Transcript: Sen. Kerry Interview

In his only interview before the crucial first presidential debate, Sen. John Kerry speaks exclusively to Diane Sawyer about his thoughts on the war in Iraq and the public's perception of him.

Following is an excerpt of the interview with the Democratic presidential candidate:

For more of the interview, watch Good Morning America on Wednesday, Sept. 29, and Thursday, Sept. 30, at 7 a.m. ET.

DIANE SAWYER: Was the war in Iraq worth it?

SEN. JOHN KERRY: We should not have gone to war knowing the information we know today.

SAWYER: If it turns out OK ... it was worth it?

KERRY: We have to succeed now that we've done. Look, we have to succeed. There are more terrorists in Iraq today then there were before, and you can't allow it to become an unstable regime that's a haven for terrorism. I've laid out a plan for success. I am not the president today. But each step of the way, I've laid out a plan for success, and each step of the way the president had always been following — always later, never the one who is initiating the things to make it successful. He's gotten us into this mess. It was his decision as to when to go, his decision as to how to go, his decision not to listen to his own advisers.

SAWYER: I want to come back to this issue of the Bush campaign's insistence about flip-flopping, waffling on positions. And, indeed, the polls show 53 percent of the voters — a recent poll — think that you change your mind too often.

KERRY: I think their advertising, and their effort over these last months — to use that word — have been particularly successful. I give them credit for it. But it doesn't reflect truth, nor does it reflect the truth of George Bush's record, who said he wouldn't go to the U.N., then he goes to the U.N., who said he didn't support homeland security and then he supports homeland security, who said he wasn't going to support the 9/11 commission and then he supports it, then he says he won't testify, then he goes to testify.

I can run down the longest list I've ever seen of switches in George Bush's position, you see, but I think it's important for the American people to focus on what we're going to do to change their lives. I've got a very clear program and over the course of the next few weeks, the American people will see the clarity of that.