Former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley — a candidate for president in 2000 — says Howard Dean’s supporters are “breathing fresh air into the lungs of our democracy.” Bradley says Dean has tapped into the same kind of idealism that Bradley says he saw in the eyes of Americans in 2000. According to Bradley, Dean has nurtured that idealism into a “powerful force.” Bradley flew with Dean to Iowa today to offer his formal endorsement of Dean’s bid for the White House. Bradley was a U.S. Senator for 18 years after a career as a pro basketball player. Bradley called the other democrats who’re running “capable” but he called Dean’s campaign “one of the best things to happen to American democracy in decades.”Bradley says pundits contend Dean could never beat the entrenched power of a president who is leading the country in war. But Bradley says he believes Dean can win by “marshalling a positive patriotism focused on the good that we can do in the world and not just a negative patriotism obsessed with the fear of what others in the world would do to us.”Dean and five of the other democratic presidential candidates participated in a National Public Radio debate this afternoon, much of it focused on foreign policy. The rivals quibbled over tax cuts. Massachusetts Senator John Kerry and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman criticized Dean for saying he’d repeal all of the Bush tax cuts. Kerry and Lieberman say they would keep the middle income tax cuts in place, and only repeal the tax cuts for the richest two percent of Americans. Dean says candidates can’t promise everything and not pay for it. Dean says balancing the federal budget would be one of his priorities, as he says budget deficits are a drag on the economy.
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