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AARP Democratic Forum

October 15, 2003

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AARP DEMOCRATIC FORUM >>

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.

THEY HAVE TREKKED MILES ACROSS THE STATE, CAMPAIGNING FOR THE VOTES OF IOWA'S CAUCUS-GOERS.

It is time for the democrats to lead the way!

THEY HAVE ISSUED A UNIFIED CALL TO THE DEMOCRAT FAITHFUL TO TAKE BACK THE WHITE HOUSE. The democrats want to bring America a new day!

NOW THEY WILL PRESENT MORE DIVERGENT POSITIONS ON MATTERS THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO AMERICAN FAMILIES. FROM DES MOINES, IOWA, THE AAPR IOWA DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FORUM.

GOOD AFTERNOON, EVERYONE. I'M BILL NOVELLI. I'M THE CEO OF AAPR AND THE HOST OF TODAY'S FORUM. I'D LIKE TO WELCOME WARMLY THE SIX DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES WHO ARE HERE WITH US TODAY. PLEASE HOLD YOUR APPLAUSE UNTIL I'VE NAMED THEM ALL. REPRESENTATIVE DENNIS KUCINICH; SENATOR JOHN EDWARDS, GOVERNOR HOWARD DEAN, SENATOR JOHN KERRY, REPRESENTATIVE DICK GEPHARDT, AND AMBASSADOR CAROL MOSELEY BRAUN. I WOULD LIKE ON ALSO WELCOME ALL OF YOU HERE IN OUR AUDIENCE, INCLUDING THOSE IN OUR OVERFLOW ROOM, AS WELL AS THOSE WATCHING ON PUBLIC TELEVISION STATIONS AND C-SPAN AROUND THE COUNTRY. OUR PURPOSE IN SPONSORING THIS FORUM IS TO HELP EDUCATE VOTERS ON THE ISSUES AND ON THE CANDIDATES' POSITIONS ON THOSE ISSUES, SO THAT VOTERS CAN MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS IN THE CAUCUSES AND AT THE POLLS. THE 2004 ELECTION IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT TO ALL AMERICANS, BUT ESPECIALLY TO THE 76 MILLION BABY BOOMERS WHO WILL BEGIN TO REACH TRADITIONAL RETIREMENT AGE IN 2011. WHOEVER IS ELECTED PRESIDENT IN 2004 WILL HAVE TO FACE UP TO THE OPPORTUNITIES AND THE CHALLENGES PRESENTED BY THE AGING OF THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION. 2008 WILL THE BE LAST PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION BEFORE THE FIRST BOOMERS REACH 65. IN FACT, SOME WILL BEGIN TO TAKE THEIR SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS IN 2008, WHEN THEY REACH 62. SO NOW IS THE TIME TO PUT THE NECESSARY CHANGES IN PLACE, TO DEAL EFFECTIVELY WITH THE RETIREMENT OF THE FIRST WAVE OF BOOMERS. OUR NATIONAL CHALLENGE IS TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF PEOPLE'S LIVES WHILE FINDING WAYS TO KEEP AMERICA'S PENSION, HEALTH CARE, AND OTHER SYSTEMS AFFORDABLE SO THEY WILL ENDURE AND REMAIN FOR OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN AND GENERATIONS TO COME. THIS IS A BIG CHALLENGE. IT'S AN URGENT ONE. IT'S ONE THAT THESE CANDIDATES AND THE NEXT PRESIDENT AND ALL OF US MUST CONFRONT, AND IT IS CENTRAL TO THE DISCUSSION THAT WE'RE HAVING HERE THIS AFTERNOON, BECAUSE THESE ISSUES IMPACT OLDER AMERICANS TODAY AND THEY NEED ATTENTION RIGHT NOW... MEDICARE DRUG COVERAGE, PENSIONS, RETIREMENT SAVINGS, AND THE LIST GOES ON AND ON. TO GET US STARTED, I'M PLEASED TO INTRODUCE OUR MODERATOR CHUCK TODD. AS EDITOR IN CHIEF OF THE HOTLINE, WASHINGTON'S PREMIERE DAILY BRIEFING ON AMERICAN POLITICS, CHUCK HAS BECOME ONE OF AMERICA'S FOREMOST EXPERTS ON POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS AT ALL LEVELS. PLEASE WELCOME CHUCK TODD.

Todd: THANKS, BILL. THANKS, BILL, AND WELCOME EVERYBODY. WELCOME TO THE CANDIDATES. I'M GOING TO GET STRAIGHT TO THE GROUND RULES, BECAUSE WE'VE GOT A LOT OF QUESTIONS WE WANT TO GET IN AND WE WANT TO GET EVERYBODY PARTICIPATING AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. EACH CANDIDATE IS GETTING A ONE-MINUTE OPENING STATEMENT. THEN WE'RE GOING TO MOVE TO A QUESTION-AND-ANSWER PERIOD. EACH CANDIDATE WILL HAVE AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY TO ANSWER THE QUESTION IN THAT PERIOD, ONE MINUTE FOR THAT. EACH CANDIDATE WILL GET A ONE-MINUTE CLOSING STATEMENT. I'M HERE TO KEEP THE FORUM FOCUSED ON AAPR ISSUES. AND WHILE SOME OF US MIGHT BE ROOTING FOR A DEBATE TO BREAK OUT, WE ARE GOING TO KEEP THIS A FORUM AND KEEP IT SO THAT EVERYBODY GETS THE EQUAL TIME. IF YOU HAVEN'T FIGURED OUT, ONE MINUTE IS THE MAGIC NUMBER. IT'S A TOUGH THING FOR THESE FOLKS TO SEE, SO DON'T GET MAD AT THE CANDIDATES IF THEY SEEM TO BE RUNNING OVER. IT'S TOUGH TO SEE THE TIMER, BUT I WILL BE THE BAD COP, SO YOU GET TO GET MAD AT ME. HOPEFULLY, IF I DON'T MESS THIS UP, I'M TOLD I'LL GET AN HONORARY AAPR MEMBERSHIP. SO WE'LL SEE. LET'S GET STARTED. AMBASSADOR BRAUN, I BELIEVE YOU ARE AN AAPR MEMBER SINCE 1997. YOU GET TO OPEN WITH THE OPENING STATEMENT.

Moseley Braun: THANK YOU VERY MUCH. YOU KNOW, A GENERATION AGO THE PRESIDENT TOLD US THAT THE ONLY THING WE HAD TO FEAR WAS FEAR ITSELF. TODAY TERRORISM AND 9/11 ARE USED AS A SMOKE SCREEN, A SHIELD FOR A RADICAL, RIGHT-WING AGENDA THAT THREATENS TO LEAVE MY GENERATION AS THE FIRST TO LEAVE LESS LIBERTY, LESS OPPORTUNITY, LESS HOPE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION OF AMERICANS TO COME AFTER US. I'M HERE TODAY AS A CANDIDATE FOR THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION FOR PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES BECAUSE THE GENERATION THAT WENT BEFORE ME ENLARGED OUR DEMOCRACY AND OPENED DOORS SO THAT A GIRL LIKE ME, FROM THE SOUTH SIDE OF CHICAGO, COULD DARE TO DREAM AND COULD DARE TO LIVE THE AMERICAN DREAM. I WANT TO MAKE CERTAIN THAT THAT REMAINS THE CASE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION. I AM HERE. I WANT TO REPEAL AND RENEW AMERICA AND TO PUT US BACK ON A COURSE TOWARDS PEACE AND PROSPERITY AND PROGRESS. I HAVE THE -- I AM THE CLEAREST ALTERNATIVE OF GEORGE BUSH. I HAVE THE CREDENTIALS AND THE CAPACITY TO DO THIS JOB AND TO MAKE CERTAIN THAT OUR GENERATION DOES NO LESS BY THE NEXT GENERATION AND THE LAST --

Todd: THANK YOU, AMBASSADOR BRAUN.

Moseley Braun: THANK YOU FOR INVITING ME TO JOIN THIS FORUM.

Todd: GREAT. THANK YOU. CONGRESSMAN KUCINICH, I BELIEVE AN AAPR MEMBER SINCE 1996. PLEASE.

Kucinich: THANK YOU VERY MUCH. LET ME FIRST TELL YOU WHAT I'M FOR. AS PRESIDENT, I WILL RESTORE THE RETIREMENT AGE OF SOCIAL SECURITY TO 65. WE KNOW THAT MORE AND MORE PEOPLE ARE RETIRING EARLY, AND IT'S ESSENTIAL THAT WE RESTORE SOCIAL SECURITY RETIREMENT TO 65. I WILL BLOCK ANY ATTEMPT TO PRIVATIZE SOCIAL SECURITY. I WILL WORK TO ESTABLISH UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE, SINGLE PAYER, MEDICARE FOR ALL, WHICH WILL HAVE NOT ONLY A PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT FULLY PAID BUT WHICH WILL HAVE LONG-TERM CARE COVERED. WE HAVE THE MONEY TODAY FOR THAT. WE JUST HAVE TO HAVE THE WILL TO TAKE THIS SYSTEM FROM FOR PROFIT TO FOR PEOPLE. AND LET ME TELL YOU WHAT I'M NOT FOR. I'LL BE GOING TO WASHINGTON TONIGHT AND VOTING TOMORROW AGAINST SPENDING 87 BILLION FOR THE CONTINUED OCCUPATION OF IRAQ. THAT MONEY INCLUDES SPENDING 900 MILLION FOR IMPORT PETROLEUM PRODUCTS, IMPORTING PETROLEUM TO IRAQ, $50,000 PER BED FOR PRISONS, MONEY FOR A WITNESS PROTECTION PROGRAM, ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE, INSTITUTING ZIP CODES, CREATING A NATIONWIDE SYSTEM OF AREA CODES IN IRAQ --

Todd: THANK YOU, CONGRESSMAN.

Kucinich: IT'S TIME TO TAKE CARE OF THINGS HERE AT HOME.

Todd: THANK YOU, CONGRESSMAN. AGAIN, PLEASE, IF WE COULD HOLD THE APPLAUSE ON THESE OPENING STATEMENTS. YOU DON'T WANT TO BE LIKE THE POOR CUBS FAN AND THE FOUL BALL: YOU ONLY END UP HURTING YOUR HOME-TEAM FAVORITE THERE. CONGRESSMAN GEPHARDT, AAPR MEMBER SINCE 1991, I BELIEVE.

Gephardt: THAT'S CORRECT. THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING US TO BE HERE TODAY. OUR HIGHEST RESPONSIBILITY IS TO OUR SENIOR CITIZENS, THE PEOPLE WHO TOILED, FOUGHT IN OUR WARS, PAID THEIR TAXES, AND HAVE MADE THIS COUNTRY THE GREAT COUNTRY THAT IT IS. THE REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS ALWAYS RESISTED AND FOUGHT AGAINST THE TWO MOST SUCCESSFUL EFFORTS THAT WE'VE MADE IN THIS COUNTRY TO HELP SENIOR CITIZENS. THAT'S SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE. BEFORE THOSE PROGRAMS, HALF THE SENIORS IN THE COUNTRY DIED IN POVERTY WITHOUT A PENSION AT ALL AND HALF OUR SENIORS DIDN'T HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE, COULDN'T SEE A DOCTOR WHEN THEY NEEDED TO SEE ONE. WE NEED A CANDIDATE WHO CAN GO UP AGAINST GEORGE BUSH, WHO TODAY IS TRYING TO PRIVATIZE AND WRECK SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE, WHO CAN DRAW A LINE IN THE SAND WITH HIM AND DEFEAT HIM ON THESE ISSUES. NOTHING WILL BE MORE IMPORTANT IN THIS ELECTION THAN THAT.

Todd: THANK YOU, CONGRESSMAN. ALL RIGHT. WE GO TO SENATOR EDWARDS WITH HIS OPENING STATEMENT, THE NEWEST MEMBER OF AAPR ON THE STAGE, EXCEPT FOR MYSELF.

Edwards: GOOD AFTERNOON. I'M VERY PROUD TO HAVE GOTTEN MY AAPR CARD THIS PAST SUMMER, AND PROUD NOT JUST FOR TURNING FIFTY BUT ALSO FOR BEING ABLE TO JOIN AN ORGANIZATION THAT HAS BEEN SUCH AN IMPORTANT VOICE FOR THIS COUNTRY. YOUR VOICE IS NEEDED NOW MORE THAN IT HAS EVER BEEN NEEDED. GEORGE BUSH'S AMERICA IS NOT OUR AMERICA. IN GEORGE BUSH'S AMERICA, WE HAVE SENIORS BAGGING GROCERIES BECAUSE THEY'VE LOST THEIR PENSION. IN GEORGE BUSH'S AMERICA, WE HAVE IOWA SENIORS TRAVELING HUNDREDS OF MILES BECAUSE OF THE MEDICARE REIMBURSEMENT RATE. IN GEORGE BUSH'S AMERICA, WE HAVE MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WHO HAVE LOST, WHO ARE BEING VICTIMIZED EVERY SINGLE DAY BY PREDATORY LENDING AND HAVE LOST THEIR PENSIONS. THIS IS NOT OUR AMERICA. I HAVE A CLEAR PLAN ABOUT GETTING AMERICA BACK ON TRACK. I HAVE WRITTEN IT DOWN. WHAT I WILL DO AS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS WHAT I HAVE DONE MY WHOLE LIFE. I FOUGHT FOR -- AS A LAWYER FOR FAMILIES AND --

Todd: THANK YOU, SENATOR.

Edwards: -- AGAINST BIG INSURANCE COMPANIES. I WILL FIGHT AS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE SAME PEOPLE I'VE FOUGHT FOR MY ENTIRE LIFE.

Todd: THANK YOU, SENATOR EDWARDS. NOW WE TURN TO SENATOR KERRY, AAPR MEMBER 1993.

Kerry: SCARY, ISN'T IT? I WANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT CONGRESSMAN NEAL SMITH IS HERE, AND THERE'S NOBODY WHO DID A GREATER JOB AT STANDING UP FOR SENIORS IN THIS COUNTRY THROUGH THE YEARS THAN HE DID. WE ACKNOWLEDGE THAT. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. [ APPLAUSE ] LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT DOING IS FINDING SOMEBODY WHO IS GOING TO KEEP FAITH WITH THE VALUE SYSTEM OF THIS COUNTRY OF OURS. NOTHING DEFINES THAT VALUE SYSTEM MORE THAN THE WAY IN WHICH WE HAVE LIFTED PEOPLE OUT OF POVERTY, THE WAY IN WHICH WE HAVE KEPT FAITH WITH THE AMERICAN DREAM, THAT WHEN YOU ARE A SENIOR, YOU'VE EARNED YOUR RIGHTS AND THEY SHOULD BE UPHELD. THE REPUBLICAN PARTY UNDER GEORGE BUSH IS TRYING TO PRIVATIZE SOCIAL SECURITY, PUSH SENIORS OFF OF MEDICARE INTO THE PRIVATE CHOICES, TRYING TO DENY PEOPLE THE DIGNITY OF THEIR ELDER YEARS BY NOT EVEN ALLOWING FOR MEDICAID PAYMENTS FOR HOME CARE, AND A WHOLE HOST OF THINGS, PRESCRIPTION DRUGS. EVERY SENIOR I MEET ACROSS THIS COUNTRY CANNOT KEEP UP WITH THE BILLS. WE NEED A PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES WHO WILL KEEP FAITH WITH THE GENERATION. I'VE PROVEN MY WILLINGNESS TO DO THAT THROUGH ALL MY FIGHTS FOR 35 YEARS. I WILL DO IT NOW.

THANK YOU, SENATOR. MOVE ON TO GOVERNOR DEAN, AAPR MEMBER CIRCA 1998, I BELIEVE. GO AHEAD.

Dean: THANK YOU. I APPRECIATE THIS INVITATION. I APPRECIATE THE VERMONTERS WHO CAME ALL THIS WAY TO SUPPORT ME AS WELL. THESE PEOPLE ARE ALL GOOD PEOPLE, AND I'M GOING TO SUPPORT WHOEVER GETS THE NOMINATION BECAUSE ANY OF US ARE GOING TO BE BETTER THAN GEORGE BUSH. BUT THE TRUTH IS -- [ LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE ] -- THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ME AND EVERYBODY ELSE ON THIS STAGE. A THIRD OF ALL THE SENIORS IN MY STATE HAVE PRESCRIPTION BENEFITS. 99 PERCENT OF ALL THE KIDS IN MY STATE UNDER 18 ARE ELIGIBLE FOR HEALTH INSURANCE. ALL OUR WORKING POOR PEOPLE HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE. I BELIEVE WHAT WE NEED IN THIS COUNTRY IS SOMEBODY WHO IS GOING TO PUT ASIDE WHAT'S GOING ON IN WASHINGTON FOR THE LAST FIFTEEN OR TWENTY YEARS AND GET SOMETHING DONE. WE NEED A PRESCRIPTION BENEFIT NOW. WE NEED TO GET THAT DONE. WE NEED HEALTH INSURANCE NOW. WE NEED TO GET THAT DONE. WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT SOCIAL SECURITY IS SOLVENT NOW, AND WE NEED TO GET IT DONE. WITH YOUR HELP I WILL BECAUSE THE TRUTH IS THAT YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE THIS COUNTRY, NOT ME. AND SINCE WE'RE IN IOWA, YOU KNOW YOU HAVE THE POWER BECAUSE WHAT HAPPENS ON JANUARY 19 IS GOING TO MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

Todd: THANK YOU, GOVERNOR. A QUICK EXPLANATION. GO AHEAD, EVERYBODY APPLAUD. A QUICK APPLAUSE FOR EVERYBODY -- FOR EVERYBODY'S OPENING STATEMENT. [ APPLAUSE ] A QUICK REMINDER OF THE RULES ON THIS QUESTION. THE ORDER OF WHO GETS TO ANSWER WHICH QUESTION HAS BEEN PREDETERMINED. IT WAS PREDETERMINED BY LOTTERY. THE ROTATION IS GOING TO ALWAYS STAY THE SAME. SO THE FIRST PERSON WHO ANSWERS THE QUESTION, QUESTION 1, BECOMES THE LAST PERSON TO ANSWER QUESTION 2, AND WILL MOVE UP IN THAT ROW. IF A CANDIDATE CHOOSES -- HOWEVER THEY CHOOSE TO USE THEIR ONE MINUTE IS UP TO THEM. BUT IT IS GOING TO -- WE'RE GOING TO STAY RIGID IN THAT ORDER. WITH THAT OUT OF THE WAY, LET'S GET STARTED HERE. BILL NOVELLI BROUGHT UP THIS 2011, THE CHALLENGES FACING 2011 FOR WHEN THE FIRST BABY BOOMERS TURNED 65. WHAT WOULD YOU DO AS PRESIDENT TO HELP PROVIDE HEALTH SECURITY FOR THESE FOLKS WITH MEDICARE THROUGHOUT 2011 AND BEYOND? CONGRESSMAN GEPHARDT?

Gephardt: WELL, THE TRUTH IS THAT IN 1993 I LED THE FIGHT FOR THE CLINTON ECONOMIC PROGRAM. THERE'S NO WAY TO KEEP SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE SOLVENT AND MOVING FORWARD UNLESS YOU GET THE ECONOMY TO WORK IN THIS COUNTRY. THIS PRESIDENT HAS RUINED OUR ECONOMY. JUST TWO YEARS AGO WE WERE TALKING ABOUT SURPLUSES, THAT WE THE DEMOCRATS IN THE CONGRESS TRIED TO GET TO USE TO SHORE UP SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE. WE HAD A PLAN TO DO IT. WE HAD GOTTEN THE ECONOMY TO GROW, 22 MILLION NEW JOBS IN SEVEN YEARS. WE HAD THE ECONOMY MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, AND HERE COMES GEORGE W. BUSH AND EVERYTHING IS TURNED ON ITS HEAD. SO WHAT I SAY TO YOU IS THAT WHEN I'M PRESIDENT, I HAVE A BOLD PLAN, JUST LIKE I DID IN 1993, TO GET THIS ECONOMY MOVING AGAIN. WHEN WE CREATE A GOOD ECONOMY, WE HAVE SURPLUSES. WE CAN THEN TAKE CARE OF THE SOLVENCY AND SECURITY OF SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE. NOTHING IT IS MORE IMPORTANT TO THE FUTURE OF --

Todd: SENATOR EDWARDS, IF YOU COULD ADDRESS THIS QUESTION FOR US.

Edwards: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, WHAT WE'RE NOT GOING TO DO IS DRIVE SENIORS OUT OF THE TRADITIONAL MEDICARE SYSTEM AND INTO HMOs. THAT'S THE LAST THING WE SHOULD BE DOING. AND IF IN FACT WE WANT ON GET THIS ECONOMY GOING AGAIN, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO DO THAT IS CHANGE WHAT THIS PRESIDENT IS DOING WITH THE TAX BURDEN IN AMERICA. THIS PRESIDENT IS SHIFTING THE TAX BURDEN IN AMERICA FROM WEALTH AND THE WEALTHY TO WORK IN THE MIDDLE CLASS. WORKING PEOPLE IN THE MIDDLE CLASS ARE, IN FACT, THE ECONOMIC ENGINE IN THIS COUNTRY. THE PRESIDENT WANTS TO GET RID OF CAPITAL GAINS TAX, DIVIDENDS TAX, THE TAXATION OF LARGE ESTATES, ALL PASSIVE, UNEARNED INCOME FROM WEALTH. I WANT THIS PRESIDENT TO EXPLAIN TO MIDDLE-CLASS WORKING FAMILIES WHY MILLIONAIRES SITTING BY A SWIMMING POOL, GETTING HIS FINANCIAL STATEMENT EACH MONTH TO SEE HOW MUCH MONEY HE MADE IS PAYING A LOWER TAX RATE THAN A SECRETARY, IS PAYING A LOWER TAX RATE THAN A FIREFIGHTER OR A SCHOOL TEACHER. THIS IS NOT OUR AMERICA. IF WE WANT TO GET THIS ECONOMY GOING AGAIN, STRENGTHEN SOCIAL SECURITY, STRENGTHEN MEDICARE, WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS STRENGTHEN THE MIDDLE-CLASS WORKING FAMILIES IN THIS COUNTRY.

Todd: THANK YOU. SENATOR KERRY.

Kerry: ON MEDICARE, WHICH I THINK IS THE QUESTION, WE OBVIOUSLY HAVE TO STRENGTHEN THE ECONOMY, BUT WE ALSO NEED TO DO THINGS STRUCTURALLY TO MEDICARE TO GUARANTEE IT'S GOING TO BE THERE, AS WELL AS SOCIAL SECURITY. I WILL ABSOLUTELY VETO OR RESIST ANY EFFORTS TO TRY TO PRIVATIZE SOCIAL SECURITY, NUMBER ONE. IN ADDITION TO THAT, I WILL NOT CUT THE BENEFITS, AND I WILL GUARANTEE THAT WE DO NOT MOVE THE RETIREMENT AGE UP. IF ANYTHING IN AMERICA, WE SHOULD BE TRYING TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR PEOPLE TO RETIRE SOONER. ON MEDICARE ITSELF, WE MUST PROVIDE A MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT NOT LIKE THE ONE WHERE GEORGE BUSH IS PUSHING PEOPLE INTO THE PRIVATE SECTOR WHERE, IF THERE ARE TWO PROVIDERS, YOU LOSE MEDICARE. IF YOU'RE QUALIFIED FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID, THEY'RE REQUIRING YOU TO TAKE MEDICAID AND MAKING YOU A SECOND-CLASS MEDICARE CITIZEN. THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. WE HAVE TO ROLL BACK THE HIGH END OF THE BUSH TAX CUT. WE HAVE TO MAKE STRUCTURAL CHANGES ON MEDICARE FRAUD AND ABUSE. WE HAVE TO GUARANTEE THAT WE HAVE PRESCRIPTION DRUG COVERAGE FOR AMERICANS AND LOWER THE COST OF HEALTH CARE IN AMERICA, AND I HAVE A BUNCH THINGS THAT --

Todd: WE'RE GOING TO DO A WHOLE BUNCH OF MEDICARE QUESTIONS, I PROMISE EVERYBODY. BUT GENERAL PRIORITIES ON PROTECTING MEDICARE, GOVERNOR DEAN.

