This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, January 22, 2004.
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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Let's get the campaign's inside reaction to Thursday night's debate. From Manchester, Clark campaign senior adviser, Jamie Rubin; Kerry campaign senior adviser Michael Meehan; and Dean campaign adviser, Steve McMahon. And Lieberman manager, Craig Smith joins us in Washington.
Craig, what is Senator Lieberman's strategy? Dean apparently didn't jump off a cliff tonight. Kerry didn't. You candidate is seven percent in New Hampshire (search). What's your strategy to win?
CRAIG SMITH, LIEBERMAN CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I think what we have to do is we have to make a clear message to the voters about what they're doing up there, how important this is. They have a chance of picking the next leader of the free world.
And we wanted to have it a very clear message about what that constitutes. It constitutes integrity, consistency, a clear vision.
VAN SUSTEREN: But didn't it take -- I mean, didn't it take almost a home run and for everybody else to sort of fall over tonight for that to happen in New Hampshire for you?
SMITH: No. If you look what happened in Iowa, the polls move very rapidly. I think voters take -- I think what Iowa demonstrated is voters take this whole thing very seriously, and they're going to make a deliberate decision.
And the polls moved in Iowa rapidly right there at the end. And we still think there's an opportunity for that.
Now, we've never -- We're not one of the candidates that has to win Iowa to go forward. We've always had a strategy that banked on February 3.
VAN SUSTEREN: Can you win in New Hampshire?
SMITH: We don't have to win New Hampshire, I don't believe. I think we can move forward into February 3, with a good showing there. And I think we will have a good showing in that state.
VAN SUSTEREN: Jamie Rubin, General Clark is your candidate. What is the story with this Michael Moore question tonight? Was it a fair question? And are you pleased with the way he answered it?
JAMIE RUBIN, CLARK CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Well, you know, it's come up now for several days. He was asked it by a number of reporters over the weekend.
If General Clark wanted to call George Bush a deserter, he could. He didn't.
General Clark wants to focus on George Bush's role as commander in chief. Did he do enough to stop September 11? Has he made stopping al Qaeda and capturing Osama bin Laden, the highest national security priority of our country?
VAN SUSTEREN: Jamie...
RUBIN: Those are the issues General Clark wants to talk about when it comes to President Bush, not what Michael Moore has to say.
VAN SUSTEREN: Jamie, General Clark seemed particularly harsh on whether or not President Bush should have prevented 9/11. In reality, General -- President Bush was only in office nine months, and many of the security breaches go back further than nine months.
Is that a fair criticism of President Bush by the General?
RUBIN: Well, yes. First of all, I would point out that Governor Kane, the chairman of the 9/11 commission, has flatly said that 9/11 was preventable.
Secondly, I would tell you that when President Bush and his advisers came into office, they were told by the previous administration that Osama bin Laden was the biggest problem they would face.
And instead of focusing on that, they put it on the sidelines, they put it on the back burner and tried to build a national missile defense, which had nothing to do with the threat we faced.
And when this is all over we'll find out more, but General Clark believes that we should have a higher standard of leadership in this country that's accountable. And President Bush and the new president of the United States should be focusing, as a matter of the highest national priority, on al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Michael Meehan, your candidate is Senator John Kerry. He was asked question about taxes. And he would repeal the tax credit for those that make over $200,000.
Is Senator Kerry saying he would not raise taxes on the middle class if he were president?
MICHAEL MEEHAN, KERRY CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Absolutely. That's the bedrock of his proposal. He believes that the middle class works hard and has a plan to cut the middle class taxes even further. He believes that we can afford to do that, and we must do that.
I mean here in New Hampshire, families are struggling to make ends meet and health care costs are going up. He has a plan to bring health care costs down.
VAN SUSTEREN: So no new taxes on Senator John Kerry?
MEEHAN: Not exactly -- And cut middle class taxes, not just a no new taxes, but cut middle class taxes, yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Steve, your candidate went into this debate tonight with what -- in fact the country seemed to focus on his speech in Iowa when he came in No. 3.
Did he recover from that? Did he sort of rehabilitate himself to the extent he had to?
STEVE MCMAHON, DEAN CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Well, I mean, I think time will tell. Obviously, you know, the public has been having great fun at Howard Dean's expense on this.
He was in that room. He was drawing energy from that crowd. He sort of felt he owed something to those people, many of whom, thousands of whom had traveled across the country to work for three weeks on his campaign.
They were very disappointed in the outcome, as we were, and they expected more. And he sort of felt like it was his job to cheer them up.
But he understands it was over the top. He said that. He's going forward, not back. Independent -- the voters of New Hampshire are very, very independent, and they're not a rubber stamp for voters in Iowa or anywhere else. And they're going to make their own judgment about Howard Dean.
VAN SUSTEREN: Jamie...
MCMAHON: Go ahead.
VAN SUSTEREN: I just want to go to Jamie on his client, General Clark. General Clark seems to be going down in the polls a little bit over the last couple of weeks.
What's his strategy post-New Hampshire?
RUBIN: Well, General Clark is not a politician until now. This is his first race for elected office and he's up against the two front runners, Howard Dean, the Governor of Vermont; John Kerry, senator from Massachusetts.
They are the front runners and everybody in this state knows who they are. I think if General Clark finishes solidly well here, which I...
VAN SUSTEREN: What's solidly well for you, Jamie?
RUBIN: We'll have to see.
And then after that the real battle for him is in the rest of the country, because he's the only candidate in the race who combines all the qualities we need to beat George Bush: military service, national security experience, from the South, can compete all over the country and has a very positive outlook about America.
He's the only one with all four.
VAN SUSTEREN: And with that, you're going to get the last word on this. So grossly unfair to have four guests in such a short amount of time, because you all want to talk about your candidates. But Jamie, Michael, Craig, Steve, thank you.
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