Five current and former Democratic officials from Republican-leaning states issued a joint statement Tuesday "expressing our strong disappointment in recent statements of Howard Dean (search)."

"Over the past few weeks, Governor Dean has spoken before he thought, been forced to retract, apologize for and clarify many of his remarks," said the chairmen, who support Sen. John Kerry. "In addition to ill-considered statements on critical subjects, such as reserving judgment on what punishment should be meted out to Usama bin Laden (search), he has attacked our party leaders and the policies of President Bill Clinton (search) that produced the most sustained period of growth in our country's history."

The party leaders said because they are from "states where Republicans have recently done well in presidential elections, we need a nominee who can neutralize the traditional GOP strengths on taxes and national security.

The joint statement was from Mike Gireau, chairman of the Wyoming Democratic Party; Redding Pitt, chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party; Larry Framme, former chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party; David Worley, former chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party; and Dan Hannaher, former chairman of the North Dakota Democratic Party.