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Representative Dennis J. Kucinich, Ohio
Democratic Presidential Candidate
(#3039)
May 16, 2003

IOWA PRESS #3039 >>

Borg: IOWA'S 2004 CAUCUS IS EIGHT MONTHS AWAY, AND PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS CONTINUE TESTING THE VIABILITY OF THEIR CANDIDACIES AMONG IOWANS. AMONG THE NINE DEMOCRATS, OHIO CONGRESSMAN DENNIS KUCINICH, AND WE'LL QUESTION HIM ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS."

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION... GENERATIONS OF FAMILIES AND FRIENDS WHO FEEL PASSIONATE ABOUT THE PROGRAMS THEY WATCH ON IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION;

AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; AND BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, MAY 16 EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: MONDAY, JANUARY 19 IS A SIGNIFICANT DATE IN DETERMINING THE SHAPE OF THE 2004 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN. THAT'S WHEN IOWA'S POLITICAL ACTIVISTS, WITH THE WORLD WATCHING, GATHER IN TOWN HALLS AND LIVING ROOMS ACROSS THE STATE TO EXPRESS THEIR PREFERENCES FOR PRESIDENT. IN THIS ELECTION, IT'S A MAJOR WINNOWING PROCESS FOR THE DEMOCRATS. BETWEEN NOW AND THEN, THOSE SEEKING THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION ARE CRISSCROSSING IOWA TO GET THEMSELVES AND THEIR VIEWS KNOWN. OHIO CONGRESSMAN DENNIS KUCINICH HAS SEPARATED HIMSELF AMONG THE CANDIDATES WITH AN UP-FRONT, TELL-IT-LIKE-IT-IS APPROACH. AT AGE 31 HE WAS MAYOR OF CLEVELAND. LATER HE SERVED IN OHIO'S LEGISLATURE. AND NOW HE'S IN THE FOURTH TERM IN THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. CONGRESSMAN KUCINICH, WELCOME TO "IOWA PRESS."

Kucinich: THANK YOU VERY MUCH. IT'S AN HONOR TO BE ON THIS SHOW. THANK YOU.

Borg: IT'S NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE. ACROSS THE TABLE: "DES MOINES REGISTER" POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN AND KUNI STATEHOUSE CORRESPONDENT JENEANE BECK.

Beck: CONGRESSMAN, START OFF BY TELLING US WHY YOU WANT TO BE PRESIDENT. WHY ARE YOU RUNNING?

Kucinich: I'M RUNNING TO TAKE AMERICA IN A NEW DIRECTION, ONE WHICH FOCUSES ON THE ECONOMIC NEEDS OF OUR PEOPLE: FOR GUARANTEED UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE FOR ALL; FOR RETIREMENT SECURITY; STOPPING THE PRIVATIZATION OF SOCIAL SECURITY AND TAKING THE RETIREMENT AGE BACK TO 65; FOR FULLY FUNDED EDUCATION, PUBLIC EDUCATION FROM PREKINDERGARTEN THROUGH TO AND INCLUDING COLLEGE; FOR AN OPPORTUNITY TO REBUILD OUR CITIES. I BELIEVE IN A WPA-TYPE PROGRAM, WHICH WOULD REBUILD OUR BRIDGES AND OUR WATER SYSTEMS, OUR SEWER SYSTEMS, CREATE MILLIONS OF NEW JOBS; TO CHANGE OUR TRADE LAWS. I'M FOR CANCELING NAFTA AND THE WTO. NAFTA HAS RESULTED IN A LAWSUIT. HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS, EVEN MILLIONS OF JOBS, UNFAIR TRADE AGREEMENTS ARE UNDERMINING WORKERS' RIGHTS, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND THE ENVIRONMENT. AND I WANT TO TAKE AMERICA IN A NEW DIRECTION FOR PEACE IN THE WORLD. THIS ADMINISTRATION HAS GOTTEN US INTO A WAR THAT WE DIDN'T NEED TO GET INTO. THEY MISREPRESENTED THE CONDITIONS WHICH CALLED AMERICA TO WAR AGAINST IRAQ. WHERE ARE THE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION? AND SO MY CONCERN IS TO CREATE AN AMERICA WHICH CANNOT ONLY PROVIDE PROSPERITY HERE AT HOME BUT WHICH CAN WORK WITH THE WORLD COMMUNITY IN ASSURING THAT IT'S INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION THAT WILL MAKE THE WORLD SAFE AND PARTICULARLY AMERICANS SAFE HERE AT HOME.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, WE WANT TO TALK ABOUT ALL THOSE ISSUES IN SOME DEPTH, BUT I WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT ELECTABILITY. AS I TALK TO CAUCUS-GOING DEMOCRATS AROUND IOWA, THEY REALLY WANT A CANDIDATE WHO CAN BEAT BUSH. WHY ARE YOU THE MOST ELECTABLE DEMOCRAT IN THIS FIELD OF NINE CANDIDATES IN OUR STATE?

