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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Graham Will Not Seek Re-Election

Aired November 3, 2003 - 12:11   ET

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

WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR: In Tallahassee, Florida, right now, the U.S. Senator, the Democrat Bob Graham, preparing to announce he's retiring from the Senate after announcing only last month, he was dropping out of the Democratic presidential race.
Let's listen in briefly to Senator Graham.

SEN. BOB GRAHAM (D), FLORIDA: ... for this announcement. It was 30 years ago, almost, that I took my first work day as a civics teacher at Miami Carroll City Senior High School. In 1977, I announced my intention to run for governor on the lunch break from a work day here in Tallahassee.

These work days have contributed so much to my knowledge of the people of this state and this nation. And it contributed greatly to my own personal development.

I am here today to announce that I will not be a candidate for election to a fourth term to the United States Senate. I do not say this because I feel that all of my goals have been accomplished.

At the depths of the World War II, Winston Churchill said, "This is not the end. This is not the beginning of the end. Perhaps, it is the end of the beginning." It is in that context that I see this decision.

I have had a full and joyful, and I hope productive life. And I intend to have other chapters that will meet those same standards.

I also wish to say that at this end of the beginning, it is my intention to accelerate the pursuit of goals that I have sought throughout my public career. Expanding economy opportunity and jobs for Americans and Floridians, with continued emphasis on education as the key to that opportunity. Enhancing America's security, through the application of my knowledge and understanding of intelligence and its role in securing America. Realizing Florida's destiny, including Florida as the laboratory for the protection of fragile environments across the world and Florida as the capitol of the Americas. And fulfilling our responsibility to the next generation. It is my hope to be able to write, to record some of the truths that I have learned, and to possibly create an institution, an institution whose objective is the preparation of the next generation for leaders of Florida.

These goals...

BLITZER: Senator Graham, the senior senator from Florida, announcing he's not going to seek re-election to a fourth term in the United States Senate. It's been quite a year for Senator Graham. In January this year, he's merely 67 years old. He had major heart surgery. He then announced he was running for the Democratic nomination. Only a month ago, he dropped out. His poll numbers very low in Iowa, New Hampshire and other early primary states.

Senator Graham, the former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, a two-term governor of Florida, very popular in the state of Florida. Highly respected here in Washington. In recent months, outspokenly against President Bush's policies in Iraq.

Announcing he will not be seeking re-election as a United States Senator in Florida. In other words, another open seat, an opportunity for Republicans in Florida to try to capture that Democratic seat.

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