Dean: MEDICARE. FIRST OF ALL, WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT MEDICARE IS A CONTRACT THAT LBJ PUT IN WITH AMERICAN SENIORS OVER THIRTY YEARS AGO, ALMOST FORTY YEARS AGO. SECONDLY, SOCIAL SECURITY IS THE SAME SEVENTY YEARS AGO. THAT'S A SACRED CONTRACT. WE HAVE TO HONOR IT. FIRST, IF YOU WANT TO MAKE MEDICARE -- FIRST OF ALL, MEDICARE IS SOLVENT UNTIL 2023. SECONDLY, IF YOU WANT TO CONTINUE TO MAKE MEDICARE SOLVENT, DICK GEPHARDT IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, YOU IMPROVE THE ECONOMY. BILL CLINTON PROVED THAT WHEN YOU MAKE THE ECONOMY BETTER BY BALANCING THE BUDGET, YOU BRING IN A LOT OF PAYROLL TAXES THAT WEREN'T OTHERWISE THERE, AND THAT EXTENDS THE SOLVENCY OF BOTH SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE. JOHN KERRY IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT; WE HAVE TO HAVE A PRESCRIPTION BENEFIT. BUT WHAT THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION IS PROPOSING IS THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING. HE GIVES ALL THE BENEFITS TO PEOPLE WHO DON'T NEED THEM VERY MUCH AND TAKES THEM AWAY FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE SPENDING $300, $400, AND $500 A MONTH. THOSE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT ARE CHOOSING BETWEEN THEIR MEDICATIONS AND THEIR RENT AND THEIR FOOD, AND THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE IN THE WEALTHIEST COUNTRY IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A PRESCRIPTION BENEFIT. IT'S GOING TO COST WHAT GEORGE BUSH'S PRESCRIPTION BENEFIT DOES, AND THEN WE'RE GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT MEDICARE IS SOLVENT LONG INTO THE FUTURE.

Todd: THANK YOU, GOVERNOR. AMBASSADOR BRAUN.

Moseley Braun: THE FIRST THING WE HAVE TO DO IS TO PROVIDE UNIVERSAL, COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL AMERICANS. AS TO MEDICARE SPECIFICALLY, WHICH IS THE PROGRAM ALREADY IN PLACE, I THINK WE HAVE TO MAKE CERTAIN THAT UNTIL WE CAN GET TO A UNIVERSAL -- I'VE SUGGESTED A SINGLE PAYER SYSTEM, UNTIL WE GET THERE, TO MAKE CERTAIN THAT THE REIMBURSEMENT RATES ARE SUFFICIENT SO THAT PROVIDERS DON'T STOP TAKING MEDICARE PATIENTS AND SO THAT OTHER NEEDS, SUCH AS FOR UTENSILS AND THE LIKE, OTHER SUPPORTS, ARE NOT PRECLUDED BY THE REIMBURSEMENT FORMULA THAT MEDICARE USES. WE NEED TO MAKE CERTAIN THAT MEDICARE PROVIDES FOR SENIORS' NEEDS. BUT I THINK THE ANSWER THAT HAS BEEN GIVEN IS EXACTLY ON POINT IN TERMS OF THE WAY THAT WE PAY FOR MEDICAID. WE HAVE TO DECOUPLE IT FROM THE PAYROLL TAX. THE PAYROLL TAX, FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES, IS THE POOR MAN'S TAX. IT'S WHAT WORKING PEOPLE PAY. AS LONG AS WE ARE DEPENDENT JUST ON THAT FOR HEALTH PAYMENTS, WE WILL SEE THIS PIECEMEALING OF HEALTH CARE IN WAYS THAT WORKS TO THE DETRIMENT OF SENIORS' INTERESTS.

Todd: THANK YOU, AMBASSADOR. CONGRESSMAN KUCINICH, PLEASE.

Kucinich: WE NEED A DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT APPROACH TOWARDS HEALTH CARE IN THIS COUNTRY, WHICH WILL PROTECT THE RETIREMENT ASSETS OF SENIOR CITIZENS. UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE, MEDICARE FOR ALL IS EMBODIED IN A BILL THAT I COSPONSORED, HR676. IT WOULD PROVIDE THAT IT WOULD HAVE NOT ONLY UNIVERSAL STANDARD OF QUALITY AND CARE, BUT ALSO WOULD HAVE LONG-TERM HEALTH CARE COVERAGE. WE HAVE TO REALIZE THAT RIGHT NOW SENIOR CITIZENS MIGHT SPEND UP TO $46,000 ANNUALLY FOR LONG-TERM CARE. MANY SENIORS, MIDDLE-INCOME SENIORS END UP HAVING TO GO BROKE BEFORE THEY CAN GET ANY HELP FROM MEDICAID. THAT SHOULDN'T HAPPEN WHERE PEOPLE SACRIFICE THEIR ENTIRE LIFE SAVINGS JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE IN THE FAMILY NEEDS LONG-TERM CARE. UNDER MY PLAN, MEDICARE FOR ALL, I INTEND TO SEE LONG-TERM CARE COVERED. I INTEND TO SEE A PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT COVERED. NO MORE SENIORS HAVING TO SPLIT THEIR PILLS TO MAKE THEIR PRESCRIPTIONS LAST BUT TO CREATE A NATION WHICH REALLY CARES FOR PEOPLE. UNIVERSAL SINGLE-PAYER MEDICARE FOR ALL TAKES THE PRIVATE SECTOR OUT OF HEALTH CARE. THERE ARE SOME CANDIDATES WHO SAY YOU WANT FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE IN THE SYSTEM. DON'T VOTE FOR THEM. IF YOU WANT FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE IN THE SYSTEM, VOTE FOR ME.

Todd: LET'S MOVE ON TO THE NEXT QUESTION HERE. ASSUMING A MIDDLE-CASE SCENARIO WITH THE 2004 ELECTION -- AND I SAY MIDDLE CASE FOR SOME OF YOU -- AND ONE OF YOU IS ELECTED PRESIDENT, BUT YOU HAVE A CONGRESS THAT DOESN'T SHARE YOUR PRIORITIES WHEN IT COMES TO MEDICARE. WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH THE EXECUTIVE POWERS OF THE PRESIDENCY IMMEDIATELY WITHOUT HAVING TO DEAL WITH CONGRESS, POTENTIALLY A REPUBLICAN CONGRESS, BUT THE EXECUTIVE POWERS OF THE PRESIDENCY THAT YOU CAN DO TO PROTECT MEDICARE? SENATOR EDWARDS?

Edwards: WELL, I THINK THERE ARE TWO THINGS THAT THE NEW PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES -- WHICH IS WHAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE IN 2004 -- WHAT THE NEW PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES SHOULD DO TO TRY TO MOVE US FORWARD BOTH ON THE ECONOMY, ON JOBS, AND ON PROTECTING SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE. FIRST IS TO MAKE THE CASE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HOW IMPORTANT ALL THESE PROGRAMS ARE. HOWARD DEAN MENTIONED JUST A FEW MINUTES AGO HOW LONG THIS HAS BEEN A CONTRACT WITH OUR PEOPLE. WE NEED TO BE OUT IN FRONT OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE EXPLAINING WHERE IT IS WE NEED TO GO AS A NATION: OUR ECONOMY, JOBS, HOW TO EMPOWER THE MIDDLE CLASS, HOW IN FACT TO CREATE WEALTH, NOT JUST FOR THE WEALTHY BUT ALSO FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS. AT THE SAME TIME BRING THE LEADERS OF CONGRESS IN AND TELL THEM THIS IS WHERE WE'RE GOING TO GO, THIS IS THE AGENDA, THIS IS WHERE WE'RE GOING, NOT ONLY FOR US IN THE CONGRESS BUT FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, SO THAT WE CAN CONVERGE NOT ONLY THE WILL OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES HAS THE BULLY PULPIT. THE PRESIDENT NEEDS TO USE THAT BULLY PULPIT TO PERSUADE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHERE IT IS WE NEED TO GO AND SIMULTANEOUSLY CONVINCE THE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS THAT THIS IS THE PLACE AMERICA NEEDS TO GO FOR THE GOOD OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

Todd: SENATOR KERRY, THE EXECUTIVE POWERS OF THE PRESIDENCY, WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH THEM?

Kerry: WELL, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO IS APPOINT AN ATTORNEY GENERAL WHO UPHOLDS THE RIGHTS OF PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY AND ENFORCES THE LAW, AND THAT MEANS THE LAW WITH RESPECT TO THE PATENT ABUSES, OF DRUG COMPANIES WHICH ARE PREVENTING GENERICS FROM GETTING INTO THE MARKETPLACE, THE ABUSE OF PRACTICES OF THE PHARMACY BENEFIT MANAGERS WHO ARE CREATING REBATE, KICKBACK, INCENTIVE SCHEMES, THAT RAISE THE PRICES OF DRUGS ON THOSE 10 PERCENT. IT'S EXTRAORDINARY. BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT POWER OF THE PRESIDENCY BEYOND THE POWER OF THE VETO, BEYOND THE POWER OF THE BUDGET, BOTH OF WHICH ARE CRITICAL, IS THE POWER OF THE BULLY PULPIT. THE PRESIDENT DECIDES EVERY DAY WHAT AMERICA WILL TALK ABOUT AROUND THE DINNER TABLE IN OUR HOMES. WHERE THE PRESIDENT GOES, WHAT THE PRESIDENT DECIDES IS IMPORTANT TO FOCUS ON. AND OUR BATTLE IS NOT JUST TRYING TO WIN THE WHITE HOUSE IN 2004. OUR BATTLE IS TO RESTORE THE MAJORITY IN THE HOUSE AND IN THE SENATE, AND I INTEND TO SET THE PRIORITIES OF THIS NATION -- HEALTH CARE, MEDICARE, SOCIAL SECURITY -- AND WE'LL TAKE THAT BATTLE OUT TO THE COUNTRY, AND WE'LL WIN THAT MAJORITY.

Todd: GOVERNOR DEAN, THE EXECUTIVE POWERS, WHAT WOULD YOU USE?

Dean: WELL, THIS IS POLITICS SO I GET TO GIVE A COMPLETELY SELF-SERVING ANSWER. IF I GET TO BE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, WE WON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT A REPUBLICAN CONGRESS, BECAUSE THE WAY THAT WE'RE RUNNING OUR CAMPAIGN, WE'RE GIVING THE 50 PERCENT OF AMERICANS WHO DON'T VOTE ANYMORE, BECAUSE THEY'VE GIVEN UP ON THE PROCESS IN WASHINGTON, A REASON TO VOTE. WE PLAN TO BRING THREE OR FOUR MILLION NEW PEOPLE INTO THIS PROCESS THAT EITHER VOTED THIRD PARTY THE LAST TIME OR DIDN'T VOTE AT ALL. WHEN THOSE PEOPLE COME IN, THEY'RE NOT JUST GOING TO VOTE FOR A DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT. THEY'RE GOING TO VOTE FOR DEMOCRATIC SENATORS, DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES. AND WE WON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT TOM DELAY ANYMORE. HE'LL BE THE MINORITY LEADER OR HE'LL BE BACK IN HOUSTON, EXTERMINATING COCKROACHES WHERE HE BELONGS. [ LAUGHTER ]

Todd: THANK YOU, GOVERNOR. CONGRESSMAN, WE WILL LEAVE THAT THERE. AMBASSADOR BRAUN? AMBASSADOR BRAUN, WHAT WOULD YOU USE THE EXECUTIVE POWERS OF THE PRESIDENCY TO DO TO PROTECT MEDICARE?

Moseley Braun: WELL, YOU KNOW, WOMEN APPROACH PROBLEM SOLVING IN COLLABORATIVE WAYS. AND I WOULD WORK, FRANKLY, WITH THE CONGRESS TO MAKE CERTAIN NOT ONLY THAT THE LEGISLATIVE CHANGES GET PUT IN PLACE TO PROVIDE UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE FOR AMERICANS, BUT ALSO I WOULD WORK WITH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO SEE TO IT THAT THE LAWS WERE ENFORCED. I'D WORK WITH MY SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES TO SEE TO IT THAT THE INTERPRETATIONS OF THE REGULATIONS PERTAINING TO MEDICARE ARE NOT SO DRACONIAN AS TO KEEP PEOPLE FROM GETTING ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE, WHICH IS WHAT THEY'RE DOING NOW. THEY'RE MAKING EVERY RULE POSSIBLE TO LIMIT OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE TO HAVE CARE, WHETHER IT IS OXYGEN OR THE MEDICATIONS OR THE UTENSILS THAT THEY NEED TO MAINTAIN THEIR HEALTH. EVERYTHING THAT CAN BE DONE TO LIMIT ACCESS IS BEING DONE BY THIS ADMINISTRATION. I WOULD TAKE AN ABSOLUTE OPPOSITE TACK TO THAT AND SEE TO IT THAT WE EXPAND OPPORTUNITY UNDER MEDICARE UNTIL SUCH TIME AS WE CAN GET UNIVERSAL COVERAGE.

Todd: CONGRESSMAN KUCINICH, AS PRESIDENT, WHAT POWERS WOULD YOU USE IMMEDIATELY?

Kucinich: WELL, LET'S TAKE THIS IN TWO STEPS, FIRST AS A NOMINEE OF THE PARTY. I'D GO TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THE SAME WAY THAT FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT WENT TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE IN 1932 AND SAY GIVE ME A CONGRESS THAT WILL PASS WIDESPREAD ECONOMIC REFORMS. AND IN 1932 THE AMERICAN PEOPLE GAVE 88 NEW MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE AND 13 NEW MEMBERS OF THE SENATE TO HELP ENACT THE NEW DEAL REFORMS. I'M GOING TO ASK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO PROVIDE A CONGRESS WHICH WILL ENACT UNIVERSAL, SINGLE-PAYER MEDICARE FOR ALL, AND ASK THE PEOPLE TO MAKE THAT ONE OF THE MEASURES OF THIS ELECTION. I AM CONFIDENT THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WILL RESPOND POWERFULLY AND AFFIRMATIVELY. AS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, I INTEND TO USE THE EXECUTIVE POWER OF THE OFFICE TO HELP ENCOURAGE THE DRUG COMPANIES TO LOWER THEIR PHARMACEUTICAL PRICES. AND ONE WAY I'LL DO THAT IS TO SIGN AN EXECUTIVE ORDER THAT WILL ENABLE THE GOVERNMENT TO TAKE THE STEPS TOWARDS CREATING GENERIC BRANDS, THE GOVERNMENT MAKE THE BRANDS. WHEN WE HAVE THE GOVERNMENT HAVE THE ABILITY TO GO INTO THE PRODUCTION OF GENERIC DRUGS, I THINK THAT THESE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES ARE GOING TO BE JUST DELIGHTED TO LOWER THEIR PRICES. [ LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE ]

Todd: THANK YOU, CONGRESSMAN. CONGRESSMAN GEPHARDT, WHAT POWERS OF THE PRESIDENCY WOULD YOU IMMEDIATELY PUT TO USE?

Gephardt: WELL, THE FIRST THING I'D DO IS HAVE THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES CHANGE THE REIMBURSEMENT PATTERN FOR MEDICARE SO THAT STATES LIKE IOWA AND MISSOURI GET THEIR FAIR SHARE. [ APPLAUSE ] SECONDLY, I WOULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT ALLOWING DRUGS TO COME IN FROM FROM CANADA AND MEXICO. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS FRUSTRATED THE ACTION OF CONGRESS TWICE NOW TO GET THAT TO HAPPEN. I WOULD MAKE THAT HAPPEN. THE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES HAVE FRUSTRATED THIS BY LOBBYING THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH. I WOULD STOP THAT FROM HAPPENING. THIRD, I'D DO WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID HERE ABOUT GENERIC DRUGS. BUT LET ME TELL YOU IN ADDITION TO THAT, I'M GOING TO ELECT A DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS WHEN I GET ELECTED PRESIDENT AND I'M GOING TO ADVOCATE A HEALTH CARE PLAN THAT WILL GET EVERYBODY COVERED, THAT WILL HELP RETIREES WITH THEIR HEALTH CARE, WITH LONG-TERM CARE. AND I'M GOING TO SIGN THIS BILL AT HARRY TRUMAN LIBRARY IN INDEPENDENCE, MISSOURI. YOU'RE ALL INVITED. I HOPE YOU'LL BE THERE.

Todd: THANK YOU, CONGRESSMAN. FOLKS, OUR NEXT QUESTION COMES FROM AAPR MEMBER FRANCES HAWTHORN. FRANCES?

Hawthorn: WHY IS IT THAT THE GOVERNMENT CANNOT FIND ENOUGH MONEY TO PROVIDE US PRESCRIPTION DRUG COVERAGE EVEN THOUGH EVERY CANDIDATE ELECTED DURING THE LAST FIVE OR SIX YEARS HAS USED THAT ISSUE TO GET MY VOTE? HOW ARE YOU -- ANY OF YOU DIFFERENT FROM THOSE WHO HAVE COME BEFORE YOU?

Todd: SOMEBODY WHO FOLLOWS A LOT OF CAMPAIGN POLITICS. [ APPLAUSE ] WE'VE SEEN A LOT OF PRESCRIPTION DRUG ADS. EVERYBODY UP HERE AT SOME POINT HAS RUN A PRESCRIPTION DRUG AD DURING THE LAST THREE OR FOUR ELECTION CYCLES. SENATOR KERRY, HOW DO YOU ANSWER THAT?

Kerry: WELL, THE DIFFERENCE IS I VOTED FOR THEM. I DIDN'T TRY TO STOP THEM THE WAY GEORGE BUSH HAS. LOOK, THERE'S A VERY SIMPLE REASON WHY YOU AND OTHER SENIORS ACROSS THIS COUNTRY HAVE BEEN PUT IN THE PREDICAMENT OF HAVING A POSSIBLE PRESCRIPTION DRUG PLAN THAT IS INADEQUATE, THAT PUSHES OFF OF MEDICARE, THAT PUSHES YOU INTO THE PRIVATE SECTOR, THAT LEAVES A GREAT BIG DOUGHNUT HOLE IN THE MIDDLE WHERE YOU'RE PAYING A PREMIUM BUT YOU DON'T GET ANY BENEFIT FOR IT, THAT ACTUALLY FORCES PEOPLE ONTO MEDICAID. AND THE REASON IS VERY SIMPLE: BECAUSE GEORGE W. BUSH THOUGHT IT WAS MORE IMPORTANT TO GIVE THREE TRILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF TAX CUTS, TO GIVE OVER -- OVER ABOUT A TRILLION AND TWO OF IT TO ONE PERCENT OF AMERICANS BECAUSE HE THOUGHT IT WAS MORE IMPORTANT TO GIVE PEOPLE EARNING MORE THAN $200,000 A YEAR A TAX BREAK. THAT IS THE SINGLE REASON THAT YOU HAVE BEEN LEFT WITH $400 BILLION INSTEAD OF THE FULL MEASURE OF THE MEDICARE BENEFIT. AND WHEN I'M PRESIDENT -- I HOPE BEFORE THAT, BUT WHEN I AM PRESIDENT, WE ARE GOING TO ROLL BACK THE HIGH END OF THE BUSH TAX CUTS AND WE'RE GOING TO WORK TOWARDS FAIRNESS IN A FULL PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT FOR SENIORS. WE CAN DO IT AND I'VE VOTED FOR IT. AND I VOTED AGAINST GEORGE BUSH'S PLAN IN CONGRESS.

Todd: GOVERNOR DEAN, IF YOU'D ADDRESS THIS.

Dean: I THINK THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION. I PROMISE I DIDN'T PLANT MRS. HAWTHORN IN THE AUDIENCE. I'VE BEEN IMPATIENT TOO. WE FINALLY GAVE UP VOTING FOR CONGRESS. EVEN WHEN THE DEMOCRATS CONTROLLED CONGRESS, WE HAD PROMISES OF ALL KINDS OF THINGS AND WE NEVER GOT THEM. IN MY STATE, ONE THIRD OF ALL SENIORS, EVERYBODY BELOW 225 PERCENT OF POVERTY HAS SOME HELP WITH PRESCRIPTION DRUGS. THAT'S WHY I'M RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT. I GOT TIRED OF WAITING FOR CONGRESS, AND I THINK A LOT OF AMERICANS ARE TIRED OF WAITING FOR CONGRESS TOO. WE HEAR THIS JUST LIKE YOU SAID. EVERY FEW YEARS WE'RE ALL GOING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT PRESCRIPTION DRUGS. WHAT I'M GOING TO DO IS DELIVER WHAT WE DID IN VERMONT, EXCEPT EVERYBODY IS GOING TO HAVE PRESCRIPTION DRUG COVERAGE. ALL OUR KIDS ARE GOING TO HAVE COVERAGE. AND EVERY MAN, WOMAN, AND CHILD IN AMERICA IS GOING TO HAVE COVERAGE. WE ARE THE ONLY INDUSTRIALIZED NATION IN THE ENTIRE WORLD THAT DOESN'T HAVE A UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE PLAN. WE NEED IT. IT NEEDS PRESCRIPTION DRUGS WITH MEDICARE. WE NEED TO HAVE PRIVATE COVERAGE, I BELIEVE, FOR WORKING PEOPLE. AND FOR THOSE MODERATE INCOME PEOPLE AND PEOPLE UNDER 25, WE CAN HAVE GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS. IT WORKED IN VERMONT. IT WILL WORK IN THE COUNTRY. WHAT IT TAKES IS TOUGH, EXPERIENCED LEADERSHIP TO GET IT DONE.

Todd: THANK YOU, GOVERNOR. AMBASSADOR BRAUN?

Moseley Braun: I TELL PEOPLE WHAT I BELIEVE IN. I DO WHAT I SAY I'M GOING TO DO. I FOLLOW THROUGH AND THEN I HOLD MYSELF ACCOUNTABLE FOR MY SERVICE. I HAVE A RECORD OF PRODUCTIVITY OF DELIVERING ON MY PROMISES. I HAVE COME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT ALL THE PIECEMEALING ON HEALTH CARE IS NOT GOING TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM, THAT WE HAVE TO HAVE UNIVERSAL COVERAGE UNDER -- AND THE SENSIBLE WAY TO DO THAT IS THROUGH A SINGLE-PAYER SYSTEM, ONE THAT COVERS DRUGS AND MEDICATIONS, COVERS PREVENTION AND WELLNESS, ALL THE WAY TO LONG-TERM CARE. AS AMBASSADOR TO NEW ZEALAND, I HAD A CHANCE TO SEE A SINGLE-PAYER SYSTEM IN OPERATION, AND PEOPLE DIDN'T HAVE THE HEALTH ANXIETY THAT AMERICANS UNFORTUNATELY HAVE TO SUFFER WITH. WE DON'T HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS ANYMORE. WE CAN HAVE PRESCRIPTION DRUG COVERAGE, LONG-TERM CARE, PREVENTION AND WELLNESS, SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE'S HEALTH NEEDS ACROSS THE BOARD. AND THAT WILL HELP GIVE OUR ECONOMY A BOOST, WILL GIVE THE STATES A BOOST, AND WILL GIVE SENIORS THE KIND OF SECURITY ABOUT HEALTH CARE THAT WE DESERVE. BECAUSE I'M A NUMBER TWO --

Todd: THANK YOU, AMBASSADOR. CONGRESSMAN KUCINICH.

