Sunday, November 05, 2006

DNC Chairman Howard Dean Offers New Direction for America on ABC's "This Week"

This morning on ABC's "This Week," Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean contrasted the Republican Party's stay-the-course policies with the new direction Democrats are offering the American people on everything from creating middle class tax fairness to being tough and smart in defending America.

Here are some excerpts from his appearance:

Dean in Response to Cheney Comments on Administration Staying the Course in Iraq:
"I think most Americans would agree that we're not safer. In fact 16 of the intelligence agencies of the United States of America have said that this war is creating more terrorists than its getting rid of. That's our own intelligence estimates saying that. So, clearly this was a mistake (Iraq).

"I think that's a mistake also. (In response to VP Cheney) I think we made a lot of mistakes going into Iraq because the president wouldn't listen to the military. I think it's time that we listen to the military. I don't know many people who think this war is winnable from a military point of view. It's a political solution that needs to happen and our troops are in the way and the Iraqis have said that they're in the way. We need to think about our troops once in a while. These folks in the White House, including Dick Cheney, sent the troops over to do the job without adequate equipment, without listening to their superiors about how many more troops they needed. They had no idea what they were getting into. They had no exit strategy. ...He (Colin Powell) had a three point plan. You always have to use maximum force. You know exactly what you're getting into. And, you know how you're getting out. Colin Powell was in the administration. They wouldn't listen to him. And they wouldn't do any of those things."

Dean on Democrats Plan for Iraq:
"Actually, there's underlying commonality that we have. First of all, you have to recognize that should we win the House and Senate, which we're hopeful that we will, it will be a signal for a new direction in the country. The president, as the vice president indicated, may not listen and he has control over military and foreign policy. Secondly, here are the elements in common we have which we call phased redeployment. That the national guard and reserve come home soon, in a matter of months. That we leave a strike force in the Middle East, a special operation force, not in Iraq, but in the nearby friendly country where we can go into Iraq and other places where there's a terrorist problem. And that we redeploy some troops to Afghanistan.

"...there's a wide cross section of people from Jack Murtha to Dianne Feinstein who have agreed that this phased redeployment option is the basic way you get out. I don't know anybody who's arguing that we leave Iraq immediately. We do know that the president's policies have created an enormous problem for us in Iraq. I don't know any Democrats who think we ought to stay the course, as the president and vice president have indicated."

Dean on the Economy/ Middle Class Tax Fairness:

"Nancy Pelosi has said that there will not be a middle class (tax) increase. I think that there are places where you will see us unwind the tax breaks. The tax breaks, for example, that the vice president and the president gave to the big oil companies. They're making billions of dollars, charging us $3 a gallon. Of course those folks don't need tax breaks and we could use that money to balance the budget. What I didn't hear the vice president talk about was balancing the budget. Democrats believe in balancing the budget. It's only happened once in the last 40 years when Bill Clinton was president. We want to balance the budget. We need to restore Pell grants and make it easier for middle class and working class kids to go to college so they can get ahead, since the president is sending our jobs elsewhere. And, we need to balance the budget. There are places to get that money. We will not raise taxes on the middle class. We will not raise taxes on the middle class.

"I have heard no one speak about moving tax increases. Im telling you that I have not heard one person in the leadership talking about tax increases except unwinding tax breaks that were put in the middle of the night for oil companies and insurance companies.

"We're actually talking about a tuition tax credit for folks. We're actually talking about finding ways to lower taxes for the middle class. That's not a promise I want to get out there and make because were going to get in there and find enormous budget deficits. One of the things that's happening is the Bush Administration is cooking the books on the deficit. The deficit is actually a lot bigger than it really shows. Some of that is left over from years and years and years of borrowing from the Social Security trust fund which doesn't show up in the budget deficit. Some of it is left from cooking the books and they hide things. All of these emergency resolutions used to finance the war in Iraq, none of those appear on the deficit. So, the deficit is bigger than we think and its really a serious problem. I think we could promise that we will not raise taxes on the middle class. We would like to cut tax on the middle class. I think that making a promise like that is irresponsible until we get in there and find out what's really in those books because the books are not kept honestly."

Dean on the Democrat's Agenda:
"... subpoenas are not on the first list of things to do. If we win, its because Americans want a new direction. They want a new direction in Iraq. They want a new direction in the economy. The fact is the economy does not work for 80 percent of the people in this country. Average people in this country have seen their wages go down.

"What's up first is health care, fixing the economy so ordinary middle class people have a chance again. First thing were going to do is raise the minimum wage. And the second thing were going to do is pass real ethics legislation to end the Republican corruption of culture they've brought to Washington. The third thing were going to do after that is look at how to make the tax system fair for middle class people. And the next thing were going to do after that, I hope, is to have a real down payment on universal health care.

"We're very hopeful that we can take back the House and Senate. Frankly, it depends on people getting out and vote. If people really want change, they can do both."

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