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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Kerry Wins Iowa

Aired January 19, 2004 - 22:00   ET

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

ANNOUNCER: Now live from CNN's Iowa Election Headquarters Wolf Blitzer.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much for joining us.

Iowa's Democrats have spoken and turned this race for the Democratic presidential nomination upside down. Senator John Kerry, the winner, Senator John Edwards coming in a close second. Howard Dean a weaker third. Richard Gephardt, the Congressman from Missouri, looks like he's dropping out. In fact, CNN has learned he will be dropping out.

Here are the latest numbers, official numbers, coming into the state Democratic Party headquarters from nearly 2,000 caucus sites around this state, 38 percent going for John Kerry, 32 percent for John Edwards, the senior Senator actually from North Carolina, 18 percent for Howard Dean.

Look at that half, half of what John Kerry has done, 11 percent for Dick Gephardt. He's going to be dropping out of this contest now. He had said he needs to win. He clearly is coming in a distant fourth, Dennis Kucinich down with one percent.

Our team of correspondents are standing by at the candidates' headquarters. Candy Crowley is over at the Howard Dean campaign. Dan Lothian is covering Dick Gephardt. Suzanne Malveaux is over at John Edwards' camp. Kelly Wallace is over at the headquarters of John Kerry's campaign. He is the winner. We'll be checking in with all of you in just a moment.

Actually, we want to go to Dan Lothian first. He's covering the Gephardt campaign. What are you hearing about his decision to drop out Dan?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN BOSTON BUREAU CHIEF: Well, what we are hearing that he's expected to drop out and make that announcement tomorrow in St. Louis but he also will be coming out here. We were told by an aide just a few minutes ago that he will be coming out between 30 minutes to 45 minutes to talk to his supporters in this room.

To tell you the mood of the supporters here I was just walking into this room and some of them were crying. They were hugging, clearly upset by this defeat, what appears to be -- what is this defeat.

Now, Mr. Gephardt had said all along during this campaign that he was going to win. We would ask him time and time again if this was sort of the make or break it campaign or whether he could actually go on from this point and he would never even entertain those questions but simply say that he was going to win.

The reason he said is that he had the organization of the state, mainly that base of support, his union supporters but sources telling CNN that that apparently was all that he had, those union supporters and his base never got much bigger than that -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Dan Lothian, he's over at Dick Gephardt's campaign, Dick Gephardt planning to drop out of this contest.

Let's go to the winning campaign headquarters, CNN's Kelly Wallace is over at John Kerry's campaign where they are clearly, clearly very excited.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I cannot hear you. We're having a few problems but you can imagine there is tremendous enthusiasm right now inside the Kerry campaign headquarters.

I have been talking to aides throughout the evening. They were guarded saying they were encouraged by the turnout but now very, very big smiles indeed. Tad Devine, one of the top advisers to Senator John Kerry saying they are very pleased that this is a very big victory for John Kerry.

About 15 minutes from now John Kerry will come down to this ballroom and talk to his supporters. It is likely to be an incredible scene. This is a man who was at the back of the pack just a few weeks ago, his campaign really written off by pundits just a few months ago and now winning the Iowa caucuses.

Tad Devine, that adviser I talked to, said this is unprecedented for a candidate to move so far so fast in such a short amount of time. What they credit for victory they believe the more Iowans started looking at John Kerry the more they liked what they were seeing.

They also believe that Iowans were looking at picking a president. They believe this came down to who has the experience on national security issues, political issues, domestic issues such as health care to defeat President Bush.

Of course now they also have John Edwards who had a tremendous showing. Advisers are saying he ran a very, very good campaign but they say now it's on to New Hampshire, a whole different ball game.

