The Corner

The Dole-Clark Exchange

Here’s the CNN transcript:

KING: Bob, do you have a question for the General?

DOLE: No, I think, you know, it’s a tough — you indicated it’s a tough business you’re in. Looking at it from my perspective, it seemed to me that John Kerry is a big winner tonight, not just in Iowa but also New Hampshire. I know you can’t worry about Kerry’s campaign but just as an observer I think he’s going to benefit a great deal in New Hampshire. Somebody has to lose. Now, of course, you don’t want it to be you but I think it may be you.

CLARK: Senator, let’s be honest about this thing. The American people want a change in leadership. They’re looking for a candidate that can lead on all of the issues. I’m the only person in this race who has ever done foreign policy and I know all of the domestic issues, too. It’s one thing to talk about it, but if you think of foreign policy it’s like major league baseball. I’m the only person who has ever played it and I pitch a 95 mile an hour fastball. I’ve negotiated peace agreements, I’ve won a war. I’m prepared to help the country that’s why I’m running. I’m not worried about John Kerry or anybody else.

DOLE: We’re not — we’re discussing here as friends but I think just politically you just became a colonel instead of a general…

CLARK: Well, I don’t think that’s at all — Senator, with all due respect, he’s a lieutenant and I’m a general. You got to get your facts on this. He was a lieutenant in Vietnam. I’ve done all of the big leadership. I respect John Kerry and I like him but what I’m going to say it’s up to the voters of New Hampshire, South Carolina, New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, all across this country, and that’s what democracy is about. It’s your job to handicap the race. It’s my job to go out here and do the best thing I can do for the United States of America and that’s what I’m going to do.

DOLE: And I certainly wish you luck. I’m not being critical. I’m just being realistic. I’ve been there and I lost, of course, which is a lot more fun winning but…

CLARK: Well, I’ll tell you what, I’ve been in a lot of tough positions in my life, one of them was leading the operation in Kosovo where I not only had to hold alliance but I had to worry about the Pentagon behind me. I’m looking forward to New Hampshire.

KING: General Clark, we’ll see you next week. And Senator Dole just announced his support for you.

DOLE: In Kosovo, he had my support in Kosovo.

CLARK: I know I did and I’m grateful to you, Senator, for that.