Skip to comments.(DNC Chair) Howard Dean endorses (Socialist) Bernie Sanders' run for U.S. Senate
Posted on 05/10/2005 7:57:33 AM PDT by ForOurFuture
Breaking party lines, former Gov. Howard Dean said Monday he supports Rep. Bernard Sanders' bid for the U.S. Senate, saying the Independent makes a "strong candidate." "A victory for Bernie Sanders is a win for Democrats," Dean said in a telephone interview Monday.
Sen. James Jeffords, I-Vt., announced last month he would not seek re-election, clearing the way for what's expected to be a crowded race in fall 2006.
But Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, added that his support is not unconditional.
"We've got a few things to work out with Bernie," he said, adding, "Bernie's not a Democrat."
Dean, the outspoken former presidential candidate whose aspirations for the White House abruptly ended during the primary more than a year ago, refused to describe Sanders' shortcomings in the eyes of Democrats.
"I'd rather tell him in person," Dean said.
Sanders' practice of voting with House Democrats and his name recognition - bolstered by his position as the only U.S. representative in Vermont - makes him appealing to Democrats desperate to regain seats in every branch of government.
"Sanders is a strong candidate," Dean said.
Jeff Weaver, Sanders' chief of staff and campaign spokesman, said the congressman won't formally announce his candidacy until "much later this year."
But Weaver said Dean's support is natural in a political atmosphere dominated by conservative voices.
"I think Gov. Dean and Congressman Sanders share an interest in beating back a very aggressive reactionary agenda of President Bush and congressional Republicans," Weaver said. "We intend to win this seat and Bernie will be a strong voice against the Bush agenda."
Weaver said the campaign will lean heavily on Democratic volunteers and supporters, but also on groups not necessarily aligned with a political party. He mentioned working families, farmers, senior citizens and veterans.
"This is going to be in many ways a historic grass roots campaign for Vermont," Weaver said.
Jim Barnett, chairman of the state Republican committee, criticized the new alliance, saying it raises questions about whether "backroom deals" are being made between Dean and Sanders.
"This is exactly the kind of cynical politics that Bernie Sanders once said was corrupt," Barnett said.
Weaver, calling Barnett a "White House protégé" and a "Karl Rove character," said, "He can throw his bombs and we'll do our work for the people."
Dean supporting a socialist? Who knew......
God, what a bunch of losers. These people are truly an embarassment to America. IMHO, their presence and anti-American, socialist attiutude is an abuse of freedoms.
Is there any hope that the GOP can wrest this seat from the grip of socialist moon-bats?
"Bernie's not a Democrat" but what the hell, Communist is close enough.
democrat/socialist same diff right?
Only better choice than Dean-o as DNC chair I can think of might have been Howie "Watch me blow this rubber glove up!" Mandel.
I can't see any Republican VT puts up as Senate candidate being anyone dependable. (ala Jeffords) Seems like pretty much a lost cause, in other words, since any that would win would clearly be a RINO if not an outright traitor like Jeffords.
It's funny though that despite what gave the Dems such losses in 2002 and 04 (their increasing move to the left), their leader (Dean) still doesn't see any problem with continuing the same kind of shift.
The implosion of the donkeys continues! :)
I once met Bernie Sanders' stepdaughter, who was studying in London. In future, please keep his relations out of Britain. Thank you.
The best hope was that Governor Jim Douglas would run as the Republican nominee. However, he has unequivocably said he will not.
Best chance now is probably Richard Tarrant, a very wealthy software company CEO. He may be willing to sink quite a bit of personal money into a race.
The thing is, it's Vermont . . . not a big state. Money isn't as important here as in most states. Not as many television markets to purchase in.
He'll win the Senate seat. VT loves Bernie.
I think that Dean's endorsement of Sanders should tell any and all Democrats what their party is all about---and should give the RNC plenty of ammunition in the future!
The Democrat party endorse a self proclaimed "Socialist" (Communist). I guess Howard Dean made up his mind.
Top Vermont Democrats not ready to back Sanders U.S. Senate bid
I'm not surprised.
It is Rep. Sanders' desire to turn Vermont into the blueprint for a Socialist America. I am concerned that this is starting to happen. I would hope that the other states make it clear that they will not bail Vermont out when it becomes a sclerotic, crime ridden, drug addicted mess.