The message here right now, Wolf, they're taking it one state at a time but they are thrilled, absolutely ecstatic. We're likely to hear a very joyous Senator Kerry coming down in about 15 minutes from now -- Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: All right, Kelly Wallace over at John Kerry's campaign headquarters. CNN, of course, will have all the speeches from all of the candidates that presumably will be happening during the course of this hour. Let's go over to Howard Dean's campaign headquarters. CNN's Candy Crowley is watching and gathering reaction there, a distant third for Howard Dean, must be a significant disappointment for the Dean supporters -- Candy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely a disappointment to them but not the kind of crying that you hear about at the Gephardt campaign. These are the true believers, Wolf. They believe he goes on from here. In fact, it was Howard Dean who made that point that look there are three tickets out. I didn't get the ticket I wanted to get. On "LARRY KING LIVE" he was the first to bow to the reality of Iowa.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think Senator Kerry is doing very well. So is Senator Edwards. I want to congratulate them both but we're determined to win. We're determined in the end to win the nomination. We've got a 50 state organization. We're going to go on.

I'm delighted to finish in the top three, which is so -- I guess, they say that if you're in the top three you get winnowed in so I guess we got winnowed in and certainly we would have liked to have done better but we worked hard. We got a lot of great people working for us and on to New Hampshire.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: What went wrong here? Campaign manager Joe Trippi says our message got obliterated in the last three weeks because they were in a death struggle with Dick Gephardt. There was a lot of back and forth between the two of them. That is their explanation.

Others will begin to look very carefully at this grassroots campaign. As you remember, Wolf, this was really a cutting edge, Internet driven campaign. The question always was could you take that Internet support and make it into a grassroots organization? I think that is very much open to question tonight -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Candy Crowley, she's over at John Kerry's campaign headquarters. Candy thanks very much. We'll be checking back with you.

We'll stand by to hear from John Kerry. Presumably his voice is getting better. He had laryngitis earlier in the day, had to cancel some last minute campaign events because he could barely speak. We'll see how he sounds in the course of the coming hour.

Suzanne Malveaux is over at John Edwards' campaign headquarters. He's coming in a relatively close second, a rather significant surprise. They must be thrilled, Suzanne where you are.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Wolf. I got a chance to talk to the Senator about his strong second place finish. He and his wife Elizabeth spent the evening in their hotel room, very nervous about this, watching the returns on television.

They say they were drinking Diet Cokes, eating butter burgers and pacing the floor but they also received a number of congratulatory phone calls, a very special call from their daughter Kate, a senior at Princeton and the Senator told me that he is absolutely thrilled.

He is excited that this really exceeded his wildest expectations. The reason why he says is he believes that Iowans, his message really resonated with them to bring this country together. He also talked as well that it was just weeks ago that he was in the single digit numbers when it came to support but he believes that this message really resonated.

He also brought up the fact that he thought it was a mistake for his opponents, General Clark and Senator Joe Lieberman not to be here in Iowa that they could not compete here.

He said he had the same numbers going in as they did but he stuck out the fight, a fight he says that he has been carrying out his whole life that he is ready for this.

His next move he says is that he is going on to New Hampshire that he's going on strong. He is going to hold a rally here but he says he's also going to hold a really big rally very late in New Hampshire this evening. He says he's going to use the same strategy, his positive campaigning.

Of course, Wolf, the big challenge here is it's going to be a much more crowded field of contenders but he believes that he can really pull this through. He is absolutely excited this evening -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And he should be, Suzanne Malveaux thanks very much. We'll be checking back with you.

How did John Kerry actually do it? How did he win the Iowa caucuses? For that we turn to our Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider. He's looking at the numbers behind the numbers -- Bill.

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Wolf, we found in our entrance poll that this campaign turned around exactly one month ago. Let's take a look at people who decided how they were going to vote at least a month ago.

Here they are, 32 percent, Dean was on top among voters who decided before the last month. Pay attention to that figure, 32 percent. Now, look at what happens to Howard Dean among the voters who decided within the last month.

His support falls to 16. It falls by half with Kerry and Edwards on top. What happened a month ago to turn this campaign around? It wasn't a campaign event.

I would submit that what happened was the capture of Saddam Hussein. That was an even that changed people's views that made the war a much less dramatic issue to a lot of voters. It looked like the United States was succeeding.

