John Kerry: McCain Approached Me About Joining Dem Ticket in 2004

Note: You can now read the rest of the interview with Senator Kerry here.

On Monday afternoon I had the chance to speak with Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democratic Party's nominee for President in 2004. During the interview, which covers a range of topics and which I will be posting later this afternoon, an item of particular interest jumped out at me: According to Sen. Kerry, it was John McCain's staff who approached his campaign about potentially filling the Vice President slot on the Democratic ticket in 2004. Take a listen to and a look at the interchange...

If you're having trouble with the Odeo player you can download the .mp3 file here.

Jonathan Singer: There's a story in The Hill, I think on Tuesday, by Bob Cusack on the front page of the paper talking about how John McCain's people -- John Weaver -- had approached Tom Daschle and a New York Congressman, I don't remember his name, about switching parties. And I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about what your discussions were with him in 2004, how far it went, who approached whom... if there was any "there" there.

John Kerry: I don't know all the details of it. I know that Tom, from a conversation with him, was in conversation with a number of Republicans back then. It doesn't surprise me completely because his people similarly approached me to engage in a discussion about his potentially being on the ticket as Vice President. So his people were active -- let's put it that way.

Singer: Okay. And just to confirm, you said it, but this is something they approached you rather than...

Kerry: Absolutely correct. John Weaver of his shop... [JK aswers phone]

As you might know from reading my posts in the past, I don't usually addend my own thoughts to my interviews. I like to think they speak for themselves. But in light of the fact that I have written about a closely-related subject and I think this item is particularly newsworthy, if you'll oblige me I'd like to write a few words here.

For many Republicans, it has been bad enough that John McCain has voted and worked with Democrats against the majority of Republican Senators on a number of occasions in recent years. For Republicans, I would imagine that reports that he approached the Democrats about leaving the Senate GOP caucus in 2001 represent a borderline unpardonable offense. But it seems that reaching out to the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee to talk about running on that party's ticket would be tantamount to the highest form of political treason to Republicans.

Certainly, I would assume that McCain's campaign will deny Kerry's account of their interactions. In fact I would be surprised if they didn't push back on this story, as they did to the story in The Hill last week. (A call for comment to the McCain campaign was not returned before the time this story was published.) That said, at least from my vantage this story could hardly come at a worse time for McCain, whose campaign for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination is already noticeably foundering.

There's more...

Questions for John Kerry?

This afternoon, I will have the opportunity to sit down with John Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry to speak about their new book, This Moment on Earth: Today's New Environmentalists and Their Vision for the Future, and other pertinent topics. What would you like to see me ask them? What would you ask them? Please leave your questions in this thread or email them to me at jonathan-at-mydd-dot-com before about 6:00 PM Eastern.

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MyDD Interview with Bill Richardson

This coverage is sponsored by SEIU, the fastest-growing union in North America, with 1.8 million members in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. For more on the healthcare positions of Governor Richardson and the other Democratic candidates, check out my liveblog of the SEIU/CAP Presidential Healthcare forum, and also check out the speeches by Richardson and Senators Clinton and Obama from the CWU Local 226 rally on Friday which are available here.

After covering Saturday's presidential forum on healthcare at UNLV sponsored by the Center for American Progress and the Service Employees International Union, I had the opportunity to attend the official opening of Bill Richardson's Nevada campaign headquarters in Las Vegas and to speak with him while he was driving to a subsequent event. The questions I brought up during the interview were culled from those in this MyDD thread and from emails, as well as, of course, those that I formulated.

My conversation with Governor Richardson, which you can listen to in full through the player below or download as a very large .mp3 file here, is the sixth in my series of coversations with candidates and potential candidates for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination published here on MyDD, including Russ Feingold, John Edwards, Barack Obama, Tom Vilsack and Chris Dodd. Below, the rush transcript of the interview in full:

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Jonathan Singer: Thank you for joining me. I'd like to start by asking you about something you said last night. You said that it's all going to start in Nevada for your campaign - the road to victory starts in Nevada - and I was wondering if that's an indication that you're not going to be focusing as much on Iowa or that, alternatively, you just see Nevada as a better opportunity in some respects?

