Thursday, September 29, 2005

''Howard Dean on Nightline''

"Last night on Nightline, Howard Dean was interviewed by Ted Koppel in response to Tom DeLay's indictment by a Texas Grand Jury. I recorded the interview, and you can find my transcript below.

Koppel: A little over four months ago Governor Dean, you were prepared to see Tom DeLay in jail without benefit of an indictment or a trial. Uhh…I mean, you already had him there. So, what’s your reaction now that there is at least an indictment? (Editor's note: Not only is that a bratty question, but it was executed badly. If you’re going to go the asshat route, you really need to finesse it better than that.)
Dean: Well, I think that this is endemic, both in the White House and in the government. It’s a culture of corruption; the Republicans have bought Washington. A couple of weeks ago, the chief procurement officer in the White House was arrested on corruption charges, Tom DeLay is now indicted, but he has been convicted three times in the ethics committee of the House for ethical violations. Karl Rove, the Deputy Chief of Staff in the White House is now under investigation along with a senior person on Vice President Cheney’s staff, and now of course the majority leader of the Senate Bill Frist is being looked at for insider stock trading. So the Tom DeLay issue is an issue that’s been at the forefront, but it’s not just about Tom DeLay. It’s a thorough culture of corruption which has permeated the Bush administration, which has been brought to Washington by them, and we need to change it, and we can do better in this country.
Koppel: Governor, you were careful enough in each case to indicate that there are charges, there are suggestions—in no case has anybody been convicted of anything. So, to speak about a culture of corruption before any legal procedure has confirmed that seems a little premature, doesn’t it? Dean: I don’t think so. I think when you have the Majority Leader who is now under indictment, having been admonished three times by the ethics committee, there is already a culture of corruption. You have the Senate leader trying to protest that he had nothing to do with insider trading. Look, this is a pattern, Ted. It’s a pattern that recurs again and again in this particular administration. We need a fundamental change in Washington—we need to get away from this. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. If this was one case of one congressman, that would be one thing. The House Majority Leader, the Senate Majority Leader, the Deputy Chief of Staff in the White House, Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff, the Chief Procurement Officer in the White House…this is pretty serious stuff and I think that the President frankly ought to repudiate it and he hasn’t done anything. He’s stood by all these people. You know, we need some leadership in this country, and we need a president who will stand up for ethics in government, and we don’t have that president now.
Koppel: You clearly believe or you wouldn’t be saying these things that somehow this is going to resonate well with the American public. I guess my question would be do you think the American public is going to respond to what it sees as a partisan attack, by which I mean an attack which comes before the courts have spoken.
Dean: Look, Tom DeLay was indicted by a jury of Texans. I don’t know if there’s 12 or 15 that sit in the Grand Jury in Texas, but this is not a partisan indictment. This is an indictment of his peers. His peers thought there was enough evidence to turn this into a trial, and it’s going to happen.
Koppel: Look, you know full well that an indictment—they often say that a good Attorney General can get an indictment with a ham and swiss sandwich. An indictment doesn’t mean necessarily mean that someone’s going to be convicted.
Dean: The Republicans, of course, would make that scheme. But this problem is, this is a pattern with Tom DeLay. This is not the first time he’s been in trouble. This is not the second time or even the third time he’s been in trouble. This is the fourth time he’s been in trouble, and the previous three times he was found by his own committee, his ethics committee in the House to in fact have been guilty of what he was charged of. So I think we again see a pervasive pattern of corruption in Washington at all levels: in the White House, in the Senate, and in the House. And this is the first indictment of a major political figure, but there have been previous indictments, both Jack Abramoff who was both a big fundraiser for the President and very close to Tom DeLay, the arrest of the Chief Procurement Officer in the White House…again and again we see a lot of this, and I think where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Koppel: Let me ask you to keep your hat as Democratic National Chairman on for a moment, and give me a frankly partisan assessment of how, if at all, this can help the Democrats.
Dean: Well, I don’t think it helps the country at all—that’s the big issue. I mean, in times like these you kind of wince. This is not good for America. We’ve had some terrible blows: we’ve had the President’s blunders in Iraq, we’ve had the disaster Katrina which embarrassed us in front of the whole world, and now the whole world again gets to see the leadership in both the White House and the House and the Senate be indicted or investigated or arrested for corruption. It’s not a great time for America. I think Americans are sick of this. And I can tell you one thing; when we get back in power, which I believe is going to be in 2006 in the congressional, we’re going to have some ethics reform in Washington. We’re going to get tough, and we’re going to get tough on everybody, not just Republicans. Enough of this in Washington! We ought to have substantial ethics reforms in Congress and to get serious about this.
Koppel: Governor Dean, it’s good of you to come in and join us. Thanks very much.
Dean: Thanks, Ted."-from Renee In Ohio on Howard-Empowered People.

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