My argument is the capture of Saddam Hussein, nothing happening in Iowa, something far away in Iraq was the determining event that turned this campaign around and caused Dean's support to collapse by half -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Bill Schneider we'll be checking back with you. You're still crunching other numbers. We want to get all the details how John Kerry did it, how John Edwards managed to come in second.

Let's take a look at the latest numbers. These are the official numbers coming into the state Democratic Party headquarters with, look at this, 89 percent, almost 90 percent of the caucus sites now reporting.

Their outcome 38 percent for the Senator from Massachusetts John Kerry, 32 percent for John Edwards the 50-year-old Senator from North Carolina, only 18 percent, less than half of what John Kerry did for the former governor of Vermont Howard Dean, only 11 percent for Dick Gephardt. We're anticipating he will step down. He will decide not to seek -- to continue to run in this presidential campaign.

Judy Woodruff as you look at all of this, the storylines, the dramatic come from almost nowhere for John Kerry, originally a year ago, six months ago he was presumably the frontrunner but then he sort of disappeared. Howard Dean went way up and now Iowa Democrats in big numbers decided to speak out.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, I think it's clear tonight that the Democratic contest for president has been scrambled. Iowa has fulfilled its role. It has winnowed the Democratic field.

Now we go on to New Hampshire. The South Carolina, Oklahoma, Arizona, Missouri now that Dick Gephardt is getting out of the race will be a state that these candidates will compete in.

I don't want to throw any water, Wolf, on John Kerry's parade tonight but I do want to say you look back at the history of these Iowa caucuses and since 1972 the 12 times that they have been contested only one of the people who came in first in these caucuses went on to be elected president.

Only half of them went on to win their party's nomination, so we want to put this a little bit in perspective even as we look at what John Kerry has accomplished.

BLITZER: All right, Jeff, put it in a little bit more perspective for us.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: We have now had for the seventh consecutive time the frontrunner, the presumed frontrunner take an early punch. The last candidate who glided to the nomination without a serious bump was Jimmy Carter.

Remember Reagan lost here, Mondale lost in New Hampshire and Bush I lost here and Clinton was almost knocked out of the race by scandal and Dole lost in New Hampshire and George W. Bush lost in New Hampshire.

Apparently there is some divine providence at work that says to the punitive frontrunner not so fast buddy. If you can't take a hit and come back you don't get the nomination and Howard Dean has been tested.

The other point I'd like to make is I believe there is another at least temporary loser tonight, General Clark. They were assuming that Howard Dean would win, come to New Hampshire with a big lead and their argument would be we're the guy who can win.

Well now there are other players and the Clark message eight days from now is muddled a little bit, not the least of which is that even before tonight John Kerry's margin in New Hampshire, where he was cratering (ph) two weeks ago had doubled. He has now caught Clark in the public opinion poll and we are going to see one heck of a New Hampshire race.

BLITZER: All right, Jeff Greenfield stand by. Judy, please stand by as well.

I want to put up the latest numbers once again. Let's take a look at these numbers of what we're getting, the official numbers that we're getting into the state Democratic Party headquarters. Once again with 91 percent of those caucus sites reporting still 38 percent for the winner in this contest John Kerry, 32 percent for John Edwards.

Let's go to the White House, our Senior White House Correspondent John King is standing by. We know, John, that they are watching all of this very, very closely at the White House.

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, they won't comment publicly because they say this is a Democratic contest but you can bet they're watching this very closely and you can bet there is some surprise in the Bush political team tonight, not of course at the victory in the end because they watched the public opinion polling very closely just like we do over the past week and they say the Kerry surge and the Edwards surge.

But there were some here even as late as this afternoon who thought Dick Gephardt might pull it out in Iowa and they viewed that as likely a formidable boost for his candidacy. He is now, of course, not only out of this race but he will be out of politics and so they will reassess here at the Bush White House.

