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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Monday, January 26, 2004


dead Iraqis and dirty tricks

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, January 26, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
the full quote from Dean in New Hampshire:

You can say that it's great that Saddam [Hussein] is gone, and I'm sure that a lot of Iraqis feel it is great that Saddam is gone, but a lot of them gave their lives, and their living standard is a whole lot worse now than it was before."

(emphasis mine). Kudos to Dean for actually talking about dead Iraqis (the one topic that left and right seem to gloss over in the debate about the cost of Iraqi freedom). However, watch for Holy Joe Lieberman, Senator War Hero Kerry, and possibly Edwards in print handouts to ground personnel to spin this as "Dean says Iraqis are worse off after Saddam!" without mentioning that he was explicitly talking about dead Iraqis. Infamous AP writer Nedra Pickler already "fails to mention" that fact in her dishonest headline.

It also seems that someone is calling New Hampshire families at 4am with recorded messages claiming to be from the Dean camp. The NH HQ for the Dean campaign quickly issued a statement:

Statement from State Director Karen Hicks
Posted by Timothy Jones
on Sun, 01/25/2004, 12:50 pm

Today, Karen Hicks, Dean For America's New Hampshire State Director, made the following statement:

"In recent days, our campaign has been hearing reports from New Hampshire voters that they are receiving:

* phone calls early in the morning and late at night;
* "robo calls" from soulless machines, not calls from considerate people;
* calls claiming to originate from the Dean campaign, but do not;
* and even harassing calls and bigoted messages.

Let me be very clear. The Dean campaign does not call New Hampshire homes before 8:30 am or after 8:30 pm. Our calls are made by respectful people, not droning machines. Our callers tell the truth.

We call on the other campaigns to make the same commitments.

We are grateful for the extraordinary engagement of New Hampshire's people in this race. But our campaign believes that everyone deserves some peace, some respect, and a truthful message."

What links these issues is the way in which a major target remains painted on Dean's back, despite all talk of Clark and Kerry needing to focus their guns on each other. Clark might well lose to Edwards for third place, and the other campaigns stil see Dean as a major threat - they fear the bat.

Now, it's too early to tell whether the other campaigns will run with the dead Iraqi quote, since not even Newsmax or Drudge have gotten around to it yet. Maybe the campaigns will remain above the fray. And I personally doubt that any of the campaigns are directly involved in the phone scamming, though whoever is responsible is probably someone senior enough to have access to the resources necessary for the stunt. Only Kerry has really gone explicitly negative. I think we are seeing a ground war fought by extremists within the Kerry camp and also by RNC strategists in sync (but not in collusion) out of Deanfear.

Still, we know that these smear campaigns do work. So, follow the directive of President Bartlett - today is Howard Dean Day in the Granite State. Show your suport by feeding the Comeback Bat and let's root for our team freezing their butts off in NH! Show Jason and all the other volunteers that you're with them in spirit - feed the bat!


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.