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In call with bloggers, online media, Dean raises Rove, ethics

John Byrne

In a conversation with bloggers and journalists Wednesday evening, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean reiterated his theme of a Republican “culture of corruption,” and put new focus whether Bush advisor Karl Rove leaked the name of a covert CIA operative.

The call, hosted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, marked a new strategy by the Committee to increase outreach to online media. Dean has not previously spoken on the record with RAW STORY.

Dean said a new DNC and DCCC ad buy targeting six Republican districts is “the beginning of a campaign to focus on the culture of corruption in Washington.” He invoked the “culture of corruption” phrase repeatedly.

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“Nobody likes corruption, whether they’re conservative or liberal,” he remarked. “I’d like to use this to spearhead election reform, banning voting machines that can’t be counted by hand… I’ve always been a big fan of instant run-off voting. We also need some reforms of ethics in congress.”

Dean said Democrats intend to file ethics complaints targeting Republican members. He dismissed suggestions that he was out of sync with Democratic members of Congress.

“Our roles are different,” he said. “They’re in a legislative battle every single day. They’ve got to deal directly with the ethics complaint. I have the luxury of making a long-term plan to get Democrats in power again.”

Dean weighed in on questions about Karl Rove's possible involvement in leaking the name of a covert CIA operative.

He said he was “surprised to find that Karl Rove has emerged [as suspect]… It was pretty startling to have a guy who is working for the President of the United States to be accused of that. Once people who start to get corrupted and they get away with it, it continues to happen more and more.”

"I think this is a government versus press fight, it’s a political fight," he added. "If it turned out that Rove did lie about what he did or did not say to [Time reporter] Matt Cooper, we’re going to know that very quickly."

The Democratic chairman also took a question about whether Iowa should be removed from the top of the lineup in presidential primaries.

“I don’t want to speak too much about that, because there’s a commission looking about that," Dean said. "We will probably do some surgery and probably not major surgery.”

Towards the end of the call, Dean took a swipe at President George W. Bush; he has recently taken fire from conservatives for suggesting the Republican Party was one of “white Christians.”

“The president has essentially destroyed his presidency by being so unwilling to work with anybody, which is essentially 48 percent of the American people,” he quipped.

Originally published on Thursday July 7, 2005.

 


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