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Howard Dean - Car Interview and Concord Inn
[Howard Dean - Car Interview and Concord Inn] [CONCORD, NH USA] Howard Dean - Car Interview and Dean at the Concord Centennial Inn 2004 Presidential Candidate Howard Dean. TAPE 12B ABC - "THIS WEEK" Interview with Howard Dean by George Stephanopoulos Friday, September 12, 2003 Transcribed by Jennifer Campbell - - FINAL TRANSCIPT- - MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Gephardt, I heard what you had to say just out there, it was a sad attack- MR. DEAN: Yeah. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: -- old politics it's just MR. DEAN: Right. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: but I wonder if you could respond to the substance of what he said. How you have supported Medicare in the past. 13:46:32 MR. DEAN: Of course, I support Medicare. That's ridiculous--I certainly have been very angry at Medicare over their bureaucratic, ah stuff, you know they're really very difficult bureaucratically to deal with-there um, there (cough) they're not doctor-friendly at all, and they're not particularly patient-friendly. I, when my father died about two years ago, we got a bill, I couldn't understand it from Medicare, I mean and from the hospital, and it just--you know, it needs to be totally revamped. One of the promises I make to doctors, as you heard this morning, is that I'll put somebody who is actually taking care of patients in front, in charge of Medicare and Medicaid. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Um, But he goes farther, he also says that in 1995 you specifically supported the $270 billion dollars or so in tax cuts that were called for by Newt Gingrich 13:47:19 MR. DEAN: I think that's very unlikely. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Here's the documentation 13:47:22 MR. DEAN: I know what Gingrich said, but this- MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: This is what Congressman Gephardt is saying about 1995 and those are the clips supporting it and it's pretty clear that you had said you would accept a 7 or 10 percent cut in the rate of growth of Medicare which is. 13:47:36 MR. DEAN: Ohhhh, cutting the rate of growth is much different MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: But that's what Newt Gingrich is calling for. 13:47:42 MR. DEAN: Well look, George, before I respond to the specifics, we're going to go back and find them ourselves. We're certainly not going to trust our opponent to fairly portray our record. Medicare is a terrific program. I've taken Medicare for all the time I've practice. My wife accepts Medicare. It's a big bureaucratic nightmare, there's no question about that. No democrat would purpose getting rid of Medicare. And for Dick Gephardt to say so, I think is a sad day in history MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Right, but he does say specifically, in "The Dallas Morning News," Montpelier newspapers, and New Hampshire newspapers-say that in 1995 you were supporting that level of cuts. 13:48:15 MR. DEAN: Remember this is not a cut. This is a cut in growth rate. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Right, but that's what-- MR. DEAN: That's a big difference. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, except that the cutting growth rate in 1995 came to $270 billion. That's what Newt Gingrich is calling for and you supported it 13:48:30 MR. DEAN: Well, I can't speak to what, well look, I can't respond to something in an opponent's press release until I've heard our own side of the story, and I haven't heard it. This was eight years ago, I've, you know, I can really honestly can't tell you what I said then because I don't remember what I said eight years ago. The truth (cut off), but the bottom line is no one would ever predict, uh, propose getting rid of Medicare. I think for Dick Gephardt to link my name with Newt Gingrich's or any of any of his opponent's names to Newt Gingrich's is a really sad day in Dick Gephardt's career. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, we'll come back then, because there also, you know, I'll leave this with you we can come back at the end of the day. 13:49:06 MR. DEAN: Oh, our guys have this. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Oh, they do. MR. DEAN: Uh, hmmm. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: They have it? Okay. But back in 1995 as head of the NGA (ph) you also supported cuts in Social Security, cuts in Veterans benefits along the same lines. 13:49:16 MR. DEAN: Um, you know, I can't respond to that because it was a long time ago, it's eight years. I will say that 1995 we had an enormous budget crisis in this country. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: We do now too. 13:49:26 MR. DEAN: [woman can be heard on cell phone in background-in italics] Ah, Yes, we do, but now I know how that can be fixed, and that is you get rid of the president's tax cuts. The next president of the United States is going to have to confront exactly this, do we cut veterans' benefits, do we cut Social Security benefits, do we cut Medicare benefits, or. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: What's your answer now? 13:49:42 MR. DEAN: We do not. We don't need to do that, but I have not said that I won't look at the rate of growth of any of these things. If we're in bad trouble, of course we will. