Dean TV ad denounces Gephardt on Iraq

Add this to the list of reasons I’m finding it harder and harder to contemplate voting for Howard Dean if he wins the Democratic nomination for President next year:

Howard Dean launched a TV ad in Iowa on Monday blasting Democratic foe Dick Gephardt for backing President Bush on the war in Iraq.

The ad shows Gephardt in the White House Rose Garden last year with the president announcing details of the congressional resolution authorizing Bush to go to war against Iraq. It is the first ad of the 2004 race to mention another Democratic presidential candidate by name.

In the ad, a female voice-over says: “October 2002 — Dick Gephardt agrees to co-author the Iraq war resolution, giving George Bush the authority to go to war. A week later, with Gephardt’s support, it passes Congress.”

The commercial goes on to note that Gephardt supported Bush’s recent $87 billion spending request for Iraq and Afghanistan. Dean tells viewers that he opposed both the war resolution and the spending bill, adding, “our party and our country need new leadership.”

Nothing surprising here, of course. If Dean thinks there’s support to be won from Iowa’s Democratic caucus-goers by denouncing Gephardt’s support for the liberation of Iraq, he’ll do it. If he wins in Iowa, he’ll probably have a lock on the nomination.

I wish Gephardt, Joe Lieberman and John Edwards– the Democratic candidates who supported the war and haven’t apologized for it– would in turn denounce Dean for his “I suppose that’s a good thing” comment about the ouster of Saddam Hussein. It may or may not be winning politics among hardcore Democratic voters, but it would at least put some of the focus where it belongs.