But remember John Kerry was presumed to be the early frontrunner. They did a lot of research on him then. They have research on every one of these candidates. They are prepared to counter every one of these candidates.

And, of course, one big event tomorrow night, Wolf, as we move and we analyze this Iowa race and move on to New Hampshire the president will try to steal the platform, at least for a few hours tomorrow night with the State of the Union address.

BLITZER: And that State of the Union address only, I guess less than 24 hours from now. John, I want to put up some numbers on the screen from a recent CNN poll that we had, a hypothetical contest between President Bush and Senator Kerry and this is several days old, 55 percent for President Bush, 43 percent for Senator Kerry.

It may or may not mean anything right now but how do they view Senator Kerry over at the White House, the Carl Roves if you will of this world when they look at this Senator from Massachusetts?

KING: The one thing they stress, Wolf, just as we are stressing, all of us are stressing tonight it is so early in the race that anything said now might not mean much a few weeks, a few days from now even but certainly several months from now when we get to November.

What do they think of Senator John Kerry? They think his Vietnam experience and his experience in the Senate on national security issues makes him a potentially formidable candidate.

They know, of course, he has experience in the past with campaign finance and other issues and the Democrat, whoever wins, will run a campaign saying this president is the captive of special interests and business.

But they also think they can make him out to be a Massachusetts liberal. He was Michael Dukakis' lieutenant governor so in each of these candidates they see strengths and weaknesses and you can be sure because he is one of the candidates who served in the Congress they have that long book of all those votes, Wolf, and they're looking at it very closely.

But they would say tonight, as Judy just said, Senator Kerry is a victor tonight. They will also watch Senator Edwards very closely because he is from the south. They would worry about that a little bit but too early to say who the president's opponent will be just yet -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, John King at the White House reminding us about 23 hours from now the president's State of the Union address before a joint meeting of the United States Congress. CNN, of course, will have live coverage of that.

Let's bring in Donna Brazile right now our political analyst. She was the campaign manager, of course, for the Gore campaign four years ago. You've been talking to a lot of Democrats over the last hour or so including the campaign people surrounding Dick Gephardt. What are you hearing Donna?

DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think the Gephardt people were very surprised. Some of the counties that they expected, Black Hawk (ph) County, Story County didn't come in.

Many of their caucus goers went there tonight and saw an overwhelming crowd for John Kerry and John Edwards. Some of them melted, decided to go ahead and support one of the two frontrunners and they're clearly right now pretty depressed in my judgment.

But Joyce Abusi (ph) who is an old friend, I just talked to her she said they're on their way home. Dick Gephardt is clearly ready to make his announcement tomorrow. He's still one of the great leaders of the Democratic Party and I'm sure that one of the frontrunners will take a look at Dick Gephardt down the road for another position perhaps as vice president.

BLITZER: As you well know, Donna, the last "Des Moines Register" poll which came out only yesterday showed Kerry and Edwards surging but Howard Dean was very close behind. He's not very close behind with more than 90 percent of these caucus sites now reporting to the state Democratic Party.

BRAZILE: You know what's amazing in those college counties and those college towns, Howard Dean was not impressive. John Edwards came in and stole the show despite all of the Internet voting and all of the wonderful surge that Howard Dean had over the last two months, John Kerry and John Edwards put together something out there after the JJ dinner. They got all these local endorsements and their people really got out tonight.

BLITZER: All right, Donna, we're going to be checking back with you throughout the night so stand by. Thanks very much for that.

Let's go to Joe Klein right now. Joe Kline is over at the Gephardt headquarters. Joe, as many of our viewers know, is a columnist for "TIME" magazine, also a CNN political analyst. Joe, give us your sense of what you're hearing over there at the Gephardt headquarters.

JOE KLEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, let's go back to something that Donna mentioned just before. Black Hawk County, Waterloo, Iowa, a big United Auto Workers town should have been Dick Gephardt's greatest strength. He finished fourth there.

