Late in 2003 Gephardt Campaign Manager Steve Murphy apparently got caught up in the Christmas spirit and took up some writing.  How would you rate his work?

From: Steve Murphy, Gephardt Campaign Manager
To: Interested Parties
Date: December 26, 2003
Re: Leaked from the North Pole . . . George Bush's Christmas Wish

                          Leaked from the North Pole . . . George Bush's Christmas Wish

Dear Santa:

Could you please make sure Howard Dean is the Democratic nominee?  I know this is asking a lot, but it would mean so much to me and Dick Cheney and John Ashcroft . . and, of course, Karl Rove.

Howard Dean is the perfect opponent.  He says all kinds of inconsistent things about Iraq and he loves to attack other Democrats, particularly anyone close to Bill Clinton.  I know it's a lot to ask for twice, but two Democrats in a row running away from President Clinton's economic record would be a great present.

Howard Dean really is the perfect match for me.  If he attacks me for harsh budget cuts, I'll hit him with all his Vermont budget cuts.  If Dean attacks me on Medicare, I'll remind voters about his support for all those Republican Medicare cuts and that he called Medicare "the worst program...ever."  (Note to Karl Rove. Can we find the video on this?)  If he attacks me on the economy, I can counter with his enthusiastic support of NAFTA and the China Trade Deals, which is the same position as me.

Santa, this really is too good to be true, but Howard Dean gave tax breaks to my old pals at Enron - Kenny Boy and Co. And, he won't open his secret Vermont files.  This guy has more secrets than Dick Cheney.

I don't know if you saw this, but Howard Dean used to say voters in the South should stop voting on "Guns, God, and Gays". Now he says he's going to openly discuss his religious beliefs in the South.  Yeah, I know, it's confusing.  Talk about condescending.

Dean is so off message, he'll keep Rove off my back.

Santa, I know you have lots of demands but if you'll just give this one wish . . . Howard Dean for me to run against...I'll never ask for anything else.


To: Interested Parties
From: Steve Murphy, Gephardt Campaign Manager
Date: December 22, 2003
Re: The Ghost of Christmas Future

The Ghost of Christmas Future: A Preview of what will happen if the Democrats nominate Howard Dean . . .

(the stage lights dim . . . in the distance, the face of Jim Lehrer appears . . . he is leaning over a small desk . . . as the camera angle widens, we can make out a stage with two podiums in front of him.  At one podium stands George W. Bush; at the other, Howard Dean.  A banner in the background reads: "October 2004 Presidential Debate")

Lehrer: President Bush, for two years now, Governor Dean has accused you of giving tax breaks to "Ken Lay and the boys" at Enron.

Bush: Well Jim, let me respond to that.  First of all, what the folks at my Treasury Department have shown is that for an average family . . .

Dean: Excuse me - but whatever President Bush is about to say about the tax cuts, it is FALSE and I am not going to stand here and take it, because everyone knows he gave tax cuts to Kenny-boy Lay . . .

Bush: Excuse me, Governor Dean.  I'd like to finish.  But first let me address this Enron business.  You have been attacking me for months for helping out Enron with my tax cut, but the fact is that you gave corporate tax breaks to Enron in the 1990s.  What's worse, your administration even met with Enron officials.  And you still won't release the files to show whether or not you personally met with Enron.

Lehrer: Let me bring up a related topic, gentlemen. President Bush, the public is still asking questions about the secrecy surrounding the Energy Task Force headed by Vice President Cheney.  Will you ever release those secret documents?  Don't you think the public has a right to know?

Bush: Well, I believe that we have the right energy policy.  I think our energy plan was the right one.  We need new sources of energy; we need to tap the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, for one thing.

Dean: Let me answer that.  Yes, Jim, the public should know about the Energy Task Force.  President Bush, you should release the Energy Task Force documents to the public.

Lehrer: Mr. Bush, will you release them?

