RNC chairman: Democrats increasingly 'liberal, elitist, angry'
By contrast, Gillespie says Bush has a 'positive agenda'
Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie
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(CNN) -- The Democratic Party's embrace of the "politics of protest and pessimism" is pushing them "further and further outside the political mainstream" and will be soundly rejected by voters next fall, the chairman of the Republican National Committee said in a speech Wednesday evening.
RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie addressed students at St. Anslem College in Manchester, New Hampshire, the state that holds the nation's first presidential primary January 27.
"As the Democrat Party gets smaller, it becomes increasingly more liberal, elitist and angry, and as it becomes increasingly more liberal, elitist and angry, it gets smaller," Gillespie said. "As its presidential contenders continue to pander to the liberal special interest groups that dominate their party, they're moving further and further outside the political mainstream. ...
"On the critical issues of job creation, homeland security and national security, and who shares our values, they have adopted positions that may help them win their party's nomination, but will be rejected by the broader electorate next November."
By contrast, Gillespie said, President Bush has a "positive agenda" to move the country forward.
"Presidential elections are not only about issues, they're about leadership. President Bush is a strong and principled leader who has returned honor and integrity to the White House."
Gillespie's remarks came a day after he visited Vermont, the home of Democratic front-runner Howard Dean, and accused Dean of engaging in "political hate speech" for calling the president the "enemy" during wartime.
The RNC leader kept up the attacks on Dean in his Wednesday night speech, saying the former Vermont governor was wrong when he recently said Bush "doesn't understand what it takes to defend this country" and accused Bush of cutting combat pay for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"I was in Vermont yesterday, and the Vermonters I talked to said I should not have been surprised that something their former governor said was at odds with the facts," Gillespie said.
"They told me that Dean's claim to be a fiscal conservative who fought higher taxes is also at odds with the facts. Turns out, while he was in office, taxes increased more than twice as fast as income," he said. "As a result of his big spending, Vermonters work longer to pay for their state government than any other Americans."
Gillespie also said recent positive economic numbers show Bush's tax cuts are turning the nation's economy around, and he assailed the nine Democrats in the 2004 presidential race for wanting to repeal some, or all, of those tax cuts -- something Republicans insist would amount to a tax hike.
"Every single Democrat running for president today is for raising taxes on working Americans. They're split on a lot of things, but when it comes to raising taxes, they're unanimous," Gillespie said.
He also hit the Democrats for rejecting what he said is a long-standing U.S. policy of "pre-emptive self-defense" to prevent terrorist attacks, and he also rejected their criticism of Bush for going ahead with the war in Iraq in the face of substantial international opposition.
"We cannot put the fate of our national security interests in the hands of others, as those who oppose our policies would have us do," he said. "One high-raking al Qaeda official said after the attacks of September 11 that it was 'the beginning of the end of America.' He didn't say September 11 was the beginning of the end of Russia. He didn't say September 11 was the beginning of the end of France.
"He couldn't have been more wrong, but it's our prerogative to make sure he's wrong -- with or without the unanimous international consent demanded by the president's critics."
President Bush carried New Hampshire in the 2000 election -- but only by 7,200 votes. Gillespie noted that was only a margin of 24 votes per precinct, and that if Bush had not carried the state, Democrat Al Gore would have won the election.
Gillespie said that Republicans have a goal of registering 22,000 new voters in the Granite State by November.