Kucinich: FIRST OF ALL, BECAUSE I'M THE ONE CANDIDATE WHO HAS THE DEMONSTRATED RECORD IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF CHALLENGING THIS ADMINISTRATION'S POLICIES. I ORGANIZED 126 DEMOCRATS TO VOTE AGAINST THE RESOLUTION THAT SENT -- THAT THE ADMINISTRATION USED TO TAKE US INTO WAR AGAINST IRAQ. I'VE BEEN A LEADER IN THE CONGRESS CHALLENGING SOCIAL SECURITY PRIVATIZATION, A LEADER IN THE CONGRESS ON WORKERS' RIGHTS, A LEADER IN THE CONGRESS ON HEALTH CARE, A LEADER IN THE CONGRESS ON EDUCATION ISSUES. AND AS THE RANKING DEMOCRAT ON THE OVERSIGHT SUBCOMMITTEE, WHICH HAS JURISDICTION OVER NATIONAL DEFENSE, I'VE BEEN A LEADER IN CRITICALLY ANALYZING THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE MISSPENDING THE TAXPAYERS' DOLLARS. NOT ONLY THAT, BUT THE GRASS-ROOTS APPROACH THAT I'M GOING TO USE IN IOWA THAT ORGANIZES PEOPLE AND BRINGS TO PEOPLE A GOVERNMENT WHICH CAN ADDRESS THROUGH PRACTICAL ASPIRATIONS IS WHAT WILL INSPIRE PEOPLE TO WANT TO COME OUT TO VOTE FOR ME.

Yepsen: YOU ARE AT ABOUT ONE PERCENT IN THE POLLS RIGHT NOW. WHAT'S A CREDIBLE SCENARIO FOR DENNIS KUCINICH TO FINISH IN THE TOP THREE IN IOWA?

Kucinich: WHY, DAVID, I UNDERSTAND IN THE LAST NATIONAL POLL, I HAD TWO PERCENT, AND THREE PERCENT IN IOWA. WELL, OBVIOUSLY, WHAT I NEED TO DO IS TO BE ABLE TO ORGANIZE A MASS MOVEMENT IN THIS COUNTRY, AND I ALREADY HAVE. THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE CONTACTING MY WEB SITE AT KUCINICH.US TO SIGN UP FOR THE CAMPAIGN. THAT'S WHAT'S GOING TO MAKE THIS CAMPAIGN DIFFERENT FROM ALL THE OTHERS. THERE'S GOING TO BE TENS OF THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS WHO WILL ORGANIZE AT A COMMUNITY LEVEL AND WILL GET THEIR NEIGHBORS OUT, NOT ONLY IN IOWA TO PARTICIPATE IN THE CAUCUSES BUT WILL GET THEIR NEIGHBORS TO THE POLLS TO CHANGE THIS COUNTRY, BECAUSE MY CANDIDACY REALLY REPRESENTS MORE OF A FREEDOM FOR THE AMERICAN VOTERS AWAY FROM CORPORATE CONTROLLED POLITICS.

Borg: TO TAKE OFF ON DAVE'S QUESTION, YOU IDENTIFIED YOURSELF ON ELECTABILITY AS A MAJOR CHALLENGER IN THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S POLICIES. WHERE DO YOU CONSIDER PRESIDENTIAL GEORGE W. BUSH MOST VULNERABLE?

Kucinich: I THINK ON TWO COUNTS, ACTUALLY. ONE ON THE TAX CUTS, WHICH HAVE ACCELERATED WEALTH UPWARDS IN THIS COUNTRY. THOSE TAX CUTS HAVE BEEN ONLY FOR WEALTHY AMERICANS. THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT WITH 8.8 MILLION PEOPLE OUT OF WORK RIGHT NOW, WE SHOULD BE DOING THINGS TO CREATE JOBS IN THIS COUNTRY. WE SHOULD BE DOING THINGS TO HELP AMERICANS HOLD ONTO MORE OF THEIR INCOME. WE SHOULD BE DOING THINGS TO HELP AMERICANS GET GUARANTEED UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE FOR ALL SO PEOPLE DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT BEING SICK, AND THEN THAT ADVERSELY AFFECTS THEIR FINANCIAL CONDITION.

Borg: SO YOU SAY TAX CUTS, BUT --

Kucinich: HE'S VULNERABLE ON THE ECONOMY.

Borg: PEOPLE DON'T LIKE TAX CUTS BECAUSE THEY -- [ SPEAKING AT ONCE ]

Kucinich: IF YOU HAVE A LOT OF MONEY, YOU'LL LOVE THESE TAX CUTS. IF YOU'RE AT THE TOP ONE PERCENT, THIS PRESIDENT IS YOUR FAVORITE PRESIDENT. HOWEVER, FOR MANY AMERICANS, THEY NEED JOBS. THEY NEED ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES. THEY NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT THEIR JOBS AREN'T GOING TO MOVE SOUTH. WE NEED A WHOLE DIFFERENT APPROACH TOWARDS MANAGING OUR ECONOMY, AND MY ADMINISTRATION WOULD TAKE STEPS TO STOP THESE TAX CUTS, NUMBER ONE; TO CHANGE OUR TRADE LAWS... TO CANCEL NAFTA TO PROTECT OUR JOBS HERE AT HOME; NUMBER THREE, TO HAVE MASSIVE PUBLIC WORKS BUILDING PROGRAMS TO GET PEOPLE BACK TO WORK; NUMBER FOUR, UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE SO THAT AMERICANS DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT BEING SICK. AND IT WILL SAVE MONEY BECAUSE EMPLOYERS WILL BE PAYING LESS FOR HEALTH CARE. SO THAT'S ONE VULNERABILITY. THE OTHER ONE IS ON FOREIGN POLICY. THIS ADMINISTRATION HAS PUT THE UNITED STATES ON THE WAR PATH. IT'S DECLARED THAT IT HAS A RIGHT TO WAGE WAR AGAINST ANYWHERE, AND IT'S MADE THIS COUNTRY LESS SAFE. IS THERE ANYONE OUT THERE WHO FEELS THAT AMERICA IS MORE SAFE AS A RESULT OF THE BOMBING OF IRAQ? AND YET THEY'VE NEVER MADE THEIR CASE IN IRAQ. THEY'VE MISREPRESENTED THE CAUSE OF ACTION IN IRAQ. I WILL BE THE ONE CANDIDATE -- AND PERHAPS RIGHT NOW I'M THE ONLY CANDIDATE WHO'S RUNNING WHO HAS CONSISTENTLY OPPOSED THE WAR IN IRAQ FROM ITS INCEPTION THROUGH ITS -- THROUGH THE INVASION TO THIS PRESENT MOMENT WHERE I'M SAYING, "OKAY, WHERE ARE THE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION, WHERE'S OSAMA BIN LADEN, WHERE'S SADDAM HUSSEIN?"

