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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Howard Dean Addresses Issue of Confederate Flag

Aired November 5, 2003 - 12:19   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We want to go to New York City now. Howard Dean, the Democratic presidential hopeful, has been speaking to students at Cooper Union College, addressing the issue of the Confederate flag. Let's listen in.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... leave anyone behind in this discussion no matter what their color, no matter where they live. I understand Senator Edwards' concern last night that I -- that he not have people from the North going down and telling people from the South how to run their states. But we all need to understand that we are in this together, and that this will be a difficult and painful discussion, and that feelings will be hurt. And what we must do is that people of goodwill must stay at the table.

If we are ever to vanquish the scourge of racism left over from 400 years of slavery and Jim Crow, only 40 or 50 years ago in the civil rights movement beginning to see relief from that, we cannot think that this is over. And we must have the dialogue that Bill Clinton promised us. We must that dialogue, and we must continue that dialogue, and we must all be at the table.

So, I say to those -- many of the people in the African American community have supported what I have said over the past few days, because they understand what this is about. But some have not, and to those I deeply regret the pain that I have may caused. Many of those supporters have -- many of our white supporters have understood, but to those who do not, I regret the pain that I have caused.

But I will tell you, there is no easy way to do this, and that there will be pain as we discuss it, and we must face it together, hand in hand, as Dr. King and Abraham Lincoln asked us to do.

BLITZER: Howard Dean, the Democratic presidential hopeful, the former governor of Vermont, addressing a very sensitive issue -- the issue of the Confederate flag. He has said in recent days that he would hope that Southerners who have that Confederate flag on their pickup trucks, who carry it, would vote for him, would vote for a Democrat, causing all sorts of criticism from the other, at least several of the other Democratic presidential hopefuls, including Senator John Edwards of North Carolina and Al Sharpton, as well as John Kerry, the senator from Massachusetts.

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