Interview With Dennis And Elizabeth Kucinich, March 24, 2007

On Elizabeth’s experience on the campaign trail:

ELIZABETH: The campaign trail is absolutely fantastic. And being with Dennis, who is the most upright, clean-cut, clear-spoken, direct candidate who really stands for what I think the American people really want in a president. It’s tremendous. And to be here and to give strength to that too, it’s great.

Being here at the health care forum is very, very interesting. I’m British — we obviously have universal health care coverage. I’m from Europe — wherever I travel in Europe — we can all get universal health care coverage. It’s astounding to me — as I came into this country a few years ago — to see how many people don’t have access. And all of these political strings that are attached to people, to say that’s not possible. Well, it is possible. The rest of the world does it. So this is what we’re about — we’re about bringing real policies for real people in this candidacy. And we’re in it to win it.

On Kucinich’s vote against Iraq supplemental bill:

DENNIS: No one in the Congress has the credibility on the issue of Iraq. I led the effort in the House of Representatives in 2002 in challenging the Bush administration’s march towards war in Iraq. I did an analysis, which I distributed to every member of Congress — which pointed out that there was no proof that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11 — you know, with al Qaeda’s role in 9/11. That Iraq didn’t have the intention or capability of attacking the United States. And we clearly didn’t have a case for war. And I wrote that — ok?

Not only that, but I have voted against each and every appropriation for the war. And let me tell you why. Because it’s not plausible to say that you are for peace and that you continue to fund the war. And that’s exactly what’s happened this time. And I have a plan to get us out of Iraq. It’s embodied in HR 1234.

We’re being told — just as we were told 4 years ago that we didn’t have any alternative to go to war — now we’re being told now there’s no alternative but to continue this war. This isn’t a Democrat or Republican issue. This is an issue of conscience. This is an issue of heart.

This is a concern about whether or not we have the will to end this war. War is an inconscient force. It keeps moving on. It’s moving on now with the support of a lot of good people who ought to know better.

FAIZ: For you, it was an issue of appropriations. We should just stop funding this.

DENNIS: Period. I mean, if given the choice — let’s say you had the choice. Do you know it’s cost 5 to 10 billion to bring the troops and equipment home? That money’s in the pipeline. We could either use it either to keep the war going or we could use it to bring them home. To me, it’s an easy choice. Bring the troops home.

But you cannot leave the Iraqi people in a lurch. So how do you do it? Once the United States determines that it will not continue to fund the war, that it will bring the troops home, end the occupation, close the bases, we set in motion a parallel process to stabilize Iraq with the help of the international community. And frankly, they’re not interested in being involved as long as the U.S. is occupying.

I’ve gone to people at the U.N. who have a lifetime of experience in peace and security forces. And they say, if the U.S. changes direction, we can get the world community involved and we should have diplomacy that involves the region, so that we can move in that security and peace-keeping force.

We can also then take steps to stabilize Iraq through a process of reconciliation with the the Shiites, the Sunnis, and the Kurds — which cannot happen as long as the U.S. is occupying. We need an honest reconstruction program that does not steal from the Iraqi people, and makes sure that projects get done by hiring Iraqi people.

We need reparations paid for the incredible damage that’s been done to Iraq and the loss of lives — of over 650,000 innocent Iraqis. Stabilization of food and energy prices. Making sure Iraq has total control over their oil — this bill set the stage for the privatization of Iraqi oil. And we need to make sure that Iraq is not going to be strapped with structural readjustment policies at the World Bank, at the IMF, which cripple nations and force them to privatize their assets after a nation experiences what Iraq is experiencing. So I’m the only one with a clear plan. So I know that it’s not necessary to stay in this war.

And the fact that most Democrats bought into this — let me tell you something. I’m not afraid to take a stand. People want leaders who know what the right thing to do is. Over and over again, I have that capacity. Going along with the crowd doesn’t cut it if you want peace.

ELIZABETH: Could I make one comment as well? Every time Congress appropriates funds for the war, it reauthorizes the war. There is no distinction between the two. And that has to be really clearly marked in peoples’ minds in understanding this issue.

On decision not to back Fox News boycott:

KUCINICH: Senator Edwards has been on Fox about 30 times. And all of a sudden, he says we shouldn’t have a debate there. Let’s be clear about this.

Fox has problems. I understand that. Look, I’ve been on Fox a few times. And they’ve come after me every time. They try to paint me as being outside the pale of human existence, ok?

But we have to be ready to engage people who we really disagree with. And that’s what I specialize in. That’s the path to peace. Our politics are so polarized that we’re losing our effectiveness to try to affect the outcome. We just lock people into their positions.

To me, this goes beyond politics. We want a president who isn’t going to be pushed around by interest groups, even the ones he agrees with. You know, I don’t like disagreeing with some of my friends on this. But you know what? I see the world in a little bit of a different way. And the same capacity I have is the same capacity that will help this nation achieve peace, health care for all, jobs for all, universal pre-school, education for all.

If you want a leader, then you have to be ready to accept someone who’s ready to lead. And I continue to challenge Fox. MoveOn’s right about a lot of things they said about Fox. But, you know, I’m a presidential candidate. I have to be ready to go into the lion’s den. And I’m a vegetarian and a vegan — I mean, maybe the lion doesn’t want to eat me because I’m a vegan.