Borg: BUT THEN HOW TO YOU EXPLAIN PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH'S CONSISTENTLY RELATIVELY HIGH APPROVAL RATINGS?

Kucinich: OH, I THINK, YOU KNOW, THE LAWS OF PHYSICS ARE GOING TO TAKE HOLD THERE. WHAT GOES UP MUST COME DOWN. AND THE REASON WHY IT WILL COME DOWN IS WHEN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT HUSSEIN HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH 9/11, WHEN THEY COME TO UNDERSTAND THAT IRAQ HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH AL QUAEDA'S ROLE IN 9/11, THAT IRAQ HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ANTHRAX ATTACKS ON THIS COUNTRY, THAT IRAQ DIDN'T HAVE THE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION, WHICH WERE THE BASIS OF THE PROXIMATE CAUSE OF THE INVASION, THE REASON WHY WE SENT OUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS THERE. I THINK WHEN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DISCOVER THAT, THERE'S GOING TO BE OUTRAGE AND THEY'RE GOING TO SAY, "WELL, DID YOU LIE TO US? DID YOU MISREPRESENT IT?" DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT SECRETARY RUMSFELD SAID? HE SAID, "THE ABSENCE OF PROOF IS NOT PROOF OF ABSENCE." WELL, GUESS WHAT, "THE ABSENCE OF PROOF WAS THE ABSENCE OF PROOF." THEY MISREPRESENTED THE CAUSE TO GO TO WAR AGAINST IRAQ.

Beck: CONGRESSMAN, YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY CANDIDATE TO HAVE OPPOSED THIS WAR. HOW DO YOU DIFFERENTIATE YOURSELF FROM HOWARD DEAN? YOU'RE NOT THE ONLY CANDIDATE TO OPPOSE PRESIDENT BUSH'S TAX CUTS. HOW DO YOU DIFFERENTIATE YOURSELF FROM NINE OTHER DEMOCRATS IN THIS RACE?

Kucinich: WELL, ACTUALLY THAT'S GOING TO BE ONE OF THE PRINCIPLE REASONS WHY I'LL BE THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE. I'M THE ONLY CANDIDATE WHO, AS A MEMBER OF CONGRESS, CONSISTENTLY CHALLENGED THE FACTUAL BASIS FOR THIS ADMINISTRATION'S MARCH TO WAR. I DID THIS OVER A YEAR AGO. I WAS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY RAISING QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS. I DIDN'T JUST SAY, "WELL, I'M OPPOSED TO THIS IDEA." I ACTIVELY WORKED ON IT AND ORGANIZED MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND ORGANIZED CITIZENS GROUP AROUND THIS COUNTRY. FURTHERMORE, I'VE ARTICULATED A FOREIGN POLICY, WHICH CALLS FOR THE UNITED STATES TO STOP THIS NUCLEAR ARMS RACE THAT WE'RE RESTARTING. WE NEED TO LEAD THE WAY TO GET RID OF ALL NUCLEAR WEAPONS. I'M THE ONLY CANDIDATE SAYING THAT. I'M THE ONLY CANDIDATE WHO'S SAYING THAT WE MUST PARTICIPATE IN THE BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION, THE CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION, THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT, THE SMALL ARMS TREATY, THE LAND MINES TREATY, AND THE KYOTO CLIMATE CHANGE TREATY. THE UNITED STATES MUST WORK WITH THE WORLD COMMUNITY BECAUSE ACTUALLY, YOU KNOW, IN OUR SOCIETY, THAT'S WHERE THE TIDE IS GOING. IT'S TOWARDS INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION. NOW, THAT'S ON FOREIGN AND INTERNATIONAL POLICY. ON DOMESTIC POLICY, I'M ACTUALLY THE ONLY CANDIDATE IN THIS RACE WHO HAS ARTICULATED A FULLY DEFINED UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE PLAN, MEDICARE FOR ALL, WHICH TAKES THE INSURANCE COMPANIES OUT OF THE BUSINESS OF HEALTH CARE. AND BECAUSE I'M THE ONLY CANDIDATE WHO'S SAYING THAT AND HAS THE PLAN THAT I'VE PRESENTED, AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE GOING TO TAKE NOTE OF THAT. AND I THINK THOSE WHO ARE CONCERNED THAT THE SYSTEM IS OUT OF CONTROL AND IT'S FOR PROFIT ONLY ARE GOING TO LOOK AT MY CANDIDACY. ONE MORE A POINT; LIKEWISE, I'M THE ONLY CANDIDATE IN THIS RACE WHO'S SAYING NO TO THE PRIVATIZATION OF SOCIAL SECURITY AND SAYS TAKE THE RETIREMENT AGE BACK TO 65. YOU KNOW, THERE'S SO MANY AMERICANS WHO HAVE TO WORK TWENTY, THIRTY, FORTY YEARS AT A JOB. THEY'RE TIRED. THE MONEY IS THERE IN THE SYSTEM; THEY CAN RETIRE AT AGE 65. WHY ARE WE MOVING THE RETIREMENT AGE BACK FURTHER AND FURTHER? SO MY CANDIDACY RELATES TO PEOPLE'S PRACTICAL ASPIRATIONS FOR JOBS, FOR HEALTH CARE, FOR RETIREMENT SECURITY, FOR GOOD SCHOOLS. AND BECAUSE OF THAT, I'LL CONNECT WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THE WAY THAT NO OTHER CANDIDATE WILL.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, TALK FOR A MOMENT ABOUT THIS DEBATE THAT'S GOING IN YOUR PARTY BETWEEN THE CENTER AND THE LEFT. YOUR CRITICS ARE SAYING THAT A CANDIDATE LIKE YOU IS JUST TOO LIBERAL, TOO FAR OUT ON THE FRINGE, AND THAT THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY NEEDS TO NOMINATE A CANDIDATE WHO COMES FROM THE POLITICAL CENTER IF IT HOPES TO WIN THE ELECTION.

