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PERSON IN AUDIENCE: There are children in developing countries that do not have clean water, enough to eat.
There are children, thousands of them, that die of malaria simply because they don’t have an insecticide treated mosquito net. What are the obligations of Americans and of the American president in treating health care as a global issue, especially for children?
HOWARD DEAN: The United States leadership and financial participation in health care around the rest world is not just a moral issue — and it’s very inexpensive, we have a $2.1 trillion budget, we’re not talking big money here — but it is also a defense issue because by improving the health of third-world countries, we make them stable and less likely to harbor or be sympathetic with terrorists, and that is why we need to regain and restore our moral leadership and our good citizenship with the rest of the world community.
PERSON IN AUDIENCE: I read that you suggested Terry McAuliffe discourage attack ads and negative campaigning among Democrats. And then a few days ago, I also read that your campaign is distributing attack fliers against other Democratic candidates. Should voters be troubled by this inconsistency?
HOWARD DEAN: (Laughter) I was not aware of those fliers. I don’t know what they said; I’ll be happy to defend them. Those decisions get made by local people. But if the fliers said that General Clark was originally for the war and now is against it, that’s accurate.
If the fliers said that General Clark said that it was perfectly fine to let our software jobs go to India, we’d replace them with other jobs, he did say that. So, there’s a difference between an attack ad and just putting out the facts.
PERSON IN AUDIENCE: I would like to ask a question regarding Head Start, how you feel on putting it with the education department.
HOWARD DEAN: Given the present education department I think it’s a terrible idea, because this is the education department that gave us No Child Left Behind. They’ll probably give us lots more children left behind if they get rid of Head Start. Head start is great, we want to fully fund it, but it’s not enough.
You have to start between zero and three, because the biology of this is that the kids’ damage gets hard wired at the age of three, and after that, it is an uphill fight to turn that around. We have got to put small amounts of money.
The cost of this program is $100 a year per kid. Now, if they need services it’s more. We can do this if we want a serious investment in our children, instead of doing what the president is doing, which is trying to cut back.
PERSON IN AUDIENCE: My daughter’s in fifth grade. My taxes have doubled in the last two years. She doesn’t have a science book. I’m a single parent with two kids, and I want to know where I can send the bill when I have to buy my daughter a science book.
HOWARD DEAN: You can send that to George W. Bush. (Applause) I’m not kidding. This is exactly what I’m talking about. He passes the unfunded mandate of No Child Left Behind. Let me see if I can remember the figures. I think it’s about $100 million to taxpayers, or $126 million pops into my head, I’m not sure that’s right.
I know these figures a little better, that the school board’s administration, one of the administrators’ associations, did a study that showed that you get $98 per kid from No Child Left Behind, and it costs you $577 per kid for No Child Left Behind.
That is why your property taxes went through the roof, and that is why your kids don’t have science books, because the school board … because of the unfunded mandate of No Child Left Behind, which every Democrat in this race voted for because they had no idea what was going to happen at the local level, they passed this on to the local school boards so your kids don’t get science books so that some bureaucrat in Washington can get the results of tests that don’t mean anything. That is what happened to your child’s science book. (Applause)
Well, on Jan. 27 you get to decide. Do you want to change presidents or do you want to change the Washington, all of Washington? Do you want to change presidents, just … is that all you want to do, or do you want to change America?
Do you want to get rid of the special interests in Washington? Do you want to stand up for children, instead of corporations? Do you want to stand up for people to have health insurance, and seniors who have to have prescription benefits, instead of the wealthiest people in the United States of America?
I think it’s time that this country was run by the people who built this country. I think it’s time that this country was run by ordinary Americans again, as the Constitution says. And this is a grassroots movement to change the United States of America, and bring ordinary people back to Washington. Thanks very much.