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2004-01-28

"I Don’t Need Their Permission To Run For President"–Kucinich Shrugs Off Critics

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Despite ending with single digits in New Hampshire Rep. Dennis Kucinich is vowing not to end his campaign and continues to shrug off pundits who have begun to suggest that he and the Rev. Al Sharpton should not be allowed to participate in further debates. [Includes transcript]

As the polls opened in New Hampshire, Kucinich issued a statement, challenging his fellow candidates to pledge to set up a full public inquiry into the Bush administration’s allegations that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

  • Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich speaks with Democracy Now! correspondent Jeremy Scahill.

TRANSCRIPT

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Donate$25, $50, $100, more... AMY GOODMAN: As we turn now to Democracy Now! Correspondent Jeremy Scahill in North Carolina, who had — in New Hampshire, who had chance last night to speak with Ohio congressman Dennis Kucinich who got about 2% of the vote.

JEREMY SCAHILL: From the scene at Kucinich headquarters after the results were announced, you wouldn’t know that the Ohio congressman came in dead last among the democrats campaigning in new Hampshire. You wouldn’t know that Kucinich got just 2% of the vote, either. When Kucinich entered the room to address his supporters, he sounded as though he had won the contest.

DENNIS KUCINICH: Now — now you can feel the energy in this room. Don’t you get the feeling that we just are at the beginning of manager?

JEREMY SCAHILL: He dubbed the gathering a moral victory party. He says he’ll remain in the race to tend and keep the mission of the occupation of Iraq the forefront of his campaign and he is case lating his criticism of both president bush as well as his democratic opponents. As the polls opened in New Hampshire, Kucinich issued a statement, challenging his fellow candidates to pledge to set up a full public inquire riff into the Bush administration’s al investigations that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Kucinich told Democracy Now! that his fellow candidates may be reluctant to do this because of their own statements accusing Iraq of possessing weapons of mass destruction.

DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, first of all, all the other candidates needed to do — they started to expiate their own positions. Senators — senators Kerry, Edwards, Lieberman, General Clark, and Dr. Dean, all gave credence to this idea that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Think if instead they had challenged it as I did–think instead if they told the president there’s no weapons, there’s no basis to go to war. Think of what it means that people who would be president of the United States swallowed whole this whale and voted for the war in some cases. In the case of all the members of congress, voted for the war–those who are running. Think if they had said, look, we’re not going along with this. There’s no weapons of mass destruction. There’s no proof and we’re not going to vote for your war. They would have changed the outcome. They would have changed the debate. Instead, they went along with it. Senator Kerry, senator Edwards, senator Lieberman, general Clark and dr. Dean all played into president bush’s hand. And then, therefore, helped legitimatize what was and is illegitimate, a war against Iraq.

JEREMY SCAHILL: As John Kerry picks up more delegates and emerges as the frontrunner with Howard Dean at his tail, some pundits have begun to suggest that Kucinich and the Reverend Al Sharpton should not be allowed to participate in further debates.

DENNIS KUCINICH: I don’t — I’m not subject to their idea of the way the world should be. I don’t need their permission to run for president of the United States.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Despite Dennis Kucinich ending with single digits, he is vowing not to end his campaign, in fact he’ll go all the way to the convention. His next stop — Oklahoma. The congressman also says he’ll keep Iraq at the center of his campaign. For Democracy Now!, this is Jeremy Scahill with Jaquie Soohin in Manchester, New Hampshire.

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