The Howard Dean era begins

By Tim Grieve

Published February 12, 2005 4:16PM (EST)

Howard Dean has just been elected to the chairmanship of the DNC. A race that once seemed fiercely contested ended up being anything but. With no one else on the ballot, Dean was elected by acclamation.

Dean is giving his acceptance speech now, acknowledging just how unlikely his ascension once seemed; he said it's "ironic" that he now stands side-by-side with Terry McAuliffe, calling him a "friend." He won't be saying the same about George W. Bush. In his first attack on the president as the leader of the opposition party, Dean is excoriating Republicans on everything from health insurance to national security. He accused Bush of inventing a "false crisis" on Social Security in order to "justify policies that don't work," and he said Bush's budget proposal is a "deliberate" attempt at concealing the true costs of his proposals.

"As far as I'm concerned, this budget does two things," Dean said. "It brings Enron-style accounting to the nation's capital, and it demonstrates once what all Americans are beginning to see: You cannot trust Republicans with your money."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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