Getting out of Iraq and establishing a voluntary national service program to help students pay for college are two reasons college-age voters should vote for a Democratic presidential candidate, according to the head of the Democratic Party, Howard Dean. In his first student-based press conference “in a long time,” the Democratic National Committee Chairman met with 10 local college editors hours before the Democratic presidential debate held at Drexel University on Oct. 30.
Included in this round-table conference were editors from Drexel University, University of Penn, Temple University, Rosemont College, Villanova University and Cabrini College.
“We will not get out of Iraq until we have a Democratic president,” Dean said. When asked what a Democratic president will do to prevent another attack like the one on 9/11, Dean said, “In order to make America safe, you have to be tough. Republicans are great at talking tough but you have to be smart, and they’re not so good at that.” He said if a Democrat becomes president, they will be in constant talks with other countries and using our intelligence so that another attack does not occur.
“I don’t think we have any business being in Iraq, I never thought we never should have any business in Iraq and I think the President has made the world a more dangerous place by sending us to Iraq,” Dean said.
One of the major topics of concern among young voters, Dean said, is the rising cost of education. He agreed that the idea of a national public service program would be helpful. It would not be mandatory, however. It would help college students who are having trouble continuing to afford the rising cost of a college education.
Discussion of the rising cost of healthcare made Dean become more heated. “I think it’s a ridiculous way to run a country. You borrow $200 billion to run a war, but you can’t come up with $5 billion to make sure that everyone under the age of 18 has health insurance? Those are not American priorities, those are right-wing Republican priorities.”
The student editors asked Dean why disagreements between the Democrats and Republicans continue when there are problems occurring in the world today such as immigration and healthcare. “They’re not interested,” Dean said. “President Bush says we haven’t done anything, when we have. We’ve raised minimum wage, passed universal healthcare for children under 18, which the president vetoed. The reason we can’t get the big stuff done is because the president vetoes it.”
When asked what grade he would give the college-aged generation on our involvement in the political process, “I would give you an A,” Dean said. “I would give my generation an A as well.”