(Host) Governor Howard Dean traveled to Georgia Wednesday afternoon to meet with former President Jimmy Carter. The governor says the Carter presidential campaign of 1976 serves as a model for Dean’s own presidential effort.
VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.
(Kinzel) As Governor Howard Dean travels around the country laying a foundation to win the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, Dean is hoping that voters will once again turn to a small state governor for leadership as they did back in 1976. That’s the year a virtually unknown governor of Georgia named Jimmy Carter won the Democratic nomination and went on to be elected president.
To learn more about how Carter waged his successful campaign, Dean traveled to Georgia on Wednesday afternoon to meet with the former president:
(Dean) “And what he did was really extraordinary and it’s the pattern that I’ve really got to follow. Coming from a small state to just get out really early and start meeting activists and introducing myself, because nobody knows who I am and they didn’t know who Jimmy Carter was in 1976.”
(Kinzel) Dean’s first experience in politics came in 1976 when he volunteered to work on the Carter campaign. Dean says he admires the values Carter brought to the presidency:
(Dean) “I think that Carter’s presidency – while it had its shortcomings – is known for really being a new way of looking at American foreign policy. He for the first time linked human rights and American foreign policy and people have tried to get out of that since but haven’t been very successful. And they shouldn’t be successful because our foreign policy should be linked to human rights.”
(Kinzel) As Dean goes back on the campaign trail, he says he believes President Bush is deliberately playing up the situation in Iraq as a way to deflect attention away from key domestic issues before the mid-term elections in November:
(Dean) “The presidency is a failure domestically. He’s run the country’s economy into the ground, we have huge deficits, we’ve done nothing about health care, the education bill is blowing up in his face as I predicted it would some months ago now. It’s blowing up all over the country – educators are talking about what a disaster it is. So he really has nothing to offer except foreign policy and except for the very good job he did as commander in chief. And I have a feeling that may have something to do with why we’re focusing so much attention on Iraq at this early date.”
(Kinzel) Dean has just wrapped up another visit to Iowa and he plans to campaign in New Hampshire later this week.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.