Howard Dean on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’

WASHINGTON – Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean again insisted yesterday in an interview on “Meet the Press” that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay should be jailed for congressional ethical violations – a comment for which he has been repudiated by several elected members of his own party.

“He hasn’t been convicted yet, but … I think there’s a reasonable chance that this may end up in jail,” Dean said of DeLay.

Asked by NBC host Tim Russert if his rhetoric toward DeLay wasn’t hypocritical given his comments during the 2004 presidential campaign, where Dean said he didn’t want to prejudge even Osama bin Laden, the top Democrat told Russert: “To be honest with you, Tim, I don’t think I’m prejudging him.”

“So you will not retract or apologize your comments about Tom DeLay?” asked Russert.

“Absolutely not,” said Dean.

Dean was asked about his recent comments characterizing Republicans as “evil.” He explained that the party has told the American people lies.

Asked to talk about those lies, Dean said: “Such as the weapons of mass destruction, which we have all known about, but the … ”

“Well, you said there were weapons of mass destruction,” said Russert.

“I said I wasn’t sure, but I said I thought there probably were,” Dean explained. “But the thing that really bothered me the most, which the 9-11 Commission said also wasn’t true, is the insinuation that the president continues to make to this day that Osama bin Laden had something to do with supporting terrorists that attacked the United States. That is false. The 9-11 Commission, chaired by a Republican, said it was false. Is it wrong to send people to war without telling them the truth. And the truth was Osama bin Laden was a very bad person who was doing terrible things, but that Iraq was never a threat to the United States. That was the truth. It was underlined by the 9-11 Commission, headed, again, by a Republican, a well-respected group of people. I don’t think you send American men and women to war, first of all without properly equipping them, and secondly without telling the truth to their parents about why it is we’re asking them to make that sacrifice. So those are the kinds of things that I think are very bad about the Republicans.”

Russert did not ask Dean for clarification about his reference to bin Laden, whom he apparently confused with Saddam Hussein.

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