Kucinich: WELL, WE LOST THE CONGRESS WITH THAT TYPE OF THINKING.

Yepsen: BUT DIDN'T BILL CLINTON WIN THE WHITE HOUSE?

Kucinich: WE LOST THE CONGRESS WITH THAT TYPE OF THINKING, AND WE'RE IN A DIFFERENT TIME THAN WHEN BILL CLINTON WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT. WE'RE IN A TIME WHEN THERE'S MUCH MORE UNEMPLOYMENT, WHERE THERE'S MORE PEOPLE WITHOUT HEALTH CARE, WHERE OUR SCHOOLS ARE IN GREATER DANGER, WHERE OUR TRADE POLICIES HAVE PROVEN THEY HAVE NOT WORKED IN THE INTERESTS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. IN 1940 FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT WAS BEING URGED TO DUMP HENRY WALLACE FROM THE DEMOCRATIC TICKET BECAUSE HE WAS TOO PROGRESSIVE. AND YET FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, YOU KNOW, HE WAS READY TO SAY HE WASN'T EVEN GOING TO TAKE THE NOMINATION OF THE PARTY RATHER THAN DUMP HENRY WALLACE BECAUSE HE UNDERSTOOD THAT THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY COULDN'T LOOK TWO WAYS AT ONE TIME. AND SO HE SAID IN A LETTER THAT HE DIDN'T HAVE TO DELIVER, BUT HE WROTE IN A LETTER THAT THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY HAS TO BASICALLY -- I'LL PARAPHRASE IT, DECIDE WHAT IT STANDS FOR. AND THE QUESTION YOU POSED -- THE UNDERLYING QUESTION, DAVE, IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY HAS TO DECIDE WHAT IT STANDS FOR. AND MY CANDIDACY GIVES THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE SOCIALLY AND ECONOMICALLY PROGRESSIVE, TO STAND FOR INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, TO SET ASIDE WAR AND TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY, AND TO BUILD A NEW DOMESTIC AGENDA.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, WHY DO YOU USE THE HENRY WALLACE EXAMPLE IN IOWA? FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT IN 1948 DID DUMP HENRY WALLACE IN FAVOR OF HARRY TRUMAN. HE MOVED FROM THE LEFT TO THE CENTER.

Kucinich: AND I'M SAYING THAT THAT -- I WAS TALKING ABOUT 1940 WHERE THE FIRST CHALLENGE CAME. AND THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT HE UNDERSTOOD AT THAT TIME THAT IT WAS SO IMPORTANT TO BE ABLE TO KEEP A FOCUS ON PROGRESSIVE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL POLICIES. NOW THE CALCULOUS -- YOU KNOW, I'VE READ "AMERICAN DREAMER," THE BOOK ABOUT HENRY WALLACE'S LIFE. AND I CONSIDER HENRY WALLACE ONE OF THE GREAT AMERICANS BECAUSE OF HIS STAND, BUT THE POLITICS OF THE COUNTRY CHANGED, HENRY WALLACE'S CAREER CHANGED A LITTLE BIT, AND THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHANGED. MY ROLE IN THIS ELECTION IS TO CREATE A RESURGENCE AMONG THE DEMOCRATS, TO GIVE DEMOCRATS A CHANCE TO STAND FOR SOMETHING FOR ECONOMIC PROGRESS FOR PEOPLE SO THE PEOPLE HAVE HEALTH CARE, SO THAT THEY HAVE JOBS, SO THAT THEY CAN HAVE BETTER SCHOOLS AND RETIREMENT SECURITY, AND TO PROTECT THOSE -- MANY OF THOSE FARMERS THAT I'VE BEEN MEETING IN IOWA WHOSE THIS CURRENT SYSTEM IS JUST SHUTTING OUT OF A CHANCE TO SURVIVE.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, ACCORDING ONTO YOUR WEB SITE, YOU'RE A VEGETARIAN.