Yes, who are the potential GOP candidates?
Sanders, Dean, Leahy, Jeffords....the worst of the worst are from Vermont.
Endorsing Sanders is like admitting that you have no viable candidates. The GOP should be able to take this seat.
No, Bernie isn't a Democrat. Bernie has the courage to admit he's a Socialist. The rest of the Democrats govern socially but cower at the title.
I do welcome Bernie to the U.S. Senate on provision the Republicans do not put up a strong conservative for the seat. An admitted Socialist of his stripes sets my teeth on edge, but I welcome him representative of the Democrat Party nationally. He'll be more helpful than Michael Moore to the cause of conservatives. :-)
Jane O'Meara Sanders, his wife, received $91,020 between 2002 and 2004 for "consultation" and for negotiating the purchase of television and radio time-slots for Sanders' advertisements, according to records and interviews.
Approximately $61,000 of that was "pass through" money that was used to pay media outlets for advertising time, Jane O'Meara Sanders said in an interview. The rest, about $30,000, she kept as payment for her services, she said.
Carina Driscoll, daughter to Jane O'Meara Sanders and stepdaughter to the lawmaker, earned $65,002 in "wages" between 2000 and 2004, campaign records show.
Driscoll, a former state legislator, served as Rep. Sanders' campaign manager in 2000, his fund-raiser and office manager in 2003 and his database manager in 2004, according to Jeff Weaver, Sanders' chief of staff.
"Both of them are regarded as people who are knowledgable about Vermont politics," Weaver said Tuesday. "They earned every penny they got."
It seems Sanders is the only member of Vermont's congressional delegation to employ family members. "Sen. Jeffords has not hired any members of his family on his current or past campaigns," said Erik Smulson, his communications director. A spokesman for Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy said the same thing.
No laws prohibit candidates from paying family members for campaign work. But the appearance that lawmakers use their position to benefit people close to them concerns watchdog groups.
"Anytime you pay a family member there's going to be questions raised," said Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan research group in Washington.
The real question, he says, is whether family members conducted work commesurate to their pay. If they did, "then it's more difficult to say (lawmakers) are funneling money back to the family."
Mary Bloyer, a spokeswoman for Common Cause, a nonprofit advocacy group, said: "The danger here is that you want members of Congress who are in Washington to serve their constituents and not enrich their families. Something like this makes people look twice and makes them wonder what's going on here."
Jane O'Meara Sanders said she worked for her husband for years with no pay, and started charging him only after opening a consulting company, Progressive Media Strategies, which was changed to Leadership Strategies.
"It became clear I could not offer professional services to other candidates and charge them if I worked for Bernie for free," she said.
Still, Jane O'Meara Sanders said her fees are comparatively low, especially for her husband.
"I think the fact that other candidates have chosen to hire me and pay more than what Bernie pays me says that my services are pretty good," she said.
The ethics of lawmakers paying their families jumped into the spotlight on Capitol Hill last week, following reports that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas had paid his wife and daughter more than $500,000 for campaign-related work.
Jim Barrett, chairman of the Vermont Republican Party, used Sanders' family payments to highlight what he said is Democratic "hypocrisy" for fiercely attacking DeLay. "It's the standard hypocrisy from the left," Barrett said. "When a Republican does it, it's inappropriate and front page news. But now it turns out, our own Bernie Sanders has been doing it for a long time."
He added: "If it's corruption when Tom DeLay does it, then it's corruption when Bernie Sanders does it."
Jon Copans, executive director of the state Democratic Party, declined to comment.
But Democratic groups are targeting DeLay for defeat in his 2006 election.
Vermont-based Democracy for America, started by former Gov. Howard Dean, disseminated a mass e-mail Tuesday asking supporters for witty slogans it can paste on billboards in DeLay's Texas district. The billboards, the e-mail says, will let voters there know "it's time for him to go."
Weaver, Sanders' chief of staff, said it was unfair to compare the Vermont Independent with DeLay, who paid his family much more in a shorter period of time.
"For the work they did, they got exactly what anyone else would have been paid," he said of Jane O'Meara Sanders and Driscoll. "Politics is like anything else - you always try to hire the best person."
Even Barrett admitted that the $65,000 earned by Driscoll over four years "almost sounds low."
But he said, "We don't know what she was doing for work. Was she a full-time operative? Were these just consulting fees? Who knows?"