The Corner

Howard Dean on CNN

He was on a few hours ago, and the transcript is now up. Some observations about his attack on John McCain:

 1) Dean touted the DNC’s 100-years ad: “I think if you’ve seen some of the ads that we’ve put out on Senator McCain, they’ve been very powerful. The Republican committee is going crazy because of those ads, because they show John McCain in his own words, he drops 10 points when people — independent voters see our ad about his Iraq policy, the 100-year policy that he’s got.” By McCain’s “own words,” Dean means, “McCain’s words as edited by the DNC to distort their meaning.” The dishonesty of the ad is matched by the dishonesty of Dean’s description of it.

2) Dean attacked McCain over judges: “Even Alberto Gonzales, the former attorney general, said that one of these candidates that John McCain voted for was an extreme and unconscionable judicial activists.” Dean is referring to Priscilla Owen. But Gonzales was probably referring to Nathan Hecht, not Owen. (He certainly wasn’t referring to her explicitly, which is the impression Dean gives.)

3) “He’s even sadly wrong on torture.” I don’t think that McCain is soft on torture, or that Democrats are going to succeed in a campaign to paint him as such.

4) “This is a guy who is back in the 1940s. . .” Cf. Dean, less than a month ago: “‘I doubt we will bring it up in the election,’ said Dean, referring to the age issue. ‘There is somewhat of a higher ethical bar on what we do.’”

Incidentally, Dean also slammed Indiana’s voter id law as “voter suppression” and said that the Supreme Court decision upholding it represented Republican judicial lawmaking.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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