Kucinich: RIGHT.

Yepsen: WHY SHOULD PEOPLE IN IOWA SUPPORT A PRESIDENT WHO IS ANTI-MEAT?

Kucinich: CORN IS A VEGETABLE.

Beck: WE OFTEN USE THAT CORN TO FEED OUR LIVESTOCK.

Kucinich: AND I WOULD SAY THAT -- WELL, I EAT CORN AND SOY IS SOMETHING THAT IS IN MY DIET. AND WHAT I WANT TO MAKE SURE IS THAT PEOPLE GET A GOOD PRICE. I DON'T WANT TO SEE US GOING BACK TO THE DAYS OF THE 8-CENT HOG. WE'VE GOT TO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE -- THAT FARMERS CAN GET A GOOD PRICE. AND THE REASON WHY THEY DON'T IS BECAUSE AGRICULTURAL MONOPOLIES ARE STRANGLING FAMILY FARMERS. AND MY PRESIDENCY WILL SEEK TO BREAK UP THE MONOPOLIES, NOT ONLY IN AGRICULTURE BUT IN ENERGY AND IN THE MEDIA AND OTHER AREAS WHICH ARE WORKING ADVERSE TO THE PUBLIC INTEREST. SO I'VE MET WITH FARMERS IN IOWA WHO HAVE TOLD ME ABOUT THEIR PLIGHT. I'VE MET WITH FARMERS WHO HAVE DESCRIBED TO ME THE ADVERSE EFFECT THAT CONFINED ANIMAL FEEDING OPERATIONS HAVE ON THEIR LIVES, ON THEIR ABILITY TO MAKE A LIVING. I'VE MET WITH FARMERS WHO HAVE TOLD ME THAT THEY DON'T REALLY HAVE AN ADVOCATE IN THE WHITE HOUSE.

Yepsen: SO HOW IS A VEGETARIAN PRESIDENT GOING TO BE AN ADVOCATE GOING TO BE AN ADVOCATE FOR THE IOWA HOG FARMER OR BEEF PRODUCER?

Kucinich: BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, I DON'T HAVE ANY PROBLEM WITH PEOPLE WHO EAT MEAT. I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH MONOPOLIES THAT ARE STOPPING FARMERS FROM GETTING A FAIR PRICE FOR THEIR CROPS OR FOR THEIR LIVESTOCK. SO AS PRESIDENT, MY JOB ISN'T GOING TO BE TO TELL ANYONE HOW TO EAT; IT'S GOING TO BE TO MAKE SURE THAT FARMERS GET A GOOD PRICE. AND I'LL BE SINGULARLY IN A POSITION TO DO THAT BECAUSE OF MY POLITICAL INDEPENDENCE.

Beck: HOW DO YOU STAND ON GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS? HAVE FARMERS TALKED TO YOU ABOUT THAT IN THEIR ATTEMPTS TO GAIN MORE INCOME BY MODIFYING THEIR CROPS?

Kucinich: WELL, OF COURSE. YOU KNOW, I'VE TALKED TO MANY FARMERS. HOW DO I STAND ON IT? I ACTUALLY HAVE BEEN THE LEADER IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES RAISING QUESTIONS ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS ARE SAFE. BUT BEYOND THAT, WE KNOW THAT THERE ARE AMERICAN FARMERS WHO HAVE BEEN DENIED AN OPPORTUNITY TO GET THEIR CROPS TO MARKET BECAUSE, FOR EXAMPLE, IN EUROPE, THEY'RE NOT ACCEPTING ANY KIND OF CROPS THAT ARE GENETICALLY MODIFIED IN MANY COUNTRIES. SO WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS TO PROTECT OUR FARMERS' ABILITY TO BE ABLE TO GO TO MARKET. WE ALSO NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT WE CAN ASSURE THE CONSUMERS OF THE SAFETY OF THESE CROPS THROUGH SAFETY TESTING AND THROUGH TESTING FOR ALLERGENICITY AND TOXICITY AND THESE THINGS. THAT WAY CONSUMER CONFIDENCE IS RESTORED.

Beck: SO RATHER THAN TRYING TO BREAK DOWN BARRIERS TO THE TRADE MARKET IN EUROPE, ARE YOU GOING TO APPROVE THE ACCEPTANCE OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS OR ARE YOU ATTEMPTING TO SAY THAT THEY SHOULD NOT BE PRODUCED AND FARMERS SHOULD GO BACK TO TRADITIONAL VARIETIES OF CORN AND SOYBEANS SO THAT WE DON'T FACE THAT TRADE BARRIER?

