Friday, July 18, 2003

Dean: Ohio key to '04 election

Democrat picks up Metzenbaum endorsement during Queen City stop

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean (right) talks with supporters Thursday at Sawyer Point Park in downtown Cincinnati.
(Associated Press photo)
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Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean made his second visit to Cincinnati in a week Thursday, accepting the endorsement of former Ohio Sen. Howard Metzenbaum for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In front of a backdrop of 60 Dean supporters at Bicentennial Commons at Sawyer Point Park, Metzenbaum said he picked Dean over a friend and fellow Clevelander, Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

"I like Dennis Kucinich as an individual. He's a friend of mine, and I have no fault to find with him," Metzenbaum said.

"In a horse race, you have to pick one horse."

Asked if Dean could win, the 86-year-old Metzenbaum said: "Frankly, I wouldn't be supporting Howard Dean if I thought he was a loser."

Dean, who has been among the most consistent anti-war candidates, continued to press President Bush on the now discredited intelligence that Iraq was attempting to get nuclear materials from Africa.

"I think the president has to take full responsibility" for his State of the Union address, Dean said.

He noted that the Central Intelligence Agency removed a reference to the African connection from Bush's Oct. 7 speech in Cincinnati, raising further questions about the reliability of the intelligence.

Dean said Bush is also vulnerable on the economy - especially in Ohio.

"We can't afford another Republican president who can't balance the budget," he said. "The president has chosen tax cuts over jobs, he's chosen tax cuts over heath care, and he's even chosen tax cuts over a strong national defense."

Dean, who attended the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers convention here last week, said Ohio is a must-win state for any candidate hoping to capture the election.

"Ohio will be the Florida of 2004," Dean said. "Hopefully, your vote-counting will be better than theirs."


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