• Howard Dean promises 50-state strategy in 2008 presidential race
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     | April 11,2005
     

    LITTLE ROCK ó Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean says his party is laying the groundwork for a 50-state strategy for the 2008 presidential race.

    Dean said early fund-raising will be geared toward having the party pay for workers to help with state and local races, initially in selected states.

    The former presidential candidate and former Vermont governor said an important step in organizing in Arkansas is to work for Democratic state attorney general Mike Beebe in his presumed run for governor in 2006.

    Dean appeared at a news conference last Friday with Arkansas' Democratic House members ó Marion Berry, Mike Ross and Vic Snyder ó who called on the president to do more for rural areas. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., sent a letter that was critical of Bush for proposing farm cuts while lowering taxes for upper income brackets.

    Dean criticized spending by the Bush administration and said that running deficits will prevent the country from mounting a strong defense against its foes. He also said President Bush and other Republicans launched divisive issues during the campaign, such as gay marriage. Dean said the country needs to close its divisions.

    "We need to focus on those things we agree on," Dean said.

    Dean said the deficits built under the Bush administration, plus policies that Dean and other Democrats present said make life harder for rural residents, will leave the Republicans vulnerable at the polls in upcoming elections.

    "I think the Democratic Party is in the center," Dean said. "We're more conservative than Republicans are when it comes to money. One of the reasons we're in such trouble is you can't trust Republicans with your money."

    Dean also was critical of Republican claims to being the party of moral values.

    "I think it is a moral value to be able to support your family," Dean said.

    Dean said he welcomes "pro-life Democrats" to the party because "they take care of kids all along."

    Berry echoed that sentiment.

    "The wonderful thing about the Democratic Party is that we're a big tent," said Berry, who represents eastern Arkansas. Ross, who is from southern Arkansas, said Bush's health and education policies have left poor Americans behind. He criticized the budget deficit as the worst in the nation's history.

    Snyder, a physician from central Arkansas, noted that Berry and Ross are in the pharmacy business and that Dean is a physician. Snyder said health care is a key issue for the future.

    Arkansas Republican Party executive director Clint Reed responded to the visit by saying Dean is too liberal for Arkansas and is out of touch with mainstream voters in the state.

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