Kucinich: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, YOU KNOW, IN SOME WAYS THE GENIE IS OUT OF THE BOTTLE. WE HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THAT. AND WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT FARMERS ARE PROTECTED IN A NUMBER OF WAYS. IF MARKETS ARE CLOSED OFF BECAUSE THESE CROPS HAVE HAD QUESTIONS RAISED ABOUT THEIR SAFETY, FARMERS OUGHT TO BE INDEMNIFIED AND OUGHT TO BE ABLE TO RECOVER MONEY FROM THOSE AGRICULTURAL INTERESTS AND CHEMICAL AND SEED COMPANIES THAT HAVE BASICALLY FORCED THEM IN THE DIRECTION OF THAT AGRICULTURE. NOW, WHAT WE NEED TO DO WHILE WE HAVE SUCH CROPS IS TO DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO ASSURE THE PUBLIC THAT THEY'RE SAFE. IF THEY'RE NOT SAFE, THE FARMERS SHOULDN'T BE STUCK WITH THE BILL. FURTHERMORE, WE HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO PROTECT THOSE COMMUNITY ORGANIC FARMERS WHO ARE TRYING TO MAINTAIN THEIR CROPS WITHOUT THEM BEING CONTAMINATED BY GENETIC DRIFT OR BY HAVING THOSE GENETICALLY DERIVED CROPS GROWN IN CLOSE PROXIMITY.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, YOU SAID HERE EARLIER YOU WANTED TO CANCEL THE NAFTA TREATY. THERE ARE MANY ECONOMISTS AND A LOT OF PEOPLE IN RURAL AMERICA WHO THINK NAFTA IS A GOOD DEAL FOR THE NATION'S HEARTLAND BECAUSE IT ENABLES PEOPLE TO SELL MORE GOODS ABROAD. WHY WOULD CANCELING NAFTA BE A GOOD DEAL FOR RURAL AMERICA?

Kucinich: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, MOST OF THE FARMERS I'VE TALKED TO IN IOWA HAVE TOLD ME THAT NAFTA MAYBE HAS HELPED THE MULTINATIONAL COMPANIES DO BETTER, BUT IT HASN'T REALLY HELPED THE FARMER GET THEIR PRICE. SO WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS TO HAVE TRADE AGREEMENTS THAT ARE CONDITIONED ON THE RIGHTS OF PEOPLE TO GET A FAIR WAGE OR A FAIR PRICE. WE NEED TO HAVE TRADE AGREEMENTS THAT ARE CONDITIONED ON WORKERS' RIGHTS, ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY PRINCIPLES, ON HUMAN RIGHTS. IT'S NOT JUST THE FARMERS WHO ARE HURTING BECAUSE OF NAFTA. THERE'S A LOT OF MANUFACTURING COMPANIES THAT WENT DOWN. THE CLOSURE OF THE MAYTAG PLANT IN GALESBURG, ILLINOIS, IS A GOOD EXAMPLE. I MEAN NAFTA IS DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR CLOSING THAT PLANT AND FOR CLOSING HUNDREDS OF OTHER PLANTS AROUND THIS COUNTRY WHERE GOOD PAYING JOBS HAVE BEEN LOST, WHERE PEOPLE PUT THEIR LIVES IN TO BUILD A COMMUNITY AND TO WORK IN A FACTORY AND THEY GAVE EVERYTHING THEY HAD TO IT, ONLY TO HAVE THE PLUG PULLED BECAUSE SOMEONE WENT IN SEARCH OF CHEAPER WAGES AND A LOW -- AND CHEAPER BENEFITS AND MAYBE NO ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY PRINCIPLES. AS PRESIDENT, ONE OF MY FIRST ACTS IN OFFICE WILL BE TO RETURN TO BILATERAL TRADE CONDITIONED ON WORKERS' RIGHTS, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND THE ENVIRONMENT. AND THAT MEANS CANCELING NAFTA AND THE WTO. YOU KNOW, WORKERS NEED AN ADVOCATE IN THE WHITE HOUSE. THEY NEED SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS THE WAY THINGS ARE. I'VE SEEN SO MANY COMMUNITIES DEVASTATED BY NAFTA. I'VE SEEN SO MANY FAMILIES WHERE THE BREADWINNER COMES HOME -- AND I'VE SEEN THEM. THEY'RE IN MY OWN NEIGHBORHOOD. THEY COME HOME AND THEY SAY, WELL, YOU KNOW, THEY'RE CLOSING OUR FACTORY. AND WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? IT MEANS MAYBE A LOST HOME, A BROKEN FAMILY. IT MEANS MAYBE NO HEALTH INSURANCE. IT MEANS THE KIDS AREN'T GOING TO GO TO COLLEGE. WE'VE GOT TO BE RESPONSIVE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SUFFERING, WHICH HAS BEEN DIRECTLY ATTRIBUTABLE TO SO MANY OF THESE UNFAIR TRADE AGREEMENTS.

Beck: CONGRESSMAN, TALK ABOUT YOUR STANCE ON ABORTION. YOU WERE PREVIOUSLY A PRO-LIFE CANDIDATE IN YOUR REPRESENTATION IN THE LEGISLATURE IN OHIO, AND MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT YOU HAVE CHANGED THAT VIEW AS YOU'VE BECOME A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE.

Kucinich: WELL, MY VIEWS EVOLVED BUT IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH MY PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN. AS A MEMBER OF THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES, YOU KNOW, IT'S TRUE. I MEAN I HAVE VOTED AGAINST ABORTION. THAT'S TRUE. BUT I'VE SEEN THE CONGRESS GO INCREASINGLY IN THE DIRECTION OF CRIMINALIZATION. THERE'S AN EFFORT TO ATTACK ROE V. WADE. I'M SUPPORTING A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO CHOOSE. I THINK THAT THE EFFORT TO CRIMINALIZE ABORTION IS WRONG FOR THIS COUNTRY. IT'S DIVISIVE AND WE NEED AN APPROACH WHICH TRIES TO MINIMIZE ABORTIONS THROUGH SEX EDUCATION AND BIRTH CONTROL, BUT ONLY WITHIN A CONSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK. AND SO I'VE HAD TALKS ALONG THE WAY AND THROUGH THE YEARS WITH MANY WOMEN WHO HAVE APPEALED TO ME TO CONSIDER THE IMPACT OF THE -- OF OVERTURNING ROE V. WADE. AND AS CONGRESS HAS MOVED INCREASINGLY IN THAT DIRECTION, THAT'S NOT A DIRECTION I'M GOING IN. I'M SUPPORTING A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO CHOOSE.

