LONDONDERRY, N.H. – Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean (search) on Friday derided Washington politicians who "say anything just to get elected," a slap at his Beltway-based rivals. He expanded his target to Alan Greenspan (search), saying the Federal Reserve chairman "has become too political" and should be replaced.
The onetime front-runner, seeking to rally his sagging campaign by casting himself as a Washington outsider, criticized Greenspan as he assailed President Bush's tax cut, arguing that they were geared to benefit the wealthy.
"I think Alan Greenspan has become too political," Dean said. "If he lacks the political courage to criticize the deficit, if he was foolish enough — and he's not a foolish man — to support the outrageous tax cut that George Bush put through then he has become too political and we need a new chairman of the Federal Reserve."
Greenspan's term as chairman ends in June, but Bush has said he will nominate him for a fifth four-year term.
Dean criticized Greenspan and Washington politicians within days of the New Hampshire primary.
"Listen to what they say. You can have middle-class tax cuts. You can have health care for every American ... you can help every American go to college. Do you believe that?" Dean asked a crowd of 200 people at a town hall outside of Manchester.
The former Vermont governor did not name his opponents for the nomination but clearly had them in mind when he told the crowd it was time to stand up to President Bush and Republican polices.
"We're not going to do this by nominating a Washington insider," Dean said as he accused other politicians of giving voters "blather at election time."
Three of Dean's chief opponents for the nomination serve in the Senate — John Kerry, John Edwards and Joe Lieberman. Retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark also is campaigning in New Hampshire, site of Tuesday's first-in-the-nation primary.
Dean, trailing Kerry in polls after a disappointing third-place finish in Iowa, is trying to turn a memorably loud speech Monday night into a political virtue, suggesting to voters that the speech is a sign of his passion and commitment to the race.
"I have plenty of flaws which have been generously pointed out," Dean said, adding that one of his faults is not pandering.
Dean, who served as governor for 12 years and has deep ties to Washington, repeatedly refers to himself as a political outsider.
"With all due respect to these folks, they've been in Washington for years and years and years. It's 'you scratch your back and I'll scratch mine,"' he said, mixing his metaphors, "and what happens? We all pay the bill. Ordinary taxpayers are the ones who get the short end of the stick."
Dean, trying to persuade New Hampshire voters he is the one candidate in the race who has produced reforms and not just talked about them, was speaking more than ever about his record of balancing budgets and expanding health care in Vermont.
There were signs that the message had hit home with people in the crowd. One of them, Larry O'Sullivan, 50, a salesman from Londonderry, said he wasn't considering Dean until he saw Dean in the debate Thursday night.
"But here I am because of the impression he gave in the debate, despite the fact that he looked like a yahoo a couple days before in Iowa. I think he made up for it," O'Sullivan said.