Kucinich: THE BILL THAT I'VE INTRODUCED WITH JOHN CONDERS OF MICHIGAN IS A BILL THAT ESTABLISHES UNIVERSAL, SINGLE-PAYER HEALTH CARE, MEDICARE FOR ALL, AND IT HAS A PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT. WE HAVE TO REALIZE SOMETHING, THAT UNTIL WE GET CONTROL OF OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM AWAY FROM THE INSURANCE COMPANIES AND AWAY FROM THE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES, WE'RE NEVER GOING TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE FOR ALL AMERICANS. NOW, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF AMBASSADOR MOSELEY BRAUN, ALL OF MY FRIENDS HERE ON THE STAGE ARE FOR KEEPING THE PRESENT HEALTH CARE SYSTEM WITHIN A FOR-PROFIT CONTEXT. I THINK THAT'S THE WRONG APPROACH. I THINK THAT WHAT AMERICANS ARE WAITING FOR IS A BOLD APPROACH, IS FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE. AND THAT FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE WILL BE EMBODIED IN A BILL THAT CREATES COVERAGE FOR ALL, MEDICARE FOR ALL, WITH A PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT FULLY PAID: NO MORE PEOPLE SPLITTING THEIR PILLS; NO MORE PEOPLE PAYING $400, $500, $600 A MONTH FOR PRESCRIPTION DRUGS; LONG-TERM CARE AND NO ONE HAVING TO WORRY ABOUT GIVING THEIR LIFE SAVINGS AND SIGNING OVER THEIR HOME IN ORDER TO GET LONG-TERM CARE. THE PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT THE PLANS ARE. MINE IS TO TAKE THE PRIVATE SYSTEM OUT OF HEALTH CARE IN AMERICA.

Todd: THANK YOU, CONGRESSMAN. CONGRESSMAN GEPHARDT, YOU TRAVELED TO A LOT OF CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS OVER THE LAST TWO CYCLES THAT PRESCRIPTION DRUGS WAS THE ADVERTISING DU JOUR. TALK TO MRS. HAWTHORN ABOUT THIS.

Gephardt: MRS. HAWTHORN, MY MOTHER WAS 95 WHEN SHE PASSED AWAY ABOUT FIVE MONTHS AGO. AND IN THE LAST YEARS OF HER LIFE, SHE HAD A VERY HIGH PRESCRIPTION DRUG BILL. AND IF IT WEREN'T FOR MY BROTHER AND I SUPPLEMENTING HER INCOME FROM SOCIAL SECURITY AND THE MEAGER PRIVATE PENSION SHE HAD, SHE WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ABLE TO GET THE DRUGS THAT SHE NEEDED. I'VE SEEN THIS UP CLOSE. I SAW SOME OF HER FRIENDS WERE CUTTING PILLS IN HALF, WERE DOING WITHOUT WHEN THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN TAKING THEIR PRESCRIPTION DRUGS. WHAT WE'VE GOT TO UNDERSTAND IS WE'RE NOT SAVING ANYTHING BY NOT DOING THIS PROGRAM. YES, HOW ARE WE GOING TO PAY FOR IT? WE'RE GOING TO PAY FOR IT BY GETTING OUR SENIORS THE KIND OF HEALTH CARE THAT WE NEED, THAT THEY NEED. WE CAN KEEP THEM OUT OF THE HOSPITAL. WE CAN KEEP THEM FROM HAVING WORSE EVENTS IN THEIR LIFE WITH HEART ATTACKS AND STROKES AND OTHER THINGS THAT HAPPEN WHEN THEY DON'T GET THEIR PRESCRIPTION DRUGS. LET ME TELL YOU HOW WE'RE GOING TO DO IT. WE'RE GOING TO DO IT BY TAKING ON A REPUBLICAN PARTY THAT'S BEEN BOUGHT BY THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY. IF THAT'S THE WAY IT'S GOING TO WORK, YOU DON'T NEED A CONGRESS. THAT'S WHAT THEY DID IN THE LAST ELECTION. WE'RE GOING TO BEAT THEM AND WE'RE GOING TO PUT POLICY IN THAT'S GOOD FOR SENIOR CITIZENS, NOT PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES.

Todd: I PROMISE WE'RE GOING TO HAVE MEDICARE QUESTIONS. I PROMISE. SENATOR EDWARDS, SOME OF YOUR FIRST TV ADS WERE PRESCRIPTION DRUGS, THAT WE EVERY SAW. SENATOR EDWARDS, TELL US ABOUT THAT.

Edwards: WELL, THANK YOU. FRANCES, I WANT TO ASK YOU A QUESTION. YOUR QUESTION WAS HOW ARE WE DIFFERENT THAN THOSE WHO HAVE COME BEFORE AND PROMISED A REAL PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT. WELL, I'LL TELL YOU HOW I'M DIFFERENT, DIFFERENT THAN MOST OF THE PEOPLE ON THIS STAGE. I HAVE NOT SPENT MOST OF MY LIFE IN POLITICS. WHEN I WENT TO WASHINGTON FIVE YEARS AGO, I BELIEVED THAT I WOULD SEE WHAT I HAVE ACTUALLY SEEN, WHICH IS THE PLACE IS RUN BY POWERFUL INTERESTS, PACs, WASHINGTON LOBBYISTS. IT'S THE REASON THAT I'VE NEVER TAKEN A DIME FROM ANY OF THE LOBBYISTS EITHER FOR THE DRUG COMPANIES OR ANYBODY ELSE. I'VE NEVER TAKEN A DIME FROM ANY OF THE PACs THAT REPRESENT THESE DRUG COMPANIES OR, FOR THAT MATTER, ANYBODY ELSE. I TAKE THIS PERSONALLY. YOU SHOULD TAKE IT PERSONALLY. PEOPLE LIKE MY FAMILY, THE PEOPLE THAT I GREW UP WITH, MY FATHER, WHO WORKED IN A MILL ALL HIS LIFE, HIS VOICE IS BEING COMPLETELY DROWNED OUT. INSTEAD, WE HAVE WASHINGTON POLITICS AS USUAL. YOU NEED A PRESIDENT WHO WILL DO WHAT I HAVE DONE MY ENTIRE LIFE. I HAVE FOUGHT WITH THESE PEOPLE. I HAVE STOOD UP TO THEM. AND I WILL STAND UP TO THEM --

Todd: THANK YOU, SENATOR. LET'S MOVE ON HERE. THANK YOU, MRS. HAWTHORN. WE'RE UP TO NOW, I BELIEVE, THE STATISTIC IS 43 MILLION UNINSURED FOLKS OUT THERE. ONE OF THE PROBLEMS THAT SEEMS TO BE CAUSING MORE AND MORE PEOPLE BEING UNINSURED IS THE RISING COSTS OF INSURANCE NOT JUST FOR EMPLOYEES OR OTHER BENEFICIARIES BUT THE EMPLOYERS IN SMALL BUSINESS. SO, GOVERNOR DEAN, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO TO ADDRESS THIS PROBLEM OF THESE RISING COSTS FOR BOTH SIDES OF THIS ISSUE?

Dean: HERE'S WHAT WE DID IN OUR STATE, AND HERE'S WHAT I WANT TO DO NATIONALLY. FIRST WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A GUARANTEED ISSUE IN COMMUNITY RATING. THAT MEANS YOU CANNOT BE TURNED DOWN FOR ANY HEALTH INSURANCE POLICY, NO MATTER WHAT CONDITION YOU MAY HAVE. SECONDLY, IF YOU'RE 58 YEARS OLD, YOU CAN'T AFFORD HEALTH INSURANCE IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR BECAUSE THEY TURN YOU DOWN OR THEY CHARGE TOO MUCH, YOU CAN GET INTO A COMMUNITY RATED PLAN, SAME PLAN AS ALL THESE CONGRESS FOLKS ON THE STAGE ARE IN, AND PAY THE SAME PREMIUMS OF A 27 YEAR OLD. THE COST OF THIS PROGRAM IS $87 BILLION A YEAR, WHICH SHOULD BE A FAMILIAR NUMBER TO MANY OF YOU WHO FOLLOW THE NEWS. AND IT'S LESS THAN A THIRD OF THE PRESIDENT'S TAX CUT. WE NEED TO DO SOME OF THE THINGS UP HERE THAT HAVE BEEN SUGGESTED ABOUT GENERIC DRUGS. WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO PURCHASE DRUGS FROM CANADA BUT NOT JUST INDIVIDUALLY. WHOLESALERS NEED TO BE ABLE TO PURCHASE DRUGS FROM CANADA SO WE KEEP THE LOCAL PHARMACY ON MAIN STREET IN BUSINESS. WE NEED TO DEAL WITH GENERIC DRUG PROBLEMS, AND WE ALSO NEED TO DEAL WITH HOSPITALS, DOCTORS, LAWYERS, INSURANCE COMPANIES THAT ARE NOT EFFICIENT. NOW, THERE'S A MUCH MORE IMPORTANT PART OF THIS ANSWER, BUT A MINUTE WON'T GIVE ENOUGH TO IT. SO HOPEFULLY WE'LL GET TO IT LATER.

Todd: YOU'LL HAVE PLENTY OF TIME. I PROMISE. AMBASSADOR BRAUN, ADDRESS THESE SPENDING PROBLEMS.

Moseley Braun: MY FIRST INTRODUCTION TO THIS HEALTH POLICY ISSUE WAS AS A YOUNG ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, WHEN WE WERE TRYING TO DEFEND JIMMY CARTER'S ATTEMPT TO REFORM HEALTH CARE. I HAVE LIVED WITH THIS ISSUE OVER THE YEARS AND COME AROUND TO THE CONCLUSION THAT THERE IS NO REFORMING THIS DYSFUNCTIONAL SYSTEM. YOU'RE JUST GOING TO HAVE TO MOVE ON AND GET A SINGLE-PAYER SYSTEM THAT COVERS EVERYBODY. THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT SINGLE PAYER -- AND IT'S BEEN CONTROVERSIAL OVER THE YEARS, BUT THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT NOW THE PHYSICIANS AND THE PROVIDERS I THINK HAVE COME AROUND, BECAUSE THEY ARE NOW EMPLOYEES OF INSURANCE COMPANIES, FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES. AND PEOPLE IN CALL CENTERS HALFWAY ACROSS THE WORLD ARE MAKING HEALTH DECISIONS THAT DOCTORS, BY RIGHT, SHOULD BE MAKING. SO I THINK THERE'S A CRITICAL MASS, IF YOU WILL, OF CONCERN IN THE AMERICAN PUBLIC NOW THAT WE STOP TINKERING WITH THIS BROKEN SYSTEM, THAT WE RECOGNIZE THAT THE ONLY WAY WE CAN HAVE UNIVERSAL COVERAGE WITHIN THE KINDS OF MONEY THAT WE'RE SPENDING NOW IS WITH A SINGLE-PAYER SYSTEM THAT COVERS EVERY AMERICAN. I WILL CONTINUE TO ADVOCATE FOR THAT BECAUSE, AGAIN, THAT'S THE ONLY WAY WE'RE GOING TO COVER FOR WELLNESS TO LONG-TERM CARE.

Todd: CONGRESSMAN KUCINICH, I CAN ANTICIPATE YOUR ANSWER WHEN IT COMES TO THIS -- YOU'RE SOLUTION WHEN IT COMES TO SINGLE PAYER. SO MAYBE TAKE US THE NEXT STEP BEYOND YOUR SINGLE-PAYER ANSWER, AND THAT IS HOW ARE YOU GOING TO CONVINCE BUSINESS THAT THIS IS A GOOD WAY TO DO IT.

Kucinich: ACTUALLY, THIS WILL BE GREAT FOR BUSINESS BECAUSE RIGHT NOW BUSINESS PAYS ABOUT 8.2 PERCENT OF THE REVENUE FOR HEALTH CARE. UNDER MY PLAN, IT WOULD PAY 7.7 PERCENT AND WOULD HAVE EXPANDED COVERAGE. BUSINESSES RIGHT NOW, AT THE MERCY OF INSURANCE COMPANIES -- YOU LOOK AT ALL THE LABOR DISPUTES THAT ARE HAPPENING AROUND AMERICA TODAY, IT'S OVER HEALTH INSURANCE. EVERYONE WANTS HEALTH INSURANCE. BUT WITH INSURANCE COMPANIES BASICALLY NAMING THEIR PRICE AND GETTING IT, WE'RE SEEING PREMIUMS GO UP, COPAYS GO UP, AND WE SEE A SITUATION WHERE DEDUCTIBLES ARE GOING UP. PEOPLE ARE PAYING FOR A QUALITY OF CARE, BUT THEY'RE NOT GETTING IT. UNDER MY PLAN, BUSINESSES WOULD BENEFIT BECAUSE THEY'D HAVE BROADER COVERAGE. I ALSO WANT TO SAY THIS: WE'VE GOT TO TAKE HEALTH CARE OUT OF A FOR-PROFIT SYSTEM. NOW WITH THE EXCEPTION OF AMBASSADOR MOSELEY BRAUN, ALL THE OTHER CANDIDATES ON THIS STAGE ARE FOR KEEPING THE SYSTEM WITHIN ITS PRESENT FOR-PROFIT CONTEXT. NO COST CONTAINMENT. YOU END UP HAVING THE GOVERNMENT BE THE AGENT OF HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES. WE NEED TO TAKE CONTROL OF HEALTH INSURANCE. THIS INDUSTRY SHOULD EXIST FOR US. INSTEAD, WE EXIST FOR IT. IT'S TIME FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO GET BACK THE POWER. THE ONLY WAY TO DO THAT IS TO CHALLENGE THESE INSURANCE COMPANIES AND TAKE BACK HEALTH INSURANCE FOR OUR PEOPLE.

Todd: CONGRESSMAN GEPHARDT, HOW WOULD YOU TRY TO CONTROL SOME OF THESE COST ISSUES WITH THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY?

Gephardt: THIS ISSUE IS FACING EVERY AMERICAN TODAY. THERE ARE PEOPLE ON STRIKE WITH THE FOOD AND COMMERCIAL WORKERS IN CALIFORNIA AND MISSOURI, IN OTHER STATES, BECAUSE THEY ARE BEING CUT BACK ON THEIR HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE. WE'VE GOT RETIREES WHO ARE LOSING THEIR HEALTH CARE, EITHER THEIR MEDICARE SUPPLEMENTARY OR THEY'RE LOSING THE HEALTH CARE THEY GOT THROUGH THEIR EMPLOYER BECAUSE EMPLOYERS CAN'T AFFORD IT ANYMORE. I, IN MY FIRST WEEK AS PRESIDENT, WILL ASK THE CONGRESS TO SET ASIDE THE BUSH TAX CUTS. THEY HAVEN'T WORKED. MOST OF IT WENT TO THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS, AND I WILL USE THAT MONEY TO SEE TO IT THAT EVERY PERSON IN THIS COUNTRY GETS HEALTH INSURANCE THAT CAN NEVER BE TAKEN AWAY FROM YOU. MY PLAN IS THE BEST PLAN. IT HELPS EVERYBODY. IT HELPS PEOPLE THAT ARE EMPLOYED AND UNEMPLOYED, PEOPLE THAT ARE PART TIME AND FULL TIME, RETIREES AND ACTIVE PEOPLE, PUBLIC EMPLOYEES AND PRIVATE EMPLOYEES. WE HAVE GOT TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM. THIS ISSUE IS IN MY HEART, IT'S IN MY HEAD, AND I WILL NOT REST AS YOUR PRESIDENT TILL I GET THIS DONE.

Todd: THANK YOU, SIR. SENATOR EDWARDS, COSTS, HOW WOULD YOU DEAL WITH IT?

Edwards: WELL, THE BIGGEST PROBLEM WITH COSTS IS THE POWERFUL PRESENCE IN WASHINGTON, THE LOBBYISTS FOR THE INSURANCE COMPANIES, THE DRUG COMPANIES, AND THE BIG HMOs. THEY HAVE AN ABSOLUTE STRANGLEHOLD ON WHAT HAPPENS THERE. AND I HAVE SEEN THIS UP CLOSE. JOHN MCCAIN, TED KENNEDY, AND I, THE THREE OF US, WROTE THE PATIENTS BILL OF RIGHTS. WHILE WE WERE FIGHTING TO GET IT PASSED ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE, ALL THE ARMY OF LOBBYISTS FROM ALL THOSE INDUSTRIES WERE ALL OVER TOWN WORKING AGAINST US. AND I CAN GUARANTEE YOU, THE OTHER MEMBERS OF CONGRESS UP HERE SAW EXACTLY THE SAME THING. THESE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT I HAVE FOUGHT MY ENTIRE LIFE. I FOUGHT FOR KIDS AND FAMILIES AGAINST THEM IN COURTROOMS. WON THOSE FIGHTS. I HAVE FOUGHT THEM ON THE FLOOR OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE, NOT JUST ON THE PATIENTS BILL OF RIGHTS. BUT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT DRUG COMPANY ADVERTISING, TOM HARKIN AND I DID, TO TRY TO BRING GENERICS INTO THE MARKET TO BRING COST DOWN. AND JUST THE PERFECT EXAMPLE IS WHEN WE TRIED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT DRUG COMPANY ADVERTISING, WE GOT 38, 39 VOTES OUT OF 100 ON THE FLOOR OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE. AND OF COURSE, THE DRUG COMPANIES SAY THEY'RE SPENDING ALL THEIR MONEY ON RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT, WATCH YOUR TELEVISION. YOU'LL SEE WHERE THEY'RE SPENDING THEIR MONEY. YOU'VE SEEN THE ADS. YOU BUY THEIR MEDICINE AND TAKE IT. THAT NIGHT YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE WILL BE --

SENATOR KERRY, ADDRESS THE COST ISSUE ON THE INSURANCE FUND.

Kerry: WELL, I'VE TOLD YOU WHAT I WANT TO DO ABOUT PRESCRIPTION DRUGS. THIS IS A VERY PERSONAL ISSUE TO ME BECAUSE I LOST BOTH MY PARENTS IN THE LAST TWO YEARS. I'VE HAD MORE THAN MY FILL OF THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM. ALSO, I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH PROSTATE CANCER ABOUT NINE MONTHS AGO. I CAN SIT HERE IN FRONT OF YOU TODAY CURED AND HEALTHY BECAUSE I HAD THE BEST HEALTH CARE IN THE WORLD AVAILABLE TO ME. IN FACT, SOME PEOPLE HAVE ASKED HOW -- WHETHER A MAN CAN BE PRESIDENT WITHOUT A PROSTATE. [ LAUGHTER ] AND I WANT TO MAKE IT CLEAR THAT WE'VE HAD A NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTS WHO HAVE BEEN PRESIDENT WITHOUT A HEART, SO I DON'T SEE WHY NOT. [ LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE ] BUT HERE'S WHAT YOU DO ABOUT COSTS. I HAVE THE ONLY PLAN OF ANY OF THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES THAT REALLY ADDRESSES COST BY TAKING OUT OF YOUR RISK POOL OR ANY WORKER'S RISK POOL IN AMERICA ALL THE CATASTROPHIC CASES. AND OUT OF A FEDERAL FUND, WE ARE GOING TO PAY 75 PERCENT OF THE COST OF THAT CATASTROPHIC CASE. THAT WILL LOWER THE PREMIUMS ON EVERY HEALTH CARE PLAN IN AMERICA.

Todd: YOU HAD TOO MANY LAUGH LINES. YOU HAD TOO MANY LAUGH LINES; IT TOOK TOO MUCH OF YOUR TIME. WE'RE GOING TO MOVE ON. NOT EVERYBODY IN THIS AUDIENCE IS -- THESE AREN'T ISSUES OF THE 65 AND OLDER CROWD. THERE ARE ISSUES THAT THE 50- TO 64-YEAR-OLD CROWD, WHICH IS EVERYBODY HERE ON THIS STAGE, THAT DEAL WITH HAVING TO DO WITH ACCESS TO HEALTH INSURANCE. ALL OF YOU HAVE SOME FORM OF PLAN THAT CALLS FOR A BUY-IN ALLOWING FOR THE 50- TO 65-YEAR-OLD AGE GROUP TO BUY INTO MEDICARE FOR SOME SMALL FEE. BUT WHAT IS IT THAT YOU'RE GOING TO DO FOR THE FOLKS THAT MAY NOT BE ABLE TO EVEN AFFORD THE BUY-IN WITH THAT? AMBASSADOR BRAUN?

Moseley Braun: AGAIN, YOU KNOW, I DON'T WANT TO SOUND LIKE A BROKEN RECORD, BUT WE'RE RIGHT NOW SPENDING ALMOST 15 PERCENT OF OUR GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT ON HEALTH CARE AND YOU'VE GOT PEOPLE WHO CAN'T GET IT, 43 MILLION AMERICANS WITH NO COVERAGE, KIDS NOT ABLE TO ACCESS HEALTH CARE THAT THEY NEED, DENTAL CARE, EYE CARE, YOU GO DOWN THE LIST. AND WHAT WE HAVE AGAIN IS A BROKEN SYSTEM THAT NICKEL AND DIMES THE AMERICAN PEOPLE OUT OF HEALTH QUALITY. THE ANSWER IS A SINGLE-PAYER SYSTEM. I DON'T KNOW HOW ELSE TO SAY IT. WITH A SINGLE-PAYER SYSTEM, YOU HAVE UNIVERSAL COVERAGE. EVERYBODY WILL BE COVERED FROM WELLNESS AND PREVENTION TO LONG-TERM CARE, YOUNG, OLD, 35 OR 65, IT WON'T MATTER. EVERYBODY WILL BE COVERED. CAN IT BE DONE WITHIN PRESENT REVENUES? OF COURSE IT CAN. NO OTHER INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRY IN THE WORLD IS EVEN IN THE DOUBLE DIGITS IN TERMS OF HOW MUCH THEY SPEND. WHEN I WAS AMBASSADOR IN NEW ZEALAND, I WAS ACTUALLY ELIGIBLE FOR HEALTH CARE. JUST WALK INTO THE HOSPITAL OR WALK INTO A PROVIDER AND GET IT, EVEN THOUGH I WAS THE UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR. WE PAID FOR MY CARE PRIVATELY BECAUSE WE WERE --

Todd: THANK YOU, AMBASSADOR.

Moseley Braun: -- BUT AT THE SAME TIME I WOULD HAVE BEEN COVERED.

Todd: THANK YOU, AMBASSADOR.

Moseley Braun: THERE'S NO REASON WHY WE CAN'T HAVE IT.

Todd: CONGRESSMAN KUCINICH, I KNOW YOU'RE ALSO GOING TO HAVE A SINGLE-PAYER ANSWER TO THIS. BUT MAYBE ADDRESS THE FACT IF THE SINGLE PAYER -- IF PRESIDENT KUCINICH'S SINGLE PAYER BILL DOESN'T GET PASSED, HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DEAL WITH THIS INCREMENTAL ISSUE?

Kucinich: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, ISN'T IT INTERESTING THAT EVERY ANSWER ALMOST COMES BACK TO SINGLE PAYER, BECAUSE THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS A PIECEMEAL APPROACH TOWARDS HEALTH CARE WILL LEAVE OUT MILLIONS OF PEOPLE. AS A MATTER OF FACT, MY ESTEEMED COLLEAGUES HERE, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF AMBASSADOR BRAUN, HAVE OFFERED PLANS THAT WILL LEAVE OFF AS MANY AS TEN MILLION PEOPLE OUT OF THEIR PLANS, OUT OF COVERAGE, THE ONLY APPROACH THAT WE CAN USE. AND THIS IS WHAT THIS ELECTION OUT TO BE ABOUT. IT OUGHT TO BE ABOUT THE CAUSE OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO HAVE EVERYONE COVERED. NOW, WHY DON'T WE HAVE UNIVERSAL COVERAGE NOW? THE POWER OF THE INSURANCE COMPANIES. THE POWER OF THE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT A PRESIDENT WHO IS READY TO TAKE THAT ON, AND I'M READY TO DO THAT IN THIS ELECTION. BUT ALSO, WHERE DOES OUR HEALTH CARE DOLLAR GO RIGHT NOW? CORPORATE STOCK OPTIONS, PROFITS, EXECUTIVE SALARIES, ADVERTISING, MARKETING, THE COST OF HANDLING THE PAPERWORK. WE OUGHT TO PUT THAT MONEY INTO COVERING THE NEEDS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. AND WHEN I'M ELECTED PRESIDENT, I WILL LEAD THE WAY TO DO THAT. I'M NOT GOING TO SETTLE FOR A PIECEMEAL APPROACH, AND THAT'S WHY THIS ELECTION IS ABOUT FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE. IT'S ABOUT TRANSFORMING OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM, AND THAT'S WHAT MY ELECTION WILL BE ABOUT.