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: But there is-- MR. DEAN: I balance the budget. First of all, I'm the only person MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: but cuts in the rate of growth would mean cuts in services, cuts in actual services to people. 13:49:55 MR. DEAN: That's not necessarily so. George, I manage the budget which is something that none of these other folks have ever done except for Bob Graham. I've managed the budget for 12 years, and we've managed to balance the budget and expand services, we can do this, but it has to be done very carefully, you have to pay attention to what you're doing, and we did it by holding down the rate of growth. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: You say you want to repeal all of Bush tax cuts. MR. DEAN: Mmm-hmm. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: This is some suggestion that you are looking back at the whole tax cut program and may purpose something new. Are you open now, perhaps, for middle-class tax cuts or total repeal? 13:50:24 MR. DEAN: I have said we want total repeal, and we need to have a total repeal. You cannot fund things that you can't promise. Um, For example, some of the senators are saying--Karen, I'm sorry, but I can't concentrate, can you call him back. 13:50:46 MR. DEAN: Um, Where were we? MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Tax cuts. 13:50:49 MR. DEAN: Oh. Here's what's happening. You're getting a lot of the people in my race where they're making me the target, and what they're doing is promising things they can't deliver or saying things that may be accurate but they are not contextual. Um, and I'll give you an example. Senator Kerry is chastising me because I don't want to roll say the middle-class tax cut. The truth is there were hardly any middle-class tax cuts. Senator Kerry himself used George Bush's figures. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, except the childcare tax credit, went from 500 dollars to a thousand dollars for a middle-class family with two or three kids, that's a real benefit. 13:51:25 MR. DEAN: But that's true, but there aren't many of those families that it really affects, go look at, you saw the Treasury Report. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: But they're going to repeal that. 13:51:30 MR. DEAN: We're going to repeal the works, everything, because you can't pay for all the things that Senator Kerry and I have both suggested. The difference in Senator Kerry and I, I'll pay for the programs. He's just making promises he can't keep. Now, what else we do with the tax code, I don't know. We are looking at the tax code and trying to make it fairer to middle-class people. I'm not sure where we are on that. We have a lot of work to do, but we're going to start by getting rid of all of the tax cuts, cause they're a mistake. The fact of the matter is the politicians that would tell you that they can fund health care, special education, and do all those things and also give you a tax cut are simply not telling you the truth. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: So making the tax code fair if you had tax reform, that could include new tax cuts for middle class families. 13:52:11 MR. DEAN: I have no idea what we're going to do yet. I can't tell you. We're going to try to make the tax code more fair so that middle-class people and lower-income people don't pay as much taxes as corporations and wealthy individuals. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: But, for example then, you're not going to keep the childcare tax credit where it is. 13:52:28 MR. DEAN: George, we don't know what we're going to do. I've just said that I'm going to repeal the president's tax cuts and so that we can start all over again to have a decent economy and pay for the services that need to be paid for and start to balance the budget. We are also now taking a look at the tax code to make it more fair. That's all I can tell you. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: The biggest applause you got at Plymouth State was when you talked about Iraq, when you talked about your opposition to Iraq and you also got asked what you would do now. You talked about trying to get more international troops, bring American troops home, but what about the president's plan for $87 billion dollars 13:53:00 MR. DEAN: Well, I think the president--we have not looked at the $87 billion yet so we can't tell if it's efficient, this that and the other, we've seen the topside. But what I do believe if the president wants $87 billion dollars he ought to tell us how he is going to pay for it and just adding to the deficit is not sufficient. He really does need to undo at least $87 billion dollars a year of his tax cuts if we are going to have that type of expenditure. When Harry Truman was in Korea we paid for that time in Korea with a 26 percent tax increase. What I think this President ought to do is unwind the taxes. Now, there is something we can agree on, you've got to unwind the tax cuts to very wealthy corporations and individuals got in order to pay for the president's war in Iraq an support our troops properly. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: You had a litany there when you were talking about Iraq that the President doesn't tell the truth, the Vice President didn't tell the truth on various issues on Iraq. 13:53:48 MR. DEAN: Well actually, I said it a little more daintily than that, I said it turned out not to be true. