
Furthermore, we have to repeal the PATRIOT Act, which is a basis of fear that was drummed up in this country without any rational basis for protecting this country.
We're being driven by fear, and I have to say that it's time for us to challenge that fear.
CHIDEYA: Thank you.
Senator Graham, last year the Congressional Budget Office indicated that Iraq could pay for its reconstruction by selling oil, but the war has stunted its oil revenues.
It's also raised this question: Should Iraqis pay with their oil for damages from a war that we initiated?
SEN. BOB GRAHAM (D-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will support whatever is required to protect our brave men and women in Iraq. I will not support a dime to protect the profits of Halliburton in Iraq.
In my judgment...
If you notice what the president said on Sunday night, he said that he would agree to an internationalization of the military in Iraq, but when he talked about an internationalization of the economic and political decisions in Iraq, all he said is, “We want to turn it over to the Iraqis as fast as possible.”
That is the latest example of the blank-check mentality of this president.
Let me read to you what the resolution was that most members of Congress on this podium voted for, Congressman Kucinich and I voted against.
The president's resolution said, “The president is authorized to use the armed forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate.”
My friends, those who voted for that gave the president a blank trust, a blank check. We cannot trust this president with a blank check.
CHIDEYA: Thank you.
Congressman Gephardt, the same question about oil. Should we be using Iraqi oil revenues to pay for the damages from the war?
REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need the help of the international coalition. We need to rebuild Iraq, but we need the help of the international coalition to do it.
I told this president a year and a half ago that if he wanted to deal with Iraq he had to get the U.N., he had to get the NATO to help us, that we needed their money and their personnel.
It is incomprehensible to me that we are here today six months, five months after the conflict ended, and he still has not gotten any money from any other country and any people of appreciable numbers from any other armed forces.
This president's foreign policy is a miserable failure. He has failed the American people...
... and he's failing the people in Iraq. He needs to get help.
We've got our young people over there being hurt. We've got people over there being injured and killed. It's costing a billion dollars a week. He needs to get the help from the international coalition that he should have gotten months ago. He has not done what he should do as president of the United States.
HUME: And that concludes this first round of questioning.
We continue now with the theme of foreign policy, the war on terror and national defense.
Ed Gordon has the next set of questions.
GORDON: Thank you, Brit. I appreciate it.
Congressman Gephardt, let me stay with you.
Mr. Kucinich and Mr. Graham have suggested this. Should Congress have perhaps not, if you'll allow this, wrapped themself in the flag as they did seemingly to many Americans and perhaps been a little more steadfast in not allowing this president to go to war as quickly?
GEPHARDT: I met the president in the Oval Office on 9/12. I told him two things. I told him that we had to trust one another on these questions of life and death and that we had to try to put politics aside, to try to find answers to keep our people safe. That's our highest responsibility.
A few weeks later, I began to hear about Iraq, and I said to him in another meeting that if you wanted to deal with Iraq, you've got to get help and you've got to go to the U.N. I said, “We created the U.N. It's our organization. We're the leader. We need to get the help that we need.”
Finally, he went to the U.N. And I said he gave a good speech. He said, “This is a world problem, not just an American problem.”
I said, “That's correct.”
He said, “I need your help. If I'm going to get the U.N., I got to show that I've got Congress behind me.”
I said, “Fine, but I want language in the resolution that says you're going to exhaust the process at the U.N. and you'll have a plan.”
He never had the plan and, incredibly, four, five months after the war is ended, he does not have the help that we need. It is an abomination that he has not gotten our country and our troops the help that we need.
When I'm president, if he hasn't done it, I'll get the help that we need. I'll preserve the alliances that Democratic and Republican presidents put together over 70 years in this world.
GORDON: Mr. Kucinich, let me ask you. Reverend Sharpton hinted at this.
Cynics have suggested the president promised Osama bin Laden's head and couldn't deliver it so he turned his focus to Saddam Hussein and Iraq. Do you believe that specifically to be the case?
KUCINICH: Well, when you consider the fact that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11 and the fact that the day after 9/11 there was a meeting in the National Security Council where Donald Rumsfeld said that the administration ought to use the opportunity to go after Iraq, I think that the attack in Iraq was a foregone conclusion after 9/11 even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.
So the president misled the nation. And he misled the nation into believing that there were weapons of mass destruction.
Dick—who is a good friend of mine—Dick, I just want to say that when you were standing there in the Rose Garden with the president and you were giving him advice, I wish that you would have told him no, because as our Democratic leader, your position...
As our Democratic leader, your position helped to inform mightily the direction of the war. And I believe—I am glad—and I share your passion now about the direction the administration is taking this country.
But there is no question, this administration did not have to go to war against Iraq. There are no weapons on mass destruction have been found. And he basically misrepresented the case to the American people.
GORDON: Mr. Graham, let me ask you the same question that I tried with Senator Kerry, see perhaps if you will give me a little bit more straightforward answer. And that is whether or not—I don't mean that in any disrespect because he can't know this specifically. But in your heart, do you believe that the president intentionally misled the American people?
GRAHAM: Yes. I have been a member...
I was a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee for 10 years, chairman the last two years during the investigation into 9/11.
The president knew, or should have known, for instance, that the materials that he alleged were going to be used to rebuild Iraq's nuclear weaponry...
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (OFF-MIKE)
SHARPTON: Now you all don't get to the Black Caucus debate and start acting up, now.
GORDON: Continue, please.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (OFF-MIKE)
GORDON: I believe he's making his appointment now, Mr. Graham. Go ahead.
HUME: Senator, you have the balance of your time. Please proceed.
GRAHAM: Ed, the president knew or should have known that there was no relationship between 9/11, there was no relationship between Osama been forgotten and Saddam Hussein.
The president also abandoned the war on terror in the spring of 2001 by moving military and intelligence resources out of Afghanistan to begin the war on Iraq. I believe that the war in Iraq has been a distraction from winning the war on terror in Afghanistan, in Yemen, in Syria and the other places where it's yet to be fought.
That's why I voted against the resolution.
HUME: Farai, you're next.
CHIDEYA: Thank you.
I wanted to ask Ambassador Braun a question that came from one of many people who wished that she could be here tonight.
A mother of twins in New York City wants to know how you'd address the problem of terrorism concerning Saudi Arabia, a country from which much of Osama bin Laden's money allegedly comes.
MOSELEY BRAUN: You know, I'm glad you asked the question.
I would like to respond in part to your last one about strength.
You know, strength in the war on terrorism is not represented by bravura and bullying and striding around the world stage pushing people around. It's not represented by the kind of showing off that we've seen, failing to—making the speeches and using the words, but not even putting the money in the state and local governments for first responders, for the police and fire and the emergency workers to protect people.
