DENVER — Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean tried to quell talk of inter-party divisions by pointing to an enthusiasm gap between the two parties for their respective candidates.
During a barbeque luncheon with bloggers Tuesday, Dean cited polls showing lower percentages of Republicans supporting likely GOP nominee John McCain than percentages of Democrats backing soon-to-be-named nominee Barack Obama.
“You know, the mainstream media and the Republicans are all talking about the division. There is no division in this convention,” Dean told the crowd of some 120 bloggers gathered in a tent just outside the Pepsi center. “Barack Obama “gets a significant percentage of Republicans, but he gets a higher percentage of Democrats voting for him than John McCain gets of Republicans voting for him.”
Democrats have hammered Mr. McCain for a lack of enthusiasm within his own party, whose grassroots have been skeptical to embrace him because of past stances on issues like immigration, campaign finance reform and judicial appointments.
Republicans have responded by pointing at apparent rifts between Obama supporters and those of former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton, New York Democrat.
“There are a few folks who are unhappy, like there are in every convention,” said Dean, who pointed to the party’s platform, saying it is a composite of policy priorities from both camps.
“That platform represents both Hillary Clinton and what her folks wanted and what Barack Obama and his folks wanted,” Dean said. “This is a unified party, despite the spinmesiters from Fox and CNN.”
A spokesman for the Republican National Committee responded to Dean’s criticism.
“Apparently, the many Hillary supporters who are rejecting Obama because of his lack of experience — including those marching in the streets of Denver — are invsible to Howard Dean,” said RNC spokesman Alex Conant.