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Dean: Clark really a Republican

Gephardt on Dean: 'Cynical politics of manufactured anger'

Dick Gephardt visits with 7-month-old Megan Klabunde after calling Howard Dean a
Dick Gephardt visits with 7-month-old Megan Klabunde after calling Howard Dean a "fair-weather friend" in a speech Wednesday in Nevada, Iowa.

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Monday, January 19: Iowa caucuses

Tuesday, January 27: New Hampshire primary

Tuesday, February 3: Arizona, Delaware, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina primaries; New Mexico Democratic caucus; Virginia Republican caucus

When is your primary? For more key dates in the 2004 election season, see our special America Votes 2004 Election Calendar
• The Candidates: Bush | Kerry
Howard Dean
Wesley Clark
Richard Gephardt
John F. Kerry

NASHUA, New Hampshire (CNN) -- Democratic presidential front-runner Howard Dean trained his rhetorical guns on New Hampshire primary rival Wesley Clark Wednesday, questioning Clark's credentials as a Democrat.

"He is a good guy, but I truly believe he is a Republican," Dean said of the retired Army general and former NATO supreme commander who declared himself a Democrat shortly before entering the presidential race last year.

If Clark were to win the Democratic presidential nomination, Dean said, the general election would be "the Republican primary."

Clark called Dean's comments "old time politics" and said he is a "Democrat of conviction."

"When I got out of the military I was courted by both parties. I chose to become a Democrat," Clark said in Concord, New Hampshire, adding that he has voted for Al Gore and Bill Clinton in the past.

"As a Democratic nominee, I will bring a lot of other people to this party and that is one of the things we have to do to win," Clark said.

Clark has risen to second behind Dean in polls ahead of the January 27 New Hampshire primary.

Dean said he was bothered by Clark's appearance at a May 2001 GOP fund-raiser in his home state of Arkansas where he said "great things about Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush."

At a Democratic candidate forum in October, Clark said he considered himself "nonpartisan" at the time and wanted the Bush national security team "to be successful."

Gephardt blasts Dean

In the Iowa caucuses race, Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri blasted Dean in a sharply worded speech, calling Dean a "fair-weather friend" of American workers and railing against "the cynical politics of manufactured anger."

Gephardt and Dean are running neck-and-neck in the polls just five days before Monday's caucuses. ('s interactive Election Calendar)

Gephardt condemned Dean's support for the North American Free Trade Agreement while Vermont's governor in the 1990s. He questioned the sincerity of Dean's campaign pledge to seek labor and environmental protections in new trade pacts.

"Howard Dean travels the country and yells and pounds the podium against NAFTA, against the secrecy of the Bush-Cheney White House and against insider corporate deals," Gephardt said in a speech in Nevada, Iowa.

"This is the same Governor Dean who said he, quote, 'strongly supported NAFTA,' who won't release his records as governor and who wanted Vermont to, quote, 'overtake Bermuda as a tax haven for companies like Enron.' "

Dean's opposition to the war in Iraq and his criticism of congressional Democrats like Gephardt for their support of the invasion have helped propel him to the head of the Democratic pack, but have raised concerns that his hard-hitting critiques of President Bush would turn off voters in November. (Poll: Dean, Clark lead Dems, Interactive: Fast look at poll results)

In his most pointed attack on Dean to date, Gephardt questioned the sincerity of Dean's stances on numerous issues.

"To me, there is no room for the cynical politics of manufactured anger and false conviction," said Gephardt, the former House minority leader.

Gephardt also blasted Bush's handling of the economy, saying the president has ignored the plight of an estimated 43 million Americans who lack health care coverage and has failed to spur job creation.

"When it comes to the economy, this MBA president has no Plan B," he said. "But then, George W. Bush ran three oil companies into the ground before he became president."

