Dean began his speech by saying, “Thirty percent of people under the age of twenty-five vote, we’re going to do better than that.” As evidence he pointed to his growing success at fund-raising through his internet campaign and stated that, “This election is going to be about one thing: jobs.”

Dean said that the middle class in America is being hurt by the president’s economic policies and focused on Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans by saying, that rather than assist average Americans who are struggling in this economy, “He’d rather give the money to Ken Lay and all those boys in Texas.”

Citing his record of balancing the budget as Governor of Vermont, Dean said that he would focus on balancing the federal budget, if elected. “No Republican has balanced the budget in thirty-four years,” he said drawing cheers from the crowd.

Gov. Dean then outlined what he characterized as several key points about the war in Iraq, “that turned out not to be true,” He cited the Iraqi regime’s alleged attempt to buy uranium, the alleged deal between Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, and the administration’s assertion that it knew where Saddam was keeping weapons of mass destruction, as evidence that the President had misled the American public.

Defending his opposition to the war in Iraq, Dean stated, “I will never send our brothers and sisters and sons and daughters to die in a foreign country without telling the truth.

Dean termed the President’s inability to grant communities the resources to adequately carry out homeland defense a failure. “As they say in Texas when it comes to defense, he’s all hat and no cattle.”

Dean said that he believes that Bush and his policies have damaged this country’s image abroad. “You would be hard put to find many people around the world today who want to be like America.”

Dean then returned to another main plank in his platform, health care. In keeping with America and its standing in the world, he started listing a number of other industrialized countries that all have universal health care, until the cheers from the crowd began to drown him out.

He then outlined a number of progressive initiatives including investment in infrastructure, particularly greater broadband internet access and renewable energy sources.

Bush’s stance against affirmative action in the recent University of Michigan controversy also came under attack by Dean, particularly his use of the racially loaded term of “quotas.” “This President played the race card,” he said, “and for that alone he deserves to be sent back to Crawford, Texas.”

In keeping with the theme of civil rights he pointed out that his passage of civil union legislation for gays, perceived as a liability by conservative critics, has more popular support in the country than many people realize.

Dean also criticized his own party for trying to beat George Bush by being more like him. On the unfunded mandate of No Child Left Behind, he asked, “What in the world are Democrats doing voting for a bill like this?”

“Teachers call it no behind left,” he quipped.

“The biggest loss this country has faced in the last two and a half years is our sense of community,” he stated in describing the Bush Administration’s “Rule by fear.”

“This campaign is about you taking back the power,” he told the crowd, urging them to help him by subscribing as many people as possible to his e-mail list. In a closing reference to the Presidential election of 2000, he said, “this time the person with the most votes will win.”

After his speech, Dean held a brief press conference. That story will be online shortly.

By John McMahon

Gov. Howard Dean (VT) gave a fiery speech to the Young Democrats of America at the Convention Center in Downtown Buffalo today that attacked the policies of the Bush Administration, often repeating Dean's campaign theme of “We can do better than that,” to the enthusiastic crowd.