Who said it?

From a 2004 endorsement of John Kerry:

“The real issue is this: Who would you rather have in charge of the defense of the United States of America, a group of people who never served a day overseas in their life, or a guy who served his country honorably and has three Purple Hearts and a Silver Star on the battlefields of Vietnam?”

That was failed candidate for the Dem nomination for prez. Howard Dean, at a March 2004 rally for John Kerry, pulling out the Absolute Moral Authority card.

What’s Howard Dean, now the Chair of the DNC, saying these days? Via Jake Tapper (h/t: Gina Cobb):

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., launches a biography tour next week, which looks to tell the American people about his days as a POW in Vietnam, at least based on his new TV ad (watch HERE) introduced today in New Mexico.

In response, Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean issued a statement, saying, “John McCain can try to reintroduce himself to the country, but he can’t change the fact that he cast aside his principles to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with President Bush the last seven years. While we honor McCain’s military service, the fact is Americans want a real leader who offers real solutions, not a blatant opportunist who doesn’t understand the economy and is promising to keep our troops in Iraq for 100 years.”

Dean, of course, is no stranger to pushing forth contradictory rhetoric. In September 2005, he blasted former Education Secretary Bill Bennett along racial lines:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 /U.S. Newswire/ — Former Republican Secretary of Education William Bennett remarked yesterday on his radio show that, “I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could — if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.”

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean issued the following statement:

“Bill Bennett’s hateful, inflammatory remarks regarding African Americans are simply inexcusable. They are particularly unacceptable from a leader in the conservative movement and former Secretary of Education, once charged with the well being of every American school child. He should apologize immediately. This kind of statement is hardly compassionate conservatism; rather, Bennett’s comments demonstrate a reprehensible racial insensitivity and ignorance. Are these the values of the Republican Party and its conservative allies? If not, President Bush, Ken Mehlman and the Republican Leadership should denounce them immediately as hateful, divisive and worthy only of scorn.

“As Americans, we should focus on the virtues that bring us together, not hatred that tears us apart and unjustly scapegoats fellow Americans.”

For the record, here were the comments Dean found so “hateful.”

Fast forward to February 2008:

Howard Dean showed up to talk about Black History Month but the focus quickly changed to politics Tuesday night in ICC Auditorium.

The Chairman of the Democratic National Committee and former Governor of Vermont contrasted the two parties’ presidential candidates, saying that with a woman and an African-American as the two front-runners, the Democratic field “looks like America” while the all-white male Republican field “looks like the 1950s and talks like the 1850s.”

So much for “focusing on the virtues that bring us together.” That was then, this is now, and Dean and his party have a Republican presidential candidate to try and demagogue the hell out of.

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