The guy who finished first there was John Kerry and I can tell you as a veteran of having watched Kerry campaigns in Massachusetts people always call him aloof and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and aristocratic but he always wins the working class vote and that happened tonight. It shows you I think something about the waning strength of the industrial unions in this country.

BLITZER: Joe, when you take a look though at the one-two finish, Kerry and Edwards, Kerry months ago was the punitive frontrunner but John Edwards has now emerged a relatively close second, very impressive showing for this 50-year-old Senator.

KLEIN: Well, I think one of the things that happened between our entrance polls and the final results was that in a lot of districts Gephardt didn't have the 15 percent that he needed to be viable and I think an awful lot of Gephardt voters went over to Edwards.

You know there's a joke that the Edwards campaign managers use that he and Gephardt were competing on the beer track, that's for the working class Democrats, and Howard Dean and John Kerry were competing on the wine track. Well it seems pretty clear that John Edwards is now the beer track candidate.

BLITZER: You spent a lot of time recently in New Hampshire. Set the scene for us a week from tomorrow the first primary in the nation in New Hampshire. What does Iowa do to New Hampshire?

KLEIN: Well, you know, as Mario Cuomo used to say between now and then a pope will be born. This is the longest week in American politics. Every day this thing is going to move. It's going to shift and we'll see what happens. I mean it's going to be very hard to predict.

What impact does the Kerry showing have on Wes Clark whose numbers have been going up at Kerry's expense? What impact does it have on Joe Lieberman who has kind of been left off the map today? And, is John Edwards going to be able to continue his rise? Also, is Howard Dean going to continue to drop? He has a much stronger position in New Hampshire than he's had here.

BLITZER: All right, Joe we're going to check back with you, Joe Kline helping us better understand the history, what's going on, on this night of the Iowa caucuses.

Paul Begala, one of the co-hosts of "CROSSFIRE" is standing by. He's over at the Dean headquarters, Paul, pretty somber over there?

PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Well, I think more shocked than somber, Wolf. I've talked to several of the Dean campaign high command and what they say is that the two Senators, Edwards and Kerry, basically stole their message and drove up through the middle.

They say that the -- in fact one aide told me they became the outsiders while we were fighting with Dick Gephardt. It was a murder/suicide thing. They believe that their whole campaign got sidetracked by the tit-for-tat back and forth with Dick Gephardt.

They say that their candidate is calm and that they're ready to move on. Joe Trippi, the campaign manager, told me hey there's three tickets out of here. This isn't the ticket I wanted but it's on to New Hampshire. It's a pretty interesting night here.

BLITZER: All right, Paul, thanks very much. We'll be checking back with you.

And we want to show our viewers some of the most recent tracking poll numbers that show clearly how John Kerry was surging, that John Edwards was moving up. Judy, help our viewers better appreciate that over these past several days going back only a week or so how John Edwards and John Kerry were going up. Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt were clearly going down.

WOODRUFF: That's right, Wolf, and you've had a number of things happening. You know we heard Bill Schneider earlier talk about in December when Saddam Hussein was captured. I think there's going to be a lot of examination now about whether that took much of the wind out of the sales of Howard Dean's principal rationale for his candidacy.

After that, you know, people went away for the Christmas and the various holiday. They came back in January and what did we find? The candidates campaigning here in Iowa there was a debate in which Al Sharpton went after Howard Dean.

You had a news report where Howard Dean was showed ten years ago criticizing the Iowa caucuses. Several things happened I think that threw Howard Dean on the defensive. He lost his footing. He didn't seem as sure.

His message was getting mixed up in there and, at that point, the voters were just beginning in this state, many of them, to pay attention and many of those who had already thought they were with Howard Dean I think were thinking well maybe, you know, he's not the frontrunner after all. They took a look and there were John Edward and John Kerry.

GREENFIELD: There was a button going around which may say exactly what you're talking about, "Dated Dean, Married Kerry." That is people were flirting with Dean. They liked the aggressiveness. They liked the excitement of the campaign.

