Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean rallied supporters at the University of Maryland, College Park on September 8th in preparation for the upcoming primaries.
A once-unknown candidate, Dean, the governor of Vermont, has emerged as the leading contender in the Democratic race. The 3000 attendees at the event made their votes clear. They frequently burst into chants of, "We want Dean" and continuously waved their "Dean For President" signs.
Dean stressed two major issues: the economy and foreign policy. He criticized Bush's tax cut, saying that it was damaging the economy because it has reduced jobs, police forces, and public school funding. Dean also condemned Bush's recent speech. Dean said that the proposed 87 million dollars money to be spent in Iraq would cover universal healthcare for all Americans.
Dean has actively opposed the Iraqi war and has become known as the "anti-war candidate." As the Governor listed the claims the Bush administration made about Saddam Hussein and his development of weapons of mass destruction, the audience enthusiastically shouted "lies."
Dean won the hearts of UMCP students by greeting them with a "Go Terps!" He later appealed to them by criticizing the recent tuition raise, encouraging the conservation of the Chesapeake Bay, and relating their generation to his. He compared the lies the government told his generation about the Vietnam War to the Bush Administrations claims about Iraq. He then said, "Your generation is doing exactly what my generation did. You're changing presidents and foreign policy."
The event got off to a rough start after Dean and other guest speakers arrived late. Despite this the speakers were warmly received. Speakers included four ordinary citizens, the mayor of Baltimore and Terry Lierman, who unsuccessfully ran against former Senator Connie Morella in 2000. Thirty-five elected Maryland officials were acknowledged for endorsing Dean. Eighteen of these came from Montgomery County and many from the Blair community. Among them were Takoma Park mayor Kathy Porter, state delegate Garreth Murray, County Council member Tom Perez, and County Council chairman Mike Subin.
Maryland's primary will be held on March second. Until then, the other Democratic candidates will have a tough job changing the minds of these die-hard Dean fans at the University of Maryland.
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