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For the story behind the story...
Sunday, Dec. 28, 2003 12:16 p.m. EST
Clinton Briefings Preceded Dean Gaffes
Some of Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean's worst campaign gaffes have followed briefings by former Clinton administration officials who were sought out by the Vermont Democrat to tutor him on foreign policy.
In August, Dean's campaign staff turned to former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who conducted a six-hour "private class" for the Vermont Democrat on Middle East issues, reported the Boston Globe in Sunday editions.
A few weeks later, Dean caused an uproar by suggesting that Israel and the Palestinians should be treated in an "evenhanded" way, the paper noted.
After that blunder, President Clinton began personally advising the Vermont Democrat, ostensibly in a bid to head off any further politically damaging gaffes. But the results have been anything but stellar for the presidential front-runner.
Shortly after his talks with the ex-president, Dean began touting Clinton as a special Middle East envoy, saying that President Bush should tap Clinton for the job now and that he would do so if elected. In the weeks that followed, Dean loaded up his campaign staff with ex-Clinton officials such as Anthony Lake and Susan Rice.
Lake was regarded by critics as a security risk when he was nominated by Clinton to be national security adviser in 1993.
Rice has been accused of spurning efforts by Sudan in the late 1990s to improve relations with the Clinton administration, which included an offer to arrest 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden and turn him over to the U.S.
Coincidentally or not, since he's been under the tutelage of Clinton, Albright, Lake and Rice, the Democratic front-runner has careened from one rhetorical blunder on foreign policy after another.
In the last four weeks alone, Dean has accused the White House of being complicit in the 9/11 attacks, citing suspicions that President Bush received advanced warning from the Saudis but decided not to act on the tip.
Under sharp questioning a few days later by "Fox News Sunday's" Chris Wallace, Dean declined to back away from the conspiracy theory or apologize, saying of the bizarre allegation: "We don't know [if it's true] and it would be a nice thing to know."
Two weeks ago, Dean insisted that the U.S. was "no safer" after the capture of Saddam Hussein and that security measures undertaken by the Bush administration had left the country no less vulnerable to terrorist attack than it had been before 9/11.
And in what promises to be the most damaging gaffe of all, Dean told a New Hampshire newspaper on Friday that it was wrong to prejudge bin Laden's guilt, even though the 9/11 mastermind had bragged of plotting the attacks in a videotape released by al-Qaeda two years ago.
In what may be a window into the kind of bizarre advice Dean has been getting, Albright herself was caught 10 days ago indulging in some wild-eyed conspiracy-mongering when she told Fox News commentator Morton Kondracke that she wondered if the Bush administration had already captured bin Laden but was keeping the news on ice until just before the 2004 election.
Albright later said she had been joking.
By Anonymous on Wednesday, January 7, 2004 - 01:45 pm:
Dean Displays Wall Street Roots on Campaign Trail
By Patricia Wilson
MUSCATINE, Iowa (Reuters) - From the health of the U.S. dollar to a prescription for retirement, Howard Dean (news - web sites) is reaching back to his Wall Street roots to dispense financial advice on the Main Streets of Iowa's campaign trail.
The Democratic presidential front-runner has billed himself as an anti-big business populist, a Don Quixote tilting at the corporate windmills of the Bush administration who owes nothing to special interests.
But he is, in fact, is a product of the New York money scene.
Dean rails at President Bush (news - web sites) for his government "of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations," excoriates companies like ADM and Cargill for displacing family farmers and vows to shut them out if he wins the White House on Nov. 2.
"They didn't do anything for me on the way in, they didn't do anything for me on the way out, and I'm not going to do anything for them while I'm there," he told cheering supporters at a Charles City, Iowa, museum which displays a two-headed pig in a jar, farm machinery and other agricultural artifacts.
Dean, the former governor of Vermont, flirted briefly with a financial career in the 1970s, found it unsatisfying and told the father he had followed to Yale and Wall Street that he wanted to go back to school and become a doctor. He graduated from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1978.
But the two years or so Dean spent as a stockbroker and analyst in New York served him well in rural Iowa this week where farmers and retirees wanted to know how he felt about monetary policy, interest rates and retirement savings.
GIVES TUTORIAL ON DOLLAR
In the snowbound northeastern hamlet of Parkersburg barely two weeks before Iowa starts the presidential nominating process, Dean gave a mini-tutorial on the state of the dollar, eventually coming out in favor of a strong currency. That is the White House's public position although some analysts claim officials are privately sending different signals.
"Actually, I'm not sure the Bush administration sent this signal," he said. "I think it's just their ineptitude in managing money."
"If you run a half-trillion dollar deficit every single year, your currency is going to go down, it doesn't matter whether you think it should go down or not," he said.
Elaborating at length on a subject that presidents seldom touch for fear of affecting the markets, Dean predicted the dollar would not go up so long as Bush was in office and continued to run deficits, said the consequences would be inflation and opined that if the Federal Reserve (news - web sites) did not raise interest rates before the election "it will be because it is political."