This administration will not work with others, will not ask directions.
And they're spending like drunken sailors. We have a blown-up budget deficit.
Strength in my mind would have represented—would have been represented by a singular focus on getting the criminals who violated every American on 9/11, who destroyed the fabric of our confidence in our ability to protect ourselves and would work with others to go forward and begin to hunt out these criminals wherever in the world they might be found. And that's not what's happened under this administration, which is why we have to replace them in 2004.
CHIDEYA: Thank you.
Reverend Sharpton, 30 years ago, on September 11th, an American- supported coup in Chile led to the beatings, deaths and disappearances of thousands of Chilean citizens.
Under what circumstances would you, as president, support covert action against other governments?
SHARPTON: I think that we should always and only go forward with action if we are there to protect American lives. But I think that we are not even discussing that when we talk about Iraq.
Let's be clear that this president sent the secretary of state to the U.N. with alleged evidence of imminent danger. We are now several months after he says the war is over and we have not seen any of that evidence.
And what bothers me is that some in the Congress that supported the president should have asked him before they gave him entrance what the exit was.
I've never heard of people acting like they didn't know we needed an exit when they gave him the entrance. That is a miserable failure, for us to allow this president to play these kinds of games.
As president, I would become involved only if there were American lives at stake.
I would not—I took the same position in Liberia when I went to Ghana four weeks ago. I would not run around trying to be the world's bully, and I would not act like a gang leader like George Bush did saying, “Let's get on,” when I got troops on the ground.
CHIDEYA: Thank you.
Senator Edwards, Congressman Kucinich just mentioned the PATRIOT Act, and today, Attorney General John Ashcroft spoke in New York in support of the act. Now, it's a law which 160 communities have voted to condemn as invasive of privacy. Do you support revision or repeal of the PATRIOT Act? Or neither?
EDWARDS: I support dramatic revision of the PATRIOT Act. The last thing we should be doing is turning over our privacy, our liberties, our freedom, our constitutional rights to John Ashcroft.
Let me speak about this quickly. First, the very notion that this administration can arrest American citizens on American soil, label them an enemy combatant, put them in prison, keep them there indefinitely—they never see a lawyer, never see a judge, never even get an opportunity to prove that they're innocent and they did nothing wrong—this runs contrary to everything we believe in this country.
The notion that they are going to libraries to find out what books people are checking out, going to book stores to find out what books are being purchased.
What we have to remember—and I will when I am president of the United States—is what it is we are supposed to be fighting for, what it is we are supposed to be protecting.
These very liberties, this privacy, these constitutional rights—that's what's at stake in this fight. And we cannot let people like John Ashcroft take them away in an effort to protect ourselves.
CHIDEYA: Thank you.
HUME: Next set of questions from Juan Williams.
WILLIAMS: Governor Dean, you recently said the United States should not, quote, “take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Do you really mean that after all of these years of alliance and friendship between the United States and Israel that the U.S. should maintain some sort of neutral stance? And does that include cutting foreign aid and military supplies to Israel?
DEAN: Of course I don't mean any such thing, that we're going to take a stance that belies our historic relationship with Israel. We've had a special relationship with Israel since 1948 when we were the first country to recognize Israel.
What I do mean is we need to be a credible negotiator, a facilitator for peace in the Middle East. And that means we have to be trusted by both sides.
If we want peace in the Middle East, we need, first, not to do what this president did, which is to give the whole matter an 18-month holiday and pay no attention at all for the first 18 months of his term. We need to focus intensely on it.
We need to focus intensely on it. And we also need, I might add, a renewable energy policy in this country, so we stop sending all our oil money to the Saudis and the Iranians and the Syrians, where they recycle it back into terror.
I'd like—if this president wants peace in the Middle East, he ought, first of all, to have a renewable energy policy. And second of all, he ought to stand up to the Saudis, who are teaching small children in the Islamic world to hate Americans.
WILLIAMS: Senator Lieberman, you criticized Dr. Dean for just saying that the U.S. shouldn't take sides. Are you suggesting that there is no need for any shift in the U.S. policy in the Middle East, even as we saw today that bombings continue? What's wrong with a new approach, new thinking, if we are to be, as Governor Dean suggested, impartial and able to act as a force for negotiation and peace.
LIEBERMAN: To be a constructive force for negotiation and peace, we have to be respected and trusted by both parties.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (OFF-MIKE)
DEAN: I suspect he's in jail.
HUME: Senator, I think the protester will soon be out of the room so we'll give you the balance of your time when she's...
SHARPTON: Now, you're going to use our song to disrupt our debate. This is crazy.
HUME: Senator, please use the balance of your time.
SHARPTON: Brit, can we appeal to people. I mean, this is a historic night, the first time the Congressional Black Caucus had a debate. Would you all respect our right to be heard like we respected everybody else?
HUME: Reverend Sharpton, well said.
Senator Lieberman, please continue.
LIEBERMAN: Yes, I want to echo if I can briefly. The only good news for all of us is that John McCain told me that no one has been elected president since 1972 that Lyndon LaRouche and his people haven't protested. So this is good news for all of us.
SHARPTON: We'll do on your night, though, Joe, not our night.
LIEBERMAN: Thank you, Reverend.
All of us here on the stage have quite correctly criticized George W. Bush for not standing by our values in our foreign policy and for breaking our most critical alliances.
That, with all respect, is exactly what Howard Dean's comments over the last week about the Middle East have done.
We have had a unique relationship with Israel, strong support of Israel. Why? Based on values. This is the only democracy in the Middle East, that's the beginning.
Secondly, based on mutual military strategic interests. Israel is the one country in the region that we can rely on today, tomorrow, 10, 50 years from now to stand with America in a time of crisis.
We do not gain strength as a negotiator—and I've always supported a two-state solution, Israel and Palestine—we do not gain strength as a negotiator if we compromise our support of Israel.
Let me say to Governor Dean, he has said he wouldn't take sides, but then he has said Israel ought to get out of the West Bank and an enormous number of their settlements ought to be broken down. That's up to the parties in their negotiations, not for us to tell them.
HUME: Governor Dean, you were pretty specifically mentioned there. You have 30 seconds to respond to that.
DEAN: I am disappointed in Joe. My position on Israel is exactly the same as Bill Clinton's. I want to be an honest...
LIEBERMAN: Not right.
DEAN: Excuse me, Joe. I didn't interrupt you and I'd appreciate it...
LIEBERMAN: Not right.
DEAN: ... if you didn't interrupt me.
