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JIM LEHRER: Here are parts of the appearances by John Kerry, John Edwards, Wesley Clark, Joe Lieberman and Howard Dean.
SEN. JOHN KERRY: What I believe we need to do is recognize that the workplace in America is more unfair today than at any time that I have ever seen it in public life. People are struggling to get ahead with one, two, three jobs. I’ve met people with three jobs. And we can’t even get this crowd in Washington to raise the minimum wage. Even if you raised the minimum wage to the level we’re trying to raise it, you still couldn’t work a 40-hour work week and get out of poverty in the United States. And we’ve got companies after companies spending millions of dollars in Washington, pushing away your concerns and putting their bought-and-paid-for concerns ahead of the average person in this nation.
Medicare is an example of it. The Medicare bill has been turned into a prescription … is a, you know, benefit for the drug companies. They spent $139 million lobbying, and they turn out $139 billion of profit for the windfall profits of the drug companies. Energy bill — $50 billion of oil and gas subsidies, now, you know, changing an energy bill from a legitimate effort to have clean energy into the same old same old. Ladies and gentlemen, Tyco left New Hampshire, bought a mailbox for $27,000, took $400 million off the tax rolls of America, and stuck every one of you with the bill. So the first thing I’m going to do for the average person in America, the first thing I’m going to do is guarantee that we get this system back in balance.
SEN. JOHN EDWARDS: If a terrorist attack were to occur in your community today, what would you do different than you would have done on Sept. 11? Most people look at me just exactly the way you’re looking at me right now. Do you have any idea? No, of course not. Nobody has any idea. Now, what does that mean? That means that we have not done the things we need. See, you ought to know, first of all, how you’re going to find out about it.
Suppose it’s the middle of the night and you’re in bed and your TV’s off and your radio’s off. Now, how are you going to find out it even happened? You see, we need to have it where you could have a special ring on your telephone. There are different things we could do, but the other thing is, you ought to know immediately, as soon as you hear that an attack has occurred, what it is you and your family are supposed to do. But you don’t. Well, that means that we’ve not done what we need to do. We need to have a system in place so that people know what to do if an attack occurs.
And then, the last thing is, there are actually terrorist cells here within this country right now, in various places around the country, and we do our best to monitor them, but for the most part we don’t have people inside them. In other words, we monitor, we eavesdrop, we do all that stuff, but we don’t have human beings inside those groups. We’re going to have to get human beings inside those groups so we really know what they’re doing, because that’s the only way to find out what they’re doing and stop them before the damage is done.
So that’s … those are the things that I think about terrorism. I think there’s a lot … we can do a lot better job than we’re doing now. We can do a lot better job overseas, and we can also do a lot better job right here, right here in this country.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK (Ret.): Now, we’ve actually got a crisis in the health care system, and I’m sure you know what it is. First of all, it’s a health care crisis of who has insurance. And since President Bush took office, 4 million more Americans have lost their health insurance, including 125,000 in New Hampshire alone. And the second crisis is the crisis of the rising costs of health care. These are families who may even have health insurance, but they can’t pay for it, and when they can pay for the insurance, they can’t afford the co-payments to use it because health insurance premiums have skyrocketed over the past three years, much faster than wages.
The third crisis is the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs in America. This crisis is a major contributor to the first two. The question is, why hasn’t anyone in Washington done anything about this? Don’t look for answers from George Bush and the Republican Party. The drug companies spent tens of millions of dollars to help elect him president, and every year they spend millions of dollars for high-paid lobbyists and campaign ads to scare everyone away from taking on this issue. They’re not scaring me.
Republicans are always talking about family values. Well, it’s time they started valuing families. When I get to Washington, I can promise you, things are going to be different. I’ll represent the interests of the American people, not the interests of pharmaceutical companies.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Hey, buddy, what’s your name?
ROYAL PAGE: Royal Page.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Royal? Nice to see you.
ROYAL PAGE: I’m a 100 percent disabled vet. What would you do for veterans when you get in there?
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Well, you know, George Bush said he was going to honor the greatest generation and all the other vets, but he’s cut back on money to the V.A.
ROYAL PAGE: I know he has.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: You may have experienced it yourself. There are hundreds of thousands of vets waiting months, who have to go miles to get the benefits we promised them.
ROYAL PAGE: I have to go all the way to Manchester. I live in Lowden.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Yeah. Well, see, that’s wrong. Some people have to go to other states. Some of our folks in Connecticut have got to go to a central place, and then they get taken to Boston.
ROYAL PAGE: I’ve heard of that.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Yeah, and it’s wrong. So we’re going to … this is all, where do you put the money? If you give money in tax breaks to people who are already making a lot of money, you don’t have enough money left to take care of the vets who we made promises to. One of the big … you know about concurrent disability?
ROYAL PAGE: Mm-hmm.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: So you don’t have to take out of your retirement to pay for your disability.
ROYAL PAGE: Right.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: I’ve got a real strong record on this.
ROYAL PAGE: Thank you very much.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Come out and vote next week. I need your help.
ROYAL PAGE: You bet. I will.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Let me talk about what we ought to do to get jobs back in this country. First, we need to balance the budget. People don’t invest in countries that have $500 billion deficits year after year after year.
Secondly, instead of giving tax breaks to big corporations who send their headquarters to Bermuda and their jobs to China, what we really ought to be doing is something for self-employed people and small businesses, because self-employed. (Applause) This is the self-employed lobby over here, right? (Laughter) Self-employed people and small businesses create 70 percent of all the new jobs in America, and they keep their jobs in their community. They need help with their health insurance costs; they need help accumulating capital when they need to expand; they need less paperwork.
If you want to create jobs in this country, instead of giving $3 trillion of our tax money away to “Kenny Boy” Lay and the president’s friends who ran Enron, suppose we invested in roads or bridges, mass transit, schools, renewable energy, broadband telecommunications, things that create jobs right now by putting an infrastructure together, but also create job later on so we can build more jobs on the infrastructure we already have. That puts people to work now and builds the opportunity later on. That’s what we ought to be doing. ( Applause )