Dean stumps for former rival Kerry at Hop

by Phil Salinger | 11/2/04 6:00am

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean blasted Republican candidates for focusing their campaigns on "guns, God, gays and abortion," instead of issues such as the economy, lost jobs, healthcare and public education Monday at the Hopkins Center.

Dean's speech touched on a wide range of his misgivings about America's current state, from President Bush's policies to the state of intellectual debate in this country to the importance of voting.

Dean blamed the Bush administration for discouraging dissent and intelligent discourse, two qualities he described as essential to a united democracy.

"They think that what they think is more important than what American voters think," Dean said of the Bush administration.

Speaking in front of a crowd of about 300, Dean spent much of his speech discussing the importance of not only voting, but also of convincing others to vote. Such efforts, Dean said, are the only way to ensure that the American government will represent the goals of Americans.

Dean said he was particularly bothered by Republican attempts to suppress the student vote, urging students not to be dissuaded by such "scare tactics."

"I want a government that will not do things like that," he said.

On policy issues, Dean, avoiding any objections he has had with Democratic candidate John Kerry, was not at a loss for gripes with Republican campaigns.

Stumping both for Kerry and New Hampshire Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Lynch, Dean said both candidates offer their constituents fiscal responsibility -- a tenet, he argued, that the Republican Party has abandoned in recent years.

America will benefit from Kerry's "fiscal care and fiscal stewardship," Dean said, while the Republicans just "borrow, spend, borrow, spend."

Dean went on to address current American foreign policy as the "wrong way" to achieve power and security.

"Power is not just dependent on a strong military. Power is also dependent on moral leadership," he said.

The doctor also denounced Bush's dealings with healthcare and the health of the environment. He said Bush has displayed a tendency to ignore scientific evidence in favor of ideological goals.

"I want someone who will look at the facts," Dean said. "George W. Bush doesn't believe that there is global warming," he joked.

Dean also criticized Bush's allocation of resources for healthcare.

Bush has "given our tax money to drug companies and pharmaceutical companies," instead of the elderly, Dean said. "We ought not to be the last country in the world that does not have health insurance for all its people."

"Step by step, door by door, vote by vote, election by election, we're going to take back this country, " he added.