I think America needs to be an honest broker. We desperately need peace in the Middle East. I can tell you, the Israelis can't go to school without wondering if their kids—send their kids to school without wondering if they're coming back. The Palestinians now have 80 percent of the people living below the poverty line. We need peace.
It doesn't help, Joe, to demagogue this issue. We're all Democrats. We need to beat George Bush so we can have peace in the Middle East.
LIEBERMAN: I will say one sentence.
HUME: OK, Senator, please.
LIEBERMAN: I will simply say that Howard Dean's statements break a 50-year record in which presidents, Republican and Democrats, members of Congress of both parties have supported our relationship with Israel based on shared values and common strategic interests.
HUME: Senator, thank you.
LIEBERMAN: And Bill Clinton always agreed with that and I agree with him.
WILLIAMS: Senator Kerry, you've been saying that you voted to authorize the president, President Bush, to threaten the use of force in Iraq.
In fact, as Senator Graham pointed out, you voted to authorize the use of force at President Bush's discretion. To some it may seem that you're trying to get out of a vote that's now unpopular with many in the Democratic Party. Is that the way we should perceive it?
KERRY: Absolutely not. The vote is the vote. I voted to authorize, it was the right vote. And the reason I mentioned the threat is that we gave—we had to give life to the threat. If there wasn't a legitimate threat, Saddam Hussein was not going to allow inspectors in.
Now, let me make two points, if I may. Ed questioned my answer.
The reason I can't tell you to a certainty whether the president misled us is because I don't have any clue what he really knew about it, or whether he was just reading what was put in front of him.
And I have no knowledge whether or not this president was in depth, I just don't know that, and that's an honest answer. And there are serious suspicions about the level to which this president really was involved in asking the questions that he should have.
With respect to the question of, you know, the vote, let's remember where we were. If there hadn't been a vote, we would never have had inspectors.
And if we hadn't voted the way we voted, we would not have been able to have a chance of going to the United Nations and stopping the president, in effect, who already had the votes and who was obviously asking serious questions about whether or not the Congress was going to be there to enforce the effort to create a threat.
So I think we did the right thing. I'm convinced we did.
HUME: Senator Kerry, thank you very much. That concludes this second round.
We will return with another full round and more for the nine candidates, this time shifting to domestic issues, in a moment. Stay tuned.
HUME: And welcome back to Baltimore and the campus of Morgan State University for the Democratic presidential debate.
We're joined here by 2,000 invited guests here in the Gilliam Concert Center.
We're set now to begin round three of questions with the emphasis shifting to domestic issues.
The first question from Farai Chideya.
CHIDEYA: Thank you, Brit.
Congressman Gephardt, you voted no on the multi-billion-dollar tax cuts bills. Will you alter or repeal these bills?
GEPHARDT: Well, first, I think we've got to ask a question and that is how many Americans have to lose their jobs before George Bush loses his?
This economic program is not working. The tax cuts, which is the only idea he's ever had for the economy, are not working. He only has one idea in his head: tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, followed by tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, followed by tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
And they haven't worked.
I have a different plan. I think it's a better plan. I think it'll fix the economy, it'll stimulate jobs, it'll get us moving in the right direction.
When I'm president, I'll ask the Congress to get rid of the Bush tax cuts, and in their place, see to it that every American has health insurance that can never be taken away from them, ever.
CHIDEYA: Thank you.
Congressman Kucinich, an employee of a teaching hospital in Oregon reports that 100 of her coworkers are being laid off. Now, a German company is taking over those positions, but outsourcing them to India.
How can you preserve the quality of service and American jobs at the same time?
KUCINICH: Well, when you're talking about health care in particular, look at what's happened with our system of health care for profit. And just the reports in today's news that premiums rose almost 14 percent over the past year.
What you have is a condition which is right for the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Americans can't afford to be well, and they don't have enough money to afford to be sick.
So we have a condition where nothing less than getting rid of this system of health care for profit will do. And that's what my proposal, Medicare for all, single-payer universal health care will achieve.
We have to understand that Americans are experiencing a condition where they're being deprived of quality health care. And the idea of outsourcing of jobs, until we get a handle on our health care expenses in this country by taking it to not-for-profit, we will continue to see American jobs be at risk because countries are looking to race to the bottom in wages and benefits, and we'll restore the strength of the American worker by having health care for all.
CHIDEYA: Thank you.
Senator Graham, a technical writer in the Pacific Northwest wanted to know where you stood on the issue of federal benefits like joint tax filing and Social Security for gay and lesbian couples. Do you support this? And do you support gay marriage?
GRAHAM: I support nondiscrimination for all Americans. I have introduced legislation that would eliminate the current discrimination for domestic partners in relationship to spouses for federal tax policy and health care. That is one of hundreds of examples of discrimination which is in the current law.
I think that march towards the establishment of the concept of equality for all is the route that we should take.
I do not support marriages of homosexuals because I believe that marriage is an institution established by religion, culture and law for a man and a woman with a principle being the nurturing of children.
HUME: The next set of questions by Juan Williams.
WILLIAMS: Reverend Sharpton, the saying goes that the Democrats take black voters for granted and the Republicans ignore black voters.
Recently, you said black voters are treated in the Democratic Party like a mistress. Do you think that it's time that black voters get ready for a date with the GOP or begin to flirt with the idea of a black American party?
SHARPTON: No. I think we need to take the Democratic Party home to our daddies and discuss marriage or a breakup. I think that it's time...
And I think it's time to do that based on issues.
When I look around this country and see where we see double unemployment in black communities, where we see that we're four times more likely to go to jail for the same crime, and we cannot get some Democrats to deal with it.
You know, the only thing I never got over in life is I took a young lady to a dance when I was in high school and she left with somebody else. And that's what the Democrats, some, have done to the black community.
We helped take you to the dance and you leave with right wingers, you leave with people that you say are swing voters, you leave with people that are antithetical to our history and antithetical to our interests.
I am saying in 2004, if we take you to the party, you going home with us or we're not taking you to the party.
WILLIAMS: Ambassador Braun, Governor Dean has suggested that states like Vermont, Montana and Wyoming with overwhelmingly white populations really don't need gun control, in part because of their rural character. But urban areas, such as Baltimore, Maryland, with large minority populations do need gun control. Do you agree?
MOSELEY BRAUN: I support one set of rules. I believe that responsible gun owners have nothing to fear from reasonable gun controls. I am from a law enforcement family. I know about and have grown up with guns in my family, as well as the terror that guns have wrecked in urban communities in which I have grown up.
