Dean Says Nation Faces Economic Depression if Bush Wins Another Term
By Mike Glover
The Associated Press
Monday 19 May 2003
DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - Sharpening his attacks on President Bush's policies, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean asserted Sunday that the nation will face an economic depression if Bush is re-elected.
Dean cited a statistic that 2.5 million jobs have been lost during Bush's first term in office, laying the blame on Bush's handling of an economy that has remained sluggish.
"Two and half million jobs in two and half years," said Dean. "If we re-elect this president, we'll be in a depression. That's 8 million jobs in eight years."
A job loss of that magnitude would plunge the nation into an economic slowdown far worse that the current recession, Dean argued.
Dean sounded a sharply liberal theme as he sought to differentiate himself from others in the nine-member Democratic field. He spoke during the latest forum sponsored by Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin seeking to introduce the candidates to activists who will be there when precinct caucuses launch the presidential nominating season next January.
"This president has forgotten ordinary people," said Dean.
While he focused his fire on Bush, he didn't spare his Democratic rivals either, saying most of support tax cut legislation moving through Congress.
He said "most of the Democrats voted for this irresponsible tax cut" and then argued they had pushed to reduce the size of the cut.
That reasoning misses the point and assures that a tax cut of some size will be approved, said Dean.
"The real debate is can we afford another tax cut when this president has run up the largest deficits in the history of the country and we have a war with no way to pay for it," said Dean. "The middle class people in this country are the ones who pay the bill and I'm going to put a stop to it."
While Dean has less money than some of his Democratic rivals, he argues he has the best chance of defeating Bush because he can draw the sharpest differences with the president.
"If you make me the Democratic nominee, I'll make you proud to be a Democrat again," said Dean.
"No Republican president has balanced the budget in this country for 34 years," said Dean. "If you care about the money you send to Washington, you better elect a Democrats, because Republicans can't manage money."
He acknowledged polls showing Bush with high approval rates and said that's because Democrats have not directly made the case against him.
"The reason people like George Bush is they think he's a leader," said Dean. "The way to beat him is to unambiguously state our Democratic agenda."
While Dean focused mainly on economy issues, he also bashed Bush on domestic security.
"This president talks tough about homeland security, but in fact we're a lot less safe," said Dean. "This president has not done what he needs to do on homeland security."