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2004-01-05

Democratic Contenders Debate As Iowa Caucus Looms

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With the first presidential contest of 2004 just two weeks away, Democratic presidential contenders engaged in two-hour televised debate in Iowa where the first votes will be cast in the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 19. We hear an excerpt of the debate with the candidates discussing trade issues.

With the first presidential contest of 2004 just two weeks away, Democratic presidential contenders engaged in two-hour televised debate yesterday. The debate was held in Iowa where the first votes will be cast in the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 19.

Many of the contenders aggressively challenged former Vermont governor Howard Dean for–among other things–having suggested that the U.S. is no safer now that Saddam Hussein is in custody.

The candidates touched on some of the issues that most divide the Democratic field, especially trade, the public school system, tax cuts, and the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

At one point in the debate, the candidates were all asked to describe a mistake in their careers. Many cited votes for GOP programs in Congress. Ohio congressman Denis Kucinich confessed that, as mayor of Cleveland, he had fired the police chief "live on the 6 o’clock news on Good Friday. Now if any of you can top that, I’ll yield to you."

The event was sponsored by the Des Moines Register and held at the studios of Iowa Public Television. Register editor Paul Anger acted as moderator with questioning by Register columnist David Yepsen and National Public Radio’s Michele Norris. Two candidates, retired Gen. Wesley K. Clark and Al Sharpton, did not attend.

We play an excerpt of the debate.

Read transcript of the debate.


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