Then the calendar flipped and we've been saying this for a while, people apart from us don't pay that much attention. They thought, you know, we may be picking a presidential nominee here.

And I also think that Bill Russell, the great basketball player, used to have a saying, when things go bad they go bad and the press begins to interpret everything as another pattern and that's probably what happened.

BLITZER: Hold that thought. Jeff, hold that thought. We have to take a quick commercial break but we want to remind our viewers we're standing by to hear from all four of these candidates.

You're looking live at Dean headquarters. We're expecting Howard Dean to go to that microphone fairly soon and speak to his supporters as he prepares to move on to New Hampshire.

We're expecting to hear from the winner, John Kerry, as well. He's getting ready to make his address, assuming his laryngitis lets him make some sort of address.

John Edwards, we'll be hearing from him. We'll be hearing from Dick Gephardt as well. He's expected to drop out of this contest coming in a distant fourth, much more of our special coverage of the Iowa caucuses that's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: You're looking live at the Dean headquarters here in Des Moines, Howard Dean preparing to come out to speak to his supporters. They must be disappointed. He came in a distant third tonight in the Iowa caucuses. Let's take a look at the latest numbers that we have. These are the official numbers that we're getting from the state Democratic Party. And, as you see this with some 93 percent of the caucus sites reporting John Kerry, the Senator from Massachusetts, the clear winner with 38 percent; John Edward, the Senator from North Carolina with 32 percent; Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont with 18 percent; Dick Gephardt only 11 percent, the Congressman from Missouri.

He will drop out of this contest. He's heading back from Iowa to Missouri. He'll make that announcement tomorrow, although we do expect he will speak to his supporters tonight, Gephardt supporters getting ready to hear from him tonight.

We have live pictures at all of the campaign headquarters. We're also getting ready momentarily, we're told, to hear from John Edwards, one of two big winners tonight, John Edwards coming in second tonight in these Iowa caucuses.

As we get ready to hear from John Edwards and these are live pictures from the Edwards headquarters, Judy Woodruff all of those endorsements that Howard Dean got and we have to remind our viewers he got a lot of big names including the former Vice President Al Gore. What happened?

WOODRUFF: Starting with Al Gore, I mean and frankly a lot of people were scratching their heads saying what is Al Gore doing making an endorsement in December, a month before we've even heard from the voters in Iowa or any other state?

But, he not only racked up Al Gore's endorsement, he got the endorsement of the home state Senator Tom Harkin. He got Bill Bradley. Every time you turned around, he turned around it seemed Howard Dean was pulling in another prominent Democrat, which made -- which to me called into question the outsider has become the insider.

BLITZER: Only yesterday Jimmy Carter.

WOODRUFF: Though not an endorsement but he went down there to Georgia to visit him.

BLITZER: Well, it was close to an endorsement. It was clearly very close to an endorsement although he stopped just short of formally endorsing him. It goes to show you what about these endorsements?

GREENFIELD: Well that an a couple of bucks will get you a ride on the subway a lot of times. I'll tell you I think the most important endorsement for Kerry was Christine Vilsack, the wife of the governor of Iowa, very popular. Kerry, I think you're going to see is going to get a terrific percentage of the women's vote which she helped get.

And all through the last two weeks she traveling with John Kerry kind of humanized him. I was at an event where she showed up in the middle of Kerry's speech, this allegedly aloof patrician, and he stopped, whirled, gave her a big hug. She gave him a kind of ease I think on the campaign as well as sort of a wink-wink nudge-nudge that maybe the governor is also on his side. That one may have helped Kerry.

But I couldn't agree more with Judy. I mean you look at that and some people actually said it when that Gore happened. It will hurt him and I was skeptical and it may have by messing up his outsider image a little.

WOODRUFF: Yes.

BLITZER: All right, we're expecting to hear from Howard Dean momentarily. He'll be walking over to his microphone over at the Howard Dean campaign headquarters.

In fact, Tucker Carlson is over there right now. Tucker, you've been talking to a lot of people. What are you hearing? What are you seeing?