I would like very much to see protection for children against gun violence. I would very much like to see some checks on the—just the free flow of guns and the gun sales out of the trunks of people's cars, the really pushing of guns and weapons of violence in communities where people are the most vulnerable.
I think the Congress has a responsibility—in light of Article 2 of the Constitution, we have a responsibility to see to it that the safety of the American people, whether they live in Vermont or in Virginia or in Chicago, Illinois, that the safety of the people, and particularly with regard to children, is paramount in our decision- making.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
Senator Edwards, black and Hispanic children in America are less likely to get a quality education. I don't think there is much of an argument about that.
At the moment in the Congress there is a vote taking place about vouchers and a voucher program proposed by the Bush administration for the District of Columbia. Now, polls show that black parents are open to the idea of vouchers, but civil rights groups and teacher's unions are opposed. Where do you stand?
EDWARDS: I am opposed to vouchers, have always been opposed to vouchers.
By the way, this No Child Left Behind, this president is leaving millions of kids behind every single day. And he's not addressing...
... the fundamental problem in our public schools, which is that we still have two public school systems in America, one for the “haves” and one for the “have-nots.” If you live in a fluent community, the odds are your child will get a good public school education. If you don't, the odds go down dramatically. The president is not going to do anything about it.
This is personal for me. I would not be standing here today without a great public school education.
Here's what I want to do as president. First, lead a national initiative to pay teachers better, so we get good teachers and keep the good teachers that we already have.
Second, give bonus pay to teachers who are willing to teach in schools in disadvantaged areas, give scholarships to young people who will teach in schools in disadvantaged areas.
And finally, we have thousands and thousands of young people who are deciding not to go to college because they can't afford it. We ought to make college available to any young person who is willing to work for it. College for everyone. That's what I believe in.
HUME: The final set of questions in this round will come from Ed Gordon.
GORDON: Thank you, Brit.
Governor Dean, let me go to you. Frankly there's been some concern that because of the racial makeup of Vermont, about 0.5 percent black, that you will have a difficult time connecting and really understanding the concerns of minorities, in particular African Americans.
Is this valid? And if so, what are you doing to connect with this community?
DEAN: Well, if the percent of minorities that's in your state has anything to do with how you can connect with African American voters, then Trent Lott would be Martin Luther King.
GORDON: I would suggest to you there was a day he thought he was, but go ahead.
LIEBERMAN: One day.
DEAN: First of all, let me just address Juan's question. I have never said that African American cities need gun control and white states don't. I have never said that. What I have said is that rural states—and this includes places like Tennessee, perhaps, that have low homicide rates—don't need the same gun laws that urban states do.
And if urban states want to have lots of gun control, let them have it, but just don't impose the same gun laws that you have in New York City or New Jersey or California on states like Vermont, which have a very low homicide rate.
Secondly, I'll tell you why I connect with African American audiences. I'm the only white politician that ever talks about race in front of white audiences. Black folks have heard lectures from white politicians for a long time. We always talk about race. White folks need to talk to white people in America about race.
GORDON: Many African Americans feel they still lack equal opportunities in this country.
Senator Kerry, if your child faced the same opportunities the average black child in this country faces, would you feel comfortable? And if not, what would your administration do to help level the playing field?
KERRY: I would not only not feel comfortable, I'd be outraged.
I think that we have a separate and unequal school system in the United States of America. And the great challenge that Thurgood Marshall fought so hard to take on in the 1960s is even more with us today.
We have communities all across America that simply don't have the ability to do what John Edwards talked about. They don't have the tax base. And we have a president who's walked away from them, broken his promise and refused to fund No Child Left Behind.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (OFF-MIKE)
HUME: Senator, we'll let you have the rest of the time when you're—Governor Dean, while I have a moment, I can't see what's that on your lapel. What is it you've got there? What does it say?
DEAN: It says, “I support the union on campus.”
HUME: Thank you.
Glad to know that. I just couldn't see it. And I was looking at the TV monitor to see what I could tell about it, and I couldn't read it there either. So thank you very much.
DEAN: AFSCME's trying to organize here.
HUME: Got you.
Senator Kerry, you have more time to go. Please proceed.
KERRY: I believe that we deserve a president who recognizes that until you have equality of education in America, until the federal government is prepared to make up the difference in funding, we do not have a prayer of making real the full promise of our country.
That means 21st century learning centers have to be funded, after- school programs have to be funded. We have to fully fund special-needs education. We have to fully fund the capacity of teachers to teach in the most difficult areas. We have to raise the salaries and we have to fully fund Title 1.
And we have to guarantee that vouchers are not made into an argument that somehow there's a morality in taking care of kids, 50 of them, and abandoning 4,000 in the school behind them. I refuse to accept that.
GORDON: Senator Lieberman, I hear a lot about funding, funding, funding, frankly from all nine of you.
GORDON: But when we talk about $60 billion already allocated with the military, another $87 billion asked for, we're already talking about deficit spending $147 billion, if that number stays there. Is it realistic to believe that many of the promised programs we will hear tonight will actually come to fruition?
LIEBERMAN: Well, it is if we have a Democratic president who will go back to the kind of fiscal responsibility.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (OFF-MIKE)
LIEBERMAN: Come on.
HUME: I guess we just have to wait for the security people to do their job, and we'll be able to proceed.
Senator, you will have the full balance of your time, I promise.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (OFF-MIKE)
HUME: Another supporter of Lyndon LaRouche makes his exit.
Please, proceed, Senator.
(UNKNOWN): Do they do that to the Republicans?
(UNKNOWN): Do they do that to the Republicans?
SHARPTON: She's right. I think that—listen, if people got something to do, they should do it now and let us have this debate.
LIEBERMAN: That's right.
SHARPTON: Because if you all can't secure this, we have some young brothers here from National Action, we will. We do not at all going to tolerate the continual breakup of what we're trying to say here tonight to the American people.
LIEBERMAN: That's right.
SHARPTON: You've not done it at any other debate.
You've not done it at any other debate. You're not going to do it now. You're playing this phony liberal game, and you wait until our night to start acting up. We don't appreciate it.
I don't care who's not on this stage. You're going to respect us on this stage because we've got something to say. Now if you've got some problems, say it now.
LIEBERMAN: Well, first, let me say to my dear friend Reverend Sharpton, amen.
You have spoken the truth.
SHARPTON: I'll take that as an endorsement, but go ahead.
LIEBERMAN: Well, it is a spiritual endorsement, that is for sure.
SHARPTON: Well, it may manifest politically, who knows?
LIEBERMAN: Amen, amen, brother. How good and wonderful is when brethren dwell together in harmony.
GORDON: All right, gentlemen, let's...
