As Drudge pointed out Democratic National Committee chairman, Howard Dean declined a chance to appear on Meet The Press jointly with Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman. From the transcript you’ll have to imagine what might have happened had the two men been present to discuss the racial epithets thrown as Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele, who has announced his candidacy for the Senate in 2006.
MR. RUSSERT: Coming up next is the Democratic Party chairman, Howard Dean. How’s he doing?
MR. MEHLMAN: I think that–I was hoping that Chairman Dean would be on sitting next to me this morning and maybe we can do that on a future program. Look, he’s somebody I’ve enjoyed getting to know. We meet in a lot of green rooms, but he’s somebody that’s got an important job to do. I think I congratulate the Democrats on the victories in New Jersey and Virginia. And I look forward to future contact.
MR. RUSSERT: We invited him. Do you have a question for him?
MR. MEHLMAN: Well, one thing I was surprised not to hear was the Democrats around the country, there’s been an utter silence in response to what have been vicious and racist attacks on Michael Steel in Maryland. Michael Steel is the first statewide African-American–it’s my state; I grew up in Maryland- -the first statewide African-American ever elected. He’s now running for the United States Senate. Yet, the Democratic Senate president called this man an Uncle Tom because he doesn’t agree with him on issues. He’s had racial epithets thrown at him. He’s been derided on a Web site that the Democrats have. And while some Democrats in Maryland have criticized him, there’s been utter silence from national Democrats on this important issue. I would hope on this morning’s program that Chairman Dean would condemn this kind of racist and bigoted activity. It’s wrong. I would also hope he’d condemn the following. There are a whole bunch of Democratic candidates and Republican candidates around the country. But Charles Schumer and the Democratic campaign committee chose one candidate to go after his credit report and engage in identity theft against them and that’s Michael Steel, this African-American candidate in Maryland. I think we should be welcoming him to the process as I welcomed Mr. Mfume to the process and I think it’s a mistake to make these attacks.In the next segment Dean addresses the question (sort of):
MR. RUSSERT: Picking up on what Ken Mehlman said about Michael Steele, the African-American Republican candidate in Maryland, being called an Uncle Tom, the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee seeking his credit report. Should you not…
DR. DEAN: I don’t like that stuff, and I–now, look, the Republicans have a long history of saying that those things happened. And they may or may not have. So if that happened, it’s not right. But I didn’t hear Ken condemning the chairman of the Maryland party when he called me an anti-Semite. So let’s try to up–speaking of moral values, let’s have a better tone in our political campaigns. Because the truth is, the other thing that Tim Kaine’s race showed is that the person with the better tone and the more positive agenda won, and I like to see voters exercising their rights in that way.
MR. RUSSERT: But the workers on the campaign committee who sought his credit report have been dismissed.
DR. DEAN: They should have been. Absolutely, they should have been. I don’t like that kind of stuff.
MR. RUSSERT: Could on either side?
DR. DEAN: On either side.Not much of a response from Dean…
(h/t Don Surber)