"As Republicans released an ad saying Democrats' plan for Iraq is "retreat and defeat," Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean said clearly Friday that the war is winnable.
"We can and we must win the war on terror," Dean told attendees at the Florida Democratic Party convention. "A smarter, more honest strategy that respects our troops and our military leaders is possible. And I believe our course is far more likely to defeat terror than the Bush administration's failed policy in Iraq."
Dean called for bringing home all 50,000 National Guard troops stationed in Iraq within six months, redeploying 20,000 troops from Iraq to Afghanistan and assigning several thousand anti-terror troops in countries around Iraq.
"Strategic redeployment addresses a broader battle against global terrorist networks. We need to re-engage our allies and a military realignment of our troops will make our forces stronger and save American lives," Dean said.
His remarks came as Republicans continued to criticize Dean for a statement made Monday that the United States can't win the war. Dean on Thursday said the remarks were taken out of context and that he meant the war was not winnable under the current strategy.
On Friday, he was met by an enthusiastic crowd, many of whom said they agreed with Dean's statements.
"If you go in and attack like a bully, you won't win," Valerie Guenther of Charlotte County said before Dean spoke. "Our greatest strength as a nation is we're solution finders, and I don't think we are right now."
Dean compared the war to Vietnam and repeatedly accused President Bush of lying to the nation and to troops.
"Tell the American people the truth," Dean said. "Policies which are built on truth, on honest dealings with our soldiers, our citizens and our allies are much more likely to succeed than policies built on the quicksand of deceiving the American people. Our troops deserve better."
Dean's remarks came at the convention's opening reception. Republicans sent out a barrage of press releases ahead of the speech, attacking Dean's position on Iraq.
"The liberal rhetoric and defeatist mentality of Democrats may make for a good five second sound bite, but the majority of Americans recognize these blatant political attacks for what they are, a desperate attempt by a party without a clear agenda or strategy for success or a will for victory," U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney said in one release.
The Republican National Committee released a Web ad Friday showing Dean's previous remarks with a white flag superimposed over his image.
Dean was introduced by Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who is considered a potential presidential candidate in 2008.
The three-day event will be a showcase for gubernatorial candidates U.S. Rep. Jim Davis and state Sen. Rod Smith, as well as a rally for U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson's re-election. Nelson is being challenged by U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris, who was secretary of state during the disputed 2000 presidential election.
Among other Democrats to speak at the event are last year's vice presidential candidate John Edwards, Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, and U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, a rising Democratic star from Illinois."-from the AP story.
every time the dems are quoted accuratly, they have to do a flip flop about a week later.
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