This is a partial transcript of The Big Story With John Gibson, Jan. 22, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.


DENNIS KUCINICH (D-OH) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This administration's policies are creating conditions where a transfer of wealth is occurring also as a result of an unnecessary war that's being driven by fear.


DAVID ASMAN, GUEST HOST: Dennis Kucinich (search) is going to try to score points against President Bush and his fellow Democrats at tonight's debate. A lot of preparation and strategy goes into nights like this.

Congressman Kucinich joins me now from Manchester, New Hampshire to share his inside perspective. And the big question, Congressman, what is the best way to get ready for a debate?

DENNIS KUCINICH (D-OH) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's really a matter of being true to yourself. I don't think it's so much that you have to go through briefing books, as much as it is that it is important to focus on the purpose of my presence in the presidential race. And my purpose in the presidential race is to cause the truth to be told about what happened in Iraq, that Iraq was unnecessary, that our presence there is driven by fear. And that it is so important that we have a president who will lead this country to peace and prosperity.

And the only way to do that is to first tell the truth. We really need to heal this nation over 9/11 and I intend to do that. And I intend to, in this debate tonight, again contrast my position with that of all the other Democrats on the issue of Iraq. I say that we have to get out of Iraq, bring U.N. peacekeepers in and bring our troops home. And I'm going to talk about the affect of Iraq on our entire national agenda.

ASMAN: Well, I want to get specific on the policy. But I just want to focus for a second more on the mechanics of it. Do you relax before a debate? Do you spend those last minutes going through the details? What physically do you do right before a debate?

KUCINICH: I focus. I focus on what my purpose is in running for president and my intention to serve the American people. It's really connecting to the heart and the spirit of — that's the only way to get ready for anything in life. Actually, that's the way I get ready for the day when I get up in the morning. So it isn't so much that I do anything that's vastly different, except for the fact that I really focus on what my purpose is and throughout the debates that's when I've done my best.

ASMAN: Now you said that you want the U.S. out of Iraq. You've said that before. Do you want the U.S. out of Iraq immediately, today, tomorrow, when and how do you do it? How do you pull out the troops?

KUCINICH: We have to recognize that it requires a whole new approach for the United States, where we get the U.N. involved. We must understand the U.N. doesn't want to get involved right now. I'm talking about a change of course. That change of course would involve the United States going to the U.N. and saying, “Look, you control the oil assets on behalf of the Iraqi people until the Iraqi people are self-governing and you control the contracts. There will be no privatization of the economic assets in Iraq.” And ask the U.N. to help construct a new constitution and a cause of governance.

See, this is a whole new approach. This, then, with the United States helping to fund a U.N. peacekeeping mission, pay reparations to the families of innocent noncombatants who were killed and also to pay for the repair of Iraq to the extent that we damaged it. This is the plan that will enable us to bring U.N. peacekeepers in and bring our troops home. And that is my focus — to bring our troops home. That is the best way to support our troops.

ASMAN: All right. We have to leave it at that... Dennis Kucinich, thanks very much. Great to see you.

KUCINICH: Thank you.

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