Dean strikes back


Geraldine Sealey
February 12, 2004 2:08AM (UTC)

Maybe Howard Dean isn't so interested in the VP slot after all. From the sound of Dean on the trail in Wisconsin today, he wouldn't want to be in the same room with John Kerry, let alone on a ticket with him. But he's got his reasons. Part of what fueled Dean's anti-Kerry diatribe were reports that scandal-ridden former New Jersey Sen. (and Kerry supporter) Robert "The Torch" Torricelli contributed to a group that ran ads in Iowa in December using images of Osama bin Laden to question Dean's ability to combat terrorism.

Here's what Dean said today: "First [Kerry] sided with the president on the war ... now we find he is more like President Bush than we ever imagined," Dean said. "This is exactly what we don't need in Washington. I got into this race because I wanted to stand up and give the Democratic Party some backbone and character."

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He added: "If we have to become like Republicans in order to beat them, then I think the Democratic Party needs to change fundamentally, and I don't think John Kerry is capable of changing the political culture in Washington."

That's a leap from his comments last Friday, when Dean sounded ready to take the No. 2 slot -- if asked. (Probably not something he needs to worry about now.)

"I would, to the extent, do anything I could to get rid of President Bush," Dean told a morning radio program in Milwaukee last Friday. "I'll do whatever is best for the party. Obviously, I'm running for president, but whatever's best is what I'll do. Anything."


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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