Monday, October 17, 2005

''Dean Slams Bush's Policies on Mexico''

"MEXICO CITY - Howard Dean traveled south of the border to meet with Mexico's presidential contenders Monday, and lashed out at the Bush administration's policies on Mexico.

Dean, the Democratic National Committee chairman, claimed President Bush "turned his back on Mexico" after it refused to support the Iraq war.

The former Vermont governor told The Associated Press in an interview that "a strong Mexico and a strong Mexican economy fixes a lot of the problems between the two countries, particularly immigration and narcotics."

"We ought to have a partnership with Mexico" Dean said. "President Bush has lost ground in the relationship."

Republican National Committee spokesman Danny Diaz defended Bush's record, noting the president has a close relationship with Mexican President Vicente Fox.

"I think Howard Dean is clearly demonstrating his lack of understanding of our relationship with Mexico and international affairs through his outlandish comments," Diaz said.

Traveling with Dean were Reps. Xavier Becerra of California and Raul Grijalva, whose Arizona district includes hundreds of miles of Mexico-U.S. border.

Mexico elects a new president in July 2006 and the three met with the front-runner, former Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party, as well as Roberto Madrazo, likely to secure the nomination of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which ruled the country from 1929 until 2000.

Fox is barred from seeking a second, six-year term and the trio also met with Felipe Calderon, a former energy secretary who will likely be his National Action Party's presidential nominee.

Dean, who insisted he didn't have a favorite Mexican presidential candidate, argued that a lack of cooperation by the White House on immigration helped create the Minutemen, a civilian border patrol group that has been guarding the U.S.-Mexico frontier to discourage illegal immigration.

Dean said finding ways to reduce demand for illicit drugs in the United States would go along way toward reducing violence along the border."-from the AP story.

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