Kerry on the Campaign
The Hiller Instinct: Kerry on the Campaign
It's the photo-op of the trip, John Kerry as a real person, not a stiff (John Kerry plays guitar).
John Kerry (D) Presidential Candidate
"As I'm campaigning, I don't hear anything about that issue."
The issues Kerry does hear about on streets and in forums are jobs, health care, education and war. One question connects them all…
"If you are elected president, how are you going to deal with what appears to be this immovable force that's taken hold of our supposedly democratic system?"
"Voters hold politicians accountable and we need to start a movement in this country that says, either you do these things, or you're not going to hold office."
Kerry is one of nine Democrats campaigning in New Hampshire, but he thinks he's the one with the best chance to beat George Bush…
"Because I am the only person running, who has foreign policy and military experience and President Bush has proven that the presidency is not the place for on-the-job training for national security."
But before Kerry gets to Bush he has to get past frontrunner Howard Dean.
"Senator, you don't like to talk about Howard Dean very much. Would you even say his name?"
"Americans don't want politicians squabbling with each other. What they want are policy differences, not name calling, but real differences."
But he will say Dean's surge hasn't hurt him and that he can even lose to Dean in New Hampshire and still win the White House…
"Sure I can, absolutely."
But he has trouble explaining how…
"If the field is all split and I would have had 60 percent or 40 percent or 50 percent of a vote, but because there are so many candidates still there, you can go on elsewhere if you have a viable candidacy."
Kerry doesn't want to test that theory. What he's hoping is that he's the tortoise to Dean's hare… That Dean's hot, emotional appeal will burn itself out, letting his campaign of ideas prevail.
Kerry's risky bet is that voters choose with their heads, not their hearts.