Gephardt, Dean fued on Sunday talk shows

Monday, September 29, 2003

WASHINGTON -- The Howard Dean-Dick Gephardt feud intensified after the two men appeared on the Sunday talk shows, and Gephardt repeated his claim likening Dean's views to those of Democratic nemesis Newt Gingrich.

The comparison drew a sharp rebuke from Dean.

"I'm not going to put up with that," the former Vermont governor said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "I'm just simply not going to take any guff from Washington Democrats who are part of the problem and not part of the solution."

Gephardt maintains that Dean deserted his fellow Democrats during their "darkest hour" by siding with Gingrich, then the House speaker, and his new Republican House majority in the 1990s to advocate billions of dollars of cuts in Medicare.

The Missouri congressman told NBC's "Meet the Press" that "Howard's not backing off this" and quoted Dean as remarking recently that he still thinks Medicare growth ought to be slowed by 7 percent to 10 percent.

New wearing off

Howard Dean took aim Sunday at the newcomer in the presidential race, Wesley Clark, by questioning his credentials as a Democrat.

"He was a Republican until 25 days ago," Dean told "Face the Nation" on CBS. "I think that's going to be hard to swallow for a lot of Democrats."

Several other candidates also have criticized Clark, a retired Army general, over a 2001 speech he gave to Republicans in Arkansas. In it, Clark offered praise for former Presidents Reagan and Bush and called the current Bush administration "a great team."

The Democratic Party, Dean said, is not going to win elections by trying to go "Republican-light."

He called Clark's campaign a desperate move by inside-the-beltway politicians to stop the former Vermont governor's unexpected role as front-runner.

"Now that their candidates are not doing so well, they've gone out and found another one," said Dean.

John Edwards also knocked Clark for his 2001 comments.

"I disagree strongly with the things he said," Edwards told "Fox News Sunday."

He added: "I think General Clark will have to explain to the Democratic voters in the primaries why he did that and why he's changed positions."

Calls seeking comment from the Clark campaign were not immediately returned.

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