This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," June 4, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: The "Big Issue": Should Vermont secede from the Union? A growing number of people think it should. Those people have published a manifesto explaining why this would be the best option for the very left-leaning state. Could the 14th state to join the Union become the first one to successfully leave? "Big Story" correspondent Douglas Kennedy is here now with more.

DOUGLAS KENNEDY, "BIG STORY" CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, John, some people in Vermont say they've had enough of the United States and they want out of the Union. It's a separatist movement they say is gaining ground in the Green Mountain State.


KENNEDY (VOICE-OVER): Vermont is a state famous for having more cows than people. But now a growing number of Vermonters say they're having a cow about the direction the rest of the country is going.

THOMAS NAYLOR, FMR PROFESSOR, DUKE UNIV: The U.S. government has lost its moral authority. It's corrupt to the core and we want out.

KENNEDY: The main beef seems to be with President Bush and the war in Iraq, though some in this secession movement also blamed Democrats for failing to provide an alternate progressive voice. Former college professor Thomas Naylor says the U.S. is controlled by corporations and secession is the only answer.

NAYLOR: Fixing the system becomes a virtual impossibility. We think that the United States is unsustainable. It is ungovernable and unfixable.

KENNEDY: And it's an idea that seems to be catching on among Naylor's neighbors. Last fall, 300 people attended a secession convention in Montpelier. And lots of Vermonters now sport "Free Vermont" bumper stickers and buttons. At Riverwalk Records in the state capital, the No. 1 selling album is not an old Joan Armatrading album, but a t-shirt that reads: "U.S. out of Vermont."

NAYLOR: Well, Vermont's become the flagship secession movement in the United States. Over half of the states in the U.S. now have active secession movements.

KENNEDY: In fact, a recent survey found 13 percent of residents in the Green Mountain State favor seceding from the union. That's up from eight percent just a year ago. Still, some economists called the movement impractical, saying the state could not survive on its own. Naylor says that's ridiculous.

NAYLOR: Of the 200 independent nation states in the world, 50 of them have smaller populations than Vermont with its 620,000 people.


KENNEDY: Naylor also points four of the 10 richest countries have populations smaller than Vermont. And he says that independence could very well attract tourism and investment. And he says, John, he wants Vermont to become the Switzerland of North America.

GIBSON: He was a professor at Duke.

KENNEDY: He was.

GIBSON: Did he notice the Civil War?

KENNEDY: He points to the Revolutionary War, where he says only 25 percent of Americans at that time wanted to secede from Britain. He says he's half way there, John.

GIBSON: Douglas Kennedy, thank you.

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