Borg: CONGRESSMAN, THURSDAY NIGHT THE SENATE PASSED THE SCALED-DOWN VERSION OF THE PRESIDENT'S TAX CUT RECOMMENDATIONS. THE HOUSE PASSED A MUCH MORE LIBERAL, BIGGER VERSION OF TAX CUTS. HOW ARE YOU GOING -- WHAT'S YOUR POSITION ON THAT? WE ALREADY KNOW THAT YOU'RE AGAINST TAX CUTS. BUT HOW ARE YOU GOING TO EXERT YOUR INFLUENCE IN GETTING THE CONFERENCE COMMITTEE TO COME OUT WITH WHAT YOU WANT?

Kucinich: WELL, THE CONFERENCE COMMITTEE ISN'T GOING TO LISTEN TO ME. BUT WHAT I AM DOING AS A CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS TO LET THE AMERICAN PEOPLE KNOW THAT TAX CUTS FOR THOSE IN THE TOP BRACKETS ARE NOT DOING ANYTHING TO STIMULATE OUR ECONOMY. THERE'S BEEN OVER A TRILLION DOLLARS IN TAX CUTS FROM THE FIRST ROUND OF TAX CUTS UNDER THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION. WE'VE LOST ABOUT 2.7 MILLION JOBS SINCE THEN. TAX CUTS ARE NOT PRODUCTIVE OF JOBS IN OUR ECONOMY. MY JOB IS TO LOOK FOR ECONOMIC STIMULUS. YOU KNOW, THERE ARE WAYS IN WHICH GOVERNMENT CAN STIMULATE THE ECONOMY. THAT'S WHAT MY PROPOSAL FOR A WPA-TYPE PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAM WOULD DO. THAT'S WHAT I BELIEVE UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE WOULD DO, ACTUALLY CREATE MORE JOBS IN HEALTH CARE. THAT'S WHAT I BELIEVE AN INDUSTRIAL POLICY, WHICH CALLS FOR US TO REBUILD STEEL, AUTOMOTIVE, AND AEROSPACE INDUSTRIES WILL DO. BUT TAX CUTS, NO WAY. THESE TAX CUTS -- IN A TIME OF DEFICIT -- THINK ABOUT THIS -- THEY'RE CUTTING TAXES WHEN THERE'S A DEFICIT OVER $300 BILLION. THAT CAN ONLY BE MORE TROUBLE FOR THE ECONOMY.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, WE'VE GOT WAY TOO MANY QUESTIONS AND NOT ENOUGH TIME, SO I WANT TO MOVE ALONG TO ANOTHER ISSUE, AND THAT'S HEALTH CARE. LOTS OF DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES TALKING ABOUT HEALTH CARE. HOW DOES YOUR POSITION ON HEALTH CARE DIFFERENTIATE FROM EIGHT OTHER PEOPLE THAT ARE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT? HOW ARE YOU DIFFERENT?

Kucinich: WELL, I'M THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS A PLAN WHICH TAKES THE INSURANCE COMPANIES OUT OF THE HEALTH CARE BUSINESS. I'M SAYING IT'S TIME TO END THIS MARKET-BASED SYSTEM, WHICH INEVITABLY LEAVES SO MANY PEOPLE WITHOUT THE HEALTH CARE THEY NEED.

Borg: SO WHO ADMINISTERS IT, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT?

Kucinich: WELL, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WOULD ADMINISTER IT. THE UNIVERSAL, GUARANTEED, SINGLE PAYER HEALTH CARE, MEDICARE FOR ALL, WOULD BE BACKED IN THIS WAY. THERE WOULD BE A 7.7-PERCENT TAX THAT WOULD BE PAID FOR BY THE EMPLOYER. THAT ACTUALLY WOULD BE MUCH CHEAPER THAN WHAT EMPLOYERS ARE PAYING NOW. EMPLOYERS ARE PAYING ABOUT 8.5 PERCENT ON THE AVERAGE FOR HEALTH INSURANCE EXPENSES. SO THERE WOULD BE A GREAT BREAK FOR BUSINESS. THERE'S OVER A TRILLION DOLLARS IN COST RIGHT NOW A YEAR THAT COME THROUGH LOCAL, STATE, AND FEDERAL FUNDING. SO THERE'S A SOURCE OF MONEY THERE OF OVER A TRILLION DOLLARS, PLUS THE MONEY THAT EMPLOYERS ARE PAYING. PEOPLE ARE ALREADY PAYING FOR A SYSTEM FOR SINGLE PAYER AND THEY'RE NOT GETTING IT. SO MY PLAN WOULD ENABLE PEOPLE TO GET THE BEST QUALITY OF HEALTH CARE, TAKE PROFIT OUT OF HEALTH CARE SO THAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO HAVE A DISCUSSION ANYWHERE IN AMERICA'S FAMILIES WHICH GOES ON TODAY OF PEOPLE SAYING, "WELL, I'M NOT FEELING WELL" AND SOMEONE ELSE SAYS, "WELL, GO TO THE DOCTOR." "OH, I CAN'T BECAUSE WE CAN'T AFFORD IT." WE HAVE TO CHANGE THAT DISCUSSION.

