Pubdate: Mon, 06 Oct 2003
Source: Wisconsin State Journal (WI)
Copyright: 2003 Madison Newspapers, Inc.
Author: Scott Milfred


Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean revved up a crowd of mostly 
UW-Madison students on Sunday, telling the students they have the power to 
change their country just as young people did during the Vietnam War era.

"You're not the foot soldiers of our campaign," Dean declared from an 
outdoor stage in front of the Kohl Center on campus before 3,000 to 5,000 
people. "You're the drivers of our campaign. We wouldn't be here if it 
weren't for you."

Dean, the former Vermont governor and physician widely perceived as one of 
the leaders in the 10-person race for the Democratic nomination, ripped 
President George Bush for "misleading the nation" into war with Iraq.

Dean said he supported the first Gulf War because Iraq had invaded Kuwait, 
an ally. Dean also supported military operations in Afghanistan because 
terrorists based there killed thousands of Americans on Sept. 11, 2001, he 

"As commander in chief of the United States military, I will send our 
troops anywhere in the world to defend the United States of America," Dean 
said. "But I will never send our sons and daughters, our brothers and 
sisters and our grandchildren to a foreign country in harm's way without 
telling the truth to the American people."

The Bush administration lied about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction 
and close ties to Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, Dean charged. 
Bush also has hurt America's reputation and relations around the world, he 

Defending America takes more than a strong military, Dean said.

"A more important part even than that is to have high moral principles and 
a set of ideals to which the rest of the world aspires," he said. "I will 
restore the honor and integrity (of America) based on cooperation, not 

Organizers estimated the crowd at 5,000. UW-Madison Police said more than 
3,000 people were initially at the rally, but the crowd later appeared to 
swell. Dean arrived about an hour late at 5 p.m., which didn't seem to 
bother the many people carrying campaign signs and banners under the bright 
sun of a crisp fall day.

Besides foreign policy, Dean charged that Bush has failed on the economy, 
the environment, education and health care. The budget deficit and national 
debt have ballooned to record size, in part because of tax cuts that 
primarily helped the wealthy, Dean said. Dean said he would repeal the tax 
cuts and invest the money in early education, universal health care and 
renewable energy.

"We all love our SUVs," Dean said. "We can get 40 miles per gallon out of 
our SUVs, and that ought to be the law."

Dean said the same amount of money that Bush wants for the Iraq war, $87 
billion, could pay for a year of health care for all.

Once during his speech, an audience member threw Dean off his prepared 
comments by asking if he would legalize medical marijuana if elected. Dean 
said he'd give the Food and Drug Administration a year to analyze research 
on the issue. Whatever the FDA recommended, Dean would accept.

As a physician himself, Dean said he expects the FDA would approve medical 
marijuana for AIDS and cancer patients, but perhaps not for glaucoma 
because the risks might outweigh the benefit.

Dean, who encouraged people to bring non-perishable food items to his 
appearance that will be donated to striking Tyson Foods workers in 
Jefferson, spoke for a half-hour. He later held private meetings at the 
Memorial Union with Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, 
D-Madison, and Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager.

The Republican Party of Wisconsin picketed the rally with a small number of 
signs. The party rejected Dean's charges against Bush and labeled Dean a 
"pessimist." The campaign of Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry held 
a waffle brunch Sunday in Madison to suggest Dean has waffled on issues. 
Wisconsin will help decide which Democrat wins in its Feb. 17 primary.

Dean repeatedly told his audience Sunday, "we can do better."

Kelly Higgins, a UW-Madison sophomore from Watertown, liked what she heard.

"He understands what our generation stands for," she said.

Elizabeth Weber, a UW-Madison senior from Benton, also was impressed but 
thought Dean spent too much time deriding Bush. She said she'll consider 
voting for him because of his support for education and better fiscal 

"His state has kept its books in balance, which is better than the federal 
government has done," Weber said.

Ron Konkol, a federal government worker from Madison, liked Dean's position 
on taxes. Bush's tax cut "got down to people who have more than they can 
spend already," Konkol said.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens