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Interview with Representative Dennis Kucinich

Interview with Representative Dennis Kucinich

By John King, USA - March 7, 2012

KING: Now we turn to a former presidential candidate who found out yesterday he's about to become a former member of Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see a UFO?

DENNIS KUCINICH (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I did. And the rest of the account -- it was unidentified flying object.

This Department of Peace would hold peace as an organizing principle.

Richard B. Cheney, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial and removal from office.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich lost his bid for re-election last night to Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur in a redistricting match-up that pitted the two Democratic colleagues and friends against each other. It was a bitter campaign. In the end Kucinich offered what you might call half-hearted congratulations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KUCINICH: I would like to be able to congratulate Congresswoman Kaptur. But I do have to say that she ran a campaign in the Cleveland media market that was utterly lacking in integrity.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Congressman Kucinich joins us now from Capitol Hill. Congressman, you were not thrilled last night, and my condolences on your loss. I know it's hard to lose a campaign. You were not thrilled last night. I want you to listen. Our senior congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, spoke to the winning candidate, Marcy Kaptur, today. She says you guys have been friends and she hopes this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARCY KAPTUR, OHIO CONGRESSWOMAN ELECT: We have a personal relationship as well as a professional one.

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And now?

KAPTUR: I think that that will remain. A little time for healing, but I think that will remain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Will there be healing? Are you friends? Will you be friends?

KUCINICH: Thank you for this counseling session. I can tell you that, look, I get along with everyone here. It was a tough campaign. It was basically set by redistricting, when there were two separate redistricting efforts to try to stop me from staying in Congress. And once the redistricting's done, in this case it was very difficult for me to be able to make up the lost ground at the voting booth yesterday.

KING: You explored running out in Washington state. That's one of the things that your former friend anyway or maybe your future friend Marcy Kaptur, used against you. She compared you, and this is dirty talk in Cleveland, to a guy named Lebron James. Let's listen to a bit of that ad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First there was Art Modell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then Lebron James.

LEBRON JAMES, BASKETBALL PLAYER: I'll take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looks like next in line to abandon us is Dennis Kucinich.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: You thought that was a cheap shot, didn't you?

KUCINICH: Well, I mean, think about it, OK? My district is chopped up so I had just part of it left. There had been rumors they were going to eliminate everything. That's when the other stories came out about, well, maybe I'd run in other places.

Hello. I ran in Cleveland. That's my home. I made every effort to keep that seat for the people in the community. And so, you know, it didn't work out.

But the way that the campaign was run was something that was surprising to me. But I'm going to go beyond that. Look, this country has bigger problems than whether I'm in Congress or not. This country has to be concerned about getting jobs for all and health care for all and education for all. Stopping a war with Iran.

KING: How does Dennis -- forgive me for interrupting, but how does Dennis Kucinich do that going forward? I first met you when you were the mayor of Cleveland. You've been in Congress, where people agree or disagree with you. You've been a loud and active voice in the peace movement, in the social justice movement. How do you get your voice heard now?

KUCINICH: Look, you only need a place to stand. I mean, you have a place to stand. The point is that, you know, if you -- if you are committed to social and economic justice, whether in or out of Congress, you can make a difference if you want to.

There are many people making a difference. I mean, Dr. King never held an office. Gandhi never held an office. There are people who are archetypes in our society who have never held office and made a difference.

I happened to have the privilege of serving in Congress. It will be 16 years at the end of this term. And I think I made a difference here on important issues.

But you know what? The defeat? Look, I've lost before. And there's always a tomorrow. And I am very grateful for all the people who have supported me over the years. But my commitments are solid. They're as constant as the North Star.

KING: Congressman, we'll keep in touch in the future and see whatever those future endeavors bring. Appreciate your time tonight, sir.

KUCINICH: Thank you very much.

KING: Take care. 

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John King, USA

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