WASHINGTON – Howard Dean (search) is "over the top," Vice President Dick Cheney (search) says, calling the Democrats' chairman "not the kind of individual you want to have representing your political party."
"I've never been able to understand his appeal. Maybe his mother loved him, but I've never met anybody who does. He's never won anything, as best I can tell," Cheney said in an interview to be aired Monday on Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes."
Dean was elected governor of Vermont five times between 1992 and 2000. He ran for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination but closed down his campaign after poor showings in early primaries.
In recent weeks, Dean has described the GOP as "pretty much a white, Christian party" and said many Republicans have "never made an honest living." Republican leaders have called on him to apologize, and even some Democrats have distanced themselves from his remarks.
"So far, I think he's probably helped us more than he has them," Cheney said in the interview taped Friday. "That's not the kind of individual you want to have representing your political party."
The vice president added: "I really think Howard Dean's over the top. And more important ... I think many of his fellow Democrats (search) feel the same way."
Karen Finney, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee (search), objected to Cheney's characterization of Dean.
"Governor Dean must be doing something right if the vice president of the United States would stoop so low as to use the governor's mother as a way to deflect from answering the concerns of the American people," Finney said Sunday. "It's no wonder President Bush's approval ratings are at an all-time low."
Dean said Saturday that positive responses from influential supporters have reinforced his determination to keep talking tough.
"People want us to fight," Dean told the national party's executive committee. "We are here to fight."
Addressing Iowa party activists later Saturday in Des Moines, he added: "We need to be blunt and clear about the things we're going to fight for. I'm tired of lying down in front of the Republican machine. We need to stand up for what we believe in."