Todd: THANK YOU, CONGRESSMAN. CONGRESSMAN GEPHARDT, IN YOUR PLAN, HOW DO YOU ADDRESS THE PEOPLE THAT CAN'T AFFORD TO BUY INTO MEDICARE?

Gephardt: THERE ARE AT LEAST TWO OR THREE WAYS THAT I ADDRESS THAT. AND I DON'T, WITH RESPECT, THINK THE OTHER CANDIDATES' PLANS DO THIS. FIRST OF ALL, MY PLAN SAYS THAT IF A RETIREE OF A COMPANY, THE COMPANY GETS AN INCENTIVE, A BIG INCENTIVE, 60 PERCENT OF THE COST OF WHATEVER PLAN YOU'VE CHOSEN TO KEEP GIVING YOU YOUR RETIREE HEALTH CARE. SO THERE WILL BE LESS PEOPLE WHO WILL BE DROPPED THAT WILL HAVE TO LOOK TO MEDICARE. I ALSO -- IF YOU'RE UNEMPLOYED AND YOU'RE IN THAT AGE GROUP, I GIVE YOU 65 PERCENT OF THE COST OF COBRA SO THAT YOU CAN KEEP YOUR COBRA GOING. FINALLY, I WILL TAKE CARE OF PEOPLE THAT ARE 200 PERCENT OF POVERTY. I'LL GIVE THEM 100 PERCENT OF THE COST OF WHATEVER HEALTH CARE PLAN THEY WANT TO ACHIEVE AND THEY WANT TO BUY. LET ME JUST END WITH THIS. THE SYSTEM WE HAVE IS IRRATIONAL. PEOPLE WHO DON'T HAVE INSURANCE STILL GET SICK. THEY GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM.

Todd: THANK YOU, CONGRESSMAN.

Gephardt: WE'RE HAVING WORSE PROBLEMS THAN THEY OUGHT TO HAVE. THEN THAT BILL GOES ON YOUR BILL IF YOU HAVE INSURANCE.

Todd: I'VE GOT TO -- WE'RE GOING TO TRY TO MOVE ON. SENATOR EDWARDS, IF YOU COULD TALK ABOUT HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THESE FOLKS THAT CAN'T AFFORD TO BUY INTO MEDICARE.

Edwards: WELL, LET ME FIRST PUT IT IN THE CONTEXT OF WHAT I WANT TO DO ABOUT HEALTH CARE. FIRST THING I WANT TO DO IS MAKE HEALTH CARE COVERAGE A BIRTHRIGHT FOR EVERY CHILD IN AMERICA. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OUR COUNTRY'S HISTORY. AND I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE. I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT A VOLUNTARY PROGRAM. I'M TALKING ABOUT TREATING IT JUST LIKE PUBLIC EDUCATION: REQUIRED, 100 PERCENT, NOT 99, 100 PERCENT COVERAGE. SECOND, DO THE THINGS THAT I HAVE ALREADY TALK ABOUT HERE TODAY TO BRING DOWN COST, WHICH PRIMARILY INVOLVE TAKING ON DRUG COMPANIES AND INSURANCE COMPANIES. THIRD, MAKE SURE OUR MOST VULNERABLE ADULTS ARE COVERED. ONE GROUP IS THE VERY GROUP YOU'RE ASKING ABOUT, CHUCK, WHICH ARE THOSE OVER THE AGE OF 50 AND 55, NOT YET ELIGIBLE FOR MEDICARE. LET THEM IN AT COST. IF THEY CAN'T AFFORD IT, HELP THEM. SUBSIDIZE THE COST SO THAT THEY, IN FACT, CAN GET INTO THE MEDICARE SYSTEM. I ALSO WANT TO MENTION ONE THING THAT DICK JUST MENTIONED. WHAT YOU HEAR FROM THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION FOR ALL THESE PEOPLE WHO HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS, COBRA IS THERE FOR YOU. WHO IN THE WORLD CAN PAY FOR IT? WE HAVE GOT TO HELP PEOPLE WHO ARE BETWEEN THEIR JOBS PAY FOR THEIR INSURANCE COVERAGE AND PAY FOR COBRA.

Todd: SENATOR KERRY, WHAT IS YOUR PLAN? HOW DO YOU ADDRESS THIS ISSUE?

Kerry: WELL, CONTRARY TO WHAT CONGRESSMAN GEPHARDT SAID, MY PLAN DOES COVER PEOPLE BETWEEN THE AGES OF 54, 55 AND 64. THEY ARE ABLE TO BUY INTO MEDICARE EARLY. WE HELP THEM DO IT. WE PROVIDE NOT ONLY A TAX CREDIT, BUT WE MAKE IT REFUNDABLE SO THAT THOSE WHO ARE OUT OF WORK WHO CAN'T AFFORD IT HAVE THE ABILITY TO PAY THEIR COBRA AND TO BE ABLE TO BUY HEALTH INSURANCE. BUT IN ADDITION TO THAT, TO FINISH MY EARLIER PART OF MY ANSWER, IT IS CRITICAL THAT WE BRING MORE PEOPLE INTO COVERAGE. NOW, LET'S BE REALISTIC. DICK'S PLAN COSTS ABOUT $228 BILLION. GOVERNOR DEAN'S AND MINE IS ABOUT 87. SEVENTY-FIVE BILLION MINE. WE'RE NOT GOING TO FIND THE $228 BILLION, NUMBER ONE. BUT NUMBER TWO, WE SHOULDN'T JUST THROW THAT MONEY AT THE COMPANIES. WE'D HAVE TO HAVE COST ACCOUNTABILITY. WE NEED TO REDUCE THE COST OF HEALTH CARE DELIVERY IN AMERICA. UNDER MY PLAN, EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN WILL HAVE THE RIGHT TO BUY INTO THE SAME HEALTH CARE PLAN THAT SENATORS AND CONGRESSMAN GIVE THEMSELVES, AND WE'RE GOING TO HELP PEOPLE BE ABLE TO DO THAT. AND WE HAVE A COST CONTROL WHERE WE LOWER THE PREMIUMS FOR ALL AMERICANS. THAT MAKES IS COST AVAILABLE.

Todd: GOVERNOR DEAN, THE 50 TO 64 YEAR OLDS?

Dean: I'M KIND OF GLAD I GOT TO SPEAK LAST ON THIS ONE. I'M ACTUALLY THE ONLY PERSON WHO'S EVER DELIVERED HEALTH CARE. FIRST OF ALL, I'M A DOCTOR, SO I ACTUALLY TAKE CARE OF PATIENTS, OR I USED TO. JOHN WAS VERY NERVOUS WHEN HE HAD HIS PROSTATE OPERATION BECAUSE HE WAS AFRAID I WAS GOING TO BE THE ONE THAT'S DOING THE SURGERY. [ LAUGHTER ]

Kerry: NO, I WAS WORRIED YOU WERE GOING TO DO THE ANESTHESIA. [ LAUGHTER ]

Dean: SECONDLY, I'M A GOVERNOR AND WE ACTUALLY HAVE A HEALTH CARE PLAN THAT WORKS. OUR PLAN COVERS EVERYBODY, EVERY SINGLE PERSON, EXCEPT FOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO DON'T WANT TO BE COVERED. IT IS BUILT ON THE EXISTING SYSTEM. THIS IS WHERE DENNIS AND I AND DICK AND I HAVE A SUBSTANTIAL DISAGREEMENT. I'VE TRIED THREE TIMES TO GET SOME KIND OF UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE. I AM TIRED OF HAVING THE DEMOCRATS FIGHT AMONG EACH OTHER AND THE SPECIAL INTERESTS KILL THE BILL AND THE LOSERS BE THE 41 MILLION PEOPLE WITH NO HEALTH INSURANCE AND ALL THOSE AMERICANS WHOSE MORTGAGE PAYMENT IS LOWER THAN THEIR HEALTH CARE BILL. I WANT SOMETHING THAT'S GOING TO PASS. AFTER EVERYBODY GETS INTO THE SYSTEM, WE CAN HAVE A BIG FIGHT ABOUT HOW TO REFORM IT. BUT I'VE HAD ENOUGH OF SLOW, DO-NOTHING TALK FROM WASHINGTON. THIS TIME WE'RE GOING TO PASS IT JUST LIKE WE DID IN VERMONT.

Todd: THANK YOU, GOVERNOR. BEFORE WE MOVE ON TO -- BEFORE WE MOVE OFF OF HEALTH CARE, JUST A QUICK -- WE'RE GOING TO GO IN ORDER. THIS IS A LITTLE OUT OF ORDER, BUT HOW DO YOU GET YOUR HEALTH CARE? WHO COVERS YOUR HEALTH CARE? IS IT CONGRESS?

Kucinich: CONGRESS.

Todd: YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE IS WITH CONGRESS? WHO'S YOUR HEALTH CARE -- WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE?

Edwards: WHERE DO I GET MY HEALTH INSURANCE?

Todd: WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE?

Edwards: YEAH, IN THE SENATE. IN THE CONGRESS.

Todd: GOVERNOR DEAN, WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR --

Dean: COBRA, AND IT'S VERY EXPENSIVE.

Todd: VERMONT IS COBRA.

Dean: VERMONT IS COBRA.

Todd: SENATOR KERRY, WITH CONGRESS?

Kerry: WITH CONGRESS, WE HAVE A CHOICE. I HAVE BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD UNDER A CONGRESSIONAL PLAN.

Todd: CONGRESSMAN GEPHARDT.

Gephardt: BLUE CROSS THROUGH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

Todd: AND AMBASSADOR BRAUN.

Moseley Braun: STATE OF ILLINOIS.

Todd: THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, OKAY. WE'RE GOING TO MOVE ON. GOING TO HIT LONG-TERM CARE. THIS ISSUE -- IT'S A VERY FRAGMENTED SYSTEM THAT VARIES FROM STATE TO STATE, BUT IT'S BECOMING A BIGGER AND BIGGER ISSUE AS FOLKS LIVE LONGER, WHICH IS GOOD NEWS. BUT WHAT STEPS ARE YOU GUYS GOING TO TAKE TO CREATE A MORE SEAMLESS DELIVERY SYSTEM WITH LONG-TERM CARE THAT PRESERVES CHOICE, INDEPENDENCE AND, MOST IMPORTANT, DIGNITY? CONGRESSMAN KUCINICH?

Kucinich: WELL, HERE WE GO AGAIN; IT'S UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE. WE HAVE TO HAVE A HEALTH CARE PLAN THAT COVERS IT ALL. AND LONG-TERM HEALTH CARE, WHERE RIGHT NOW SENIORS ARE BEING REDUCED TO POVERTY -- YOU GO INTO A NURSING HOME, THE FIRST THING THEY SAY: DO YOU HAVE A HOME; HOW MUCH IS IT WORTH; WHAT ARE YOUR SAVINGS; DO YOU HAVE ANY INVESTMENTS. BEFORE YOU KNOW IT, PEOPLE FIND THEY ARE REDUCED TO POVERTY IN ORDER TO GET LONG-TERM CARE. UNDER MY PLAN, WHICH IS EMBODIED ALREADY IN LEGISLATION, IT'S ACTUALLY INTRODUCED, UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE, MEDICARE FOR ALL, LONG-TERM CARE IS COVERED. AND I WANT TO SAY THAT I'M A LITTLE BIT SURPRISED AT DR. DEAN, FOR WHOM I HAVE THE GREATEST ADMIRATION, TO SAY THAT HE'S TRIED THREE TIMES AND COULDN'T DO IT. I THINK THE JOB OF A PRESIDENT IS TO RALLY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, INSPIRE THEM TO THE HIGHEST NEEDS OF THE PEOPLE AND TO RALLY THE CONGRESS IN THE CAUSE OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THAT'S WHAT I INTEND TO DO AS THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, TO WIN FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE, SINGLE-PAYER MEDICARE FOR ALL WHERE LONG-TERM CARE WILL BE COVERED. IT'S ESSENTIAL IN ORDER TO SAVE SO MANY OF OUR ELDERLY AMERICANS FROM LIVES OF POVERTY AFTER THEY HAVE LONG-TERM CARE.

Todd: THANK YOU, CONGRESSMAN. CONGRESSMAN GEPHARDT, ADDRESS YOUR LONG-TERM -- HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR LONG-TERM CARE PLAN?

Gephardt: WELL, AGAIN, MY PLAN COVERS LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE THAT WOULD BE SOUGHT AFTER AND BOUGHT BY AN EMPLOYEE. YOU'D GET 60 PERCENT OF THE 3 COST OF LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE, SO WE WOULDN'T HAVE THIS HORRIBLE PROBLEM OF PEOPLE HAVING TO SPEND THEMSELVES INTO POVERTY TO GET MEDICAID. LET ME GO BACK TO SOMETHING JOHN SAID, BECAUSE I THINK WE HAVE A BASIC DISAGREEMENT, AND WITH HOWARD'S PLAN AND JOHN'S PLAN. MY PLAN IS MORE EXPENSIVE BUT WE'RE NOT GOING TO SOLVE OUR ECONOMIC PROBLEMS IN THIS COUNTRY UNTIL WE SOLVE THIS HEALTH CARE PROBLEM. WITH THEIR PLANS, COMPANIES WILL BE INCENTED TO DROP THE COVERAGE THEY HAVE OF THEIR EMPLOYEES, SO THEIR EMPLOYEES CAN GO OVER AND GET THEIR UNINSURED PLAN. I THINK WE'LL JUST WIND UP CHASING OUR TAIL. WE NEED A PLAN THAT HELPS AND COVERS EVERYBODY. THAT'S WHAT MY PLAN DOES.

Todd: THANK YOU, CONGRESSMAN. SENATOR EDWARDS, YOUR LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE PLAN.

Edwards: WELL, FIRST I WANT TO JUST RESPOND TO WHAT DICK JUST SAID BECAUSE, ACTUALLY, WHAT HE JUST SAID IS INCORRECT ABOUT MY PLAN. I'LL LET THESE GUYS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES. WHAT MY PLAN DOES IS ASKS FOR RESPONSIBILITY FROM EVERYBODY. IT'S COMPLETELY DOABLE, AFFORDABLE, AND ACHIEVABLE, AND MAKES DRAMATIC PROGRESS TOWARDS HEALTH CARE. I AGREE WITH ONE THING GOVERNOR DEAN JUST SAID: IT'S TIME TO QUIT TALKING ABOUT THIS AND DO SOMETHING THAT ACTUALLY HELPS PEOPLE'S LIVES. NOW, TO THE LONG-TERM CARE ISSUE. WHAT PEOPLE ARE GOING THROUGH IS THE QUALITY OF CARE IS POOR IN SO MANY NURSING HOMES, PEOPLE ARE GOING BROKE, HAVING TO BASICALLY GO BANKRUPT IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO GET MEDICAID COVERAGE SO 4 THAT THEY CAN, IN FACT, PUT A LOVED ONE IN A NURSING HOME. THIRD, THEY CAN'T PROVIDE CARE AT HOME BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE ANY WAY TO PAY FOR IT AND NO WAY TO DO IT. I'M WORKING ON A PROPOSAL I CALL LIVING WITH DIGNITY. IT DOES SEVERAL THINGS. FIRST WHAT IT DOES IS IMPROVE THE CONDITIONS IN NURSING HOMES. SECOND, IT RECRUITS AND IMPROVES WORKING CONDITIONS, PAY, AND BENEFITS FOR THOSE WHO WORK IN NURSING HOMES. THIRD, IT PROVIDES RESPITE CARE FOR FAMILIES WHO WANT TO KEEP THEIR LOVED ONE AT HOME. AND FOUR, IT MAKES SURE THAT WE DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE PROBLEM OF PEOPLE HAVING TO GO INTO BANKRUPTCY IN ORDER TO GET COVERAGE.

Todd: SENATOR KERRY, I ASSUME YOU'RE GOING TO RESPOND FIRST TO CONGRESSMAN GEPHARDT, I HOPE, AND THEN PLEASE ADDRESS THE LONG-TERM --

Kerry: I AM AND I'M EVEN GOING TO GO FARTHER THAN THAT. DICK IS WRONG AND I AGREE WITH JOHN. IN MY PLAN, WE ACTUALLY DO PROVIDE A RESTRAINT AGAINST THE COMPANIES DROPPING PEOPLE. EVERYBODY IN THE COMPANY HAS TO SWITCH OVER TO THE FEDERAL PLAN. YOU CAN'T DROP PEOPLE INDIVIDUALLY. BUT THE LONG-TERM CARE ISSUE IS GOING TO HAVE TO BE TAKEN CARE OF BY INVESTING IN LONG-TERM INSURANCE AND PROVIDING A SET OF OPTIONS TO PEOPLE TO BE ABLE TO BE COVERED FOR THE LONG TERM. IN AMERICA, WE HAVE TO MAKE THAT A PRIORITY. WELL, LET ME DISAGREE WITH GOVERNOR DEAN HERE FOR A MINUTE. THESE ARE FRIENDLY DISAGREEMENTS BUT THEY'RE REAL DIFFERENCES IN OUR VIEW OF THE WORLD AND OF WHAT HAPPENS. HE MAKES A GREAT DEAL ABOUT RUNNING AGAINST WASHINGTON AND EVERYTHING WE HAVEN'T DONE. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, HE'S NOT THE ONLY PERSON WHO HAS DELIVERED HEALTH CARE. WE DELIVERED MEDICARE, MEDICAID, FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE, CHILDREN'S HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM. IN FACT, MOST OF THE SENIORS IN HIS STATE, MOST OF THE PEOPLE WHO WERE ABLE TO SURVIVE, A LOT OF THEM GET HELP THROUGH MEDICAID IN HIS STATE. THE FACT IS THAT IN 1995 WHEN WE WERE TRYING TO HOLD ONTO MEDICARE, GOVERNOR DEAN WAS SUPPORT NEWT GINGRICH'S EFFORT TO CUT MEDICARE.

Todd: SENATOR, I'VE GOT TO STOP YOU THERE.

Kerry: HE WAS. I'M SORRY.

Todd: GOVERNOR DEAN, I KNOW YOU'VE GOT TO RESPOND TO A COUPLE PEOPLE. I HOPE YOU CAN PLEASE RESPOND TO THE LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE. YOU'VE GOT SIXTY SECONDS. GO.

Dean: FIRST OF ALL, THESE GUYS CAN'T MAKE UP MY MIND WHETHER I'M GEORGE MCGOVERN OR NEWT GINGRICH, AND SOMEBODY IS GOING TO HAVE TO DO THAT BEFORE WE GET GOING. SECONDLY, I DISAGREE WITH DICK GEPHARDT ALSO, BUT I DON'T AGREE JOHN EDWARDS. IF DICK GEPHARDT IS RIGHT AND EVERYBODY DROPS THEIR PLAN, WE'LL END UP IN A SINGLE PAYER, AND DENNIS WILL BE HAPPY. JOHN EDWARDS IS THE ONLY -- JOHN EDWARDS IS THE ONLY PERSON UP HERE -- JOHN EDWARDS IS THE ONLY PERSON UP HERE WHO DOES NOT HAVE A UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE PLAN. WE COULD ARGUE ABOUT OUR PLAN, BUT YOUR PLAN ONLY COVERS KIDS AND SENIORS, OF COURSE, AND I DON'T THINK THAT'S A --

Edwards: THAT'S NOT 6 TRUE, HOWARD.

Dean: WELL, I'D LIKE TO HEAR MORE ABOUT IT LATER THEN.

Todd: I WILL HOPEFULLY MAKE SURE THAT HAPPENS.

Dean: LET ME TELL YOU WHAT WE DO ABOUT LONG-TERM CARE. WE CUT THE NUMBER OF NURSING HOME BEDS IN MY STATE AND USED THE MONEY, INSTEAD, TO FINANCE PEOPLE THAT ARE BEING HELPED IN THEIR HOME. WE TAKE CARE OF TWICE AS MANY SENIORS IN THEIR OWN HOME. THAT IS THE KIND OF THINKING THAT YOU CAN DO AS A GOVERNOR THAT NEVER GETS DONE IN CONGRESS.

Todd: THANK YOU, GOVERNOR DEAN. AMBASSADOR BRAUN, LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE. THAT WAS THE ORIGINAL QUESTION. GO RIGHT AHEAD.

Moseley Braun: SINGLE PAYER NOT ONLY MAKES DENNIS HAPPY, IT MAKES ME HAPPY TOO. AND QUITE FRANKLY, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THIS IS NOT COMPLICATED. THERE'S A LOT OF COMPLICATIONS, BUT ONCE YOU GET PAST THE COMPLICATIONS, THERE'S A SIMPLICITY HERE. EITHER YOU WANT A PRIVATE SYSTEM THAT YOU CAN BUY IN AND YOU TWIST AND TURN, OR YOU SAY, FINE, LET'S FIX THIS BY PROVIDING COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE TO EVERY AMERICAN FROM WELLNESS AND PREVENTION THROUGH LONG-TERM CARE. I LIVED THIS ISSUED. MY LATE MOTHER WORKED ALL HER LIFE. WE TOOK CARE OF HER WHEN SHE GOT SICK. WE TRIED TO KEEP HER AT HOME. WE DID AS LONG AS WE COULD. AND WHEN SHE FINALLY HAD TO GO ACTUALLY INTO A NURSING HOME, SHE WAS REDUCED OR FORCED TO GO ON MEDICAID INSTEAD OF MEDICARE BECAUSE SHE DIDN'T ADMINISTER HER OWN DRUGS. BECAUSE OF THAT, THEN THE STATE OF ILLINOIS PROCEEDED TO COME AFTER HER 7 WHEN SHE GOT A WINDFALL PAYMENT FROM A SALE ON SOME PROPERTY MY FAMILY HAS HAD SINCE THE 1800S. I MEAN IT'S JUST AN OUTRAGE. AND THE FACT THAT PEOPLE ARE HAVING TO HIDE ASSETS AND GO TWIST THEMSELVES IN PRETZELS TO GET THE HEALTH CARE THEY'RE ENTITLED TO OUGHT TO BE SOMETHING THAT EMBARRASSES AND OUTRAGES EVERY AMERICAN. THE ONLY WAY WE CAN FIX THIS IS WITH SINGLE PAYER.

Todd: THANK YOU, AMBASSADOR. WE'RE GOING TO STAY ON LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE. THIS NEXT QUESTION HAS TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT THERE SEEMS TO BE A SHORTAGE OF TRAINED WORKERS TO DEAL WITH THIS LONG-TERM CARE ISSUE. WHAT STRATEGIES ARE YOU GUYS GOING TO EMPLOY WHEN YOU'RE PRESIDENT TO TRY TO ADDRESS THIS WORK FORCE SHORTAGE AMONG -- WITH THIS LONG-TERM CARE PROBLEM THAT WE'RE -- A GOOD PROBLEM, BECAUSE WE'RE ALL LIVING LONGER. CONGRESSMAN GEPHARDT.

