"Senate Candidate Calls Dean Threat To National Security" Jim Davenport, Associated Press, 1/7/04
Presidential hopeful Howard Dean is used to taking shots from Republicans and even fellow Democrats on the national level, now he's got to contend with criticism from a former South Carolina attorney general running for senator.
In releasing a television ad Wednesday, U.S. Senate candidate Charlie Condon said Dean is "a real threat to American security."
The "Howard Dean Democrats oppose America taking the fight to Saddam Hussein and terrorist havens overseas. They're just wrong," Condon says in the ad. It's Condon first TV advertisement in a crowded GOP primary race to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, D-S.C.
Condon implies that Dean "wouldn't do anything about a threat coming from outside of America," said Delacey Skinner, Dean's South Carolina campaign spokeswoman. "That's just false." Dean has "been very clear about the fact that as commander in chief he'd be willing to do what was necessary to defend the country," she said.
Condon said people need to know about Dean's opposition to the Bush administration's pre-emption doctrine, which calls for striking nations that harbor terrorists. In the past, Dean has said the country is no safer since Saddam has been captured.
"If Howard Dean cannot see the obvious fact that Americans, Iraqis and the entire world is safer now that Saddam is gone from power, then Howard Dean represents not just a bad choice for president, but a real threat to America's future," Condon said Wednesday.
As the Democrats' likely nominee, Condon said, Dean is a person who could "come into authority and power and threaten the very security of this country."
Condon's criticism expanded to Dean's supporters.
"The Howard Dean Democrats take us back to the time before September 11th when America ... would only respond if the United Nations approved. We cannot go back to that position," he said. Condon compared Dean and his supporters to isolationists that failed to act against fascism in the 1930s.
The criticism of Dean supporters "makes it that much more insulting," Skinner said.
Condon used the commercial to call on Democratic Senate candidate Inez Tenenbaum to say where she stood on Dean and first strikes against terrorism.
Tenenbaum said the ad says less about Dean than Condon, known for his years as a sharp-tongued attorney general. Condon has been has been much milder so far in this race and in the months following his failed bid for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in 2002.
"There is no new Charlie Condon," Tenenbaum said. "This is one more political gimmick ... to draw attention to himself."
Tenenbaum said she supports "our country's efforts in Iraq and the war on terrorism" and the work troops are doing in "trying to bring democracy to Iraq and in capturing Saddam Hussein." She also said she has not endorsed a Democratic presidential candidate.
The ads initially will air only on cable channels, including Fox News, Condon said.