FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN HOWARD DEAN DISCUSSES THE STATE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN AND SHARES HIS VIEWS ON WHAT HE EXPECTS TO TRANSPIRE BEFORE NOVEMBER, ON “CBS THIS MORNING”
DEAN TELLS CO-HOST GAYLE KING AND CBS NEWS SENIOR BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS CORRESPONDENT ANTHONY MASON, “THIS IS A VERY NASTY CAMPAIGN. THE REASON IS YOU HAVE A PRESIDENT WHO IS WEAKENED BY HAVING A BAD ECONOMY, AND ON THE OTHER HAND YOU HAVE A NOMINEE WHO’S OUT OF STEP WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE”
Former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman Howard Dean discussed the state of the presidential campaign and shared his views on what he expects to transpire before November with co-host Gayle King and CBS News Senior Business and Economics Correspondent Anthony Mason, live today, August 16, 2012, on CBS THIS MORNING on the CBS Television Network (7:00 AM – 9:00 AM).
Below is the transcript from the interview:
MASON: Governor, even former Virginia Governor Doug Wilder, the first African American governor in this country, said yesterday that Joe Biden’s remarks were divisive. We’ve got 82 days to go until the election. Is the restraint already gone from this presidential race, and should President Obama be doing more about it?
DEAN: The Republicans are going to do these things. The Democrats do it too. When somebody says something that’s modestly controversial, the other people feign great indignation and huff and puff and then it goes away. This is actually not good for Romney. He’s picked a vice presidential nominee who wanted to turn Medicare into a voucher program. That didn’t work so well for him. Then he spent a lot of time defending the fact that he won’t show his tax returns. He’s got to talk about the economy. So I actually think while the Republicans got all in line and said how outrageous it was that Biden said this or that, they’ve got to start really focusing on the economy, and they haven’t done that yet. They have no chance in this election until they do. This is an inside the Beltway huff and puff, and it will be gone the next week and they’ll be onto the next thing. It would be nice if they started talking about the real issues.
KING: I hear you saying it’s huff and puff. I’ve heard some people describe it as tit for tat. Do you recall it being this nasty when you were running?
DEAN: No. This is a very nasty campaign. The reason is you have a president who is weakened by having a bad economy, and on the other hand you have a nominee who’s out of step with the American people on the Republican side. The tax return stuff and the Cayman Islands stuff is really serious. I think Romney is probably a pretty good guy, but if you don’t play by the same rules the rest of America does, you can’t expect to be president. That’s his big problem. Not giving out the tax returns is a huge mistake. Then he picks a very nice guy, but a very controversial guy whose views are pretty extreme economically on Medicare and social security and that’s a problem for him too. So it’s going to be a really nasty, negative campaign. Then, of course, you’ve got Citizens United. The Supreme Court’s contribution to American democracy and, yes, I’m being very sarcastic. Hundreds of millions of dollars are going to go behind these ads and it’s going to be unfortunate. It’s going to be a negative campaign. There’s not much we’re going to do about it, and I think both sides are going to need to do a better job of focusing on these issues.
MASON: Governor Romney is saying he’s running on his budget, not Paul Ryan’s budget. But Paul Ryan’s budget has become very much at the center of the debate here. Is it fair to tie Romney to the Ryan budget plan?
DEAN: During the primary Romney said he was going to support Ryan’s budget and would sign it if it got to his desk. So this is kind of revisionist history. There’s a lot of that stuff going on. A couple of days ago, Governor Romney said he wasn’t for deregulating Wall Street. Well, he’s been running on deregulating Wall Street for six months. This is nonsense. There’s going to be all kinds of stuff, people trying to pretend they didn’t say what they said during the primary season. The American people will sort this all out. Eventually, the American people usually get it right. And, in this case, they’ll reelect the right person, if I may be very partisan.
KING: Paul Ryan said he welcomes a debate on Medicare and that he’s ready for that. Do you give him any kind of credit for taking on what has been a tough issue for both sides?
DEAN: I do give him some credit for that. Unfortunately, his solution was totally unnecessary. You don’t have to destroy Medicare. What they did with Medicare, essentially, is by turning it into a voucher system is transfer the risk of overspending from the federal government, where it’s doing us some harm to individual seniors who can’t afford it. The average price tag for Medicare for an individual senior will go up to $6,000 in the next few years under Paul Ryan’s plan, privatizing Medicare. That’s not a good idea. I do give him credit for taking on Medicare, but I don’t give him credit for the solution he chose which is a radical solution that I don’t think the American people are going to buy.
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