This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes", January 28, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: A shakeup in the Dean campaign after his second place finish in New Hampshire. Howard Dean hired former Gore advisor Roy Neel today to take the reins of the Dean for America campaign.

Joe Trippi has resigned as the campaign manager. So is it all over for the doctor?

Well, yesterday, I caught up with Governor Dean to find out if he thinks he can still win the nomination.


COLMES: Governor, thanks for being with us. Appreciate it very much.

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks for having me on, Alan.

COLMES: This process has got to be crazy, going through what you're going through.

DEAN: It's not so bad. It's actually a good process for selecting the president. If you can't take a punch, you ought not be president.

COLMES: Was it good, then, that you maybe have taken a punch?

DEAN: Oh, we've taken a lot of punches. So far we're still swimming, so that's good.

COLMES: What happens in the process after New Hampshire? Isn't Missouri important?

DEAN: Yes.

COLMES: And, you know, you're focused really on New Mexico and Arizona, are you, as opposed to South Carolina and Missouri?

DEAN: No, we're going to be pretty much everywhere. We haven't figured out what states we're going to land in, but we're going to -- we're playing in all the states. We've got organizations in all the states, including Delaware.

And, you know, we're going to try to get all the delegates we can.

Joe Trippi, the campaign manager, a long time ago, long before we ever thought we were going to go through the roller coaster said, look, we're ... use the vacuum cleaner. We're going to vacuum clean delegates anywhere we can get them.

COLMES: You were on top for so long. You were the -- and everybody said, the presumptive nominee.

DEAN: Right.

COLMES: Got knocked down a peg. Was that -- I just wonder if that ebb and flow was a healthy thing for the campaign to go through, and are you happy where you're positioned right now?

DEAN: Yes. As a matter of fact, if you had told me a year ago this was where we were going to be, we would have been delighted.


DEAN: But we didn't expect to be on the roller coaster the way have been.

COLMES: Are you happy with the way the press has treated you?

DEAN: Well, you know, I don't really complain about it. It's been really tough, and they've been just hammering us.

But that's what you do if you're -- look, that's what happens when you're president. You might as well get used to it.

COLMES: Right. Well, I mean, they -- so much was made, for example, when you had that town hall meeting. There was a 66-year-old man and you said, it's my turn to talk now.

DEAN: Right.

COLMES: And they take one moment out of a campaign and blow it up. It's got to drive you nuts.

DEAN: It doesn't bother me all that much. I mean, I recognize what you guys are really in, is the entertainment business more than the news business. And it's -- it's true.

You know, I -- it doesn't bother me very much. It really doesn't.

The only thing I don't like is when people get things wrong, when they just put the wrong fact in. Which doesn't happen in television very often, because ...

COLMES: Yes. Well you get ...

DEAN: ... you know, you ... you're on camera ...

COLMES: ... your back to the camera.

DEAN: ... when you're on the camera. So, ...


DEAN: ... I either -- if I say -- if something's wrong that I say in the camera, then I'm saying it wrong, not you.

COLMES: Well, one of the things, for example, that's ... kept saying, he said about you, and I've said otherwise, that you -- the word -- the "L" word gets used -- liberal. You know, liberal governor.

This idea that because you are -- and I think they would have done this to whoever the frontrunner ...

DEAN: Yes, they will. They will do it to anybody.

COLMES: Yes. And if you look at your record as governor, liberal may not be the exact operative word. Not that there's anything wrong with being a liberal.

DEAN: No, you know, I have this odd theory about politics -- and we'll find out if it works or not -- is that in the end, the American people filter all this stuff out and figure it out for themselves.

So, you know, I'm pretty serene going into elections. I rarely get nervous on election day, because I just think the final word is the voters.

And in the short term, you do get things said that aren't so, and things take on a life of their own. But over time, people really do get to know you, and then they make up their mind about you.

COLMES: I guess that frustrates you, because your record as governor, you know, balancing the budget, just not gone through the litany ...

DEAN: Sure.

COLMES: ... in defense of you, and we ...

DEAN: I know it.

COLMES: ... debated you on our show. When the debates about you take place, it gets -- the record doesn't get stated as it actually was.

DEAN: That's true. And that, we do have to fight back about.

