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Wrong Turn at Albuquerque: Dean Stumbles at the Democratic Debate [View All]

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Karmadillo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-05-03 12:23 AM
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Wrong Turn at Albuquerque: Dean Stumbles at the Democratic Debate
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Lieberman's attack on Dean elicits excited "ooohs" from the reporters watching the debate on television in the hall's basement. Lieberman brings up Dean's opposition to trading with countries that do not have the same labor and environmental standards as the United States, and he calls it "stunning": "He said he would not have bilateral trade agreements with any country that did not have American standards. That would mean we would not have trade agreements with Mexico, with most of the rest of the world. That would cost us millions of jobs." Then, after peppering Dean with jabs, Lieberman rears back to throw the knockout punch: If Dean were elected president and carried out his promised trade policies, "The Bush recession would be followed by the Dean depression."

Later, to drive the point home, the Lieberman campaign circulates a press release entitled, "HOWARD DEAN'S PROTECTIONIST TRADE POLICY WOULD DEVASTATE AMERICA'S ECONOMY."

Dean counters by insisting that trade agreements need mere "international standards," not American standards, on labor and the environment. But that's not what he told the Washington Post (as the Lieberman campaign helpfully points out in its release) on Aug. 25. More important from my perspective, it's the exact opposite of what Dean told me when I rode with him in July on his campaign van in Iowa. When I asked Dean if he meant just general "standards" or "American standards," he insisted that he would demand that other countries adopt the exact same labor, environmental, health, and safety standards as the United States. But the audience wasn't riding with me, and they rally to Dean in his time of need, applauding wildly. Lieberman is left to lamely reply, "That's a reassuring change of position."

Dean makes another shocking flip flop in the debate. After repeatedly saying on previous occasions that the United States can't abandon its obligations in Iraq, he now implies that he wants to withdraw American troops from the region: "We need more troops. They're going to be foreign troops, not more American troops, as they should have been in the first place. Ours need to come home."

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