After discussing the effects of both a lower and a higher dollar, Dean concluded: "I think it's in the best interest of the United States to have a strong dollar, but you can't get a strong dollar as long as you continue running enormous deficits that are significantly above 5 percent of the GDP (news - web sites) (Gross Domestic Product)."
At the Charles City stop, Dean handed out some free investment advice to a Floyd County farmer who complained about his dwindling savings and wondered aloud if higher interest rates might help rebuild his retirement nest egg.
"I have to say I'm not in favor of policies that will drive interest rates up because if you do you're going to see huge inflation and whatever you get out of your interest rate investment is not going to go nearly as far," he said.
Sensing disappointment, Dean tried a touch of empathy.
"If you're basing your retirement income on interest rates, it's pretty tough," he said, and recommended "going to talk to somebody who handles retirement programs and so forth and see if you can find another program that might be better than just putting your money in interest rates at 2 percent or in the bank."
As if suddenly remembering he was looking for votes, not clients, Dean added: "But I didn't come to Iowa to offer investment advice, by the way."
By Anonymous on Wednesday, January 14, 2004 - 05:29 pm:
Top Stories - USATODAY.com
Dean urged Clinton to take unilateral action in Bosnia
Wed Jan 14, 7:00 AM ET
By Steve Komarow, USA TODAY
Democratic presidential contender Howard Dean (news - web sites), a strong critic of what he calls President Bush (news - web sites)'s unilateral approach to foreign policy, urged President Clinton (news - web sites) to act unilaterally and enter the war in Bosnia in 1995. (Related item: Text of letter)
"I have reluctantly concluded that the efforts of the United States and NATO (news - web sites) in Bosnia are a complete failure," he wrote, citing reports of genocide during the Bosnian civil war. "If we ignore these behaviors ... our moral fiber as a people becomes weakened. ... We must take unilateral action."
The July 19, 1995, letter, obtained by USA TODAY, was written on Dean's official stationery as Vermont governor. The language appears to contradict Dean's core complaint that President Bush has followed a unilateral foreign policy, instead of a multilateral approach that relies on consultation and joint action with allies. He has repeatedly attacked Bush's decision to invade Iraq (news - web sites).
"I think getting rid of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) is a wonderful thing," he saidlast month. "But the question is, is it a good idea to send 135,000 troops unilaterally to do it?"
In the 1995 letter, Dean argued for unilateral action in Bosnia on moral grounds. "As the Catholic Church and others lost credibility during the Holocaust for not speaking out, so will the United States lose credibility," he wrote.
The civil war in the former Yugoslavia gave rise to war crimes and mass murders not seen in the West since World War II. U.N. peacekeeping had failed, but the Clinton administration was undecided on whether to take military action.
Dean told Clinton that America had to intervene alone because the United Nations (news - web sites) and NATO were unable to act effectively. He called for Clinton to bomb the Bosnian Serbs and supply arms to the Bosnian Muslims. He opposed using American ground troops.
Clinton eventually won approval from NATO but not the United Nations for a limited bombing campaign that led to peace talks and a NATO peacekeeping force at the end of 1995. About 3,000 U.S. troops are in Bosnia today.
Dean's support for the war in Bosnia is one of several examples he uses to differentiate himself from Democrats who oppose virtually all international intervention. His advisers say his stance has remained consistent over the years: A humanitarian crisis of the scale that occurred in Bosnia should trigger an armed intervention. So, too, would an attack or imminent attack on the United States.
The word "imminent" is key to differentiating Dean's policy from the president's decision to invade Iraq, said Jeremy Ben-Ami, policy director for Dean's campaign.
Bush "sold the war on the basis of an imminent threat to U.S. security, and that has now been shown to be false," Ben-Ami said. Since the threat from Iraq was not imminent, the administration could not properly justify the war, he said.
However, when Bush laid out the case for the war in his 2003 State of the Union address, he said the United States should not wait for an imminent threat.
"Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent," Bush said. "Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein ... is not an option."
By Anonymous on Wednesday, January 14, 2004 - 05:34 pm:
Dean's record on race is gray area
By Jill Lawrence, USA TODAY
DES MOINES — Howard Dean has only appointed one minority judge or Cabinet secretary during more than 11 years as governor of Vermont, yet he has made affirmative action a centerpiece of his Democratic presidential campaign.
Several people active in human rights issues in Vermont say Dean was sensitive to racial issues but concede the record speaks for itself.
"In retrospect, most people could easily have done better," says Robert Appel, executive director of the Vermont Human Rights Commission. "The opportunities were there to make good on that vision
By DimSim on Friday, January 30, 2004 - 05:16 pm:
Dean's campaign advisers, including Roy Neel, the former lobbyist and White House aide tapped this week to rescue Dean's campaign, met in Burlington, Vermont, to discuss cost cutting measures as well as how and where to spend their dwindling resources on advertising.
Dean, who spent $1.5 million on television spots in New Hampshire in the final week only to suffer a 13-point loss to Kerry, is not advertising anywhere now.