- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 6, 2004

Former presidential hopeful Bill Bradley endorsed Howard Dean yesterday, giving the former Vermont governor the support of both 2000 Democratic presidential candidates as he tries to fend off the other eight Democrats heading into the early primaries.

And like former Vice President Al Gore, whom Mr. Bradley challenged in 2000 and who endorsed Mr. Dean in December, Mr. Bradley said Mr. Dean deserves victory because of how he has energized Democratic base voters.

“His supporters are breathing fresh air into the lungs of our democracy. They’re revitalizing politics, showing a way to escape the grip of big money and to confront the shame of forgetting those in need,” Mr. Bradley, a former three-term senator from New Jersey, said at a morning appearance with Mr. Dean in Manchester, N.H.

Before his campaign sputtered and he dropped out of the 2000 race, Mr. Bradley had won 35 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses and 47 percent of the vote in New Hampshire’s primary. He said he is recommending to his supporters that they support Mr. Dean.

But in a radio debate in Iowa yesterday, other Democratic candidates criticized the anger they say has been the driving force of the Dean campaign.

“I’m afraid Howard Dean has said a number of things that are polarizing,” Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, one of the other eight candidates for the Democratic nomination, said during the debate. “He has represented anger. Anger has fueled his campaign.”

“I love the enthusiasm of his supporters. He’s done an incredible service to our party and our political system by bringing a lot of them in. But we have got to go beyond that,” Mr. Lieberman said.

Mr. Dean, though, said getting the endorsement of both Mr. Gore and Mr. Bradley shows he can go beyond just anger.

“If I can begin to breach the gap between Bill Bradley and Al Gore, and bring in people who have served long periods of time in Washington and all the enthusiastic supporters we have, then I think I may be the right candidate to beat George Bush,” he said.

The debate was sponsored by National Public Radio and was held at the Des Moines campus of Iowa State University. Mr. Dean, Mr. Lieberman and four other candidates took part.

The first binding votes in the primary season will be cast Jan. 19 at the Iowa caucuses, followed eight days later by the New Hampshire primary.

Mr. Dean’s plan to repeal all of President Bush’s tax cuts from the last three years also was roundly criticized by Mr. Lieberman and Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat. The former governor has said middle-class families ended up with higher taxes because of state and local tax and fee increases, but Mr. Kerry said Mr. Dean does nothing to lower those taxes.

“So Howard Dean has a program to raise people’s taxes beyond the increases they’ve already paid in tuition, because he’s not lowering tuitions; beyond their health care costs, because those are up,” Mr. Kerry said. “And so he’s going to increase the burden on middle-class Americans.”

When moderator Neil Conan asked Mr. Dean why there is still poverty in America 40 years after President Johnson declared a war on it, Mr. Dean said Mr. Bush is partly to blame.

“I think a lot of it has to do with the extraordinary corporate alliances and rapaciousness that this president has encouraged since he’s been president,” Mr. Dean said.

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