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST "CROSSFIRE": Well, obviously people are upset. I mean there's also the feeling, if you talk to some of the younger volunteers in the Dean campaign and they give you the rap about how this is a much larger movement and they're taking America back and they're going to keep fighting on and on, the things one hears in losing headquarters, you know, in any campaign.

I spoke to one Democratic strategist, a particularly smart one. I asked him a moment ago how did this happen? And he said the answer is Democrats who vote in primaries are sort of like you and me. I mean they're not stupid. And they looked at Howard Dean. They liked him. But they realized...

BLITZER: Let's interrupt Tucker Carlson and go over to the John Edwards campaign headquarters here in Des Moines. You're looking live at these pictures of John Edwards walking into a room, where enormous excitement -- he's getting ready to address his supporters.

He comes in a relatively close second, seemingly coming out of nowhere here in Iowa, to go on and to capture a clear No. 2, well ahead of the No. 3, Howard Dean.

As we get ready to hear John Edwards speak to his supporters before making that flight to New Hampshire, Jeff, I've got to remind our viewers that John Edwards does a pretty good campaign.

GREENFIELD: James Carville said on our air he is the best stump speaker he's ever heard, including Bill Clinton.

There is a reason why John Edwards made millions of dollars making appeals to juries as a trial lawyer. This guy makes a speech that is a coherent argument. It's not a collection of sound bites. It weaves his personal story, his modest upbringings, what he wants to do with America. And he builds to a line that really connected in Iowa. After all the negative stuff: "America was not built by cynics. America was built by optimists."

And that hope I think helped really trigger the surge for John Edwards in the last couple of weeks.

WOODRUFF: And I think, Wolf, the fact that he's a first-term senator, he can still talk about being a newcomer to Washington. He's not entrenched in all those things that people associate negatively.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: You know, Judy, only yesterday, Senator Kerry said some negative things about John Edwards that he had to apologize for.

WOODRUFF: He sure did.

BLITZER: Hold on one second. Let's listen to Senator Edwards.

(INTERRUPTED FOR LIVE EVENT)

BLITZER: You're looking at John Edwards speaking to his supporters.

You also see Howard Dean coming out, taking off his coat, getting excited. Tom Harkin, the senator from Iowa, clearly greeting him. They were high-fiving each other. We're getting ready to also hear from Howard Dean.

In fact, let's listen to Howard Dean, who comes in a relatively distant third in Iowa.

(INTERRUPTED FOR LIVE EVENT)

BLITZER: All right, Howard Dean speaking to his campaign supporters here in Des Moines at campaign headquarters, trying to put his best, his best foot forward, clearly disappointed, though, must be disappointed coming in a distant third in this contest, John Kerry winning, John Edwards coming in second, but Howard Dean clearly trying to rally his troops as he prepares for the next leg of this race off to New Hampshire.

When we come back, we're going to be awaiting Congressman Dick Gephardt. We expect him to emerge shortly to speak to his supporters here in Des Moines, clearly disappointed, very sad, as he prepares to step down, to step out of this presidential contest.

We'll also be hearing from Ed Gillespie, the chairman of the Republican Party. He's here in Des Moines with us.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: You're looking live at the Congressman Dick Gephardt campaign headquarters here in Des Moines. He's walking out. He's going to the microphone. He's going to be addressing his campaign supporters.

They must be very, very disappointed. He's come in a distant fourth in these Iowa caucuses. He's there with his wife. He's clearly trying to put a smile to all of this, but there must be severe disappointment. He had expected to win. He thought he would win. He won here in 1988. He didn't win today. He came in fourth.

And we'll be listening to him right now.

(INTERRUPTED FOR LIVE EVENT)

BLITZER: Congressman Dick Gephardt all but confirming that he will in fact drop out of this race. He's going to be leaving Iowa to head off to Missouri. He'll be speaking to his constituents tomorrow in St. Louis, making it official. Clearly, making it clear today that his bid for the White House is over.

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