Beck: IT SEEMS THAT AMERICANS HAVE BEEN FRIGHTENED OF A UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE PLAN IN THE PAST, AND THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY IS LARGE IN IOWA. THAT'S A BIG INDUSTRY HERE. SO HOW DO YOU CONVINCE VOTERS THAT THIS IS THE BETTER WAY TO GO?

Kucinich: WELL, YOU'RE RIGHT, THEY HAVE BEEN FRIGHTENED. WHY? BECAUSE TELEVISION COMMERCIALS, PAID FOR BY THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY, HAVE CAUSED THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO TAKE ATTENTION AWAY FROM THEIR OWN INTERESTS. BUT SINCE THAT LAST DEBACLE A FEW YEARS AGO IN THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION, THERE'S BEEN MORE AND MORE AMERICANS WITHOUT HEALTH INSURANCE. THERE'S 41 MILLION AMERICANS RIGHT NOW. THERE'S MORE AND MORE AMERICANS AWARE THAT THEY CAN'T GET THE HEALTH CARE THAT THEY NEED. I THINK THIS COUNTRY IS READY, AND I THINK THIS IS THE TIME. GUARANTEED SINGLE PAYER -- I'M THE ONLY CANDIDATE SAYING THAT, BY THE WAY. OTHERS WANT TAX CREDITS AND WILL KEEP THE PRESENT SYSTEM ESSENTIALLY IN PLACE.

Beck: LET'S MOVE ON TO -- WE KNOW EARLIER YOU'VE TALKED ABOUT YOUR OPPOSITION TO THE WAR WITH IRAQ. GIVE US, THOUGH, YOUR REVIEW OF HOW WE'RE DOING IN THE POST-WAR REBUILDING OF THAT COUNTRY.

Kucinich: WELL, LET'S LOOK AT IT. ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS THAT HAPPENED IS THE UNITED STATES WENT INTO SECURE THE OIL WELLS, AND THEN THE UNITED STATES WENT INTO SECURE THE OIL MINISTRY WHILE THE IRAQI NATIONAL MUSEUM WAS SACKED. THEN IT WENT TO THE UNITED NATIONS TO ASK FOR PERMISSION TO BE ABLE TO ADMINISTER THE OIL BUSINESS OF IRAQ. THEN YOU HAD HALIBURTON GET THEIR CONTRACTS. I THINK THAT WE ARE IN A MORASS WHICH CAN ONLY GET WORSE. AND YOU KNOW, THERE'S A LINE IN THE SCRIPTURES ABOUT THAT WHICH IS CROOKED CANNOT BE MADE STRAIGHT. AND OUR ENTRY INTO IRAQ CAME AS A RESULT OF MISREPRESENTATIONS TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION THAT REQUIRED OUR IMMEDIATE INTERVENTION. AND YOU KNOW WHAT? THAT ISSUE ISN'T GOING TO GO AWAY. SO THE IDEA OF A POST-WAR ADMINISTRATION BECOMES A NIGHTMARE OF OUR MEN AND WOMEN HAVING TO STAY THERE, OF A THEOCRACY PERHAPS EMERGING. WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO STABILIZE IRAQ? HAVE WE JUST ADOPTED IRAQ? IS IRAQ ABOUT TO BECOME OUR 51ST STATE BECAUSE OF THE MONEY WE'RE SPENDING THERE?

Borg: DAVID?

Yepsen: YOU TALKED ABOUT SOMETHING ABOUT CREATING A DEPARTMENT OF PEACE. WE'VE GOT ABOUT FIFTEEN SECONDS LEFT. HOW WOULD A DEPARTMENT OF PEACE WORK?

Kucinich: WELL, IT WOULD WORK BY MAKING NONVIOLENCE AN ORGANIZING PRINCIPLE IN OUR SOCIETY AND BY WORKING TO MAKE WAR ITSELF ARCHAIC. THIS IS AN ELECTION WHERE BIG IDEAS CAN BE HELPFUL IN TAKING AMERICA TOWARDS A NEW PATH. WAR IS NOT INEVITABLE. PEACE IS INEVITABLE AND THAT'S AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE MESSAGE I TAKE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THE PEOPLE OF IOWA.

Borg: THANK YOU, CONGRESSMAN, FOR BEING OUR GUEST TODAY.

Kucinich: THANK YOU.

Borg: ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS," PERSPECTIVE ON HIGHER EDUCATION IN IOWA FROM THE PRESIDENT OF ONE OF IOWA'S THREE STATE UNIVERSITIES. DR. GREGORY GEOFFROY, NOW IN HIS SECOND YEAR AS PRESIDENT OF IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY IN AMES, JOINS US TO DISCUSS THE STRUGGLE TO BALANCE THE BOOKS WITHOUT PRICING A COLLEGE OF EDUCATION OUT OF REACH. GREG GEOFFROY, NEXT WEEKEND... 6.30 FRIDAY, SUNDAY AT NOON. AND THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION... GENERATIONS OF FAMILIES AND FRIENDS WHO FEEL PASSIONATE ABOUT THE PROGRAMS THEY WATCH ON IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION,;

AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; AND BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA... THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE.