- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 23, 2003

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Howard Dean says his campaign is not about who will be the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee but who will protect democracy and the nation’s ideals from the Bush administration.

“Democracy itself is at stake in this election,” Mr. Dean said in Boston. “The extreme right wing has shown nothing but contempt for democracy.”

Pointing to a flag on the platform, Mr. Dean said, “This flag does not belong to Rush Limbaugh, Jerry Falwell, John Ashcroft, Tom DeLay and Dick Cheney. This flag belongs to us, and we want our country.”



The former Vermont governor invoked historic events from the Boston Tea Party to the creation of the Bill of Rights in his speech at a rally in Copley Square in downtown Boston.

Bostonians of the Revolutionary War period stood up to tyranny — and can do so again, Mr. Dean said.

“They had a king named George who had forgotten his people and only listened to special interest,” he said, drawing cheers from the crowd.

Mr. Dean set his speech in the city that will play host to the Democratic National Convention next summer and also is the home town of a principal rival, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry. Boston news stations also consider New Hampshire a major market for their telecasts.

Mr. Dean and Mr. Kerry have been battling in New Hampshire for months, with Mr. Dean currently holding about a 10-point lead in the polls in the state with a presidential primary tentatively set for Jan. 27.

Political analysts say Mr. Dean’s success in the states with early contests has been closely related to his sharp criticism of the Bush administration, which has tapped into Democrats’ anger over Bush policies.

Mr. Dean said Americans “are no longer willing to allow the further depletion of our nation’s Treasury through tax cuts for this administration’s wealthiest contributors.”

He criticized extensive political squabbling while “41 million Americans live without health insurance.”

And he said most are “no longer willing to accept an administration lying to the American people about the reasons for sending our sons and daughters and brothers and sisters to die in a foreign land.”

He recalled the Founders, who outlined the vision for the nation’s Constitution.

“But at every turn,” Mr. Dean said, “the Bush administration has turned the Constitution on its head.”

He said the administration has divided the country “by race, gender, income, religion and sexual orientation.” And he said Mr. Bush and his team “have capitalized on domestic fears of terrorism for political gain.”

Mr. Dean said special interests have bought influence in the administration — from energy policy to Medicare reform to no-bid contracts in Iraq.

And he said Attorney General John Ashcroft has drafted a document that has “broken down the mutual trust between the American people and their government” — referring to the USA Patriot Act, which expands law-enforcement powers to fight terrorism.

“That,” Mr. Dean said, “is not the act of a patriot.”

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