Gephardt: I THINK WE NEED TO ASK CITIZENS TO -- YOUNG CITIZENS TO CONSIDER CAREERS IN TEACHING, NURSING, HEALTH CARE. WE'VE GOT TO ASK YOUNG PEOPLE TO DO THINGS FOR THEIR COUNTRY AGAIN, AND I INTEND TO DO THAT AS PRESIDENT. I'VE GOT A TEACHER CORPS IDEA. I WANT TO SAY TO YOUNG STUDENTS, IF YOU'LL TRAIN TO BE A TEACHER AND TEACH WHERE WE NEED YOU FOR FIVE YEARS, WE'LL PAY YOUR COLLEGE LOANS, BECAUSE I WANT GOOD YOUNG TEACHERS WHO HAVE PASSION FOR DOING THIS, TO BE ABLE TO DO IT. WE'VE GOT TO CONSIDER A SIMILAR IDEA TO GET NURSES IN OUR NURSING HOMES AND IN OUR HOSPITALS. WE HAVE SHORTAGES ALL OVER THIS COUNTRY. I WILL BE A 8 PRESIDENT WHO INSPIRES AND ASKS THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO GIVE BACK TO THEIR COUNTRY, NOT JUST TAKE FROM IT. THAT'S BEEN THE VALUE AND ETHIC OF OUR SENIOR CITIZENS LIKE MY MOTHER, AND THAT'S THE KIND OF VALUE AND ETHIC THAT WE NEED TO INSPIRE AMONG OUR YOUNG PEOPLE TODAY.

Todd: THANK YOU. SENATOR EDWARDS, I FIRST WANT YOU TO BE ABLE TO DEFEND YOURSELF FROM WHAT GOVERNOR DEAN SAID, AND THEN WE'LL ADDRESS THIS --

Edwards: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, LET ME SAY EVERYBODY HAS A DIFFERENT WAY OF ADDRESSING THIS HEALTH CARE PROBLEM. THE ONLY PERSON WHO HAS NO HEALTH CARE PLAN IS THE GUY THAT'S IN THE WHITE HOUSE RIGHT NOW. ALL THE DEMOCRATS ACTUALLY HAVE A HEALTH CARE PLAN. [ APPLAUSE ] TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION, HOWARD, YOU'RE FACTUALLY WRONG. MY HEALTH CARE PLAN COVERS A HUNDRED PERCENT OF KIDS. I'M GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT THE MOST VULNERABLE ADULTS ARE COVERED, INCLUDING THOSE OVER THE AGE OVER 55, INCLUDING THOSE WHO WORK FOR SMALL BUSINESS BY PROVIDING TAX CREDITS TO THOSE SMALL BUSINESSES, INCLUDING PEOPLE LIKE THE PARENTS OF THESE KIDS WHO DON'T NOW HAVE COVERAGE. LET ME GIVE SPECIFICS TO THE ISSUE THAT YOU'RE RAISING. I THINK THIS IS WHAT I'M WORKING ON RIGHT NOW IN THIS LIVING WITH DIGNITY PROPOSAL. WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS BOTH IMPROVE WORKPLACE CONDITIONS SO THAT WE CAN RECRUIT GOOD PEOPLE WHO ARE WILLING TO WORKING IN THESE NURSING HOMES AND IMPROVE THEIR PAY AND THEIR BENEFITS. THIS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE. IF WE WANT GOOD PEOPLE WHO WILL STAY 9 THERE OVER A LONG PERIOD OF TIME AND WHO WILL ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT THE PATIENTS THAT THEY'RE TAKING CARE OF, THE SIMPLEST WAY TO DO THAT IS IMPROVE THEIR PAY, IMPROVE THEIR BENEFITS, IMPROVE THEIR WORKING CONDITIONS.

Todd: SENATOR KERRY, WE HAVE MORE PEOPLE UNEMPLOYED AND YET WE HAVE SOME -- A SECTOR THAT NEEDS MORE WORKERS. HOW DO WE DO IT?

Kerry: WELL, IT'S BECAUSE NOT -- EXCUSE ME. WE'RE NOT VALUING THE WORK THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE IN AMERICA. I WROTE THE NURSERY INVESTMENT ACT, WHICH WE PASSED, WHICH HELPS TO DRAW MORE NURSES INTO THE PROFESSION AND PROVIDE ADDITIONAL TRAINING. IN ADDITION, WE HAVE INTRODUCED LEGISLATION TO PREVENT MANDATORY OVERTIME FOR NURSING. WHY IS NURSING BECOMING SO DIFFICULT? IT'S LIKE OTHER PROFESSIONAL PARTS OF THE HEALTH CARE DELIVERY SYSTEM. BECAUSE THE REIMBURSEMENT PROCESS HAS BEEN COMPLETELY SKEWERED BY AN ADMINISTRATION THAT IS UNWILLING TO PAY FOR THE VALUE OF THE SERVICES BEING DELIVERED. WE'RE ASKING HOSPITALS AND DOCTORS AND EVERYBODY IN THE SYSTEM TO GET LESS THAN IT COSTS TO DELIVER. THAT'S BECAUSE GEORGE BUSH MAKES A DIFFERENT CHOICE FOR MOST REASONABLE AMERICANS. HE WANTS TO GIVE A TAX CUT TO THE WEALTHIEST PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRY AT THE EXPENSE OF OUR ABILITY TO HAVE AN ADEQUATE REIMBURSEMENT FOR IOWA, AN ADEQUATE MEDICARE REIMBURSEMENT TO HOSPITALS, AN ADEQUATE MEDICARE/MEDICAID REIMBURSEMENT TO DOCTORS. WE'VE GOT TO PAY FOR THE VALUE OF THE SERVICES THAT WE VALUE IN AMERICA.

Todd: THANK YOU. GOVERNOR DEAN, THIS WORKER SHORTAGE ISSUE.

Dean: MY CAMPAIGN IS ABOUT EMPOWERING PEOPLE. AND THE GOVERNMENT CAN DO EVERYTHING IT CAN TO TRY TO HELP NURSES GET A DECENT WAGE, BUT THE TRUTH IS UNIONS DO BETTER. AND I REALIZE I'M IN A RIGHT TO WORK STATE, BUT WE NEED CARD CHECK IN THIS COUNTRY SO THE SCIO AND OTHER UNIONS CAN UNIONIZE NURSING HOME WORKERS AND HOSPITAL WORKERS SO THEY CAN GET A DECENT BREAK FOR HOW HARD THEY WORK. SECONDLY, LET ME TELL YOU WHAT WE DID DO FOR NURSING HOME WAGES. WHEN WE RAISED NURSING HOME REIMBURSEMENTS IN THE APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS IN VERMONT, WE PUT A RIDER ON THAT REQUIRED THE NURSING HOME OPERATORS AND THE EXTENDED CARE OPERATORS TO PASS THAT INCREASE ONTO THE WORKING PEOPLE. YOU ARE NOT -- IT IS WORKING CONDITIONS THAT KEEPS PEOPLE OUT. AND IN LONG-TERM CARE, IT'S PAY AND BENEFITS, WHICH ARE VERY, VERY LOW, AND THE LOWEST PAID WORKERS ARE THE ONES THAT DO THE MOST WORK. SO, ONE, YOU NEED UNIONIZATION OF THIS INDUSTRY. TWO, YOU NEED REIMBURSEMENT MECHANISMS THAT FLOW THROUGH THE NURSING HOME OPERATORS TO THE WORKING PEOPLE. THREE, YOU REALLY DO NEED TO REDUCE DEPENDENCE ON INSTITUTIONS AND INCREASE DEPENDENCE ON TAKING CARE OF PEOPLE IN THEIR OWN HOMES.

Todd: AMBASSADOR BRAUN, I BELIEVE THIS IS A QUESTION THAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO USE "SINGLE-PAYER" FIRST.

Moseley Braun: ACTUALLY YOU CAN. I WAS GOING TO GO THERE.

Todd: OKAY, PLEASE DO.

Moseley Braun: NO. I'VE SEEN ANGLES DELIVERING DIRECT CARE TO PEOPLE, WORKING IN CIRCUMSTANCES THAT WERE NOTHING SHORT OF SWEAT SHOPS. THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT WE DON'T VALUE THE HEALTH CARE WORKERS, WE DON'T VALUE WHAT THEY DO AND THE CONTRIBUTION THEY MAKE TO THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF PEOPLE WHO NEED THEIR HELP. SO IT'S A MATTER OF REIMBURSEMENT, BUT THAT REIMBURSEMENT IS DRIVEN BY THE HEALTH CARE REIMBURSEMENT SYSTEM. WHEN YOU GET THE REIMBURSEMENT SYSTEM, YOU GET BACK TO THE BOTTOM LINE, WHICH IS WE HAVE A PROFIT-DRIVEN SYSTEM THAT DOES NOT CARE WHETHER OR NOT EVERYBODY GETS THE SAME LEVEL, THE SAME QUALITY OF HEALTH CARE. THE ONLY WAY WE CAN FIX IT IS --

Todd: HERE YOU GO. OKAY --

Moseley Braun: SINGLE PAYER. THAT'S IT. YOU GOT IT.

Todd: I'M NOT GOING TO BE THE ONE ADVOCATING IT. I'VE GOT TO BE CAREFUL HERE.

Moseley Braun: COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CARE COVERAGE FROM PREVENTION TO LONG-TERM CARE WILL RAISE SALARIES AND MAKE WORKERS IN THIS INDUSTRY HAVE COMMENSURATE CONDITIONS OF WORK WITH WORKERS IN OTHER INDUSTRIES.

Todd: THANK YOU, AMBASSADOR BRAUN. CONGRESSMAN KUCINICH, HOW DO DEAL WITH THE WORKER SHORTAGE?

Kucinich: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF AMBASSADOR BRAUN, EVERYTHING THAT THESE ESTEEMED GENTLEMEN SAY ABOUT EACH OTHER'S PLAN IS RIGHT. [ LAUGHTER ]

Todd: YOU GUYS WERE JUST DISAGREEING WITH EACH OTHER. NOW YOU'RE GOING TO --

Kucinich: IF THERE WAS EVER -- IF THERE WAS EVER A FORUM WHERE WE HAVE MADE THE CASE, NOT INTENTIONALLY I MIGHT ADD, BUT IF THERE WAS EVER A FORUM WHERE WE'VE MADE THE CASE FOR SINGLE PAYER, THIS IS IT. NOW, THINK ABOUT IT. AFTER THE NURSING HOMES GET THROUGH TAKE EVERYTHING YOU OWN, THE PRESSURES ARE ON THEM FOR INCREASING THEIR PROFITS. HOW DO THESE HEALTH CARE INDUSTRIES INCREASE THEIR PROFITS? THEY INCREASE THEIR PROFITS BY CUTTING PERSONNEL. THEY INCREASE THEIR PROFITS BY CUTTING STAFFING LEVELS. THEY INCREASE THEIR PROFITS BY PAYING WORKERS LESS. THIS IS THE CASE THAT MUST BE MADE FOR UNIVERSAL SINGLE-PAYER HEALTH CARE. WE CAN HIRE THE PERSONNEL THAT WE NEED WITHOUT HAVING TO WORRY ABOUT WHETHER WE SHOULD PAY PEOPLE A DECENT WAGE. THEY WILL BE PAID A DECENT WAGE. WE SHOULD ALSO HAVE TUITION FREE FOR NURSING SCHOOLS SO WE CAN PROVIDE INCENTIVES TO GET OUR YOUNG PEOPLE INTO NURSING CARE FOR THE EXPANDING NEEDS OF THE BABY BOOMERS. THANK YOU.

Todd: WE'VE GOT A -- WE'VE GOT ANOTHER -- WE'VE GOT ANOTHER QUESTION FROM THE AUDIENCE. JUNE HOLTZ, IF YOU COULD PLEASE ADDRESS THE CANDIDATES.

Holtz: WE HEAR ON THE NEWS THAT AMERICA WILL BE FACING A WORKER SHORTAGE AS THE BOOMER GENERATION AGES AND RETIRES. EMPLOYERS WILL HAVE TO RELY ON OLDER WORKERS LIKE ME -- EXCUSE ME -- WHO OFTEN HAVE A HARD TIME GETTING HIRED EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE EXPERIENCE. WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO HELP EMPLOYERS PREPARE MIDLIFE AND OLDER WORKERS FOR A CONTINUING ROLE IN THE WORKPLACE?

Todd: I'VE GOT TO THINK THIS IS A PERSONAL QUESTION FOR EVERYBODY. WE ALL KNOW SOMEBODY WHO IS IN THEIR FIFTIES THAT IS LOOKING FOR WORK. SENATOR EDWARDS.

Edwards: LET ME START WITH, HAVING SEEN THIS UP CLOSE, WHAT YOU'RE DESCRIBING. IN MY STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, WE'VE LOT OVER A HUNDRED THOUSAND TEXTILE JOBS -- TEXTILE PLANT JOBS, WHICH IS WHERE MY OWN FATHER WORKED FOR THIRTY-SIX YEARS. I HAD A MEETING A COUPLE MONTHS AGO WITH THE WORKERS FOR PYLATEX. OVER 5,000 PEOPLE LOST THEIR JOBS AS A RESULT OF THE CLOSING. I SAT WITH A GROUP OF WORKERS, AND I'LL NEVER FORGET THERE WAS A WOMAN WHO WAS SAYING TO ME WHAT I'VE KNOWN ALL MY LIFE, WHICH WAS, "I'VE WORKED IN THIS PLANT FOR THIRTY-ONE YEARS. I'M FIFTY-TWO YEARS OLD. I TOOK CARE OF MY FAMILY. NOW WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO? SENATOR, DID I NOT DO WHAT I'M SUPPOSED TO HERE DO IN THIS COUNTRY? WHO'S THERE FOR ME NOW?" WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS, FIRST, MAKE SURE THAT NOBODY IS DISCRIMINATED AGAINST ON THE BASIS OF AGE. SECOND, FOR PEOPLE IN THIS SITUATION, WE NEED TO BRING JOBS, NOT JUST CREATE JOB, BRING JOBS TO HER COMMUNITY BY CREATING A NATIONAL VENTURE CAPITAL FUND FOR NEW BUSINESSES TO LOCATE THERE.

Todd: THANK YOU, SENATOR.

Edwards: AND ONE OTHER THING, CHUCK. GIVING TAX CUTS -- GIVING TAX BREAKS TO COMPANIES LIKE GM, WHO ARE WILLING LOCATE THEIR PLANT OR FACILITIES IN HER COMMUNITY.

Todd: SENATOR KERRY, HOW DO WE DEAL WITH THIS ISSUE?

Kerry: WELL, I'M FIFTY-NINE AND I AM LOOKING FOR WORK, FOLKS. [ LAUGHTER ]

THOUGHT YOU HAD IT IN THE SENATE, JOHN.

Kerry: I -- EVERYWHERE I GO, I AM MEETING PEOPLE WHO ARE THE VICTIMS OF OUTSOURCING. I JUST SAT WITH TEN WORKERS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE THE OTHER DAY. ONE PERSON HAS BEEN LOOKING FOR A JOB FOR A YEAR AND A HALF. HE SENT OUT 200 RESUMES. HE'S HAD 50 INTERVIEWS. AND EVERY JOB THAT HE GOES TO, THERE ARE 200 PEOPLE LOOKING FOR THE SAME JOB. PRESIDENT BUSH HAS NOT EXCITED JOB CREATION IN AMERICA. UNDER PRESIDENT CLINTON, WE CREATED 23 MILLION NEW JOBS. WE NEED TO REINVEST IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. WE NEED TO EXCITE THE CREATION OF WHAT WE CALL THE HIGH VALUE-ADDED JOBS, WHICH ARE THE BETTER PAYING JOBS IN AMERICA. WE NEED TO HAVE ONGOING ADULT EDUCATION SO THAT EVERYBODY HAS ACCESS TO THE TRANSITIONAL NEEDS IN AN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY GLOBALIZED SOCIETY. WE NEED TO BE EXCITING THE ABILITY OF PEOPLE TO BE ABLE TO FIND THOSE JOBS BY CREATING MORE OF THEM FASTER. WE NEED TO RENEW OUR COMMITMENT TO SCIENCE IN AMERICA. IF WE DO THESE THINGS, THERE WILL BE JOBS FOR PEOPLE DOWN THE ROAD.

Todd: IT'S ALWAYS TOUGHER WITH SENATORS. YOU GUYS ARE MORE TRAINED AT SPEAKING THAN THE REST OF US.

Kerry: IT'S CALLED A FILIBUSTER. [ LAUGHTER ]

Todd: GOVERNOR DEAN, PLEASE, THIS ISSUE WITH --

Dean: WELL, ACTUALLY SENATOR KERRY ALREADY HAS A JOB, AND I THINK HE'S VERY GOOD AT IT AND HE SHOULD KEEP IT. [ LAUGHTER ] HERE'S -- LOOK, THE FIRST THING WE NEED TO DO IS GET RID OF PRESIDENT BUSH'S TAX CUTS, EVERY DIME OF THEM. I THINK MOST PEOPLE IN AMERICAN WOULD BE HAPPY TO PAY THE SAME TAXES THEY PAID WHEN BILL CLINTON WAS PRESIDENT, IF ONLY THEY COULD HAVE THE SAME ECONOMY THEY HAD WHEN BILL CLINTON WAS PRESIDENT. WE NEED -- WE NEED TO INVEST IN AMERICA. WE NEED TO HELP SMALL BUSINESSES. I DISAGREE WITH JOHN. CORPORATE TAX BREAKS FOR GM DON'T CUT IT, BECAUSE GM COULD MOVE THEIR JOBS, AND BIG CORPORATIONS DO. SMALL BUSINESSES CREATE MORE JOBS THAN BIG BUSINESSES DO, AND THEY DON'T MOVE THEIR JOBS TO OTHER COMMUNITIES OR OUT OF THE COUNTRY. AND THAT'S WHERE THE JOB CREATION IS GOING TO BE IN THIS COUNTRY. WE NEED TO INVEST IN ROADS, IN BRIDGES, IN MASS TRANSIT, IN BROADBAND TELECOMMUNICATION, AND IN RENEWABLE ENERGY TO KEEP THE MONEY AND THE JOBS IN AMERICA AND KEEP OUR FOREIGN OIL MONEY FROM FLOWING TO SAUDI ARABIA WHERE IT'S USED TO FUND TERRORISM AND THE HATRED OF SMALL CHILDREN -- TEACHING HATE TO SMALL CHILDREN OF AMERICA FOR THE NEXT GENERATION OF SUICIDE BOMBERS. SO INVESTING IN RENEWABLE ENERGY MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE. IT'S GOING TO CREATE JOBS AND HELP OUR DEFENSE.

Todd: AMBASSADOR BRAUN, HOW DO WE ADDRESS THIS MIDDLE-AGE WORKER CRISIS?

Moseley Braun: WELL, IN THE FIRST INSTANCE, LIFETIME LEARNING IS A VERY IMPORTANT ASPECT OF TRAINING AND PREPARING MIDLIFE AND OLDER WORKERS FOR A CONTINUING ROLE IN THE WORK FORCE. IN ADDITION TO THAT, SEEING TO IT THAT DISCRIMINATION IS NOT ALLOWED BASED ON AGE, FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO WORK. BUT LET ME SAY -- AND OF COURSE GETTING THE ECONOMY TO CREATE JOBS IS ESSENTIAL, AND WE'VE SEEN THE JOB HEMORRHAGING IN THIS COUNTRY UNDER THIS ADMINISTRATION. BUT LET ME MAKE THIS POINT: WHEN YOU GET TO A CERTAIN AGE, YOU OUGHT TO HAVE THE CHOICE WHETHER YOU WANT TO CONTINUE IN THE WORK FORCE OR NOT. THERE ARE ENOUGH PEOPLE WHO, WHEN THEY GET TO BE 62 OR 65, DON'T WANT TO HAVE TO GO TO WORK ANYMORE. THEY WANT TO BE ABLE TO PURSUE OTHER INTERESTS AND OTHER ENDEAVORS AND TO ENJOY THIS BEAUTIFUL LIFE. AND I THINK THAT PEOPLE OUGHT TO HAVE RETIREMENT SECURITY SO THAT IF THEY CHOOSE NOT TO CONTINUE IN THE WORK FORCE, THEY CAN DO THAT. BUT IF THEY CHOOSE TO CONTINUE TO WORK IN A JOB SETTING, THEY HAVE -- THERE IS OPPORTUNITY FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP, OPPORTUNITY FOR SMALL BUSINESSES, BUT ALSO -- >>

Todd: THANK YOU, AMBASSADOR BRAUN. MY APOLOGIES FOR THAT BUG THAT WAS FLYING AROUND. WE DON'T KNOW WHERE THE BUG HAS COME FROM BUT WE'LL LET YOU GET THAT. CONGRESSMAN KUCINICH.

Kucinich: THAT BUG PROBABLY CAME FROM JOHN ASHCROFT. [ LAUGHTER ]

Todd: ALL RIGHT. I THREW THE SOFTBALL. THAT'S MY FAULT.

Kucinich: WHEREVER I GO IN AMERICA, I'M MEETING PEOPLE AT A MIDLIFE CAREER CHANGE, PRINCIPALLY BECAUSE THEY'VE BEEN LET GO. THEY USED TO WORK FOR MANUFACTURING CONCERNS. AMERICA HAS LOST THREE MILLION MANUFACTURING JOBS SINCE JULY OF 2000. WE HAVE NINE MILLION AMERICANS UNEMPLOYED RIGHT NOW. MOST OF THEM, I WOULD SAY, ARE PEOPLE AT MIDLIFE. NOW, THINK ABOUT IT. WHAT'S WRONG WITH OUR ECONOMY WHEN PEOPLE WORK A LIFETIME AND THEN THEY'RE TOLD, WHEN THEY GET TO THEIR MIDLIFE OR THEIR SENIOR YEARS, THEY'RE NO LONGER NEEDED? I'LL TELL YOU ONE OF THE THINGS THAT'S WRONG. OUR TRADE AGREEMENTS THAT LET CORPORATIONS JUST MOVE OUT OF AN AREA AND DESTROY COMMUNITIES. AS THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, MY FIRST ACT IN OFFICE WILL BE TO CANCEL NAFTA AND THE WTO AND RETURN TO BILATERAL TRADE, CONDITIONED ON WORKERS RIGHTS, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY PRINCIPLES.

CONGRESSMAN GEPHARDT, HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET THE 50-PLUS FOLKS WORK THAT WANT IT?

Gephardt: I'VE MET PEOPLE OUT ON MY TWO-YEAR JOB INTERVIEW THAT I'M INVOLVED IN, WHO'VE LOST THEIR JOB LATE IN LIFE. AND THEY'VE LOST THEIR SELF-RESPECT. THEY'VE LOST THEIR IDENTITY. NOTHING WORSE CAN HAPPEN TO SOMEONE. THIS PRESIDENT HAS LOST MORE JOBS THAN THE LAST 11 PRESIDENTS PUT TOGETHER. I'VE GOT A QUESTION FOR YOU: HOW MANY JOBS DO AMERICANS HAVE TO LOSE BEFORE GEORGE BUSH LOSES HIS? WE'VE GOT TO GET RID OF THIS PRESIDENT; THAT'S THE FIRST THING. SECOND, WE'VE GOT TO HAVE A TRADE POLICY THAT HOLDS ONTO GOOD JOBS. I'M FOR GLOBALIZATION BUT IT'S GOT TO BE GLOBALIZATION WITH A HUMAN FACE. I'VE LED ON THIS ISSUE FOR TWENTY YEARS. ALL THE CANDIDATES, EXCEPT DENNIS, WILL SAY THEY'D NEVER BE FOR A NAFTA THAT DOESN'T HAVE LABOR AND ENVIRONMENT STANDARDS, NEVER BE FOR A CHINA AGREEMENT. WHEN THESE ISSUES WERE BEFORE THE CONGRESS, THESE CANDIDATES SUPPORTED THEM. WE NEED A PRESIDENT WHO WILL CHANGE THE TRADE POLICY OF THIS COUNTRY. THAT'S WHAT I WILL DO. AND THEN FOLKS WHO ARE 55 AND 60 WON'T BE LOSING THEIR JOBS TO CHINA AND OTHER COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD.

