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VolcanoJen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-06-03 03:52 PM
Response to Original message
147. ENTIRE TRANSCRIPT (edited to include in its entirety)
Edited on Sat Sep-06-03 04:38 PM by VolcanoJen
Taken from Tivo, to the best of my abilities, and by no means official, but boy, are my fingers tired! :-) Enjoy, my DU Friends!

Transcription by VolcanoJen; emphasis by VolcanoJen

Maher: Yeh, there's a standing ovation that for once is deserved. You certainly do deserve it, no one knows more about sacrificing for their country than you do, I would say. Now I heard Condoleeza Rice say this week that we need a generational commitment for what we're doing in Iraq, which sounds a little like the old "pay any price, bear any burden" which John F. Kennedy said, 40 years ago. Uhh, do you think this generation is up to a pay any price, bear any burden commitment, which is what we really need. Do you think this generation of hackers and slackers can cut it?

Clark: I think this is a great generation that can do anything that we need to do and ask to do.

Maher: Wow, you really are running for president! (audience laughter)

Clark: No, I'll tell you. The honest truth is, I was down at NYU giving a talk a couple nights ago and talked to many young people from this generation. They told me what the issue is, and what's really propelling this. They grew up in a generation where people trusted the government, they trusted. They hadn't been through the Watergate experience and Vietnam and all that. And they're asking, where's the threat? Where are those weapons of mass destruction? Why are we doing this? And so I think you'd get a generational commitment if you motivated a generation to do it. That's the fundamental issue right now.

Maher: So don't lie to them again. (audience applause) I have to ask you now, I don't know if you saw the Democrats debate last night. There's some good people in the Democratic field, but there's also an awful lot of talk about you. And I'm just wondering, there's so much talk around the water cooler, it's as if you kissed Britney! (audience laughter) Why do you think all of this talk for another Democratic candidate has settled on General Wesley Clark?

Clark: Well, as I've traveled around the country, people are looking for good leadership, they're looking for proven, experienced leadership. The country is engaged in foreign affairs in a way it wasn't four or five years ago. 9/11 was a tremendous shock, America woke up afterward and said what happened beyond our borders, it's really important. It just so happened to coincide with the time I've been going around. I've been increasingly concerned since 9/11, the strategy was going the wrong way, it was a sort of a bait-and-switch tactic. We had Osama bin Laden, wasn't enough of an enemy, I guess, wasn't clear, wanted to get something more substantial, let's go back to those old guys we didn't like the last time, so let's finish off Saddam Hussein. (audience applause and laughter)

Maher: All right now, I have to tell you General, when you said bait-and-switch, you just said the magic word! Ladies and gentleman, bait-and-switch, and there it is! (the Bush fighter pilot doll drops down onto the set by parachute) (audience laughter) No heckling! This, as you may have known, we had it on the show a couple weeks ago. This is the George Bush doll, this has been put out by a company. Him in his flight suit, this is President dress-up, when he made his appearance on the aircraft carrier. I'm wondering what you think of that stunt.

Clark: First of all, I think it's a great flight suit, and a lot of... (audience applause and laughter) great men and women have worn that suit with honor, and have risked their lives, have lost their lives, in that flight suit. And I think when you see that doll, what it will remind us of is the premature celebration at the end of this war. Because this was the 1st of May, and the banner read Mission Accomplished. And you know what's come out of the Washington press this week, the leaked document from the Joint Staff and Central Command. We did our after-action review, and you know what we found, fellas? We didn't plan for the whole mission! We destroyed the Iraq army, we got to Baghdad, but we didn't have Phase 4! The post conflict operation!

Maher: Aren't Republicans supposed to be the ones who are efficient like that? I understood Bill Clinton, he was the guy with the pizza boxes in the dorm room, late for meetings, but how come the efficient Republicans were the ones who said "Oh dude! We forgot the post-war! (audience applause and laughter) It's a mystery to me.

Clark: I was in the Ford Administration, I know a lot of these guys, and of course I'm friends with the military guys. When I went through there, I asked them, this was a year ago, I said what's going to happen after you get in there? We knew it wasn't going to be much of a fight. They said we really are having a hard time getting a plan because the civilians don't want to ask these questions, they don't want to hear about it. The only thing I can figure is a lot of these civilian leaders, hadn't, they weren't really students of military operations. Because every serious student of warfare understands it's not about smashing the enemy army, it's about getting to the end state. It's the political objective that you're going at. And I think the Republicans got mesmerized about the weapons!

Maher: They all talk about the military, though very few of them served, like mmm-mmm (pointing to Bush doll). I want to read you a quote, because Howard Dean said "...In Vermont, you know, politics is much farther to the left. A Vermont centrist is an American liberal right now." And then his campaign manager came out and said "That's not an admission he's a liberal!" Which, quite frankly pissed me off. Somehow they hijacked that word. And you're a Democrat, you said that last week.

Clark: Absolutely. (audience applause)

Maher: OK. I'm just wondering, of all the people who have the credentials to say "liberal" is not a bad word, I'm wondering if I could get you to say that.

Clark: Well, I'll say it right now.

Maher: Good for you!

Clark: We live in a liberal democracy. That's what we created in this country. It's in our constitution! We should be very clear on this... this country was founded on the principles of the enlightenment. It was the idea that people could talk, have reasonable dialogue and discuss the issues. It wasn't founded on the idea that someone would get struck by a divine inspiration and know everything, right from wrong. People who founded this country had religion, they had strong beliefs, but they believed in reason, and dialogue, and civil discourse. We can't lose that in this country. We've got to get it back.

Maher: Thank you. (audience applause)

Clark: Can I follow up on that?

Maher: Yes!

Clark: A lot of people have said, what are you interested in? Why would you even consider running? Isn't it just about Iraq? It really isn't. Iraq is part of it, I think our foreign policy has serious problems, but I think the economy and the way the administration has dealt with the economy has serious problems. But more fundamental than that, it's about what kind of country we want to live in. I think this nation wants an open, transparent government. I think it likes the two-party system. I think it likes to hear reasoned dialogue, not labeling, name-calling, hateful politics. I think 2004 is the election the voters have to put that back in.

Maher: I have one last question I have to ask, and you know I wouldn't do this to you

Clark: Am I going to announce?

Maher: I'm just gonna say this. My mother is a WWII veteran, she was an Army nurse, 84 years old, served in WWII. I talk to her every day, she's also a life-long Democrat. We talk on the phone every day, and we often talk about politics, and one name she keeps bringing up is yours. General Wesley Clark, why doesn't he get in? And I'm not.. no pressure, I'm just saying 84 years old, lifelong Democrat, Army Veteran, you could make one person very happy, no pressure. (audience laughter) And she has pneumonia. But she's getting over it, but just do whatever you want. (audience laughter)

Clark: We don't want to crimp it too soon, you know? She'll be better at 94!

Maher: Thank you very much. Whatever you do, your country owes you a lot. Thank you, General Clark.

(audience applause, with many yelling "Run! Run!")
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