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: It turned out not to be true. So, that was very deliberate, very precise. MR. DEAN: Right. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: So, do you think he's an honest person? 13:54:00 MR. DEAN: All I can tell you, George, is that we got into a Iraq based on false pretenses, most Americans today think that the Iraqis had something to do with September the 11th, that's not true. The President knows it's not true and I think the false impression was deliberately left with the American people. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Deliberate? MR. DEAN: Yup. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, that's right on the edge of calling him a liar. 13:54:20 MR. DEAN: I didn't use that word, but I do think we were deliberately misled. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me turn to another word you used this morning cause it was the first time I'd ever heard you use it, and I haven't been with you the all the time but you talked when you were before the doctors this morning about spirituality and I was wondering how you would describe your spirituality. 13:54:38 MR. DEAN: I'm actually a pretty religious person, believe it or not. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I believe it. 13:54:45 MR. DEAN: I think what's missing in this country is a degree of spirituality. And, uh, I believe that all of this corporatization, all this concentration on money, which is what the President is really focused on, has left behind that part of America, which really needs something to cling to, and that is the sense of community. When I talked about the context of spirituality in relation to our loss of community that's why I think we are doing so well. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes, you have had quite a journey. You were raised Roman Catholic. 13:55:20 MR. DEAN: Well, I wasn't raised Roman Catholic, I was just baptized Roman Catholic. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Not raised. MR. DEAN: Not raised. I was raised an Episcopalian and I ended up as a Congregationalist. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I was going to--that's what I wanted to ask you. How did you end up as a Congregationalist? 13:55:30 MR. DEAN: Because I had a big fight with a local Episcopal church about 25 years ago about the bike path MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Over a bike path?? 13:55:37 MR. DEAN: They had control over a-we were trying to get a bike path built and they had control over about a mile and a half of railroad bed and they decided they would pursue a property rights suit to refuse the bike path to be developed. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: So it was more about political dispute than theological dispute. MR. DEAN: Yeah, that's right. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Because I just really don't know the difference theologically between. 13:55:54 MR. DEAN: Theologically, there is a difference. I am more comfortable in the Congregational Church, and Congregational Churches don't have a bishop. Each Congregation govern themselves. They have a conference, the United Church of Christ but they each--each church, calls their own minister and we're pretty independent. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: How did your faith inform--(camera adjusts)--how does your faith inform your politics? 13:56:27 MR. DEAN: I'm not sure that it does. Um, I think my faith and my politics are parallel. Um, I consider myself a Christian in the best sense of the word, I think that Christ was somebody who really reached out to those who couldn't fend for themselves or who were spat upon by others. One of the things I think about is, um, when Christ stopped a stoning of an adulterous woman and said let those of you who are without sin cast the first stone. Um, So I think about those things, but I don't think--I don't know it informs my politics. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: But it informs your sense of ethics fairly? MR. DEAN: Very much so. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you pray? MR. DEAN: Yes. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Constantly? 13:57:14 MR. DEAN: No, lately. (Laughter.) But I do. I mean I try to pray daily, I don't always. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me broaden this out. There's a question about presidential leadership. When you think about that word, leadership, presidential leadership, those two words, what comes to mind? 13:57:32 MR. DEAN: What comes to mind is being willing to set a course of action and stick by it. Don't be guided by polls and focus groups, stand up what you think is right in this country. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Which Presidents have done it in the past? 13:57:40 MR. DEAN: Truman, was extraordinary and Washington. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Small, tough guy. MR. DEAN: Yup and George Washington, who gave up the presidency, and he could have had presidency for life. He should have had a title, he gave it up. Because of that the rule of law changed forever, the evolution of the rule of law changed forever in the western world and Truman was a small tough guy who we called on, and I admire him enormously for that. