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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Democratic Presidential Hopefuls; Hard On Bush, Soft On Each Other

Aired September 5, 2003 - 20:39   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: The Democratic presidential candidates were harshly critical of President Bush but they went easy on each other making it a challenge to grade the winners and losers. We asked Judy Woodruff for a little help.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: With an eye on the latino vote, the Democrats staged Thursday's debate in New Mexico. At one point or another, just about everyone tried speaking a little spanish with varying degrees of success.

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS, (D) NORTH CAROLINA: You know, the president goes around the country speaking spanish. The only spanish he speaks when it comes to jobs is hasta la vista.

WOODRUFF: In any language, the clear target in this debate was President Bush. Congressman Richard Gephardt wasn't pulling any punches.

REP. RICHARD BEPHARDT, (D) MISSOURI: This president is a miserable failure on foreign policy and on the economy. It has got to be replaced.

WOODRUFF: Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts may have scored points for being just as hard on President Bush, but without raising his voice.

SEN. JOHN KERRY, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: And the swagger of a president who says, bring them on, does not bring our troops peace or safety.

WOODRUFF: There were no clear losers, although Reverend Al Sharpton was a no show. And despite the Bush bashing, the Democrats really didn't go after one another with one big exception.

SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN, (D) CONNECTICUT: I want to say something about what Governor Dean said.

WOODRUFF: This exchange between Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean who has been coming on strong lately.

LIEBERMAN: The Bush recession would be followed by the Dean depression. We cannot put a wall around America.

WOODRUFF: Dean fired right back.

HOWARD DEAN, (D) FMR. VERMONT GOVERNOR: We do have to have trade relations which rely on equality of labor standards throughout the world. Doesn't have to be American labor standards, could be the international labor organization. I believe Mexico will do that.

WOODRUFF: Howard Dean held his ground and he held his own. The landscape of the presidential race hasn't changed in any noticeable way. And probably won't until more of the candidates follow Joe Lieberman's lead and go after Howard Dean. Judy Woodruff, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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