Text Of Democratic Debate

Democratic Presidential Debate, New York City, NYC, Kerry, Sharpton, Edwards, Kucinich CBS

Below is the text of the Democratic presidential debate in New York City (Part 1):

DAN RATHER, CBS ANCHOR: The Democratic candidates are here this morning for their final joint appearance before Super Tuesday. We intend this hour to be a free-wheeling, informative discussion of the issues.

Joining me in the questioning are reporters Elizabeth Bumiller of The New York Times and Andrew Kirtzman of WCBS-TV Channel 2 here in New York.

This broadcast is being carried on many CBS radio and television stations, and by the Discovery Times channel.

The candidates' campaigns have drawn for positions around the table. There are no set rules, no time limits, although we hope things will move along fairly quickly and that the answers will be at least reasonably brief, gentlemen.

And we have only one goal, and that is to help you, the voters, make an informed decision.

So let's get to it. It's a big day in the news. Haiti is in the news. We have questions about that.

But first, I want each on of you in turn, in one sentence, in terms of your own spirituality, if you prefer religiosity to complete the sentence, "This I believe..."

Senator Kerry?

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:I believe in God. And I believe in the power of redemption, and the capacity of individual human beings to be able to make a difference, because, as President Kennedy said, "Here on Earth, God's work must truly be our own."

RATHER: Senator Edwards?

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe we live in a country where there are two different Americas, one for people who get everything they need every single day, and one for everybody else. And I believe that the president of the United States, with the Lord's help, has the power to change that.

RATHER: Congressman?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe that we're here to bring spiritual principles into the material world. And reflecting the words in Matthew 25, "When I was hungry, did you feed me? When I was homeless, did you shelter me?" We have a purpose here on this earth to try to help this -- lift this world up.

RATHER: Reverend Sharpton, "This I believe..."

REV. AL SHARPTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe in God, but I believe that God created us for a purpose. I believe that God has blessed this country immeasurably. The question is whether this country will bless God. So the way we can judge that is how we treat each other, human rights, in the many Americas.

I believe there are many Americas, not just poor and rich, but of many colors, of many religions, of many sexual orientations.

How we deal with one another, how with provide for one another, how we protect one another, is how we determine whether we are worthy of the blessings that God has given us.

RATHER: Thank you, Reverend.

Let me say again, that it is not scriptural, but around this table, at least, blessed are the brief.

(LAUGHTER)

SHARPTON: For they shall inherit the debate.

RATHER: Very probably.

Senator Kerry, President Bush has made it clear that the United States will be part of an international force going to Haiti. You've been critical of that action. Tell me what your beef is with what the president is doing.

KERRY: He's late, as usual. This president always makes decisions late after things have happened that could have been different had the president made a different decision earlier.

ELIZABETH BUMILLER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Senator Kerry, what would you have done in this situation?

KERRY: Well, first of all, I never would have allowed it to get out of control the way it did.



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  • Dan Collins

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