But what I've found is that if you correct the media, they're usually willing to be corrected after awhile, if you just keep hammering them hard enough.

And it's true. My record is I balanced budgets, I deliver health care to people, which nobody else in this race has ever done.

And I also have a habit of standing up and say exactly what I think.

COLMES: So, why the "L" word? Why has that been so often applied to you?

DEAN: Because the other campaigns are spinning it.

The other guys, when we were out in front for all that time, they were just desperate. They would have said anything. They could have gotten away with saying I walked on the moon, and I stayed up there, they would have done that.

That's, you know -- but eventually it all sorts itself out, because the more stuff that's out there, the more people pay attention and the more people find out what the real truth is.

COLMES: How does the party come together at the end of this process, behind you or whoever the candidate is? After all the mudslinging and all the -- this has been a very rough ...

DEAN: It has been a rough campaign.

COLMES: ... specific -- especially rough, it seems.

DEAN: It's been a rough campaign.

I think, in the end, the party comes together, because we all want to beat George Bush. And that's the important part. The thing -- the concern that I have is that we get nominated, because we're bringing a lot of new people into the party that are here because of me. They're not here because of all the other guys from Washington.

And, you know, if I don't win the nomination, somehow I've got to figure out how to keep them in the party, and that's going to be very difficult.

COLMES: Do you think because of that, because of the people the Dean campaign has brought in, that you're best positioned to ...

DEAN: I do. I think we're the most -- I think we're the people who are most likely to be able to beat George Bush, because we're the only one that attracts new voters.

We're not going to beat George Bush with the same electorate that we had in 2004.

COLMES: Would it hurt you, then, if you got an endorsement by Al Gore and you got endorsement by Bill Bradley. And some of the people who have been, or are considered establishment people who ...

DEAN: It didn't hurt us a bit.

COLMES: ... all of a sudden embrace your campaign.

DEAN: That doesn't hurt us, because they're in there because of what I say. I ran into a 23-year-old kid on the street today, holding my sign. I gave him a cup of coffee.

He said, you know, you're the only reason I'm a Democrat. I'd given up on the Democratic Party.

COLMES: I noticed you were pouring coffee, not just for Dean supporters, but for some of the other campaigns. You were pouring some coffee ...

DEAN: I gave John Edwards' guys a few cups of coffee. You can't make them freeze.

COLMES: Yes, that's right. See, that the compassionate -- you don't need the word compassionate, so do we.

DEAN: That's right.

COLMES: What's the strategy from here? What do you foresee happening? And at what point ...

DEAN: Well, we're not -- I'm not sure what states I'm going to travel in. We're on the ballot in every state, and we're going to have organizations in every state.

I know we're going to be going to South Carolina, and probably Missouri, New Mexico -- I mean, Arizona. But we don't -- we haven't discussed that yet, and we will.

COLMES: Have you given thought to, should you get the nomination, who your VP might be?


COLMES: What kind of people you would surround yourself with?

DEAN: You know, one of the things -- one of the hits we took, and one of the reasons we didn't do well in Iowa, particularly -- we did well enough, but not as well as I wanted to do -- is because you all were so busy saying how presumptuous we were.

COLMES: ... you hate that people when people ...

DEAN: But I think people began to think that, gee, don't I have a say here as a voter?

I always said, you know, it's the voters that decide it, not the press. But -- and now we know it is the voters that decide it.

COLMES: What are the issues that this campaign will be won on? Now we're finding out, David Kay coming out and saying, no WMDs, ...

DEAN: Well, ...

COLMES: ... a $477 billion deficit -- are those the issues upon which this campaign is going to ...

DEAN: The issues ...

COLMES: ... or the Democratic nomination will be run.

DEAN: We're going to win this one on jobs, health insurance and the credibility of the administration, which I think I'm well positioned to deal with.

I'm the only person that's ever balanced a budget. I'm the only one that's every delivered anybody health insurance. Probably because I'm a doctor, of course.

And that's how we're going to win the election. But I think the way we win the election is to stand up for what we believe in. And that is what I specialize in.

COLMES: Now, your wife has said, if you don't -- if you have to go back to Vermont, there's not a slot for you, ...

DEAN: True, true.

COLMES: ... in the family practice. So, what happens?

DEAN: You know what? I don't know. We just keep agitating until we change the country.


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