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: How about Republican Presidents? MR. DEAN: Roosevelt. Theodore Roosevelt, the father of the Conservation Movement. Interestingly, one of the people--I've got a list of six or seven or eight really great presidents. One of the people who I have shocked myself at by including was Lyndon Johnson, for all of Lyndon Johnson's terrible problems with the Vietnam War, he remade the country into a better place with the Civil Rights Act, Medicare, Civil Voting Rights Act, Headstart, war on poverty. He was an extraordinary domestic president even though I can't. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Robert Kennedy? MR. DEAN: Even though I protested against him when I was in college. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: What made you turn around? 13:58:43 MR. DEAN: Well, recently, it was probably after I began to run for president, I was thinking about presidents in general, thinking who I thought were the greatest and why and Johnson, and you could not keep (starts to say Richard), Lyndon Johnson off your list. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Did you read much about presidents as you were preparing for this? 13:58:59 MR. DEAN: I have read about the presidents for years. I mean, I even read "Truman" to my children through the second and fourth grades for bedtime reading. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: What did you read them? 13:59:07 MR. DEAN: "Truman." The biography, David McCullough's book. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: No kidding. MR. DEAN: They liked it, they loved it. It was great. There smart kids and they learn some history out of it. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Terrific. Thank you. We'll come back up to close up the day just if you have any response on the specifics. MR. DEAN: Dick--I don't, other than I think it's a sad day for Dick Gephardt to liking me to Newt Gingrich, it's just ridiculous. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Because he-(Simultaneous speaking.) MR. DEAN: Well, let's find out. I've got to find out. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Another thing, we'll get the- 13:59:38 MR. DEAN: Well, I've got to find out, you know. I've got to find out. But I think I fully ascribe to the notion that we should reduce the Medicare growth rate from 10 percent or 7 percent or less if fisable I'm sure I said that. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: That's what Newt Gingrich was calling for in 1995. 13:59:50 MR. DEAN: Well then Newt Gingrich probably also called for a strong America and I believe in that too. To like, my guess is that I could find some things that-that is like my saying that Dick Gephardt is the same as George Bush because they both voted for the war and Dick Gephardt went to the Rose Garden to support the war. I've never said that, I am just so disappointed. I worked for this guy in 1988. I really. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: His campaign? 14.00.10 MR. DEAN: Yeah, I worked for his campaign in '88. This is really pathetic politics in the past. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Why do you think he is doing it? (Simultaneous speaking.) MR. DEAN: Because I think he is desperate. --off the record-- MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah. And I mean we just got this 25 minutes ago. And it seems pretty well documented. MR. DEAN: Well, Noelle, I think some of the--that again-- MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm talking about this stuff. MR. DEAN: Right. Right. FEMALE VOICE: Did somebody come and pass it around? MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: No, it was faxed. And I guess they were e-mailing it. That's what I'm talking about. This is obviously--this, obviously, has been in the works for sometime. MR. DEAN: Right. Right. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, you knew it was comming. MR. DEAN: Well, I didn't expect this quite-- MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: A little early? MR. DEAN: No, I didn't expect this from Dick. Other perhaps yes, but Dick no. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: And he obviously didn't call you and give you a heads up. MR. DEAN: Of course not, but it is disappointing, but that's Washington politics for you, a bit of-- MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: A little early, but it's just about the time when Gore unloaded on Bradley on very similar stuff. MR. DEAN: Well, we'll have a big conversation about what to do, but I guess I won't unload on him this way. I'm not sure about it, I might, but we will see. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Fine. MR. DEAN: I don't--well, our whole campaign is about hope, a different kind of campaign. (Pause) MR. DEAN: Now, this is the governor's point, but that's not even a quote. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Right. MR. DEAN: That was a quote from--[inaudible]--and even if I did say that, Social Security and Medicare is--[inaudible]--running off the payroll. MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, a lot of people would take Security. MR. DEAN: Most Security is off the table. Social Security is--[inaudible]--but we had a terrible time with Social Security at that time, too. And you've got to remember when--[inaudible]--but I'm sure I did say that because Social Security was a disaster. I tried to do good, do good work--I--today-- [THE END]