This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto", January 19, 2004, that was edited for clarity.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: For a while things looked pretty dicey for Kerry (search) supporters. But with the Massachusetts senator suddenly surging again in the polls, folks like Tennessee Representative Harold Ford Jr., an early Kerry supporter, I might point out, are looking prescient again. Congressman Ford joins us now out of Washington.

Always a pleasure, sir, thank you.

REP. HAROLD FORD JR., D-TENN.: Good afternoon, thanks for having me and happy King day to you.

CAVUTO: To you as well. Let me ask you, if John Kerry wins tonight, do you think this improves his chances measurably in New Hampshire?

FORD: Sure. It gives an air of legitimacy and credibility that, frankly, none of the candidates have at this moment, because no votes have been cast. There has been extensive coverage by this wonderful network, and many others for more than a year-and-a-half now, and I think voters in Iowa and voters across the country are anxious to see where the candidates rank in the eyes of real voters. And tonight we’ll get a good sense of that.

CAVUTO: But do you think as well, Congressman, they are looking at where those candidates rank as far as possibly beating President Bush in November, and a lot of people are looking at Howard Dean, rightly or wrongly, and saying, look, this guy can’t win?

FORD: Well, I think more and more voters are weighing the candidates along those lines, I think there is an interest on the part of Democrats and I would even say a lot of moderates and independents in this nation, to look for the candidate who can match up against the president the best, who has a record on national security, and balancing budgets, and finding ways to educate kids, and ensure that health care is affordable. They’re looking for a candidate who can measure up against the president in a moderate and pragmatic and mainstream way. And I think John Kerry represents that in so many ways. But the voters will speak tonight. And I think the characterization that we are an anti-war party, a party that is looking for higher taxes, John Kerry and a few of the other candidates represent something very different than that, so tonight we’ll see what the voters say.

CAVUTO: But having said that, Congressman, you would still support Howard Dean if he were the party’s nominee?

FORD: Well, I’m a Democrat, and like Chuck Hagel, my friend from Nebraska who has disagreed with President Bush on many issues, said he would support his president. I’ll support my nominee. But I might add, I think what you will see out of Iowa this evening, and New Hampshire, and South Carolina, even my state, Tennessee over the next two to three weeks, I think you’ll see a party that’s paying close attention to the issues, close attention to the image that has been projected, or I should say, is being exuded by some in our party about our party, and you’ll see us nominate someone who can not only measures up against George Bush, but who can lead this country in a way that all Americans will be proud.

CAVUTO: Well, you need a nominee who will just win your state, right?


FORD: That would be a good start.

CAVUTO: All right, Harold Ford Jr., Tennessee congressman, always good seeing you, sir, appreciate it.

FORD: Thanks for having me.

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