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JIM LEHRER: Now the candidates in action. First, John Edward’s appearance last night in Portsmouth, N.H.
SEN. JOHN EDWARDS: Do you think we could get some more people into this room? I’ll tell you this is exciting, it’s so exciting for me to be here with you. I just spoke to over a hundred people downstairs who couldn’t get in the room. ( Applause )
Such an honor for me to be here with you. The reason it’s an honor is because I came here today to ask every single one of you to join this campaign, this movement, this cause, to change America. And we have so much work to do in this country. We still live in an America that in so many ways is two different Americas: One for all those folks who are in positions of privilege and power who get everything they need whenever they need it; and then, the other America.
You and I can change that. We can build one America where we don’t have two health care systems. One for families who can afford the best health care money can buy, in a country that’s got it and one for everybody else, rationed out by insurance companies, drug companies, HMOs, and millions of Americans who have no health care coverage at all. We don’t need to have two public school systems in this country: One for the most affluent communities, and one for everybody else. We shouldn’t have two tax systems in America: One for those special interests and corporations, many of whom pay no taxes at all, and then one for people like you, who work hard, pay your taxes and carry the tax burden in this country, we can change that. (Applause)
We can change it, you and I together. We also have a country that’s still in way too many ways is divided by race. And this is something I’ve lived with my whole life. Because of the time during which I grew up in the ’50s and ’60s, and the place in the South, I have seen up close the ugly face of discrimination and segregation and I remember vividly seeing young African American kids shuffled upstairs in movie theaters, seeing white only signs on restaurant and luncheon counters.
When I was in the sixth grade in Georgia my teacher walked into the classroom one day to announce to the class that he would not teach the next year because the school was about to be integrated and he wouldn’t teach in an integrated school. I feel an enormous personal responsibility when it comes to issues of race and equality and civil rights in this country, and we have such work to do.
And I have to say just as a comment — you know, I’ve heard some discussion by other candidates and other people about what audiences and where in the country we should talk about race and civil rights. We should talk about it everywhere. This is not an African American issue or a regional issue, this is an American issue. (Applause)
It’s about who we are, what kind of values we have, what kind of country we want to live in. We can do something about these two economies that we have. If you look at what’s been happening in the last 20 years, we’ve had a huge change. Most working middle class families, most of the country, 20 years ago, they were saving money, they had financial security. If something went wrong, they were ready for it. No more. These same families now are saving nothing. Not only are they saving nothing, it takes every dime they make just to pay their bills. Not only are they saving nothing, they’re actually going into debt.
Of course along comes George Bush to make their lives easier. You know, he’s in the middle just as sure as I’m standing here of shifting the tax burden in America straight onto the backs of these very same families. When he wants to get rid of capital gains taxes, dividends taxes, the taxation of billion-dollar estates, there’s no place for that tax burden to go except straight onto the backs of these same working middle class families. What he’s doing is he’s shifting the tax burden from wealth to work; very simple. Well, he’s doing exactly the opposite of what we should be doing.
We ought to be helping these families. We ought to match what they’re able to save. I would do it up to $1,000 a family each year. We ought to create financial incentives for them to be able to invest. You know we want to create wealth, but unlike Bush, we want to create wealth for people who need financial security, not just people who already have wealth. We ought, yes. ( Applause )
JIM LEHRER: This afternoon, Joe Lieberman and wife, Hadassah, made the rounds at a restaurant in Manchester.
WOMAN: Mr. President…
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Oh, bless you. Thank you. From your lips to god’s ears, as they say. How are you doing? You’re a lovely looking lady.
WOMAN: This is a privilege. This is the second time I wish you good luck.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Aren’t you nice? This shows that I’ve really been working New Hampshire.
WOMAN: This time you came to me.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: This is the place, it has a lot of personal meaning because Hadassah used to come here when she worked as a camp counselor.
MRS. LIEBERMAN: In those days, you always had banana splits and sundaes, you know.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Anybody else want some? When I am president…
MRS. LIEBERMAN: One more.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN:…It’ll be banana splits for everybody.
MRS. LIEBERMAN: No, it’s not healthy. You can’t have it all the time. OK.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: This is one of the most enjoyable parts of the campaign so far.
MRS.LIEBERMAN: This is so good.
MAN: Good luck, sir.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Thank you. Thanks for what you said.
MAN: Keep the message going.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Good to see you.
MAN: We’ve got to get this guy out of office. We have no foreign policy. He’s a cowboy that never rode a horse, you know?
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: And he’s riding us over the cliff.
MAN: I’m worried about the foreign policy. Nobody likes it.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Good for you.
MAN: I don’t know why you don’t hammer him more on the war. He lied to us. He stretched the imagination to the limits.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Come out. I’m going to make a change and I’m the one who can beat the guy.
MAN: Who will be your running mate?
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Who do you think? I’m open on it.
MAN: Maybe. Mr. Lieberman, good luck.
MAN: You look good.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Thank you. I feel good.
MAN: — Democratic most of the time, but right now I’m independent. And I’m really in a quandary as to who to vote for.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: So come out next Tuesday. The independents are going to make the difference. I’m the most independent-minded of these Democratic candidates. I always try to do what’s right. I’m proud to be a Democrat, but I know ultimately you’ve got to do what’s right for the country and for the people. That’s my record.
MAN: You stay healthy.
WOMAN: Yeah, you … help us get out of this mess.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: We will.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Hello, everybody.
WOMAN: Nice to see you.
WOMAN: Senator Lieberman.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Do you know each other?
WOMAN: Yes, we’re all here together.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Oh, you’re all here with the station?
SPOKESPERSON: Can I just ask you one question, Senator Lieberman?
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Yeah, it’s okay with me.
SPOKESPERSON: How has … how are your campaign strategies changing since Iowa?
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: They’re not changing at all. I mean I’ve said from the beginning that I was the person who could bring the country together, it’s too divided. And based on my record of 30 years doing what I think is right, that I’d fight to keep people safe from terrorism and that I would help people keep their jobs and create new ones and deal with real problems that middle class Americans have with affording health insurance. So I’m the guy who can get the job done and can actually get elected. That’s important, too. Thank you.