Bill Richardson: I see Nevada as a better opportunity. I believe I'll do well in Iowa but obviously because of my Western roots I believe that I have a greater potential to do better in Nevada. But we're very intense. We're going to be competitive in Iowa. I'm going to be returning there shortly. But realistically Nevada has more opportunity for us because of the Western state proximity, and I'm a Western Governor, etc.

Singer: Can you talk a little bit about some of those issues that don't crop up in, say, New York or in New England or areas like that but are important to the West, and the Mountain West particularly?

Richardson: Okay. First, issues relating to water. Water conservation, water availability, new water technologies, number one. Number two, immigration issues are very important in the West because of the very strong Hispanic immigration. Three, agriculture, the role of the family farm, ranches, the fact that in the West a large portion of the West is owned by the federal government. Here in Nevada, as you know, BLM is close to 87 percent. Another issue that I believe is very big here is traffic, and I believe there is a role for a President developing sound energy efficient transportation policies that combine light rail with more effective modes of transportation. A highway system that is outdated, and I do believe that that's an issue. Other Western issues, the rights of Native Americans and issues relating to sovereignty.

And what I think really distinguishes the West from other parts of the country is that the West is becoming the laboratory of renewable energy, of a transformation from fossil fuels to solar, wind, biomass. Therefore issues related to quality of life and protecting the environment are probably the paramount Western issues.

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Questions for the Presidential Candidates

This coverage is sponsored by SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, the fastest-growing union in North America, with 1.8 million members in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

I'm just in the Portland International Airport ready to get on a plane for Las Vegas for the SEIU/CAP presidential forum on healthcare. The Service Employees International Union, which is playing a huge role in politics today not only through its efforts to organize American workers but also through its Americans for Healthcare effort and its Walk a Day in My Shoes 2008 campaign that enables presidential candidates to learn firsthand what it means to be a hardworking member of a union, has graciously agreed to sponsor my coverage of tomorrow's forum.

The event will be streamed live on the internet, for those interested, and I will be liveblogging the event here beginning at about 9:00 AM Pacific/12:00 PM Eastern. I will also (hopefully) be speaking with one or more of the presidential candidates on a one-on-one basis and I'd like to know what you want to hear from them. What would you like asked of the presidential candidates tomorrow?

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MyDD Interview with Chris Dodd


Following the presidential forum in Carson City last Wednesday (my coverage of which was sponsored by AFSCME, which also put on the event), I had the opportunity to speak with Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, a candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. The questions used during the interview were culled from among those submitted through this MyDD thread and via email, as well as, of course, those I formulated.

My conversation with Sen. Dodd, which you can listen to in the player below or download as a very large .mp3 here, was the fifth in a series of conversations with candidates and potential candidates for the Democratic nomination published here on MyDD, including Russ Feingold, John Edwards, Barack Obama, and Tom Vilsack. Below, the rush transcript of the interview in full:

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Jonathan Singer: Let's start talking about that issue, Restore Habeas. Do you want to talk a little bit about what that's about, what you're trying to get accomplished and why it's so important to you?

Chris Dodd: It's the rule of law. This even predates the constitution. It's about as fundamental a principle as I can think of. The idea that I can hold you indefinitely without ever telling you what you're being held for, I don't know what anyone's politics may be, but the idea that you tolerate that as an American is something I'd be surprised at.

So I was stunned by that, stunned that Congress voted for that and that we also did a few other things in addition to that that seemed to me just rolling back the clock on a country that used to pride itself on leading the world to embrace a set of universal values about human rights.

Many people probably don't consider it that important of a vote. I think it's one of the most important votes that's been cast in the Congress in the last quarter century or more.

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