I was polled by phone on September 23 about my views, primarily regarding Howard Dean, phrased negatively, with blatant misrepresentations. Governor Dean was singled out for his position on NAFTA, which is to renew it with modifications to correct human-rights and environmental abuses, a position shared by the majority of the Democratic presidential candidates, but that was omitted. The wording suggested Dean supported the loss of nearly 3 million American jobs abroad.

On heath care, the questioner suggested Dean, also a nonpracticing physician, wishes to cut $290 million from Medicare, which was his and President Clinton's position in 1995 and was directed toward bureaucratic waste.

Statements were also made contrasting Dick Gephardt, all positive, to the point of crediting him with the boom economy of the '90s during a brief stint as Speaker of the House. This is called a "push poll," intended to push voters away from a candidate. This is always a desperation measure with the result, too often, of pushing voters away from the ballot box. The Gephardt campaign released the poll results two days later, showing he had gained seven points over Dean.

I wasn't surprised, having served as a precinct captain in the '88 Iowa caucus for Senator Paul Simon, Gephardt's stiffest opposition, the focus of negative attacks from Gephardt shortly before the caucus, and one of the finest men ever to serve in the United States Congress.

Patricia Baxter-Rebal

Dean Is a Bright Light

The process of nominating a Democrat for president has so much negativity surrounding it, so it's nice to see a bright light for once. That bright light is Howard Dean. He has been able to approach his campaign in a way many politicians have forgotten: with good spirits. Howard Dean will prove that morale will defeat cheap talk. Not only has he brought optimism, but he has also proven that every single American matters, not just big businessmen. People across this nation who couldn't afford to make their voice matter are now getting involved. That is exactly what this country needs. We need someone who can get people to care about issues. We need someone who will stand up for what they truly believe, not just what the polls say. Simply put, we need someone like Howard Dean. I want to thank him and hope you will all stand next to me on caucus night in support of Howard Dean.

Sarah Gless

Independent-Counsel Law Needed Now

The law allowing the appointment of an independent prosecutor (such as Ken Starr) was allowed to die without renewal under a Republican House, Senate, and White House. We now desperately need that law. If you haven't been following the story, Ambassador Joseph Wilson was sent to Niger to investigate the claim that Iraq was attempting to acquire materials to create nuclear weapons. Wilson came back and publicly stated that the Bush Administration was wrong. The evidence had been forged. Shortly thereafter journalist Robert Novak wrote an article in which he reported that two officials high up in the Bush Administration stated that Wilson's wife was a CIA operative investigating weapons of mass destruction. This appears to be a vindictive move to warn others about angering the Bush Administration. Outing a CIA agent endangers the agent and all others she worked with. One suspect in the Bush Administration is Bush's right-hand man, Karl Rove. In America, you are innocent until proven guilty. But doesn't this scandal at least warrant an independent investigation? Should John Ashcroft be trusted to perform an impartial investigation of the Bush Administration? Let's face it: Where there's smoke, there's fire. George W. Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, called leaks "outing" CIA personnel treason. George H.W. Bush also fired Karl Rove from his 1992 campaign for planting a false story with a journalist - one Robert Novak.

All Americans should call their representatives and demand an independent investigation. I applaud Governor Howard Dean's leadership in calling for this investigation weeks ago, before it was front-page news.

Scott Morschhauser

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