Dean rallies anti-war support in New Hampshire

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(Host) Governor Howard Dean says he feels President Bush is making a mistake by sending troops into war in Iraq without the support of the United Nations Security Council. Dean, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, made his comments at several campaign stops in New Hampshire Monday afternoon.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) Dean has emerged as the leading anti-war candidate in the Democratic presidential field. A standing room only lunchtime crowd of roughly 300 people at the Capital City Auditorium in Concord enthusiastically supported Dean’s comments about Iraq.

Dean told the gathering that he will support American troops when the war begins. But the former governor says he’ll also continue to speak out against the policies of the Bush administration and he bristled at the suggestion that people who criticize the president during a time of war are unpatriotic:

(Dean) “I think it’s our patriotic duty to say to the president: we wish our troops well, we hope they get home safely and soon, but Mr. President we think this war is a mistake.” (Sound of audience applause.)

(Kinzel) In the last few weeks, Dean has frequently borrowed a phrase from the late Senator Paul Wellstone when he tells audiences that he wants to represent “the democratic wing of the democratic party.” Dean told the crowd in Concord that this means returning to core democratic values like universal health care:

(Dean) “Surely the most powerful and wealthy society on the face of the earth can do what every other industrial county does. Britain, France, Germany, Israel, Canada, Italy, Japan – they all do it. Everybody has health insurance for everyone. We don’t. We need to do that, and if you elect me president in the first year I will put before you a health care program that’s not a big government program. But it will cover everybody, just like we did with our kids in Vermont.”

(Kinzel) In his concluding remarks in Concord, Dean urged the gathering to support his effort to bring common sense values back this country:

(Dean) “There’s something going on in this country. People desperately want someone to stand up for American values. They are tired of being told by the right wing talk show hosts and fundamental preachers how to live their lives. They desperately want their country back and we’re going to take this country back, and you’re going to take this country back. You’re going to get on the Internet, we’re going to work hard, we’re going to talk to our friends, we’re going to speak to every single American. We’re going to stand up for American values and we’re going to start here in New Hampshire and you’re the ones who are going to do it! Thank you very, very much. We’re here to represent the democratic wing of the Democratic Party.” (Sound of audience applause.)

(Kinzel) Later in the afternoon Dean met with students at St. Anselm’s College in Manchester. Dean told the students that young people changed the course of history in 1968 when they flocked to New Hampshire to support the anti-Vietnam War campaign of Senator Eugene McCarthy. Incumbent President Lyndon Johnson decided not to seek another term in office following McCarthy’s strong showing in the New Hampshire primary. Dean is urging students to join his campaign so that young people can once again play a major role in American politics.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Manchester, New Hampshire.

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