Howard Dean to Democrats: Don’t "Speak Down" to Voters on Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 15, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Howard Dean to Democrats: Don’t "Speak Down" to Voters on Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 15
, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Newly-annointed chairman of the Democratic Party Howard Dean, considered the candidate most supportive of abortion during his party’s presidential primary, has a message for Democrats. He wants them to not "speak down" to voters on issues like abortion.

In his first interview since becoming the head of the party, Dean told USA Today that one cure for the party’s presidential election woes is to stop "speaking down to voters" who oppose the party’s view on controversial issues like abortion.

Dean has gone so far as to invite former party chairman candidate Tim Roemer, a pro-life former Congressman from Indiana, to speak for the party on the local grassroots lecture circuit.

However, he told USA Today he’s not worried about backlash from abortion advocates, likely because the party will probably not change its long-standing position in favor of abortion.

"I think there’s always going to be pushback and there’s always going to be differences of opinion among people who call themselves Democrats," he told the national newspaper.

Dean also said his party must do more to reach out to those "values voters" who backed President Bush over pro-abrotion Senator John Kerry because of abortion and other social issues.

"We need to respect voters in red states who want to vote for us, but we make it hard for them by not listening to what they have to say," Dean told USA Today.

Dean said Democrats get "caught" having to defend their support for abortion.

"Well, there’s nobody who’s pro-abortion, not Democratic or Republican. What we want to debate is who gets to choose," Dean said.

However, that’s the tactic Kerry took during debates and on the campaign trail about the issue and a post-election poll of voters shows that a majority of Americans are pro-life and the abortion issue gave pro-life candidates such as President Bush a twelve percent advantage.

Meanwhile, a February University of Akron poll showed the abortion issue helped President Bush make considerable gains in the 2004 elections among Catholics and Hispanics.

According to the survey, some 63 percent of Hispanic Protestants supported Bush in 2004 compared with just 32 percent in 2000. Meanwhile, Catholics gave Bush a 53 to 47 percent advantage over the Massachusetts senator, also an increase over Bush’s 2000 numbers.

Seemingly acknowledging those poll numbers, Dean told USA Today that his party should encourage "pro-life Democrats" to run for office.