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Saturday, June 11, 2005

 

Dean: Dems want me tough - June 11

DeanDemocratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, right, laughs at himself during the DNC Executive Committee Meeting in Washington on Saturday, June 11, 2005. 
 
Following a DNC member's comment that he would be sure to jump up and down and waive his hands next time he wanted Dean to call on him for a question, Dean responded, 'No, that's my job.'  
 
Picture source: AP Photo/Kevin Wolf.
 
Dean Tells Dems: 'People Want Us to Fight'

By WILL LESTER, Associated Press Writer - 43 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Howard Dean said Saturday that positive responses from key supporters have reinforced his determination to keep talking tough despite suggestions from some congressional Democrats that the party chairman should tone down his rhetoric.

"People want us to fight," Dean told the national party's executive committee. "We are here to fight."

Over the past week, Dean described Republicans as "pretty much a white, Christian party" and said many in the GOP "never made an honest living."

Several Democratic lawmakers distanced themselves from their chairman. Republican officials called on him to apologize. After weathering the criticism, Dean forged ahead with the GOP scolding at the meeting of Democratic National Committee leaders.

Yet some Democrats say the former Vermont governor should not remain the center of attention.

"Privately, people have said they don't want Howard Dean to become the story because we have more important issues to talk about," said Donna Brazile, who managed Al Gore's presidential campaign in 2000.

"But publicly we will continue to give Howard Dean our strong support," she said.

One of Dean's predecessors at the DNC, Don Fowler said, "The controversy over this statement or that statement is a blip and only a blip." But Fowler complained about leading Democrats who aired their gripes last week. "Even if they don't like it, they should have enough sense not to make those comments," Fowler said.

At the session in a downtown hotel, Dean accused Republicans of trying to suppress the vote, selling access to the White House for lobbyists and basically being dishonest with the public.

"The reason the Republicans are in trouble is because there are so many cases where they say one thing and do something else," Dean said.

He said President Bush's education initiative, the "No Child Left Behind" program, cuts school spending and a clean environment plan, the "Clear Skies Initiative," permits more pollution.

A spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee said Dean would rather sling mud than discuss serious matters.

"Dean's inflammatory rhetoric makes it clear that Democrats have no vision and would rather pander to the maniacal fringe than talk about the important issues facing our country," Tracey Schmitt said.

Rest of this AP story.


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