`Deaniacs' praise John-Howard show.
PORTLAND - The Kerry/Dean Mutual Admiration Road Show finished its two-day run in Oregon on Tuesday - to rave reviews by Howard Dean fans.
With Democratic nominee-in-waiting John Kerry trying to put Oregon in his win column next fall, his decision to share the spotlight with his former presidential campaign rival served him well, according to some of Lane County's Dean loyalists.
"I think it's very wise on Kerry's part," said Jeree Anderson, a Eugene "Deaniac" who formed the local Lane County chapter of Democracy for America, a grass-roots group formed by Dean supporters after he dropped out of the race. "People who supported Howard Dean supported him so wholeheartedly, when they see him giving support to Kerry, I think it helps inspire them and helps them go forth with a stronger resolve to get out there, to get out the vote, and to do something positive."
From the time they began campaigning in Portland on Monday afternoon until their departure late Tuesday morning, Kerry and Dean reinforced the message that they're working together to oust President Bush.
The "no, after you" politeness stood out at Tuesday's round-table discussion with a selected audience of supporters to discuss the economy.
Kerry gave Dean ample time to reinforce his own ideas, such as a plan to create jobs by funding public works and Kerry's proposal to expand medical care to uninsured children.
The Massachusetts senator praised Dean as "a great co-advocate," with a good track record on education, the economy and the environment as the former Vermont governor. Kerry also went out of his way to involve Dean in a question-and-answer session with three Oregonians who have felt the squeeze of the state's job losses during the past three years.
During a brief interview, Dean said he was happy to be campaigning in Oregon again, even if it's on behalf of a former rival. And he made it clear that it was the Kerry campaign's idea to bring him here.
"I don't make decisions about where I go. That's up to the Kerry campaign," said Dean, who called Oregon one of several states where he'd built up a large and loyal following.
Despite complaints from some that Kerry wasn't living up to Dean's outspokenness on the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq War and its aftermath, Dean said "Kerry has said a fair amount about the war. I just don't think it's been written up" by the media.
Munir Katul, the former chairman of the communications committee for Lane County for Dean, agreed that involving Dean in his first campaign swing to Oregon was smart politics for Kerry. Katul said that while he was already planning to support Kerry, the gesture will help convince other former "Deaniacs" to get behind their candidate's new choice, rather than sit out the November vote or go with an alternative such as independent Ralph Nader.
"I think it's important for healing and bringing everyone in," said Katul, a retired Eugene physician.
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|Title Annotation:||Politics; Kerry's decision to share the stage with his ex-rival draws cheers|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||May 19, 2004|
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