SHARPTON: As those that love the Lord, let's go.
GORDON: Let's see if we can bring them back.
LIEBERMAN: OK, Ed, it's hard for me to remember your question.
GORDON: I was wondering if it was feasible to assume that we'd be able to pay, facing perhaps deficit spending...
LIEBERMAN: Yes, indeed.
GORDON: ... these programs that were promised?
LIEBERMAN: Right. Absolutely.
Look, let me state it straight out. George Bush is the most fiscally irresponsible president in the history of the United States of America.
And the result of that fiscal irresponsibility, which is the tax cuts for the wealthy—and Dick, I agree with you. The only thing you left out is the corporate loopholes that cost us billions of dollars a year that George Bush hasn't worked to close. And as president, I will.
And what's the result of that, the squeezing of investments in Head Start, in the Pell Grants that help students go to college, in investments in health care.
No community has suffered more from the fiscal irresponsibility of George W. Bush than the African-American community.
Hey, it began before he was president in the denial his team carried out in Florida for African-American voters who were trying to go to the polls and help elect Al Gore and me.
It's time for new leadership. And we could do it by cutting back on those taxes for the wealthy and protecting the taxes for the middle class, investing in America's future together.
HUME: Senator, thank you.
That concludes the third round. We're going to take a brief break here. When we come back, the focus will again be on domestic issues and other further rounds to come.
Thank you. Stay tuned.
HUME: The fourth round of questions now begin with Juan Williams.
WILLIAMS: Senator Edwards, you recently said you'd prohibit drug advertisements and allow for re-importation of drugs from abroad. Looking at this from the perspective of the American drug companies, will this act as a disincentive for the development and innovation of the best drugs the world has ever seen?
EDWARDS: No, they're entitled to that, they're entitled to a period of time after they originally do their work to keep the patent. But they're abusing the system in keeping generics out of the market.
You know, this president has actually dismantled—he's in the process of dismantling the public health system. He is cutting funding every single day for programs like prescription drug benefit. This is a president who says we can't do anything about the health care crisis in America. This is a president who blocked the Patient's Bill of Rights.
Here's what we ought to do, we ought to go over to the White House and hang a big warning sign on the door of the White House that says, “This president is hazardous to your health.” That's what we ought to do.
No, we can in fact bring down the cost of prescription drugs if and when we have a president that has the courage and backbone to stand up to big drug companies, stand up to big HMOs, stand up to big insurance companies. I've been doing this my entire life. We can't just deal with the coverage question. We can't just deal with helping Americans pay the cost of premiums. If we don't solve the cost of health care problems in America, we will never address this health care crisis in a serious way.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
Reverend Sharpton, Ed Gillespie, who is the Republican Party chairman, recently said that the way that the Democratic candidates are talking about President Bush and this administration amounts to hate language.
And I wonder if you would agree that this is hateful, demagogic talk about the president of the United States.
SHARPTON: Absolutely not. I think that we have a responsibility to talk about a president's effect on the American people.
Here's a man that just asked for billions of dollars on Sunday night while we have record state deficits. I just left St. Louis, where they closed 16 schools. They laid off 1,400 workers on the day after he asked for billions of dollars to get health care and education for people abroad when we're not getting it for the people right here at home. That's not hate.
He talks about loving the troops. He loves them when they're on the battlefield. But when they come home, he doesn't love them. They're coming home to no housing.
They're coming home to no jobs. They're coming home to no education.
That is not hate. And I challenged it in my own party. We're fighting cases from Florida with a man hanging. We're fighting this guy, Erhue (ph), Ihue (ph), state attorney in Louisiana, a man shot in the back eight times.
It doesn't matter if it is Republican or Democrat. If they're wrong, we can call them out, not out of hate but out of love for justice and what's good for the American people.
WILLIAMS: Ambassador Braun, we have heard much talk about the PATRIOT Act, about Attorney General Ashcroft's effort to try to win American support for it.
According to a Gallup poll that's out today, 69 percent of Americans think that the PATRIOT Act is right or that is doesn't go far enough. And yet, from the candidates on this stage, we hear that the PATRIOT Act is really an abuse of civil liberties in America.
How do you explain this divergence of view?
MOSELEY BRAUN: Well, you know, a generation ago, the president of the United States told the American people that all we had to fear was fear itself. This administration, on the other hand, has pandered to fear and frightened the American people at every turn.
And the PATRIOT Act is just part of that.
We would do a disservice to our people and to our generation if we were to stand by and allow our generation to give the next generation less liberty, less opportunity, less hope than we inherited from the last.
And with this legislation, the PATRIOT Act, in place, we will give to the next generation a country that none of us will recognize, a country in which librarians are forced to turn you in for taking the wrong books out of the library, in which your e-mails and your phones can be tapped, in which you can be secretly arrested and held without charges, in which you're not entitled to counsel when you have a trial.
This is not the America that my ancestors fought and died for. My grandfather fought for this country in World War I in France. And he came back, he couldn't sit in the front of the bus or even vote. But he did so because he believed in the promise of America. I am running for president because I want to protect and preserve it.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
HUME: Ed Gordon is next.
GORDON: Thank you, Brit.
Senator Kerry, let me ask you, $87 billion is a lot of money. Notwithstanding the money directly for the troops, can you tonight tell the president that that is simply too much money to put forth for this military action, for this war, and as Reverend Sharpton has suggested, perhaps utilizing some of that money here?
KERRY: Well, I'm glad the president finally found an economic development program. I'm just sad that it's only in Baghdad.
I think that $87 billion should not be granted as just a rubber check to this president without several things.
Number one, we need to know that this president is going to do what is necessary to truly protect our troops and to truly advance our ability to be successful, which means internationalizing our effort. It means properly going to the United Nations and ceding a measure of authority for two of the three parts of this mission.
There is a humanitarian component, there is the governance- infrastructure component, both of which could be put within the U.N. as we did in East Timor, in Kosovo and Bosnia.
KERRY: And then there's the security component, where we can keep American command over the critical pieces, but shared with the United Nations.
Unless we do that, this president runs the risk of turning this into a quagmire potential of Vietnam.
The second thing we need to do is guarantee that we are fiscally responsible here at home. We cannot authorize or appropriate $87 billion without pulling back some of the unfair Bush tax cut for the wealthiest Americans and investing in the United States of America. If we can open firehouses in Baghdad, we can keep them open in the United States of America.
GORDON: Governor Dean, employment continues to be a problem in this country. The national unemployment rate is just over 6 percent on a whole, 10.9 percent for African Americans and much, much higher for young African Americans, particularly African American males.