Todd: ALL RIGHT. WE'RE GOING TO MOVE ON TO THE THIRD RAIL OF AMERICAN POLITICS, SOCIAL SECURITY. BELIEVE IT OR NOT, IT WILL BE IN YOUR, I ASSUME -- MAYBE I'M MAKING WRONG ASSUMPTIONS HERE, BUT IT COULD BE IN YOUR SECOND TERM AS PRESIDENT, IF YOU'RE ELECTED IN 2004, THAT WE GET THAT MAGIC YEAR THAT BILL NOVELLI TALKED ABOUT, WHICH WAS 2011, WHEN THE FIRST OF THE BABY BOOMERS -- AND I THINK, CONGRESSMAN KUCINICH, YOU'RE THE FIRST OF THE BABY BOOMERS THAT ARE GOING TO BE 65 IN 2011. MY APOLOGY -- WHAT STEPS ARE YOU GOING TO ENSURE -- GOVERNOR DEAN, THIS IS GOING TO BE TO YOU FIRST -- THAT SOCIAL SECURITY IS GOING TO BE ABLE TO CONTINUE TO PAY ITS PROMISED RETIREMENT, BUT ALSO ITS DISABILITY AND SURVIVOR BENEFITS, FOR GENERATIONS BEYOND 2011?

Dean: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, I DON'T AGREE WITH DENNIS. I DON'T THINK YOU CAN ROLL BACK THE SOCIAL SECURITY AGE TO 65, BECAUSE I DON'T THINK THIS COUNTRY CAN AFFORD IT AND I DON'T THINK SOCIAL SECURITY CAN AFFORD IT. THE ONE THING I THINK EVERYBODY HERE AGREES ON IS THAT WE ALL WANT TO KEEP THE PROMISE OF SOCIAL SECURITY, THAT WE BELIEVE IN WHAT FDR DID, AND IT IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL. AND IT IS NOT A RETIREMENT PROGRAM, SO IT SHOULD NEVER BE PRIVATIZED. IT IS A SAFETY NET PROGRAM FOR SENIORS, AND THAT IS WHAT IT SHOULD STAY. NOW, BILL CLINTON SHOWED THAT IF YOU IMPROVE THE ECONOMY AND KEEP PAYROLL TAXES COMING IN THAT THE SOCIAL SECURITY BECOMES -- THAT THE LONGEVITY OF SOCIAL SECURITY EXTENDS DRAMATICALLY. I DON'T THINK WE HAVE TO MAKE ANY CHANGES IN SOCIAL SECURITY WHATSOEVER, POSSIBLY WITH ONE EXCEPTION. AN AIRLINE PILOT TODAY WHO MAKES $40 MILLION A YEAR PAYS THE SAME SOCIAL SECURITY TAX AS SOMEBODY WHO MAKES $86,000 A YEAR. IF WE NEED MONEY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY, THERE IS PLENTY IN RAISING THE CAP. BUT I DO NOT BELIEVE WE NEED TO EXTEND THE RETIREMENT AGE. I DON'T BELIEVE WE NEED TO CHANGE THE BENEFIT STRUCTURE. I DON'T BELIEVE WE NEED TO CUT -- I THINK SOCIAL SECURITY WILL BE FINE WHEN WE GET THE ECONOMY TURNED AROUND AGAIN.

Todd: AMBASSADOR BRAUN, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO TO HELP SOCIAL SECURITY CONTINUE WITH BENEFITS?

Moseley Braun: I THINK THE FIRST THING IS TO STOP RAIDING THE SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND AND TO MAKE CERTAIN THAT WE GET TO A BALANCED BUDGET. THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT THE INTEREST THAT WE'RE PAYING FOR OUR SPENDING, OUR DEBT, IS REALLY MONEY THAT COULD BE INVESTED IN MAKING CERTAIN THAT THE SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND IS THERE AND ADEQUATE TO COVER THE BABY BOOMERS WHEN WE RETIRE. SO THAT'S THE FIRST THING. THE SECOND THING IS THAT I THINK THERE'S BEEN AN AWFUL LOT OF FRIGHTENING PEOPLE ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY AND ABOUT THE VIABILITY OF THE SYSTEM. WE HAVE AN ABSOLUTE OBLIGATION TO MAINTAIN THE SYSTEM AND TO MAINTAIN THE PROMISE OF SOCIAL SECURITY. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE (A) NOT FRIGHTEN PEOPLE, THAT WE ENGAGE SOME FISCAL DISCIPLINE SO THAT WE DON'T CONTINUE TO DRIVE UP THE BUDGET DEFICITS, ON THE ONE HAND, AND DRIVE UP THE NATIONAL DEBT SO THAT WE'RE PAYING -- WE'RE, RIGHT NOW, AT ABOUT 2 PERCENT OF GDP JUST IN INTEREST ON THE DEBT. THAT MONEY APPLIED TO RETIREMENT WOULD MAKE CERTAIN SOCIAL SECURITY WOULD BE AROUND FOR AN AWFULLY LONG TIME.

Todd: CONGRESSMAN KUCINICH, I KNOW YOU'VE BEEN WANTING TO RESPOND TO WHAT OTHERS HAD SAID.

Kucinich: WELL, SOCIAL SECURITY IS MORE THAN JUST A SAFETY NET. I MEAN WHEN YOU CONSIDER THAT SO MANY AMERICANS WILL NOT HAVE ANYTHING BUT SOCIAL SECURITY, IT'S URGENT THAT PEOPLE BE ABLE TO RETIRE AT AGE 65. MOST OF YOU KNOW THAT PEOPLE ARE RETIRING EARLIER. THE AVERAGE AGE FOR RETIREMENT IS AGE 62. AND IF YOU KNOW THAT THE AVERAGE AGE OF RETIREMENT IS AGE 62, THEN YOU KNOW HOW URGENT IT IS TO TAKE THAT RETIREMENT AGE BACK TO 65, BECAUSE WHAT HAPPENS IS PEOPLE ARE RETIRING EARLIER BUT WE KEEP MOVING THE RETIREMENT AGE OUT, AND SO PEOPLE WILL HAVE TO PAY A 10-PERCENT PENALTY OR MORE IN ORDER TO RETIRE AT THE TIME THAT THEY WANT TO. THAT THIS URGENT MATTER. AND FRANKLY, MY GOOD FRIEND GOVERNOR DEAN HAS TAKEN A POSITION OF RETIREMENT AT AGE 70, RETIREMENT AT AGE 68, 67. AND I'M HOPEFUL AS THIS DEBATE GOES ON THAT WE'LL GET HIM TO JOIN ME IN URGING THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY TO SUPPORT RETIREMENT AT AGE 65.

Todd: THANK YOU, CONGRESSMAN KUCINICH. CONGRESSMAN GEPHARDT, HOW ARE WE GOING TO CONTINUE TO FUEL SOCIAL SECURITY?

Gephardt: THIS IS AN EXTREMELY IMPORTANT ISSUE. I SAID IN MY OPENING STATEMENT THAT WE HAVE TO HAVE A CANDIDATE IN THIS RACE WHO CAN DRAW A BRIGHT LINE IN THE SAND WITH GEORGE BUSH AND THE REPUBLICANS ON SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE. I HAVE BEEN FIGHTING THIS FIGHT IN THE ENTIRE TIME I'VE BEEN IN THE CONGRESS. WE CANNOT GIVE IN TO THEIR CONSTANT ATTEMPTS THAT STARTED WHEN THESE PROGRAMS STARTED. THIS WAS THEIR ALTERNATIVE TO SOCIAL SECURITY IN 1936. THEY WANTED TO PRIVATIZE IS. THEY WANTED TO PRIVATIZE MEDICARE. THEY'VE WANTED TO DO IT EVERY YEAR SINCE. AND THAT'S WHY I'VE HAD A DISAGREEMENT WITH GOVERNOR DEAN ON THIS ISSUE. HE'S DONE A LOT FOR HEALTH CARE IN HIS STATE, BUT IT WAS, IN MY VIEW, WRONG TO AGREE WITH A REPUBLICAN SUGGESTION IN 1995 FOR A $270-BILLION CUT IN MEDICARE TO MAKE THE BUDGET COME OUT. AND DEMOCRATS ACTUALLY DID ANOTHER VERSION OF THAT IN 1997 TO HELP THE BUDGET. WE CANNOT CUT SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE TO GET THE BUDGET STRAIGHTENED OUT. WE CAN ONLY DEAL WITH THEM ON THEIR OWN --

Todd: SENATOR EDWARDS, HOW ARE WE GOING TO CONTINUE TO FUEL SOCIAL SECURITY BEYOND 2011?

Edwards: WELL, WE NEED TO DO TWO THINGS. ONE IS TO GET THE ECONOMY MOVING AGAIN. THE SECOND IS WHAT'S BEEN TALKED ABOUT, WHICH IS GETTING BACK TO BALANCED BUDGETS AND FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY. TO GET THIS ECONOMY MOVING AGAIN, I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW STRONGLY I DISAGREE WITH HOWARD DEAN AND DICK GEPHARDT, WHO WANT TO RAISE TAXES ON THE MIDDLE CLASS. I THINK THAT'S AN ENORMOUS MISTAKE. I DO NOT THINK WE SHOULD HAVE A FAMILY OF FOUR MAKING $40,000 A YEAR HAVE ALMOST $2,000 TAKEN OUT OF THEIR POCKET. THE MIDDLE CLASS IS THE DRIVING FORCE IN THIS ECONOMY. WE SHOULD BE CREATING WEALTH IN THE MIDDLE CLASS, HELPING PEOPLE BUY A HOUSE, HELPING PEOPLE SAVE, HELPING PEOPLE INVEST. THESE ARE THE THINGS, HOWARD, THAT BILL CLINTON DID AND BILL CLINTON FOUGHT FOR TO GET THE ECONOMY MOVING AGAIN. WHAT I'D DO IS GET RID OF BUSH'S TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH, THOSE WHO MAKE OVER $200,000 A YEAR, CLOSE A GROUP OF CORPORATE TAX LOOPHOLES. THOSE TWO THINGS GENERATE $1.5 TRILLION OVER TWENTY YEARS AND PAYS FOR EVERYTHING THAT I'M PROPOSING, PLUS LEAVES HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS FOR DEFICIT REDUCTION TO PROTECT SOCIAL SECURITY.

Todd: THANK YOU, SENATOR EDWARDS. SENATOR KERRY, HOW DO WE CONTINUE TO FUEL SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS.

Kerry: WE CONTINUE TO PROVIDE SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS BY MAKING CERTAIN THAT WE RESIST EVERY EFFORT TO PRIVATIZE IT, THAT WE GUARANTEE THAT WE DON'T MOVE THE BENEFITS OR CUT THE BENEFITS SO THAT WE'RE NOT GOING TO CHANGE THE RETIREMENT AGE. THOSE ARE THE THREE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES WITH WHICH WE HAVE TO APPROACH IT. NOW, IF YOU TALK TO YOUNG PEOPLE IN AMERICA TODAY, THEY DON'T BELIEVE SOCIAL SECURITY WILL BE THERE FOR THEM. IT'S ASTONISHING. I BELIEVE IT WILL BE. AND IT WILL BE BECAUSE WE'RE GOING TO KEEP FAITH WITH THAT COMPACT IN AMERICA THAT GUARANTEES IT. AND IT'S -- IT IS VERY EASY TO DO WITH MINOR, MINOR ADJUSTMENTS CONCEIVABLY. I HAPPEN TO AGREE WITH HOWARD. WE DON'T NEED TO DO IT WITH ANY MAJOR SHIFT AT THIS POINT EXCEPT FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY. GEORGE BUSH HAS THE BIGGEST DEFICITS IN MODERN HISTORY -- IN HISTORY, PERIOD. AND HE'S RUN DEFICITS OUT TO $2 TRILLION FROM THE $5.6-TRILLION SURPLUS. I HAVE PLEDGED TO CUT THE DEFICIT IN HALF IN THE FIRST FOUR YEARS OF MY PRESIDENCY AND --

Todd: THANK YOU. OH! I WON ONE. I WON ONE. [ LAUGHTER ]

Todd: MAN! WHAT DID I DO RIGHT?

Kerry: DISCIPLINE.

Todd: ALL RIGHT. WE HEAR THESE BUZZ WORDS ABOUT PRIVATIZATION AND THINGS LIKE THAT, BUT LET'S -- IS THERE SOME ROOM FOR INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS EVEN IF IT'S AN ADD ON OR A CARVE OUT WHEN IT COMES TO HELPING THE SOCIAL SECURITY STUFF? AMBASSADOR BRAUN.

Moseley Braun: OF COURSE, AND I, FRANKLY -- WHEN I WAS ON THE SENATE, I WAS THE FIRST WOMAN IN HISTORY ON THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE, AND WE SUPPORTED THE DEVELOPMENT, EXPANSION OF IRA OPPORTUNITIES FOR HOMEMAKERS, ON THE ONE HAND, AND FOR LOW INCOME WORKERS, ON THE OTHER. BUT I THINK PEOPLE SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED TO SAVE FOR RETIREMENT. BUT YOU DO THAT WITHOUT MESSING WITH SOCIAL SECURITY, WITHOUT TALKING ABOUT PRIVATIZING IT, WITHOUT TAKING AND BREAKING FAITH WITH THE CONTRACT THATS SAYS THERE WILL ALWAYS BE SOMETHING HERE FOR YOU WHEN YOU RETIRE, WHEN YOU CAN'T WORK ANY LONGER, WHETHER THE MARKETS GO UP OR DOWN. JUST TO TAKE -- TO TAKE OUR SOCIAL SECURITY FUNDS AND INVEST THAT IN WALL STREET -- AGAIN, WE'VE SEEN -- IT'S THE EQUIVALENT OF GIVING IT TO ENRON --

Todd: AMBASSADOR BRAUN, WE'RE GOING TO MAKE THIS QUESTION A QUICK THIRTY-SECOND ONE, JUST TO SEEK EVERYBODY'S OPINION ON THAT. EVERYBODY IS GOING TO BE THIRTY, I PROMISE. I PROMISE. EVERYBODY IS GOING TO GET A THIRTY-SECOND RESPONSE.

Moseley Braun: YOU CUT ME IN HALF. I KNEW I WASN'T TALKING TOO LONG. [ LAUGHTER ]

Todd: NO. CONGRESSMAN KUCINICH, IS THERE ANY ROOM FOR INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS EVEN AS A CARVE-OUT WHEN IT COMES TO SOCIAL SECURITY?

Kucinich: RIGHT NOW SOCIAL SECURITY IS ROCK SOLID THROUGH THE YEAR 2042 WITHOUT ANY CHANGES WHATSOEVER. ANY MONEY THAT YOU CARVE OUT OF SOCIAL SECURITY, WHICH WOULD WEAKEN IT, I THINK THAT'S UNACCEPTABLE. SO I AM OPPOSED TO ANYTHING THAT WOULD IN ANY WAY, PARTIAL OR OTHERWISE, PRIVATIZE SOCIAL SECURITY. THAT MONEY BELONGS TO MAIN STREET, NOT WALL STREET.

VOLUNTARY, INVOLUNTARY? CONGRESSMAN GEPHARDT, CARVE-OUTS, INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS?

Gephardt: NOT FOR INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS AND NOT FOR PRIVATIZATION. I DO HAVE A UNIVERSAL PENSION PLAN THAT ALLOWS PEOPLE TO MOVE CREDITS FROM JOB TO JOB SO THEY HAVE AT LEAST ONE GOOD PENSION AT THE END OF THEIR WORKING PERIOD. I'M ALSO FOR GIVING PEOPLE INCENTIVES TO SAVE ON TOP OF SOCIAL SECURITY, BUT SOCIAL SECURITY HAS TO BE A ROCK-SOLID SAFETY NET THAT CAN NEVER BE TAKEN AWAY.

Todd: SENATOR EDWARDS, ANY ROOM FOR THIS, INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS?

Edwards: NO ROOM FOR INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS AND NO ROOM FOR PRIVATIZING, BUT WHAT WE SHOULD DO IS HELP PEOPLE SAVE. WE HAVE ONE OF THE WORST PRIVATE SAVINGS RATES IN THE WORLD. WE HAVE TRAIN WRECK COMING. WE HAVE A PRESIDENT DRIVING US DEEPER AND DEEPER INTO DEFICIT, THE ONSLAUGHT OF THE BABY BOOMERS LIKE ME COMING, AND A SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM THAT WE KNOW DOWN THE ROAD IS GOING TO HAVE FINANCIAL TROUBLE. SO WHAT I AM PROPOSING IS FOR MIDDLE AND LOWER INCOME FAMILIES, THAT WE MATCH DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR THE AMOUNT THEY'RE ABLE TO SAVE, UP TO $1,000 PER FAMILY PER YEAR SO THAT FAMILIES CAN START CREATING WEALTH AND PREPARE FOR WHAT WE KNOW IS COMING.

Todd: SENATOR KERRY, INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS.

Kerry: NO ROOM FOR INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS OUT OF SOCIAL SECURITY. THERE IS ROOM FOR SAVINGS OR USA ACCOUNTS, AS PRESIDENT CLINTON PROVIDED, ATOP OF SOCIAL SECURITY. BUT HERE'S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. THE TAX CODE OF THE UNITED STATES HAS GONE FROM 14 PAGES TO 17,000 PAGES. WE HAVE AN UNFAIR TAX SYSTEM IN AMERICA. THE AVERAGE PERSON IS BEING STUCK WITH THE BILL AT THE EXPENSE OF CORPORATE EXECUTIVES AND PEOPLE WHO GO OVERSEAS, TAKE THE JOBS, TAKE THE MONEY, AND DON'T PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE. WHAT WE NEED IS TAX REFORM. RESTORE FAIRNESS IN THE ECONOMY.

Todd: THANK YOU, SENATOR. GOVERNOR DEAN, A QUICK THIRTY SECOND ON THE POINT OF INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS.

Dean: THE ANSWER IS NO ROOM. AND I'LL USE THE REST OF MY TIME, IF I MAY, FOR A FEW OTHER THINGS. FIRST OF ALL, I SAID AIRLINE PILOT WHO MAKES 40 MILLION. IT NEVER HAPPENED. IT WAS AN AIRLINE CEO I WAS THINKING ABOUT. SO ALL THOSE AIRLINE PILOTS OUT THERE WHO ARE NERVOUS, DON'T WORRY.

Todd: I WAS ABOUT TO START MY RESUME, ACTUALLY.

Dean: SECONDLY, I'M NOT GOING TO HAVE A DEBATE WITH DICK GEPHARDT ABOUT WHO SAID WHAT EIGHT YEARS AGO. THE QUESTION IS WHO'S GOING TO DO WHAT NOW. I'VE GOT RESULTS TO PROVE THAT WE HAVE DONE SOMETHING. A THIRD OF OUR SENIORS HAVE PRESCRIPTION BENEFITS. IF ONLY THE CONGRESS COULD HAVE DONE THAT OVER THE CAREER OF THE SIXTY-SEVEN YEARS THAT THESE GUYS HAVE BEEN IN WASHINGTON. THIRDLY, I DISAGREE WITH JOHN EDWARDS ON THIS -- WE NEED TO GET RID OF ALL THE BUSH TAX CUTS. I DON'T THINK YOU OUGHT TO BE DEFENDING THE BUSH TAX CUTS, BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE --

Edwards: YOU'RE TRYING TO RAISE TAXES.

Dean: OH, NO, I'M NOT. MOST PEOPLE ONLY GOT $360 AND I THINK THAT MONEY WOULD BE BETTER SPENT RESTORING MEDICARE.

Todd: I HAVE PROMISED -- I HAVE PROMISED -- LET'S DO -- LET'S FINISH THE -- LET'S FINISH THE OTHER THIRTY SECONDS. WE'LL DO THE OTHER THIRTY SECONDS. WE'RE GOING TO START BACK WITH AMBASSADOR BRAUN. IF YOU WANT TO FINISH YOUR THOUGHT ON THIS, WE'LL GIVE YOU EACH ANOTHER THIRTY SECONDS. GO AHEAD, AMBASSADOR BRAUN.

Moseley Braun: OH, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. [ LAUGHTER ] AGAIN, SOCIAL SECURITY SHOULD BE SACROSANCT. IT'S A THREE-LEGGED STOOL. YOU WANT TO ENCOURAGE SAVINGS. AND FOR RETIREMENT, WE WANT TO ENCOURAGE PENSIONS AND MAKE THEM PORTABLE. AND WE WANT TO MAKE CERTAIN THAT SOCIAL SECURITY REMAINS IN TACT AS A SAFETY NET THAT WILL NEVER GO AWAY. I THINK THAT THAT THREE-LEGGED-STOOL ANALOGY IS A VERY IMPORTANT ONE FOR RETIREMENT AND ONE THAT WE NEED TO TALK TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ABOUT AND THAT POLICYMAKERS SHOULD ENCOURAGE. I PUSHED FOR WOMEN'S PENSION EQUITY ON THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE BECAUSE WOMEN --

Todd: I'VE GOT TO STOP YOU THERE.

Moseley Braun: AAHH.

Todd: I KNOW, I'M TERRIBLE.

Moseley Braun: NEXT TIME.

Todd: I'M TERRIBLE. NEXT TIME. CONGRESSMAN KUCINICH, ANOTHER THIRTY SECONDS FOR YOU ON FINISHING YOUR THOUGHT.

Kucinich: I'M FROM CLEVELAND, OHIO, AND WE HAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE FOUND THEMSELVES HAVING TO RETIRE EARLY BECAUSE THEY WORK THEIR JOBS AND THEY'RE JUST WORN OUT. WHEN YOU REALIZE HOW HARD SOME PEOPLE WORK TWENTY, THIRTY, FORTY YEARS AT A JOB, THEY WANT TO RETIRE EARLIER. THAT'S WHY SO MANY AMERICANS ARE RETIRING EARLIER, AGE 62. I WILL FIGHT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE TAKE THAT RETIREMENT AGE BACK TO 65. AND ANY AMERICAN UNDERSTANDS HOW IMPORTANT IT IS THAT IF YOU WANT TO RETIRE AT AGE 65, YOU BE ABLE TO DO THAT WITHOUT HAVING TO ACCEPT ANY TYPE OF PENALTY. THE MONEY IS THERE TO DO IT. SOCIAL SECURITY IS SOLID. WE HAVE TO DO IT.

Todd: CONGRESSMAN GEPHARDT, I DO WANT TO ADDRESS THIS IDEA ABOUT THE TAX CUTS THAT WE'VE BEEN HEARING IN THIS DEBATE ABOUT, QUICKLY IN YOUR THIRTY SECONDS.

Gephardt: I JUST DISAGREE RESPECTFULLY WITH MY FRIEND JOHN KERRY AND JOHN EDWARDS, AND I AGREE WITH HOWARD DEAN ON THIS ONE. WHY WOULD WE -- WHY WOULD WE WANT TO KEEP A TAX CUT THAT'S FAILED? WHY WOULD WE NOT WANT TO GO BACK TO THE CLINTON TAX CODE, AND WHY WOULD WE NOT WANT TO HELP AVERAGE FAMILIES MORE WITH A HEALTH CARE PLAN LIKE MINE THAT HELPS THEM, GIVES THEM $3,000 AS OPPOSED TO $700 FROM THE BUSH TAX CUTS? IT'S MAKES NO SENSE. LET'S HELP AVERAGE PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY. LET'S BE DEMOCRATS. LET'S DO THE RIGHT THING.

Todd: SENATOR EDWARDS, I'LL VOLLEY BACK TO YOU ON THIS.

Edwards: WELL, I AGREE WITH BEING DEMOCRATS, DICK. BUT THESE PROVISIONS FOR MIDDLE-CLASS WORKING FAMILIES ARE THINGS THAT WE FOUGHT FOR, WE FOUGHT FOR IN THE CONGRESS. BUSH WAS FOR THE TAX CUTS FOR RICH PEOPLE. THAT'S WHAT HE'S ALWAYS BEEN FOR. BILL CLINTON STOOD UP EVERY DAY OF HIS PRESIDENCY FOR MIDDLE-CLASS WORKING FAMILIES. THEY ARE THE ENGINE OF THIS ECONOMY. AND WHEN YOU TAKE $2,000 OUT OF THE POCKET OF A FAMILY OF FOUR MAKING ABOUT $40,000 A YEAR -- I GREW UP IN THAT KIND OF FAMILY. THAT'S A LOT OF MONEY. THAT'S PAYS A LOT OF ELECTRIC BILLS, A LOT OF HOUSE PAYMENTS, A LOT OF CAR PAYMENTS. IT IS NOT A SMALL AMOUNT OF MONEY.

