Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean — the candidate who’s emerging as the leader of the pack of Democrats running for President — is dismissing the criticism his rivals are lobbing at him. Critics focus on Dean’s call for undoing the tax cut President Bush has pushed through. Dean says “the Washington politicians” are “slipping back into the old Democratic mode” and he says if the party follows their path, Bush will win reelection. Dean says there’s a need to balance the federal budget, and you can’t promise to create more jobs and provide health care for all Americans without getting rid of the tax cuts. Dean says “balancing the budget matters.” He says Democrats can’t expect to win the White House if they succumb to what President Bush has done, which Dean says is promise everything to everybody. Dean says there does have to be a bit of fiscal discipline in Washington. Dean was among seven candidates who campaigned in Iowa on Labor Day. Most of their fire was directed at President Bush rather than each other. Most blamed Bush for the bad economy. During a speech at a Des Moines union rally, Florida Senator Bob Graham said there are a lot of reasons to vote Bush out of office. Graham says “we cannot trust” Bush to be President because “time after time he has said one thing and then acted another way.” Today on the campaign trail, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry makes it official by formally announcing he’s a candidate for President. His announcement tour will bring him to Des Moines this afternoon. And Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman unveils a health care plan that extends tax breaks to businesses that provide insurance and would give new choices to workers who lose their health care coverage when they lose their job.