By Brian Faler
Monday, April 25, 2005
Howard Dean may not be running for anything, but his elbows appear to be as sharp as ever.
Since taking over as chairman of the Democratic National Committee earlier this year, the former presidential candidate has been quoted in newspapers making unusually caustic remarks about Republicans.
Dean has suggested that they are "evil." That they are "corrupt." He called them "brain-dead" during a stop in Toronto -- and while the Terri Schiavo case was still in the news. He has tagged Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) as a "liar." Last week, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that he mimicked a "drug-snorting Rush Limbaugh" at an event there.
Dean was noted for his candid and often unpredictable comments during his campaign last year. Then, as now, many Democrats said they don't mind the former Vermont governor's bluntness.
"You don't want a wallflower for a party chairman," one Senate Democratic aide said. Dean's remarks have not attracted much attention in the national media, in part because he has focused largely on local and regional news outlets since taking the party's helm in February.
But his counterparts in the Republican National Committee have noticed. "It's odd that Howard Dean says he wants to earn the respect of those who live in the red states, but chooses to not only attack their views but attack them personally," RNC spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt said. "Americans want to hear an agenda, rather than name calling."Weld for Governor? But New York This Time
Former Massachusetts governor William F. Weld has had discussions with New York Republican officials about a possible run for governor or the U.S. Senate next year in the state where he has lived since 2000, a top GOP official told the Associated Press yesterday.
The party official, speaking to the AP on the condition of anonymity, said there have been staff-level discussions between the two camps and direct conversations between at least one other top GOP official and Weld.
The primary interest is in Weld running for governor, the source said.
The talks between Weld and New York Republican officials were first reported yesterday by New York magazine in the issue of the weekly that hits newsstands today.
There was no immediate comment from Weld, a New York native.
State GOP Chairman Stephen J. Minarik III said that he had not met with Weld about running for statewide office in 2006 and would not comment further.
There has been much speculation in New York political circles that Gov. George E. Pataki (R) will not seek a fourth term and instead has his eyes set on a possible run for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination. State Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer (D) has announced that he is running for governor.
Without Pataki, some Republican leaders have expressed concern that the party lacks a big-name contender to take on Spitzer. Earlier this month, Rudolph W. Giuliani's top political aide said the former New York City mayor is too busy with business interests to run for governor or the Senate next year.
Weld was elected governor of Massachusetts in 1990 and easily reelected in 1994. He was defeated in a 1996 U.S. Senate race by Democratic incumbent John F. Kerry.