Northwestern University recently issued a study that suggested a percentage of job applicants who got called back after initial interviews for low-wage, entry-level jobs, whites with non-criminal records were called back 17 percent of the time, blacks with no criminal record were only called back 14 percent of the time.
When you look at these disparities, what can you do specifically to close these gaps?
DEAN: There are two things you can do. The first is do the things you're going to do for every community, invest in small businesses. Small businesses create more jobs than large businesses do, and they don't move their jobs offshore.
Now, why does that specifically help in the African American and the Latino community? Because there's a disproportionate number of people who create small businesses and who work for small businesses in minority communities. That's the first thing.
Secondly, in my health insurance plan, which covers all Americans for about the same price the president plans to spend in Iraq over the next year, there's $9 billion of subsidy to small businesses to help health insurance.
Finally, the issue here with people not being called back is race. And that's why we need affirmative action in this country.
There is a built-in bias...
... there is a built-in bias of people who do hiring, they automatically assume people who look like them are more qualified than people that don't look like them.
That's why you need affirmative action. That's why the president of the United States essentially played the race card when he used the word quota to describe the University of Michigan affirmative action program.
And for that reason alone, he deserves a one-way bus ticket back to Crawford, Texas.
GORDON: Senator Lieberman, it's probably fair to say we've heard a lot of talk about race this evening. But quite frankly, whether it be in our homes, whether it be at bus stops or whether it be here, America is still very uncomfortable talking about race.
Could you promise that you would put it on the front burner? And what would you speak to specifically that has not been talked about in other administrations, Democratic or Republican?
LIEBERMAN: Ed, I appreciate the question.
Look, I said when I declared my candidacy for president that I was running to keep the American dream alive, the dream that has been compromised by George W. Bush so badly and that I've been privileged to live in my life time.
No people have been more outrageously denied an equal opportunity to live out the American dream than African-Americans, from the brutal stain of slavery to racial segregation by law to the two-tier society we still live in.
Ed, before I got into politics, my first act of public service was in the civil rights movement. I marched with Dr. King 40 years ago, a few weeks ago, I went to Mississippi to fight in 1963 for the right of African Americans to vote.
It pains me to look back to 2000 and realize that though we eliminated the laws that stopped African-Americans from voting, they all were not allowed to vote in the state of Florida.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (OFF-MIKE)
LIEBERMAN: I'm going to talk about race and keep marching with Dr. King and his spirit for jobs and freedom and equality until the dream that Dr. King enunciated 40 years ago is fully realized. This is from my heart. This will define my presidency.
HUME: Thank you, Senator.
And the last set of questions in this particular round is from Farai Chediya.
CHEDIYA: Thank you.
Within 50 years America will be a majority of people of color. Congressman Gephardt, how will this affect your campaign? How will this affect American democracy, for example? Will you consider choosing a running mate of color?
GEPHARDT: We have to look at every possible person to win this election. I will look at everybody. I'll look at women, I'll look at minorities, I'll look at everybody.
We need to beat George Bush.
You know, I have a saying these days: Like father, like son, four years and he's done. We're going to get rid of George Bush.
CHIDEYA: Thank you.
GEPHARDT: Let me answer your question very directly. I have a friend, a great friend, in St. Louis I served in the Congress with. His name is Bill Clay. His son, Lacy (ph) Clay, is a chairman—one of the deputy chairs of my campaign. Bill Clay wrote a book called “Permanent Interest.” He said African-Americans don't have permanent friends, they just have permanent interest. I think he's right.
This party has to earn the vote of African-Americans. This party can't assume anything. We've got to bring ideas and programs for civil rights, for equal rights, for economic rights, for health care rights—that's the way we're going to win the election, and that's the way we keep faith with the African-American community in this country.
CHIDEYA: Thank you.
Congressman Kucinich, most of the people who use drugs are white. Most of the people who are sentenced for drug possession and sales, particularly drug possession, are black. What will you do to reverse this unfair trend?
KUCINICH: Well, first of all, we have to acknowledge what you just said in our national discussions, that drug sentencing ends up being discriminatory, that our drug laws are harsh in that they emphasize not just criminalization but they emphasize incarceration.
We need different thinking today. And a new president—and my presidency will mean that we will begin to emphasize the rehabilitation of people who are afflicted with drug use. And we will begin to emphasize giving people an opportunity to fully recover.
This is one of the reasons why we need a not-for-profit health care system which includes treatment of substance abusers. This is why we need to make sure we focus this country on a cause which takes us away from this punitive approach that we use for people who are trapped in drug use.
We need to make sure that those who are trafficking in it and making a big profit are brought to justice. But we need to get rid of mandatory minimums. We need to stop this harsh and punitive approach. And the only approach that I think will work is an approach which emphasizes rehabilitation over incarceration.
CHIDEYA: Thank you.
Senator Graham, this has been in the news quite a bit recently, but do you believe in altering the U.S. Constitution so that naturalized citizens could run for the presidency?
GRAHAM: Yes, I think that was a provision which was put into the Constitution by our founding fathers when there was concern that people of different lands might not carry forward the values upon which this nation was founded.
I think it is a provision which has run its time. For instance, there is an excellent governor of Michigan who would be an outstanding candidate for president of the United States. She is denied that opportunity because she happened to have been born in Canada. I believe that disserves America and unnecessarily restricts the pool of people who can be president of the United States.
I happen to come from a state that is very diverse. In fact, the Miami community has the highest percentage of persons who were born outside the United States of any community in this nation. I understand, by having served and lived in a diverse society, what is required to build the one America that we all seek.
HUME: Senator Graham, thank you very much.
We now begin a final round of questions, which we're kind of calling our dealer's choice round in which each correspondent at the table will ask one question of any candidate he chooses about any subject he or she chooses. And we start with Ed Gordon and we'll move across. As many rounds as we can get in.
GORDON: Reverend Sharpton, you've made the analogy about going to the dance with who brung you. I'm wondering if you truly believe the Democratic Party, and frankly those who share the stage with you tonight, are ready, in fact, to—as a number of your colleagues have suggested—earn the black vote.
SHARPTON: I think that they must. I think that if we do not, we cannot win in 2004.
If Michael Dukakis had gotten the same black vote that Walter Mondale got in '84, he would have been president.
What people don't understand is, before you can turn people out, you have to turn people on. And the only way you're going to turn people on is you must address their interests and address their issues.
We have to deal in these primaries and in the convention with those of us that feel that segments of the party has turned on labor and turned on minorities and turned on women.
We've got to deal with the fact that when this Congressional Black Caucus went to the Senate about the vote in Florida, we couldn't get a Democratic Senator to allow them to be heard.
