Former Rival Dean Endorses Kerry
In his joint appearance with Kerry in Washington, Dean said he and Kerry "have an enormous amount in common." Dean ended his presidential campaign Feb. 18 after failing to win a single meaningful nominating contest, but he vowed at that time to keep his name on primary ballots and urged supporters to keep voting for him in order to send "progressive" delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Boston at the end of July.
Today Dean praised Kerry, a man he had once denounced as a consummate Washington insider and hidebound politician, for his stands on several key issues.
"John Kerry has got one of the best environmental records of anybody in the United States Senate," Dean said. "John Kerry knows something about balanced budgets, and God knows you can't trust the Republicans with your money because not one of them has balanced a budget in 34 years."
Referring to a controversy over allegations about the Bush administration's preparedness before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Dean told the college students, "I got such a kick out of seeing the president huff and puff and get all indignant about the testimony of Richard Clarke this week." Clarke, a former counterterrorism adviser to Presidents Bush and Clinton, testified yesterday before a panel investigating the 2001 attacks, asserting that the Bush administration did not view the problem of al Qaeda terrorism with the same urgency that the Clinton administration had.
Dean added, "The real issue is this: Who would you rather have in charge of the defense of the United States of America, a group of people who never served a day overseas in their life, or a guy who served his country honorably and has three Purple Hearts and a Silver Star on the battlefields of Vietnam?"
Kerry said after Dean's introduction, "This is an election for a generation, if not a lifetime." Charging that Bush had presided over a shift from a budget surplus to record deficits, Kerry told the students, "I believe you deserve a president who doesn't saddle you with debt for years to come and restores fiscal responsibility."
He pledged, if elected, to establish a program to enable more students to afford college by providing a $4,000 tuition tax credit and allowing them to pay down loans through service to the community, such as teaching and child care.
Kerry also said he would propose a two-year community service program after high school graduation that would pay in-state college education costs in full.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company