Bush: Well Jim, what I won';t do is stand on this stage and take any lectures from Governor Dean on this topic.  He has refused to unseal his executive files in Vermont.  He has refused to say what meetings he may have had with business executives in Vermont.  But we do know one thing - and that is that Governor Dean is a pretty big fan of secrecy.  In 1997, Governor Dean signed a law to allow corporations placing shell subsidiaries in his state, to hide their paperwork from public disclosure.  In other words, a worldwide corporate evildoer can go to Mr. Dean's state, get a license to set up a subsidiary, and the public knows nothing about it . . .

Dean: Hey hey wait! But it's legal, just like in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

Lehrer: Let's keep going on taxes here. Mr. Dean, let me start with you. What do you think about the results of the Bush tax cuts?

 Dean: Well, as I have said, people need to ask themselves, did you really benefit from the Bush tax cuts?  Because even if you got a tax cut under President Bush, the fact is that your property taxes probably went up.  Your kid's college tuition probably went up.

Bush: Hang on a minute. I find it interesting Governor Dean, that you bring up property taxes.  Because in your first year as Governor, you in fact cut state aid to education. That didn't just affect kids, it affected property tax payers.  You cut the program that kept property taxes down.

Dean: But I only cut it once!  After that I just froze the program.  Which is just cutting the rate of growth really . . . it's not a cut.

Bush: That is most certainly a cut, if you are giving people the same amount of money, but there are more children in the school, and textbooks are costing more . . .

Dean: Is not! That is not a cut!  It's a cut in the rate of growth.

Lehrer: Ok, enough on that topic. Let's talk about Medicare.  Governor Dean, in 1996, you said you wanted to turn Medicare into a "wholly managed care" program.  Do you still want that to happen?

Dean: No Jim, you have it wrong. That's what Mr. Bush is trying to do.

Lehrer: With all due respect Governor Dean, it was in your home state newspaper in 1996.

Dean: No no no, I do not think Medicare should be privatized.  The prescription drug legislation that President Bush signed - that would dismantle Medicare by privatizing it.

Bush: It's competition, and competition is good.  Plus - YOU are the privatizer, Dean, not me.

Dean: No YOU are the Medicare privatizer, Bush.

Bush: Don't stand up here and accuse me of something you've advocated yourself.  I never said turn Medicare into a wholly managed care program like you did.  That's not workable in many parts of the country, like Iowa, where there are no HMO's that cover Medicare. So you go way beyond me when it comes to this issue, all I want to do is create more competition - to make Medicare more efficient.

Dean: I never said that and you know it!

Bush: C'mon Governor, you promised to stop making stuff up back in the primaries.

Lehrer: Gentlemen, please.  Now - Earlier this year, President Bush, your administration suffered a crushing defeat when the Congress refused to pass the Central American Free Trade Agreement, known as CAFTA, which would have expanded NAFTA-like trade status to four Central American countries. President Bush, what do you have to say about that defeat?

Bush: I was disappointed by that failure, Jim. I did support the CAFTA agreement. I think free trade is good for the country.

Dean: I completely disagree with President Bush. CAFTA was really an expansion of NAFTA, and I don't think we should expand NAFTA. NAFTA was a flawed treaty to start with, and as president, I would renegotiate it.

Bush: Pardon me a moment. When NAFTA was about to be signed, it was Governor Dean who was at the White House, not me.  That's right; Howard Dean was at the White House to support NAFTA when the first agreement was signed.  And then, he came to Washington again to lobby for NAFTA to be passed.  Me, I was just playing a lot of golf down in Texas back in 1993 . . .

Dean: Well that's ridiculous. Anyway, I am against NAFTA now.

Bush: Wait - you said you still thought NAFTA was a "good thing" in March 2003! When are you going to make up your mind?

Dean: Ok well - China is the real problem. All of our jobs are going to China, and President Bush, you haven't done anything about it.

Bush: Well I'll tell you what I didn't do. I didn't write a letter to Bill Clinton begging him to pass the China trade deal in 1999. Which is what you did, Governor Dean.

Dean: I don't know how that got out! You can never trust your staff. I meant to seal that one with the rest of my records in Vermont.

Lehrer: We'll have to end it there.

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