We need to correct the party so then we can beat Bush as one expanded party.
HUME: Farai, you're next.
CHIDEYA: Lady and gentlemen, I have one question to ask all of you, and I don't want to mess up the format of this debate, so please answer very quickly. This is for the Gen X crowd, and it's very personal. What's your favorite song?
MOSELEY BRAUN: What's my favorite song? “You Gotta Be.”
SHARPTON: My favorite song is James Brown's song on the Republican Party, “Talking Loud, Saying Nothing.”
CHIDEYA: Senator, we're waiting for you. Senator, pass?
EDWARDS: I've got to follow that?
CHIDEYA: Yes you do, or pass.
EDWARDS: John Cougar Mellencamp, “Small Town.”
CHIDEYA: All right.
KERRY: Bruce Springsteen, “No Surrender.”
DEAN: One you've never heard of, Wycliff Jean (ph), “Jaspera (ph).”
LIEBERMAN: Well, you know, like a good politician, I'm going to take two. “Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow,” remember that one?
And the old—the classic Frank Sinatra, “My Way.” We're going to do it our way in 2004.
KUCINICH: John Lennon, “Imagine,” as in imagine a new America.
GEPHARDT: Bruce Springsteen, “Born In The USA.”
GRAHAM: Jimmy Buffet, “Changes In Attitude, Changes In Latitudes.”
We're going to change some attitudes and latitudes.
CHIDEYA: Thank you all very much.
HUME: Juan Williams is next.
WILLIAMS: Let me ask everyone who is in the Congress here today how they would vote on the president's request for $87 billion to continue the effort in Iraq.
Would you vote yes or no?
EDWARDS: Well, I'm going to do what has to be done to make sure our troops get what they need, but not without the president telling us how much this is going to cost over the long term, how long we're going to be there and who is going to share the cost with us.
WILLIAMS: Senator Kerry?
KERRY: I will do what we need to do to protect troops. But I am not going to vote for an open-ended $87 billion without the questions answered that I proposed earlier and without an adequate effort with respect to the international community.
WILLIAMS: Senator Lieberman?
LIEBERMAN: Well, I'm going to vote for whatever it takes to protect our troops. But I've got to say to John Edwards, John Kerry, Howard Dean and George Bush: You can't say that you want to protect the troops unless you're willing to send more American troops to protect the ones that are there and help some of those that are there come home to their families in peace.
WILLIAMS: Representative Kucinich?
KUCINICH: I am going to vote no because I believe the best way to protect our troops is to bring them home.
The U.N. in and the U.S. out.
WILLIAMS: Congressman Gephardt?
GEPHARDT: I am going to vote to support the troops. But for the rebuilding of Iraq, I want to see international help, which he should have gotten a long, long time ago.
And I also want an appropriation for homeland security and for the states that have not gotten the money they needed a long time ago.
WILLIAMS: Senator Graham?
GRAHAM: Well, I will vote to do whatever is necessary to protect our troops. I will not vote in order to avoid the economic and political internationalization of the occupation of Iraq and therefore to protect the profits of those friends of the president who have been getting no bid, no competitive contracts to rebuild Iraq.
HUME: That leaves us time for one more question before we begin the closing statements. And it comes from Ed Gordon.
GORDON: Let me see if I can follow up with what Juan suggested. We all know we want to protect the troops. So if you don't hear what you are suggesting from the president, you are indeed willing to say no.
GRAHAM: I am not willing to say no for the amount of money that's necessary to protect our troops.
I am ready to say, “No, hell, no,” to providing money that is designed to protect profits, not our uniformed men and women.
GORDON: What about you, Congressman?
GEPHARDT: I agree. I think we've got to protect the troops. But we can split the question and we can ask lots of questions about the rebuilding money...
GORDON: So if the president says, “I need $87 billion to protect the troops,” you're ready to say yes to that?
GEPHARDT: We've got to break it down. We've got to get the rebuilding help that we need and we've got to get appropriations for homeland security.
GORDON: All right.
KUCINICH: We'll be there forever unless we challenge this thinking where the administration cynically uses our troops to pursue a war that was unjust. And I say that what we need to do is vote no, bring the U.N. in and get the U.S. out.
GORDON: Congressman Lieberman?
KUCINICH: End the war.
LIEBERMAN: Ed, the American people have a right to expect that their president will make a judgment, tough judgments, and then have the courage to stick with it.
I know it's more popular to say you don't want to send more troops. Of course I want international troops in there. But we may have to wait six months until they get there and before then, we may have to send troops to protect the 140,000 Americans who are there now.
I'm never, as president, going to leave American troops in harm's way without giving them the support and protection they need.
GORDON: Very quickly, Senator Kerry, indeed, would you be willing to say no?
KERRY: Give me the question after that (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
GORDON: Well, the question, you all said we're going to do what is needed to be done for our troops. We all understand that. But if you don't get the answers from the president that you're looking for?
KERRY: If I don't get the answers and if the president doesn't set out the way in which he is going to internationalize this, I would be prepared to vote no.
GORDON: Senator Edwards?
EDWARDS: It would be irresponsible not to do what needs to be done to protect our troops. But having said that, it would also be irresponsible not to do something to stop this president from giving billions of dollars in American taxpayer money to companies like Halliburton in unbid contracts.
HUME: I'm sorry. We have to go to closing statements now. Time presses on us. And we begin closing statements. We hope to confine them to 45 seconds if possible.
With Carol Moseley Braun, please.
MOSELEY BRAUN: My late mother used to say it doesn't matter if you came to this country on the Mayflower or a slave ship, through Ellis Island or across the Rio Grande, we're all in the same boat now.
In my time in public life, I have been a doer, not so much a talker but a doer, delivering for people in the fight for social and economic justice. I have a record. I have been tested. I have stood up in the Senate and fought for many of the values that my colleagues have discussed here today.
I am determined to try to rebuild and renew this country in ways that will build community and level the playing field in ways that will keep the American dream of opportunity and hope alive for the next generation. To me, that means making certain that the fight to preserve our civil liberties is waged, making certain the fight against discrimination is waged, making certain that women have opportunity in this country.
I am determined to take the “men only” sign off the White House door and, with the support of the people of this country, I believe it can happen in 2004.
HUME: Reverend Sharpton, you're next.
SHARPTON: I'm running for president because we not only need a new director, we need a new direction. And this party must go back to representing the interests of people, working people.
I've been an activist and a person of action all my life. I intend to talk to this college about the union, AFSCME, that is trying to organize right here.
I think it is important that we have a return to the principles that made us a party.
