- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 24, 2003

PORTLAND, Ore. — President Bush is asleep on the job, Howard Dean told cheering crowds of Democrats this weekend.

The former Vermont governor, who is leading the nine-candidate field for the Democratic presidential nomination, made the charge the centerpiece of a three-day, eight-city, coast-to-coast campaign swing.

The tour through Wisconsin, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Texas, Illinois and New York is not called the “Sleepless Summer Tour” because no one gets sleep but is a swipe at the president’s policies and his four-week vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

“While the president is constantly sleeping in Crawford, there are many people sleepless all over the country because they don’t have health insurance and don’t have jobs,” Mr. Dean told audiences in Boise, Idaho, and Portland yesterday, as well as in Falls Church and Milwaukee on Saturday evening.

“While Bush is sleeping we’re going to take our country back,” he added in his stock speech for the tour.

A few thousand people had gathered at Cherry Hill farm in Falls Church for the kickoff rally. “We have the record biggest crowd we had so far,” Mr. Dean said.

Dean supporter Denise Moore said the backing of Virginia’s former Lt. Gov. Democrat Don Beyer — “a fiscal conservative as well and a highly respected person” — was key to the turnout for the Falls Church rally. “That’s why so many people are here today,” she said.

With his index finger pointing at the crowd, Mr. Dean criticized President Bush’s tax cuts, the health care system, the budget deficit, a lack of spending on homeland security and the administration’s policy on Iraq. He referred to Vermont, where he had been governor until recently, “where everyone under 18 years has health insurance.”

The Dean message was cheered by several hundred volunteers and supporters at a hangar at the Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee.

“Dean, being a doctor, understands the need for national health care,” said James Pankratz, a 54-year-old social worker. “I support him as well because he was the first one who came out against the war” in Iraq.

In rolled-up shirt sleeves Mr. Dean called for a balanced budget, investment in small business to provide more jobs, affordable health care, better child care to keep them out of prison later and an internationalization of the Iraq conflict.

“We want an America based on hope and not based on fear,” Mr. Dean concluded.

His campaign has capitalized on the Internet. He has raised $7.6 million in the second quarter of this year and is asking his supporters to give $1 million by the time the trip ends.

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