DNC Chair Howard Dean has been so far down the hole of his own making (or that he collaborated in digging) in Florida and Michigan that you sometimes forget what a clear and succinct critic of the right he can be. On today's Meet The Press, however, once the conversation got shot of campaign dross, Dean had a nice clutch of highlights, knocking at McCain in his inimitable blunt but backboned style. Especially good were Dean's moments defending the DNC's recent McCain ad. McCain has continually protested that his "100 years of war" comment was taken out of context. Dean suggested to Russert, that the point was that the war in Iraq couldn't be put in the same context of McCain's other, more hopeful scenarios.
DEAN: First of all, we're not arguing that he's going to be in a war for 100 years. We don't think we ought to be in Iraq for 100 years under any circumstances. Think of the hundreds of billions of dollars that are being spent in Iraq which we need right at home right now to preserve American jobs. That's the first thing. Secondly, Senator McCain believes that you can occupy a country like Iraq for 100 years without having a long war and violence without our troops being hurt and killed, I think Senator McCain is wrong. Look, our folks don't want -- our folks -- our country, 70% of our country does not want to be in Iraq for 100 years under any circumstances. Senator McCain is wrong. He is out of step with the American people, and he is wrong.
RUSSERT: He is saying it's analogous to Germany or Japan --
DEAN: And South Korea, I have the same quote, right here.
RUSSERT: Where you have troops there, but they're not involved in conflict.
DEAN: That is correct. Now, does anyone think who's watching this show that if you keep our troops in Iraq for 100 years, people won't be attacking them and won't be setting off suicide bombs and won't be having militias go after them? I don't think so, and most Americans don't think so. What Senator McCain is saying doesn't make any sense. We cannot be in Iraq for 100 years. Those dollars belong in America. We're in trouble in America. And frankly, the Bush/McCain economic program has put us in trouble in America. That money needs to be here in America.
RUSSERT: The Republican party in Virginia has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Committee saying that your previous ad, and no doubt this one, they will insist is being coordinated with the Obama and Clinton campaigns. It's all anti-McCain and that it violates the election rules.
DEAN: That is a joke. There's no evidence for that whatsoever and it's plain untrue. Never one of the campaigns ever saw this ad or knew anything about it before we put it on.