I'm also running because a lot is at stake. We are witnessing a nonmilitary civil war. It started with the recount in Florida, it went to the redistricting in Texas, now it's the recount in California.
From the recounting of the votes to the redistricting to the recall, it's a rejection of the American people. We need to fight back. I'm a man of action. And unlike Schwarzenegger, I never had a stunt man do my hard work.
HUME: Senator, it was just the way the order was. Senator Edwards, you're next.
EDWARDS: Thank you, thank you.
We knew when President Bush came to office that we were going to see big giveaways to his friends and Halliburton.
Here's what we didn't know. We didn't know he was going to take away after-school for hundreds of thousands of kids. We didn't know he was going to take away help for college kids.
This election is about a lot of issues, but it's about something much bigger than that. It's about what kind of America we are. It's about what kind of America we want to be. It's about taking the power in our democracy out of the hands of that handful of insiders that are running our country today and giving it back to you, giving it back to the American people.
I believe in an America where the family you're born into and the color of your skin should never control your destiny. I believe in an America where the son of a mill worker could actually beat the son of a president for the White House.
That's the America I will fight for as president of the United States.
HUME: Thank you.
KERRY: Well, you know, I look out at this audience, and there are people from every background, every creed, every color, every belief, every religion.
This is, indeed, John Ashcroft's worse nightmare here.
My friends, we are living in an extraordinary moment in American history. This is the biggest say-one-thing-do-another administration in all time. The president says one thing about children, does another, one thing about taxes, does another, about housing, about the war, about—goes to Goree Island, spends a few minutes, behaves like Abraham Lincoln, goes to South Carolina, behaves like Jefferson Davis on the Confederate flag.
We deserve a president of the United States who will write laws for all Americans, not for campaign contributors. And I intend to be a president for all Americans who takes back the flag of our country because it doesn't belong to any party, doesn't belong to any president. It belongs to all of us as Americans. And we deserve a president who stands up for patriotism and its real definition, which is doing what makes our country stronger and safer and more secure.
HUME: Governor Dean?
DEAN: This election is going to be about jobs. But in order to talk about jobs, we're going to have to talk about defense first. And I think this president doesn't understand defense.
Over a decade ago, the Soviet Union collapsed and the Berlin Wall came down without America firing a shot. And that was for two reasons. The first was that we had a strong military, and that's important. But the second is that on the other side of the Iron Curtain most people wanted to be like America and they wanted to be like Americans.
And in the two and a half years into this presidency, you would be hard-pressed to find a majority in any country in the world where people wanted to be like Americans again.
What I want to do more than anything as president of the United States is to restore the honor and dignity and respect that this country is owed around the world.
HUME: Senator Lieberman?
LIEBERMAN: Thank you, Brit.
In 2000, Al Gore and I went all around this country and warned the American people about George W. Bush. We said he would squander our surplus. We said he would compromise civil rights, he would abandon the middle class and he would turn his back on the poor. Let's be honest about this, the presidency of Bush has been a worse nightmare than even Al and I warned America about.
Joblessness, 3.5 million people have lost their jobs, 2.5 million have fallen out of the middle class into poverty, our schools have been underfunded. So many of our capable lower-income kids are going to have trouble going to college. Civil rights have been eroded. The environment has been plundered today. At home and abroad, America is weaker.
When I think of the promises George Bush made in 2000 and has broken since, it makes me sick. When I think of the radical right direction in which he's taken America, it makes me sick.
We need a fresh start. We need a president who will unite America around our shared values and restore security and prosperity to our country and fairness and integrity to the White House. With your help and God's help, I intend to be that president.
Thank you very, very much.
HUME: Congressman Kucinich?
KUCINICH: When I was growing up in the city of Cleveland, the oldest of seven children, my parents never owned a home. We lived in 21 different places by the time I was 17, including a couple cars, and sometimes we were the only Caucasian family in neighborhoods of color.
And because of that experience in growing up in the inner city, I learned to become attuned to the concerns that people have about jobs, about health care, about education, about housing, about health in the community.
And so, when I became mayor of Cleveland, I was determined to unite the community, to unite whites and blacks and all people of color, and to create conditions where we truly address the social and economic needs of the people.
Because of my life experience and because of my public life experience, I have the ability to lead this nation and to bring all people together and to lift up the cause of this nation so that we once again become a nation that comes from the heart and reconnect with our optimism to really create a nation that we can all be proud of. Thank you.
HUME: Congressman Gephardt?
GEPHARDT: I'd like to end tonight with my philosophy of life and how it's different than George Bush's.
I think we're all tied together. If somebody doesn't have health insurance they still get sick, they go to the emergency room, they have worse problems than they should. Then that bill gets put on your bill if you have insurance, whether you know it or not, whether you like it or not.
Somebody's child doesn't get educated, winds up in prison, we all pay the bills every day, and the bills are mounting by the day.
If somebody doesn't get their civil rights and their equal rights and can't succeed, then everybody pays the bills.
My own life is the best example. I started poor. My dad was a Teamster. It was the best job he ever had. I had church help, government help, community help, I got a great education. I'm here tonight because of all that help. I haven't done it on my own.
I will be a president every day in that Oval Office who's trying to figure out how every person in this country fulfills their God- given potential, nobody left out, nobody left behind. We can make America a better place than it's ever, ever been. Thank you.
HUME: Senator Graham?
GRAHAM: Tonight in America, 9 million of our fellow citizens are out of work.
Tonight in America, our young uniformed men and women are in the quagmire of Iraq losing one comrade a day. Tonight in...
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (OFF-MIKE)
GRAHAM: Let me...
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (OFF-MIKE)
HUME: Sorry, Senator. Please proceed.
GRAHAM: Tonight in America, our people are being asked to rebuild a foreign land.
We need new and tested leadership. As governor of Florida, I created 1.4 million new jobs. The number of African American-owned businesses doubled to over 25,000 while I was governor of Florida. I know how to make this economy work again.
I know that if we can rebuild the schools, the roads, the bridges, the electric grid of Iraq that we can do it here at home. That's why I have published an economic plan, “Opportunity For All.” This is how we can rebuild America.
I believe in one America. Together we can create a prosperous America, we can create a respected America, we can create a safe America, we can create our America.
With Bob Graham as president, we will have one America.
HUME: Thank you, Senator.
And that concludes our debate. We would like to thank the candidates for their time, the staff of Morgan State University, the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, and of course, our audience here in Baltimore and at home. Our next debate will be Sunday, October 26th in Detroit.
Stay tuned in the meantime for more debate coverage on Fox News Channel.
I'm Brit Hume. For our panel of journalists and for all of us at Fox News, good night.
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