JENNINGS: But whatever you might wish at the moment, the Osama bin Laden videotape is now a part of the final days of the presidential election campaign. And if you judge by the polls, the president has a country mile on you in terms of handling terrorism.
KERRY: Well, I disagree with that. I don't know what polls you're looking at, but the fact is that America knows that I bring 35 years of experience -- more experience than George Bush has -- in foreign affairs and national security affairs.
I have been involved with other countries with arms control and with terrorism over these years -- I wrote a book on it -- before President Bush even became president.
I will do a better job of protecting America than George Bush has. George Bush rushed to war without a plan to win the peace. He sent our troops into battle without the armor that they need, without armored humvees. We've got young kids being wounded today because the state of preparedness of this administration to wage a war.
Ninety percent of the coalition casualties are American. Ninety percent of the costs of this war are being borne by American taxpayers. I think that's inexcusable. And I can do a better job of, number one, training Iraqis, number two, getting the elections held, number three, getting money to the Iraqi people in a way that changes their lives -- not money to Halliburton and to the security corporations -- and number four, I can do a better job of bringing allies to the table.
Those are the ingredients of success.
JENNINGS: Is it not appropriate to admit at the moment that you're exhausted?
KERRY: I'm not exhausted. I'm tired. You wind up, obviously, at a pace that's absolutely extraordinary, but I feel very, very fit. I feel, actually, in much better shape right now than I did during the primaries. I was suffering from bronchitis or something then, and I'm a hundred percent straight ahead here, and I feel good.
JENNINGS: You and your Democratic colleagues made much of the president's failure, as far as you were concerned. Could I ask you three things in the campaign you perhaps wish you had not done or not said, and what you might have learned from them?
KERRY: I just am not in a position to stop about this campaign right now. I mean I've made mistakes along the way in this campaign for certain -- either in things I've said or judgments I've made. But I've got two and a half days left, Peter, not to evaluate the past, but to talk about the future.
Have I made a lot of mistakes over the course of time? Absolutely, and I'm ready to admit what they are, as senator or otherwise.
JENNINGS: I think, by common agreement at the moment, Election Night looks like it may be very close. I'd like to know what your criteria are for challenging the election or perhaps conceding it. What are your standards?
KERRY: I don't have any. I mean I'm going to see what the results of the election are and how people vote, and my standard is who has the most votes and who wins the Electoral College.
JENNINGS: And what will you do if there are many, many challenges on election night?