Monday, May 07, 2007

"Dean says Dems playing nice -- for now"

Boston Globe:
HANOVER, N.H. --Democrats running for president this year probably won't play nice with one another much longer, but they are staying together on issues important to voters, national party Chairman Howard Dean told a Dartmouth College audience Monday.
Dean said the Democratic candidates are united in calling for a change in course in Iraq, health care reform and action to halt the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

"I do think -- while there are some differences of opinion and while we have a long way to go and it'll get rougher before it gets easier -- the Democrats are presenting a relatively unified front on the key issues Americans care about," he said.

Speaking in the first-in-the-nation primary state, Dean said other states' plans to have their primaries earlier and closer to New Hampshire's can only increase the state's clout. He said wins in early voting states will give candidates a boost going into what is being billed as "Super Duper Tuesday," Feb. 5.

"The front four states will essentially set the tone. No one, I don't care how much money you raise, is going to be able to compete on the fifth of February (without competing in those early states). There's not enough money to do that."

National Democrats have told New Hampshire to have its primary on Jan. 22, after caucuses in Iowa and Nevada. But New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner has said he will move his state's primary earlier if necessary to ensure the state keeps its role in the nominating process.

Dean said there's no need for New Hampshire to hopscotch.

"New Hampshire has done nothing wrong -- yet," Dean said. "Judging from the number of presidential candidates you've had here and how often they've come, I don't think New Hampshire is in any danger of losing its influence."

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