Sanders encouraging Dean to speak out

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(Host) Congressman Bernie Sanders is encouraging Howard Dean to continue to speak out about the disastrous economic polices of the Bush Administration even though Dean has come under fire from members of his own party for recent comments about Republicans.

Dean, who’s chairman of the National Democratic Party, has referred to the Republicans as “pretty much of a white Christian Party” and he told a gathering of progressive activists that “Republicans never made an honest living in their lives.”

A number of Democrats have criticized Dean for making these remarks.

Speaking last night on VPRs Switchboard program, Sanders said some of the comments were a mistake, but he thinks Dean is being attacked because the former governor wants to establish a clear identity for the Democratic Party:

(Sanders) “I think Dean made some statements that he should not have made to be frank with you. But I think a lot of the criticism is coming from the old timers who rely on big money interests. To Dean’s credit, I think what he is trying to do is build some kind of political infrastructure which has a grassroots basis. He’s trying to mobilize ordinary people to contribute fifty bucks or thirty bucks or one hundred bucks rather than just cater to the multi zillionaires who will raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. And I think that’s stepping on the toes of some conservative people.”

(Host) Sanders says it’s important for the Democrats to emerge as a Party that offers strong alternatives to the policies of the Bush Administration.

(Sanders) “But I think if he stays on economic issues, if he tries to develop strong grassroots organizations all over this country, not concede Mississippi or any other state to right wing Republicans, I think he’ll be moving in the right direction.”

(Host) Sanders says he expects to formally announce his intention to run for the U.S. Senate in 2006 at the end of the summer.

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