Todd: SENATOR KERRY, YOUR TURN QUICKLY ON THIS.

Kerry: DICK ASKED THE QUESTION WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO DO IT, AND I'LL TELL YOU WHY YOU'D WANT TO DO IT: BECAUSE THE BUSH TAX CUT AT THE LOW END IS THE TAX CUT THAT WE DEMOCRATS HAVE ALWAYS FOUGHT FOR AND STOOD FOR. YOU DON'T WANT TO TAKE AWAY THE CHILD CREDIT FROM FAMILIES TRYING TO RAISE THEIR CHILDREN. YOU DON'T WANT TO TELL PEOPLE WHO GET MARRIED IN AMERICA WE'RE GOING TO REINSTITUTE THE MARRIAGE PENALTY. SO HERE COME THE DEMOCRATS: YOU GET MARRIED IN AMERICA, WE'RE GOING TO CHARGE YOU MORE TAXES. WE DON'T WANT TO TAKE AWAY THE 10-PERCENT BRACKET THAT HELPS PEOPLE AT THE BOTTOM END. IF YOU ARE A $40,000-INCOME EARNER, UNDER DICK GEPHARDT AND HOWARD DEAN'S PLAN, YOU'RE GOING TO PAY AN ADDITIONAL $2,000 OF TAXES. AND THE PROBLEM IN AMERICA IS NOT THAT THE MIDDLE CLASS HAS TOO MUCH MONEY. WE NEED TO PROTECT THE MIDDLE CLASS AND ROLL BACK THE HIGH END OF THE BUSH TAX CUT.

Todd: GOVERNOR DEAN, YOU GET THE FINAL WORD ON THIS.

Dean: I AM STOCK SHOCKED TO HEAR TWO WELL-RESPECTED DEMOCRATS DEFENDING ANY PART OF THE BUSH TAX CUTS. THERE GUYS ARE EVEN USING THE BUSH TREASURY DEPARTMENT -- THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT NUMBERS TO BOLSTER THEIR CASE. THERE WAS NO $2,000 TAX CUT FOR $40,000 WORKERS. TELL ME WHAT YOU'RE --

Kerry: THAT'S NOT --

Dean: CAN YOU GIVE ME ANY EXTRA FIFTEEN TO TWENTY SECONDS HERE? >>

Todd: I'LL GIVE YOU THE EXTRA TEN SECONDS. GO.

Dean: THERE WAS NO -- THERE WAS NO $2,000 FOR THE AVERAGE $40,000 PERSON. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THE AVERAGE PERSON IN NEW HAMPSHIRE WHO MAKES $45,000 A YEAR GOT? $460. I THINK MOST PEOPLE WOULD BE VERY HAPPY THAT PAYS THE SAME TAXES THEY PAID WHEN BILL CLINTON WAS PRESIDENT IF THEY HAD THE SAME ECONOMY THEY HAD WHEN BILL CLINTON WAS PRESIDENT. I'M THE ONLY ONE UP HERE THAT'S EVER BALANCED A BUDGET, AND ONE THING I'M NOT GOING TO DO IS FUDGE FIGURES. YOU CANNOT DO THE THINGS THAT THESE GUYS WANT TO DO AND BALANCE THE BUDGET. AND BALANCING THE BUDGET IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE WE'RE NEVER GOING TO SEE ANOTHER JOB IN THIS COUNTRY AGAIN UNLESS WE DO.

Todd: THANK YOU, GOVERNOR DEAN. I PROMISE YOU THAT MY -- THE NEXT QUESTION IS GOING TO GIVE YOU A CHANCE, BASICALLY, TO DEFEND THIS STATEMENT ONE MORE TIME. THE FACT IS THAT SOCIAL SECURITY, WHILE IT IS A SOLE FORM FOR SOME PEOPLE WHEN IT COMES TO RETIREMENT AND WHAT THEY USE AS THEIR INCOME, A LOT OF PEOPLE BELIEVE IT SHOULD NOT BE. BUT FOR LOWER INCOME FOLKS, IT'S TOUGH TO SAVE. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO TO HELP THESE PEOPLE SAVE MONEY? WE'RE START WITH, I BELIEVE, CONGRESSMAN KUCINICH. TO ENCOURAGE SAVINGS, BOTH LOWER INCOME WHO --

Kucinich: YOU HAVE TO HAVE MONEY TO SAVE MONEY. LET'S START THERE. SO WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP PEOPLE SAVE MONEY? WELL, YOU CAN HAVE A PRESIDENT WHO WILL WORK TO LOWER UTILITY BILLS BY CHALLENGING THE ENERGY MONOPOLIES. YOU CAN HAVE A PRESIDENT WHO WILL WORK TO MAKE SURE THAT THE PRICE OF FOOD IS REASONABLE, WHILE FARMERS GET THEIR PRICE AND CAN GET THEIR PRODUCT TO MARKET. AND SO YOU HAVE TO BREAK UP THE AGRICULTURAL MONOPOLIES. YOU CAN HAVE A PRESIDENT WHO UNDERSTANDS THAT IT'S IMPORTANT TO HAVE A FULL-EMPLOYMENT ECONOMY. THOSE WHO SAY THAT A CERTAIN LEVEL OF UNEMPLOYMENT IS NECESSARY FOR THE FUNCTION OF THE ECONOMY TEND TO HAVE A JOB. AND I'M SAYING THAT IT'S IMPORTANT FOR US TO HAVE A FULL-EMPLOYMENT ECONOMY. I WANT A WPA TYPE PROGRAM, REBUILD AMERICA, PUT MILLIONS BACK TO WORK JUST LIKE FDR DID. [ APPLAUSE ]

Todd: THANK YOU, CONGRESSMAN. CONGRESSMAN GEPHARDT.

Gephardt: I'VE ALREADY SAID THAT I'VE GOT A UNIVERSAL PORTABLE PENSION PROGRAM THAT EVERYONE CAN INVEST IN. SO IF YOU'RE LIKE MY MOTHER, SHE HAD FIVE DIFFERENT JOBS IN HER WORKING LIFE. SHE WOUND UP WITH ONE PENSION, $42 A MONTH. SHE DIDN'T GET THE CREDITS FROM THE OTHER FOUR JOBS. THAT'S WRONG. THAT'S IMMORAL. THAT'S IMMORAL. AND WHEN I GET MY PLAN THROUGH, YOU CAN CARRY YOUR CREDITS FROM ONE JOB TO THE OTHER, AND YOU CAN HAVE AT LEAST ONE GOOD, DECENT PENSION IN ADDITION TO YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY, WHICH HARD WORKING PEOPLE DESERVE. AND THAT'S WHAT I'M GOING TO FIGHT FOR AS PRESIDENT. WE'LL HAVE INCREASED SAVINGS INCENTIVES IN THE TAX CODE, BUT WE'VE GOT TO GIVE PEOPLE THE ABILITY TO MOVE THEIR CREDITS FROM JOB TO JOB.

Todd: THANK YOU, CONGRESSMAN. SENATOR EDWARDS, I KNOW YOU'VE TALKED ABOUT ONE OF YOUR SAVINGS PLANS. GO AHEAD.

Edwards: YEAH, I WANT TO TALK ABOUT MY SAVINGS PLAN. LET ME SAY ONE THING QUICKLY, BECAUSE THIS IS IMPORTANT. GOVERNOR DEAN AND I JUST HAVE AN HONEST DISAGREEMENT ABOUT THIS. I DON'T THINK HE'S TRYING TO DO HARM. I KNOW HIS HEART IS IN THE RIGHT PLACE. HE BELIEVES THAT THE WAY TO GET THIS ECONOMY MOVING AGAIN IS TO GET RID OF TAX CUTS FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS AND TO RAISE TAXES ON THE MIDDLE CLASS. I JUST DISAGREE WITH THAT. I THINK IT'S BEEN PROVEN OVER AND OVER THAT THAT DOES NOT WORK. THE MIDDLE CLASS IS THE DRIVING FORCE IN THIS ECONOMY. THEY HAVE BEEN FOR THE LAST FIFTY YEARS. IF YOU LOOK AT WHEN OUR ECONOMY HAS GROWN, IT WAS AFTER WORLD WAR II, IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION, ALL TIMES WHEN THE MIDDLE WAS STRENGTHENING IN POWER. WHAT I WANT TO DO TO HELP STRENGTHEN THE MIDDLE CLASS IS TO HELP PEOPLE BUY A HOUSE, GIVING THEM A $5,000 TAX CREDIT TO MAKE THE DOWN PAYMENT, HELP PEOPLE BE ABLE TO INVEST, GIVE THEM INCENTIVES TO INVEST. WE WANT TO CREATE WEALTH FOR THOSE WHO DON'T HAVE WEALTH AND TO HELP PEOPLE SAVE. DENNIS, YOU'RE RIGHT; IT'S VERY HARD FOR PEOPLE TO SAVE. WE SHOULD MATCH DOLLAR, FOR DOLLAR FOR MIDDLE- AND LOW-INCOME FAMILIES, THE AMOUNT THEY'RE ABLE TO SAVE UP TO $1,000 PER FAMILY.

Todd: THANK YOU, SENATOR EDWARDS. SENATOR KERRY.

Kerry: LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, JUST SAYING THAT YOU WANT TO GO BACK TO THE CLINTON TAX CUTS DOESN'T ACTUALLY PUT MONEY IN PEOPLE'S POCKETS AND RESTORE THE ECONOMY. IN THE LAST FEW YEARS, FOR ALL THOSE PEOPLE WHO'VE GOTTEN THAT TAX CUT THROUGH BUSH AT THE LOWER END AND THE CHILD CREDIT, THEY ARE PAYING ADDITIONAL HEALTH CARE COSTS. THEY'RE PAYING ADDITIONAL FOOD COSTS, ADDITIONAL HEAT AND ELECTRICITY, ADDITIONAL TUITIONS. IF YOU TURNED AROUND TO THEM NOW, 32 MILLION COUPLES, 64 MILLION PEOPLE, 15 MILLION PLUS FAMILIES, AND SAY TO THEM, WE'RE GOING TO TAKE AWAY YOUR CHILD CREDIT, YOU'RE RAISING THEIR BURDEN TO DO THE VERY THING WE WANT THEM TO DO IN AMERICA. I CAN CUT THE DEFICIT IN HALF AND PROVIDE HEALTH CARE, INVEST IN EDUCATION, SHUTTING THE LOOPHOLES THAT WE NEED TO SHUT BY ROLLING BACK THE HIGH END OF THE BUSH TAX CUT, PUTTING BACK IN PLACE THE INHERITANCE TAX WITH A SUFFICIENT CUSHION FOR FAMILY FARMS AND SMALL BUSINESSES, AND WE CAN RESTORE FAIRNESS TO THE TAX CODE OF AMERICA. NOW, THE WAY WE'RE GOING TO PUT CASH IN PEOPLE'S POCKETS IS BY MAKING WORK VALUED AGAIN APPROPRIATELY, AND THAT MEANS TAX REFORM IN THIS COUNTRY.

Todd: THANK YOU, SENATOR KERRY. GOVERNOR DEAN?

Dean: YOU KNOW, US RURAL PEOPLE, WHEN WE HEAR POLITICIANS SAY YOU CAN HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE, FUND SPECIAL EDUCATION, GET JOBS, INVEST IN AMERICA, AND HAVE A TAX CUT TOO, WOULD YOU BELIEVE THAT? WELL, I WOULDN'T BELIEVE THAT AND I DON'T BELIEVE IT BECAUSE I'VE HAD TO SUBMIT BALANCED BUDGETS AND GET THEM THROUGH LEGISLATURES. DO YOU KNOW WHAT WE REALLY NEED IN THIS COUNTRY? WE DON'T NEED MIDDLE-CLASS TAX CUTS. IF ANYBODY HAS SHOWN THAT TAX CUTS DON'T DO ANYTHING FOR STIMULATING JOBS, IT'S GEORGE BUSH. WHAT WE NEED IS JOBS IN THIS COUNTRY, AND YOU CAN'T DO IT ALL. YOU CAN HAVE A TAX CUT IF YOU WANT, BUT THEN YOU'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE BECAUSE THE BOOKS DON'T BALANCE. AND SOMEBODY UP HERE HAS GOT TO TELL THE TRUTH TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, THAT MONEY DOES MATTER AND SO DO BALANCED BUDGETS.

Todd: THANK YOU, GOVERNOR DEAN. AMBASSADOR BRAUN, HELP US OUT HERE WITH ENCOURAGING THE SAVINGS FOR FOLKS THAT MAY NOT HAVE THE INCOME.

Moseley Braun: THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THE NEXT PRESIDENT WILL HAVE A LOT TO SAY ABOUT STOPPING THE DECLINE OF THIS COUNTRY, OR THE SLIDE, TOWARD EMBEDDED WEALTH AND ENTRENCHED POVERTY AND A SHRINKING MIDDLE CLASS. AND THAT MIDDLE CLASS IS SHRINKING LARGELY BECAUSE OF A NUMBER OF POLICY DECISIONS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE OVER TIME. A LOT OF THE CONVERSATION HAS TO DO WITH CUTTING INCOME TAXES AND ESTATE TAXES AND INHERITANCE TAXES AND DIVIDENDS. THOSE ARE TAXES THAT ARE PAID BY PEOPLE, MANY -- MOSTLY OF THE UPPER END OF THE INCOME SCALE. WORKING CLASS AMERICANS NOT ONLY PAY MORE IN SOCIAL SECURITY TAXES, WHICH ARE REGRESSIVE, PARTICULARLY ON LOWER SALARIES, BUT ALSO PAY MORE IN FEES AND CHARGES THAT HAVE BEEN SHIFTED FROM THE NATIONAL LEVEL TO THE STATE AND LOCAL LEVEL. SO WHAT WE ARE WITNESSING IS A TAX SHIFT ONTO THE BACKS OF THOSE LEAST ABLE TO PAY. MY LATE FATHER HAD AN EXPRESSION. I WAS GOING TO USE IT IN MY CLOSING, BUT I'LL USE IT NOW. HE USED TO TELL ME YOUR JOB IN GOVERNMENT IS TO HELP THE NEEDY AND FIGHT THE GREEDY. WE ARE WATCHING THE ASCENDENCE AND THE TRANSCENDENCE OF GREED WITH THIS CURRENT ADMINISTRATION. WE HAVE TO GET BACK TO THE NOTION THAT WE ARE ALL ONE COUNTRY, AND THE MIDDLE CLASS HAS TO BE SUPPORTED IF WE'RE GOING TO PROVIDE FOR THE QUALITY OF LIFE WE DESERVE AS AMERICANS. [ APPLAUSE ]

Todd: WE'RE GOING TO MOVE -- WE'RE GOING TO MOVE TO AN AUDIENCE QUESTION HERE. SHARON TREINEN, YOU HAVE A QUESTION FOR THESE CANDIDATES.

I DO. SOCIAL SECURITY IS SOMETIMES THE ONLY SOURCE OF INCOME FOR OLDER WOMAN, LIKE MY MOTHER-IN-LAW WHO IS OVER 95 YEARS OF AGE. LIKE MANY WOMEN, SHE WORKED ALONGSIDE HER HUSBAND ON THE FARM, HELPED RAISE A FAMILY AND, UNFORTUNATELY, OUTLIVED HIM. HER SOCIAL SECURITY INCOME IS MINIMAL AT BEST. WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO HELP WOMEN LIKE HER?

Todd: CONGRESSMAN GEPHARDT?

THANK YOU.

Todd: THANK YOU VERY MUCH. CONGRESSMAN GEPHARDT.

Gephardt: WELL, LET ME SAY THAT WE'VE HAD EFFORTS THROUGH THE YEARS TO TRY TO REVISE THE SOCIAL SECURITY FORMULA SO THAT HOMEMAKERS, PEOPLE WHO DIDN'T GET THE CREDITS THAT OTHERS GOT IN THE ECONOMIC SYSTEM, WERE ABLE TO GET A BETTER SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFIT. I AM FOR THAT KIND OF CHANGE. I THINK WE HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THE CONTRIBUTION THAT PEOPLE MAKE WHO DON'T WORK IN THE NORMAL WORK FORCE BUT MAKE A HUGE CONTRIBUTION TO THIS SOCIETY. THE SYSTEM WAS WRITTEN MANY YEARS AGO, AND IT WASN'T WRITTEN CORRECTLY. AND I WOULD BE FOR MAKING THAT REVISION IN THE SYSTEM SO THAT WOMEN LIKE THIS, LIKE YOUR MOTHER, SHARON, COULD GET THE RIGHTFUL RECOGNITION FOR THEIR HARD WORK AND ALL THEY'VE CONTRIBUTED TO THIS GREAT COUNTRY.

Todd: SENATOR EDWARDS, WHAT IS THAT CORRECTION THAT CAN BE DONE WITH SOMETHING THAT?

Edwards: WELL, I AGREE WITH WHAT DICK GEPHARDT JUST SAID. I THINK THAT'S RIGHT. I THINK THAT MOVES US IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. YOUR MOTHER-IN-LAW HAS DONE EXACTLY WHAT AMERICANS HAVE DONE FOR SO LONG. SHE WAS RESPONSIBLE. SHE WORKED HARD. SHE RAISED HER FAMILY. SHE DID EXACTLY WHAT PEOPLE ARE SUPPOSED TO DO IN THIS COUNTRY. AND IF WE AS A NATION CANNOT BE THERE FOR HER, WHICH MEANS MAKING SURE THAT SHE GETS THE BENEFITS SHE'S ENTITLED TO; MEANS MAKING SURE SHE HAS A REAL PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT THAT REALLY COVERS HER PRESCRIPTION DRUGS; MEANS THAT WHEN SHE HAS HEALTH CARE PROBLEMS, SHE CAN HAVE THE DIGNITY AND SELF-RESPECT OF BEING ABLE TO ACTUALLY STAY AT HOME WITH HER FAMILY TO LIVE OUT HER YEARS. I MEAN THESE ARE THE VERY THINGS THAT WE HAVE HAD A CONTRACT WITH OUR PEOPLE FOR, FOR SUCH A LONG PERIOD OF TIME, THAT GEORGE BUSH IS KNOCKING AWAY EVERY SINGLE DAY HE'S IN THE WHITE HOUSE. YOUR MOTHER-IN-LAW, SHE'S WHAT MADE AMERICA WHAT IT IS TODAY, NOT THE WEALTHY, NOT THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE INVESTING ON WALL STREET. PEOPLE JUST LIKE YOU, YOUR FAMILY, AND YOUR MOTHER-IN-LAW, THEY ARE THE HEART AND SOUL OF THIS COUNTRY, AND WE HAVE TO BE THERE FOR HER.

Todd: SENATOR KERRY, WHERE DO WE -- HOW DO YOU INCREASE THIS BENEFIT FOR HER.

Kerry: I THINK DICK -- I MEAN DICK HAS ANSWERED THE QUESTION. WE HAVE TO MAKE THAT BENEFIT AVAILABLE, AND WE DON'T TODAY. THE FACE OF POVERTY IN AMERICA IS ESSENTIALLY FEMININE FACED. IT'S WOMEN BY AND LARGE, BECAUSE THEY DO OUTLIVE MEN AND BECAUSE THEY ALSO HAVE SUFFERED THE DISCRIMINATION OF DIVORCE SYSTEM, OF WORK, OF DIFFERENT PAY LEVELS. SO IT'S OUR OBLIGATION IN AMERICA TO TRY TO FIND A WAY TO MAKE IT UP. THIS IS A CONVERSATION THAT'S COMPLETELY LACKING IN THIS COUNTRY. THIS IS THE JOB OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. YOU DON'T HEAR IT FROM THIS PRESIDENT, TO TRY TO TALK ABOUT THOSE THINGS THAT REALLY AFFECT THE QUALITY OF OUR LIVES. THE PRESIDENCY IS THE PLACE WHERE YOU LIFT AMERICA'S CONVERSATION TO A BETTER PLACE. I THINK IT'S OUR JOB TO TALK ABOUT HOW WE'RE GOING TO ANSWER THESE NEEDS OF OUR FELLOW AMERICANS AND NOT JUST HAVE A CREED OF GREED WHERE THE COMFORTABLE ARE MOST TAKEN CARE OF, WHICH IS WHAT'S HAPPENING IN AMERICA. NOW, ONE QUICK CORRECTION, IF I COULD MAKE IT. GOVERNOR DEAN SEVERAL TIMES TONIGHT, AND MANY MONTHS, KEEPS SAYING HE'S THE ONLY PERSON WHO'S BALANCED A BUDGET. IN 1993 WITHOUT ONE VOTE FROM THE REPUBLICANS, WE DEMOCRATS PASSED THE DEFICIT REDUCTION ACT. WE NOT ONLY BALANCED THE BUDGET, WE PAID DOWN THE DEBT OF OUR NATION FOR TWO SUCCESSIVE YEARS.

Todd: THANK YOU, SENATOR KERRY.

Kerry: WE KNOW HOW TO BALANCE BUDGETS IN WASHINGTON, AND WE DID IT.

Todd: GOVERNOR DEAN, YOU HAPPEN TO BE THE NEXT PERSON IN ORDER. DO YOU WANT TO ADDRESS THAT FIRST?

Dean: NO, I'LL LET THAT PASS. I THINK WE KNOW THAT IT'S GOVERNORS AND PRESIDENTS WHO SUBMIT BUDGETS AND GET THEM BALANCED. YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED LEGISLATORS TO HELP, BUT I WILL HAVE TO SAY THAT I COMMEND THE COURAGE --

UNBELIEVABLE.

Dean: I COMMEND THE COURAGE OF DICK GEPHARDT AND JOHN KERRY WHO VOTED FOR THAT BILL IN 1993 BECAUSE NOT ONE REPUBLICAN DID HELP TO BALANCE --

AND CAROL.

Dean: OH, AND CAROL, I'M SORRY. AND THE AMBASSADOR WHO WAS THEN A SENATOR. NOW, I DON'T WANT TO USE UP ALL MY TIME SAYING NICE THINGS ABOUT MY OPPONENTS. LET ME JUST SAY WHAT I THINK YOUR MOTHER PROBABLY DOESN'T NEED AND WOULDN'T HELP IS A MIDDLE-CLASS TAX CUT. I DON'T THINK THE 10-PERCENT BRACKET HELPS HER A WHOLE LOT. THIS IS EXACTLY MY POINT. YOU CAN'T HAVE MONEY TO DO EVERYTHING. I MEET A LOT OF PEOPLE LIKE YOUR MOM THAT REALLY NEED HELP FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. IF WE'RE GOING TO HAVE THE MONEY TO DO THAT, WE CAN'T KEEP TALKING ABOUT DEFENDING ANY PART OF THE BUSH TAX CUTS. WE'VE GOT TO START ALL OVER AGAIN AND PUT MONEY INTO THE KIND OF PROGRAMS THAT HELP YOUR MOM. WE DO NEED NOT MORE THAN PENSION PORTABILITY, WE NEED TO STRIP THE AUTHORITY OF CORPORATIONS TO MANAGE THEIR OWN PENSIONS AND THEN CREATE INDEPENDENT PENSION FUNDS JUST LIKE THE STATES HAVE, AND LET THOSE BE RUN AND THEN LET THEM HAVE -- THE PENSION FUNDS WILL BE DEPOSITED IN THOSE SO THEY WOULD BECOME PORTABLE PENSIONS. THAT WOULD ALSO HAVE HELPED YOUR MOM.

Todd: THANK YOU, GOVERNOR. AMBASSADOR BRAUN.

Moseley Braun: I THINK IT'S HIGH TIME THAT WOMEN RECEIVED FAIR TREATMENT AND EQUITY, AND THAT'S GOING TO REQUIRE SOME LEADERSHIP, FRANKLY. AND THAT'S WHY I'M SITTING UP HERE ON THIS STAGE WITH A SKIRT ON. [ LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE ] THE FACT OF THE MATTER -- THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS IF I LEARNED ONE THING ON THE FINANCE COMMITTEE IN THE SENATE, IT IS THAT WOMEN'S ECONOMIC ISSUES HAVE BEEN OVERLOOKED AND NEGLECTED SINCE TIME AND MEMORIAL. EVERYTHING FROM PENSION EQUITY FOR WOMEN, WHETHER IT'S IN SOCIAL SECURITY OR RAILROAD RETIREMENT, OR ANY OF THE PENSION SYSTEMS, PORTABILITY. WOMEN ARE THE ONES THAT MOVE IN AND OUT OF THE JOB -- THE WORK FORCE BECAUSE WE'RE TAKING CARE OF CHILDREN AND PARENTS AND FAMILIES. AND FOR ALL THE CONVERSATIONS OF FAMILY VALUES, NEVER HAS A PROVISION BEEN MADE FOR THE FACT THAT WOMEN HAVE TO MOVE IN AND OUT MORE TO TAKE CARE OF THOSE FAMILY VALUES. ON PAY EQUITY, WOMEN MAKE 76 -- ANGLO WOMEN MAKE 76 CENTS ON THE DOLLAR. AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN MAKE 63 CENTS ON THE DOLLAR. HISPANIC WOMEN MAKE 56 CENTS FOR EVERY DOLLAR A MAN EARNS. IT'S WRONG. IT'S GOT TO CHANGE AND IT STARTS HERE. [ APPLAUSE ]

THANK YOU. THANK YOU, AMBASSADOR. CONGRESSMAN KUCINICH.

Kucinich: AMBASSADOR MOSELEY BRAUN JUST SAID IT PERFECTLY, AND I WANT TO CONGRATULATE HER ON THE SERVICE IN THE SENATE ON THOSE ISSUES. I THINK THAT THE QUESTION RAISED A QUESTION THAT TOUCHES SO MANY AMERICANS' HEARTS. I HAVE TO SAY AS A MEMBER OF CONGRESS, I HAVEN'T HAD A SINGLE BILLIONAIRE COME UP TO ME AND SAY, "DENNIS, YOU KNOW, I NEED A TAX CUT." BUT I HAVE TALKED TO A LOT OF AMERICANS WHO, JUST LIKE A QUESTIONER, SAID, "MY ELDERLY MOTHER IS JUST BARELY SURVIVING, AND SHE HELPED SUPPORT THIS FAMILY. AND AFTER MY FATHER DIED, YOU KNOW, SHE JUST CAN'T MAKE IT. WHAT DO WE DO?" I THINK THAT WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACTUARIES, THE MONEY IS ACTUALLY THERE TO MAKE SURE THAT YOUR MOTHER GETS OF FULL BENEFIT. THE MONEY IS THERE, BECAUSE WHEN YOU LOOK AT IT, AS LONG AS SHE LIVES, THE MONEY IS IN THAT SYSTEM RIGHT NOW. THE QUESTION IS WHAT IS THE WILL OF THE COUNTRY TO HELP THOSE IN THEIR SENIOR YEARS. UNDER MY ADMINISTRATION, THE FOCUS IS GOING TO BE TO ADDRESS THOSE ISSUES THAT AMBASSADOR BRAUN MADE AND TO DELIVER FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

Todd: THANK YOU, CONGRESSMAN. THIS IS GOING TO BE OUR FINAL -- OUR NEXT QUESTION IS GOING TO BE OUR LAST QUESTION. I'M GOING TO ASK YOU GUYS TO RESPOND IN THIRTY SECONDS SO THAT WE CAN CONTINUE TO GIVE YOU YOUR FULL MINUTE ON THE CLOSING STATEMENT. AND THIS HAS TO DO WITH PENSIONS AND 401(k)s -- EMPLOYEES. I'VE NEVER HEARD OF THE WORD PENSION. I'VE BEEN WORKING FOR ALMOST TWENTY YEARS. I'VE NEVER HEARD OFT HAT WORD. EMPLOYERS BELIEVE 401(k)s ARE PENSIONS. EMPLOYEES BELIEVE 401(k)s ARE SAVINGS ACCOUNTS. HOW DO WE DEAL WITH THIS DISCONNECT? SENATOR EDWARDS.

Edwards: SAY IT AGAIN. I HAD TROUBLE FOLLOWING THAT.

Todd: THE EMPLOYERS ARE NOW VIEWING 401(k)s AS THEIR PENSIONS -- AS PENSIONS FOR EMPLOYEES. BUT EMPLOYEES VIEW 401(k)s MORE AS SAVINGS ACCOUNTS. SUDDENLY WE'RE MISSING ONE OF THOSE THREE THINGS THAT YOU HAD: SOCIAL SECURITY, PENSIONS, SAVINGS ACCOUNTS.

Edwards: WELL, I CAN TELL YOU FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE EMPLOYEE, BECAUSE THAT'S THE ONE I'VE LIVED WITH MY WHOLE LIFE. WHAT THEY BELIEVE IS THAT THEY'VE WORKED HARD, THEY'VE DONE WHAT THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO DO, THEY'VE MADE THEIR CONTRIBUTION, AND THEIR PENSION IS GOING TO BE THERE AND THAT THEIR BENEFITS WILL NEVER BE CUT. AND WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE WHO HAVE GONE TO WORK EVERY DAY FOR YEARS, SOME OF THEM FOR DECADES IN ORDER TO CREATE A NEST EGG FOR DOWN THE ROAD, THAT THEIR PENSIONS ARE PROTECTED. NOT ONLY THAT THEY'RE PROTECTED, BUT THE PEOPLE AT THE TOP OF THESE BIG COMPANIES, CEOs ARE NOT PROTECTING THEIR PENSIONS AT THE SAME TIME THEY'RE CUTTING THE PENSIONS OF WORKING PEOPLE.

Todd: SENATOR KERRY, ARE WE EVER GOING TO SEE PENSIONS IN ADDITION TO 401(k)s.

Kerry: YES, PROVIDING WE HAVE A PRESIDENT WHO IS PREPARED TO ENFORCE THE LAW AND BE FAIR. WE'VE HAD THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY SHIFT WITH ENRON, WORLD COM. PENSIONS HAVE BEEN DESTROYED. RETIREMENTS HAVE BEEN DEFERRED AND BROKEN FOR PEOPLE. WE NEED TO HAVE PENSION REFORM GUARANTEE THAT THE BENEFITS ARE THERE IF THEY TRANSITION TO CASH BALANCE. WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE PEOPLE ARE TREATED FAIRLY WITH THE BENEFITS THEY WERE EXPECTING. AND WE HAVE TO GUARANTEE THAT PENSIONS ARE HELD ACCOUNTABLE, SET ASIDE, TRANSPARENT, AVAILABLE TO PEOPLE. AND WHEN THEY WANT TO MOVE THEIR MONEY OUT AND INVEST SOMEWHERE ELSE, THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO THAT.

Todd: GOVERNOR DEAN, PENSIONS.

Dean: WE TALKED ABOUT PENSIONS A LITTLE BIT THE LAST TIME WHEN I SAID PENSIONS OUGHT TO BE INDEPENDENTLY MANAGED SO THAT ENRON NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN. LET ME TELL YOU WHAT ELSE I WANT TO DO. INSTEAD OF HAVING MATCHABLE DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR, I THINK MODERATE INCOME PEOPLE WHO MAKE LESS THAN $30,000 A YEAR OUGHT TO HAVE A REFUNDABLE TAX CREDIT THAT THEY CAN USE FOR A PENSION. THEY DON'T HAVE TO MATCH IT AT ALL. I DON'T WANT TO PRIVATIZE SOCIAL SECURITY, BUT I THINK MORE SAVINGS FOR RETIREMENT ARE NECESSARY. WE OUGHT TO BE TO GIVE THOSE FOLKS REFUNDABLE TAX CREDITS, BECAUSE THEY'LL NEVER BE ABLE TO WRITE A CHECK TO AN IRA. THEY JUST CAN'T GET BY ON $30,000 A YEAR.

Todd: AMBASSADOR BRAUN?

Moseley Braun: WELL, THE BIG SHIFT -- THE BIG SHIFT HAPPENED WHEN WE MOVED FROM THE DEFINED BENEFIT PLANS TO THESE DEFINED CONTRIBUTION PLANS. AND FRANKLY, I THINK MAYBE WE OUGHT TO LOOK -- TALK ABOUT GETTING BACK TO THE PLAN TO GUARANTEE AN INCOME STREAM WHEN PEOPLE RETIRE. BUT IN THE MEANTIME, IN TERMS OF THE 401(k)s TO PROVIDE PROTECTION SO THAT THEY DON'T GET ALL INVESTED IN THE SAME COMPANIES SO THAT WHEN THE MARKET BOTTOMS OUT OR WHEN THE BUBBLE BURSTS THAT PEOPLE DON'T LOSE THEIR RETIREMENT SAVINGS. I FEEL -- MY HEART GOES OUT TO PEOPLE WHO WORK AT ENRON, FOR EXAMPLE, WHOSE 401(k)s WERE INVESTED IN A COMPANY THAT WENT BELLY UP ON THEM, AND NOW ALL THEY HAVE IS SOCIAL SECURITY. I THINK WE NEED TO PROTECT AGAINST THAT.

Todd: CONGRESSMAN KUCINICH.

Kucinich: WHEN THE STOCK MARKET BUBBLE BURST, IT WAS FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS, ONE OF WHICH THE CORRUPTION ON WALL STREET WHERE THE MAJOR COMPANIES LIED ABOUT THEIR EARNINGS. AS A MATTER OF FACT, LAST YEAR THERE WERE 250 COMPANIES THAT EACH MISSTATED THEIR EARNINGS. WE HAVE TO BE AWARE THAT WALL STREET HASN'T HAD PROPER MONITORING. UNDER MY PRESIDENCY, THOSE WHO ARE INVESTING IN THE MARKET AND ARE PUTTING THEIR 401(k)s INTO THOSE FUNDS WILL BE PROTECTED, BECAUSE WE'LL MAKE SURE THERE WILL BE A STRONG SECURITIES EXCHANGE COMMISSION. WE'LL MAKE SURE THAT THEY AUDITING OF THE BOOKS. WE'LL MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE'S PENSION FUNDS ARE PROTECTED.

Todd: THANK YOU, CONGRESSMAN. CONGRESSMAN GEPHARDT.

Gephardt: I MET SOME OF THE ENRON EMPLOYEES IN HOUSTON AFTER THE COMPANY WENT BELLY UP. AND I'VE NOT HAD A SADDER MEETING. THESE PEOPLE WERE RUINED. THEY LOST ALL THEIR SAVINGS, LOST THEIR HEALTH CARE, LOST THEIR JOB BECAUSE OF THE SELFISHNESS AND GREED OF THE PEOPLE WHO RAN THAT COMPANY. LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING. MY UNIVERSAL PENSION PLAN IS A WAY FOR PEOPLE TO HAVE AN INDEPENDENT PENSION FROM ANY COMPANY THEY WORK FOR, BUT ALLOWS THEM TO MOVE THEIR CREDITS THROUGH THEIR ENTIRE WORKING CAREER. THAT'S WHERE WE NEED TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM.

Todd: CONGRESSMAN, THANK YOU. THAT'S THE END OF OUR QUESTION AND ANSWER. WE'RE GOING TO GO QUICKLY TO CLOSING STATEMENTS. EVERYBODY HAS THEIR FIRST MINUTE. THE ORDER WAS DONE BY LOTTERY, SO WE HAPPEN TO BE GOING IN THE SAME ORDER YOU JUST HEARD THEM FROM BEFORE. SENATOR EDWARDS, YOU'RE FIRST.

Edwards: WELL, THANK YOU. ALMOST SEVENTY YEARS AGO, PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT STARTED THE GREAT SOCIAL CONTRACT IN THIS COUNTRY THAT IF YOU WORK HARD AND DO WHAT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO DO, WHEN YOU RETIRE, YOU'LL BE ABLE TO RETIRE WITH DIGNITY AND WITH SOME LEVEL OF SECURITY. GEORGE BUSH WANTS TO PUT THAT CONTRACT IN THE SHREDDER. WHAT I WANT TO DO AS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS MOVE US BACK TO FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY, TO PROTECT SOCIAL SECURITY, PROTECT MEDICARE, HAVE A REAL PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT UNDER MEDICARE, HAVE A PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES THAT WILL STAND UP TO BIG DRUG COMPANIES AND BIG HMOs TO BRING DOWN THE COST OF HEALTH CARE FOR EVERYBODY, MAKE SURE THAT YOUR PENSIONS AND SENIORS' PENSIONS ARE PROTECTED. THERE ARE A LOT OF ISSUES IN THIS CAMPAIGN, BUT THE ELECTION IS 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 IS ABOUT TAKING THE POWER IN OUR DEMOCRACY OUT OF THE HANDS OF THE HANDFUL OF INSIDERS AND GIVING IT BACK TO YOU, TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. I DON'T BELIEVE IN GEORGE BUSH'S AMERICA. I BELIEVE IN AN AMERICA WHERE THE FAMILY YOU WERE BORN INTO AND THE COLOR OF YOUR SKIN NEVER CONTROLS WHAT YOU'RE CAPABLE OF DOING. I STILL BELIEVE IN AN AMERICA WHERE THE SON OF A MILL WORKER COULD BEAT THE SON OF A PRESIDENT FOR THE WHITE HOUSE.

Todd: WE CAN HOLD THE APPLAUSE. IF WE COULD HOLD THE APPLAUSE. WE WANT TO GIVE EVERYBODY THEIR FULL MINUTE. SENATOR KERRY, PLEASE.

Kerry: FOR MORE THAN THIRTY-FIVE YEARS, I'VE BEEN FIGHTING FOR THE VALUES OF OUR COUNTRY. I'VE SERVED IN WAR. I'VE SERVED IN PEACE. GEORGE BUSH IS TAKING OUR NATION IN A RADICALLY WRONG DIRECTION, AND THE TEST NOW IS WHO CAN LEAD OUR COUNTRY TO PUT IT BACK ON TRACK, TO PUT AMERICANS BACK TO WORK, TO SAFEGUARD SOCIAL SECURITY, TO GIVE A MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT, TO KEEP FAITH WITH OUR FELLOW AMERICANS IN THE IDEALS OF OUR COUNTRY. AMERICA IS NOT JUST A GEOGRAPHICAL PLACE. WE ARE AN IDEA AND AN IDEAL, 228 YEARS OLD. AND YOU HAVE TO MAKE A JUDGMENT ABOUT WHO YOU CAN TRUST TO LEAD US WHERE WE WANT TO GO. I BELIEVE I'VE STOOD UP OVER THOSE THIRTY-FIVE YEARS FOR THOSE VALUES. I'M THE ONLY PERSON RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT WHO HAS THE BREADTH AND DEPTH AND LENGTH OF EXPERIENCE BOTH IN DOMESTIC ISSUES AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUES. AND AS I RUN FOR PRESIDENT, MY FRIENDS, I WILL TAKE BACK THE AMERICAN FLAG, NOT FOR OUR PARTY BUT FOR OUR COUNTRY AND DEFINE PATRIOTISM AS HAVING THE COURAGE TO MAKE THE TOUGH DECISIONS THAT MAKE OUR NATION SAFER AND STRONGER AND MORE SECURE. THAT'S WHAT WE NEED TO DO, AND I ASK YOUR TRUST TO DO IT.

Todd: THANK YOU, SENATOR KERRY. GOVERNOR DEAN.

Dean: THE POLLS SHOW THERE ARE FIVE OF US NOW THAT CAN BEAT GEORGE BUSH, SO GEORGE BUSH IS LEAVING. AND THE QUESTION IS WHAT KIND OF A PRESIDENT DO YOU WANT AND WHAT KIND OF A COUNTRY DO YOU WANT. I DISAGREE WITH JOHN KERRY. I DON'T THINK HE HAS THE BREADTH OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS. EVERY ONE OF THOSE FIVE EXCEPT FOR ME SUPPORTED THE WAR ON IRAQ. IF YOU HAVE THE JUDGMENT TO SUPPORT THE WAR ON IRAQ, I DON'T THINK THAT'S THE RIGHT JUDGMENT FOR THE WHITE HOUSE OF THE UNITED STATES. I THINK WE NEED A FOREIGN POLICY THAT'S BASED ON COOPERATION AND NOT CONFRONTATION. WHAT I OFFER YOU IS A RECORD OF ELEVEN YEARS AS GOVERNOR, HEALTH INSURANCE, SENIOR PRESCRIPTION BENEFITS, PROGRAMS FOR NEWBORNS, BALANCED BUDGETS. THIS COUNTRY NEEDS A DIFFERENT WASHINGTON, A WASHINGTON -- SOMEBODY FROM THE OUTSIDE TO GO IN, CHANGE IT, KEEP THE PROMISES THAT WE'VE ALL BEEN MAKING FOR ALL THESE YEARS BUT NEVER KEPT. IT'S TIME TO KEEP THOSE PROMISES, AND WE CAN'T WIN ANY MORE ELECTIONS WITHOUT GIVING THE 50 PERCENT OF AMERICANS WHO HAVE GIVEN UP ON VOTING A REASON TO VOTE AGAIN. THE POWER TO CHANGE THIS COUNTRY IS IN YOUR HANDS, NOT MINE. PLEASE USE IT ON JANUARY 19.

Todd: THANK YOU, GOVERNOR DEAN. AMBASSADOR BRAUN.

Moseley Braun: THANK YOU VERY MUCH. WELL, I AM THE CLEAREST ALTERNATIVE TO GEORGE BUSH. I DON'T LOOK LIKE HIM. I DON'T ACT LIKE HIM. I DON'T THINK LIKE HIM. I DON'T TALK LIKE HIM. AND I HAVE THE EXPERIENCE BOTH NATIONALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY TO GET THIS COUNTRY BACK ON TRACK, TO REBUILD AMERICA, TO RENEW THE HOPE AND OPTIMISM THAT MY GENERATION IS GOING TO KEEP FAITH WITH OUR ANCESTORS AND KEEP FAITH WITH OUR CHILDREN. I HAVE A RECIPE TO GET THIS COUNTRY MOVING AGAIN, FOR PEACE AND PROSPERITY, AND FOR PROGRESS, THAT CALLS ON US TO ALL COME TOGETHER AS AMERICANS TO RECLAIM THOSE VALUES THAT MADE THIS COUNTRY THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. THOSE VALUES INCLUDE GETTING RID OF THE PATRIOT ACT AND RESTORING OUR PRIVACY AND OUR LIBERTY, MAKING COMMUNITIES WHOLE AGAIN BY REMOVING THE TAX BURDEN THAT HAS SO DRIVEN OUT THE MIDDLE CLASS'S ABILITY TO PROVIDE FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR CHILDREN, PROVIDING EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES SO THAT KIDS TODAY CAN GET THE SAME EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY THAT I RECEIVED FROM A PUBLIC SYSTEM, FROM PUBLIC COLLEGES, AND SCHOLARSHIPS AND LOANS, TO GIVE YOUNG PEOPLE A CHANCE TO CREATE THE -- TO GIVE THE ENGINE OF ECONOMIC GROWTH A CHANCE IN THIS COUNTRY BY GOING BACK TO SENSIBLE TRADE POLICY, AS WELL AS WORKING WELL WITH OTHERS AROUND THE WORLD. WE HAVE TO WORK AND ENGAGE WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD IF WE'RE GOING TO KEEP AMERICA STRONG, AND I HAVE THE CAPACITY TO DO THAT AND TO INSPIRE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THANK YOU.

Todd: THANK YOU, AMBASSADOR. CONGRESSMAN KUCINICH.

Kucinich: TOMORROW THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WILL VOTE ON WHETHER OR NOT TO ALLOW $87 BILLION TO BE SPENT ON THE NEXT INSTALLMENT FOR IRAQ. I LED THE EFFORT IN THE HOUSE, CHALLENGING THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S MARCH TOWARDS WAR IN IRAQ. AND TOMORROW I'LL BE VOTING NO ON THE $87 BILLION AND VOTING NO AND VOTING TO END THE OCCUPATION, BECAUSE WE MUST END THAT OCCUPATION. WE MUST BRING OUR TROOPS HOME. WE MUST GET THE U.N. AND THE U.S. OUT OF IRAQ. WE MUST RECONNECT WITH THE WORLD COMMUNITY IN THE CAUSE OF WORLD PEACE, AND THAT WILL MAKE AMERICA MORE SECURE. A POET WROTE IN A POEM: GROW OLD ALONG WITH ME; THE BEST IS YET TO BE. AND AMERICA CAN HAVE THE BEST. WE CAN HAVE THE BEST HEALTH CARE SYSTEM WITH UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE, MEDICARE FOR ALL. WE CAN HAVE THE BEST RETIREMENT SYSTEM AND KEEP IT BY PRESERVING SOCIAL SECURITY WITH NO PRIVATIZATION. WE CAN HAVE THE BEST ECONOMY WITH A FULL-EMPLOYMENT ECONOMY, WHICH PROMOTES A NEW WPA TYPE PROGRAM AND PUT WORKERS BACK TO WORK REBUILDING AMERICA. WE CAN HAVE A NATION THAT WE HAVE CONFIDENCE IN, A NATION WITH OPTIMISM AND JOY AGAIN. AND IT'S JUST WAITING OR IT'S JUST BEYOND OUR GRASP. AND MY CANDIDACY IS GOING TO ENABLE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO REACH IT. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Todd: THANK YOU, CONGRESSMAN KUCINICH. CONGRESSMAN GEPHARDT, PLEASE GO AHEAD.

Gephardt: SOME OF THE CANDIDATES ARE SAYING THAT THEY'RE THE OUTSIDER, THAT NOTHING GOOD HAS EVER HAPPENED IN WASHINGTON ON HEALTH CARE OR THE OTHER ISSUES THAT ARE IN FRONT OF US. I'M PROUD OF WHAT I FOUGHT FOR IN THE OVER TWENTY-FIVE YEARS THAT I'VE BEEN IN PUBLIC LIFE. I FOUGHT TO BALANCE THE BUDGET AND PRODUCE A SURPLUS, WHICH WE DID. I'M PROUD OF THE FIGHT FOR MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY. I WILL NEVER BACK UP ON THOSE PROGRAMS. I WILL NEVER GIVE IN TO THE ATTACK THAT REPUBLICANS HAVE MADE ON THOSE PROGRAMS SINCE THEY BEGAN. MY MOM AND DAD WERE THE MOST IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN MY LIFE. NEITHER OF THEM GOT THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL. MY DAD WAS A TRUCK DRIVER. IT WAS THE BEST JOB HE EVER HAD. AT MY MOTHER'S FUNERAL, I SAID SHE WAS SO SIMPLE AND SO GOOD. THOSE ARE THE VALUES THAT HAVE MADE THIS COUNTRY WHAT IT IS. AND WHEN I'M YOUR PRESIDENT, YOU WILL NEVER HAVE TO FEAR THAT THE REPUBLICANS WILL BE ABLE TO TAKE APART AND WRECK THE TWO PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENTS IN THE HISTORY OF THIS COUNTRY, MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY. I WILL NEVER LET THEM DO IT.

Todd: THANK YOU, CONGRESSMAN. NOBODY WORKS HARDER THAN BEING A CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT. IF ANY OF YOU HAVE EVER BEEN ON AN AIRPLANE SEVEN STRAIGHT DAYS, SEVEN DIFFERENT CITIES, SEVEN DIFFERENT HOTELS THESE PEOPLE DESERVE A HUGE ROUND OF APPLAUSE. [ APPLAUSE ]