Dean, meanwhile, claimed victory Tuesday night in the first vote of the election year, the nonbinding District of Columbia primary. Unofficial results showed Dean took 42 percent of the vote -- an eight-point edge over his closest competitor, civil rights activist Al Sharpton, the only other Democrat to campaign extensively in the majority-black capital. (Full story)

The only Democrats to compete in the D.C. primary were Dean, Sharpton, former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun and Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

Dean's Iraq and Bosnia stances

Dean's spokesman responded to a letter published in USA Today by saying that there was no contradiction between the candidate's opposition to the war in Iraq and his call for unilateral U.S. airstrikes on Serb forces in Bosnia in 1995.

Dean urged President Clinton to use American warplanes to support the embattled Bosnian Islamic government during that country's three-year civil war, according to the letter, published Wednesday.

Campaign spokesman Jay Carson said Dean opposed the Iraq war "because it was the wrong war at the wrong time, not because he believes military force should never be used." (Full story)

Meanwhile, Dean polished his anti-war credentials in a new television ad aimed at Iowa voters that criticized Gephardt and Sens. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, John Kerry of Massachusetts and John Edwards of North Carolina for supporting Bush over Iraq.

Polls show that Kerry, who has accused Bush of bungling the aftermath of the Iraq war, is running third in Iowa.

A decorated Vietnam veteran who led opposition to that war upon his return, he predicted support from veterans would give him an unexpected boost in next Monday's caucuses.

Kerry focused on the economy during a speech Wednesday morning in Davenport, accusing Bush of having "the worst jobs record since Herbert Hoover."

"George Bush has said to the world he intends to run on his doctrine of pre-emption. He intends to run on the war on terror. He intends to run on making the world safe," Kerry said.

John Kerry talks to a group of supporters at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, on Wednesday.
John Kerry talks to a group of supporters at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, on Wednesday.

"Let me tell you something -- that makes sense, because he can't run on jobs and he can't run on the environment and he can't run on children and he can't run on education."

Lieberman and Clark, another critic of the Iraq war, are skipping the Iowa caucuses to focus on the New Hampshire primary.

Clark told CNN the Iraq war is "consuming the United States Army, the Guard and Reserve."

"These people didn't sign up for repetitive tours like this, grinding it out month after month," said Clark, who commanded NATO during the 1999 air war in Kosovo.

Clark, a former CNN commentator, said the war was a "mistake." He said military families are starting to believe "that the Bush administration is trying to use the armed forces as a political weapon in this domestic election." (Clark defends 2002 Iraq statement)

Gephardt defended his support for the invasion of Iraq in a Tuesday speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He said responsibility for "a deadly quagmire" in Iraq since the April ouster of Saddam Hussein rests with the Bush administration, not Democrats who supported the war "on good faith and with America's security at heart." (Full story)

Other developments

• Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said he believes candidates who don't win in Iowa, New Hampshire or any of the seven primary contests on February 3 should consider dropping out of the race. Nine Democrats are in the race for the Democratic nomination.

• Bush unveiled an ambitious plan Wednesday to return Americans to the moon by 2020 and use the mission as a steppingstone for future manned trips to Mars and beyond. (Full story)

• Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, an elder statesman among liberal Democrats, slammed President Bush and his administration Wednesday for going to war in Iraq based on political considerations. In a speech, Kennedy said the decision to invade Iraq was grounded in the "gross abuse of intelligence," an "arrogant disrespect for the United Nations" and the GOP's desire to seize control of both houses of Congress in 2002. (Full story)

• Dean will travel Sunday to former President Jimmy Carter's hometown of Plains, Georgia, but only to go to church, not to gather an endorsement, his campaign said. "Dean feels that there are few things that could be more appropriate the day before the Iowa caucus than attend Sunday school and church with Jimmy Carter," said Carson, the campaign spokesman. "Carter has been very, very friendly to us. He really likes the governor. But the direct words out of his mouth have been that he's not going to endorse anyone in the '04 race. We're still talking to him, but we've pretty much accepted that he's not going to do it."

CNN's Candy Crowley, Phil Hirschkorn, Judy Woodruff, Deirdre Walsh and Bob Franken contributed to this report.

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