What does John Kerry have to offer young people, and why should you care? Well, we'll let the Massachusetts senator tell you in his own words what a vote for him will mean for you, but we can say why you should listen. Recent polls show the country almost evenly split between President George W. Bush and Democratic challenger Kerry. If the trend continues, November 2004 could look a lot like November 2000, when several states were decided by a relatively small number of votes. The Choose or Lose 20 Million Loud campaign has a goal of getting 20 million young people to vote in this year's presidential election, and if that happens, America's youth just might be the deciding factor in America's future. MTV News' Gideon Yago sat down with Kerry to get an idea of what that future might look like, in terms of higher education, the war on terror, gay marriages, and many other issues important to young people.

Gideon Yago: Senator, thank you for taking the time to sit down and talk to us.

John Kerry: I'm delighted. Thank you.

Yago: Now, Choose or Lose 20 Million Loud is all about young people having a voice in politics, so we took their questions and we figured we'd bring them directly to you.

Page 1

 Kerry explains how his Vietnam experience colors his view of the war in Iraq ...

Page 2

 Hip-hop, heavy metal and hockey. John Kerry really enjoys one of the three ...

Page 3

 Kerry lays out his plan to help people pay for college via community service ...

Page 4

 From global warming to AIDS — Kerry explains what he would do differently ...

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 Foreign policy may be the most effective weapon in the war on terror, Kerry says ...

Q&A With Vanessa Kerry

 John Kerry's daughter is a medical student, but this year she's learning firsthand about life on the campaign trail...

Kerry: Great.

Yago: The first question they had for you was about your experiences in Vietnam.

[Tape plays.] A lot of people talk about your war record, Senator Kerry. You fought in the war heroically; you also protested it heroically. Can those two things coexist?

Kerry: Well, they do coexist. I mean, that's life, that's the reality of my life. I served my country, and during the course of that service I learned the realities of the war. And as a matter of conscience I opposed it. And when I came back I felt that it was compelling to share with Americans what I had learned, and that's why I protested, and that's why I demonstrated, and that's why I spoke out. Purely as a matter of conscience, period.

Yago: What would the 27-year-old anti-war activist John Kerry have said to the senator who voted to give President Bush the authority to go to war with Iraq?

Kerry: Well, I am that person still, and I still believe that I was correct in what I did in voting. If I were president I would have wanted the authority to be able to leverage Saddam Hussein's behavior and the United Nations. But if I were president I would never ever have behaved the way George Bush did, by breaking promises about building a real coalition. [I would have been] using the inspections, exhausting that remedy and most importantly taking America to war as a last resort. One thing I know ingrained in me by the personal experience of the war I fought in is that you don't just go off to war. You go to war not because you want to, you go to war because you have to. And I don't believe the president passed that test in this, in his approach to Iraq.

Yago: As a senator, you had to go on record with your opinions about the war. Do you feel you got duped?

Kerry: No, I think that I said very clearly, if you read my speech, and I invite [everyone] to go to JohnKerry.com, pull down my speech and read what I said on the floor of the Senate. In the debate I said very clearly I disagree with the preemptive doctrine. I disagree with the notion that you go to war just because Saddam Hussein is a bad guy. I said that the weapons of mass destruction are the only legitimate issue, and that basically war is the last resort, ultimate enforcement [tool for inspections]. Now that's what I said. George Bush assured us that was his approach. And you know, you are not duped when somebody misleads you and in effect lies to you or doesn't tell you the truth. The president, I think, misled the whole country in effect. And the evidence that we saw — we were given photographs, direct evidence — was not real. I mean, it just turned out not to be, not to pan out, so I think the vote was a correct one based on the evidence that everybody was given. The president's actions thereafter were not correct, because he clearly evidenced just a rush to try to want to go to war, and that is not the arrangement that he made with the country, in my judgment.

Hip-hop, heavy metal and hockey. John Kerry really enjoys one of the three ... ...

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