WASHINGTON -- Democrats Joseph R. Biden Jr. and John Edwards are criticizing party chairman Howard Dean, saying his rhetorical attacks on Republicans have gone too far.
Dean has said Republicans never made an honest living in their lives and House majority leader Tom DeLay ought to go back to Houston where he can serve his jail sentence. DeLay has not been accused of any crime.
Dean ''doesn't speak for me with that kind of rhetoric, and I don't think he speaks for the majority of Democrats," Biden, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said yesterday on ABC's ''This Week."
While discussing the hardship of working Americans standing in long lines to vote, Dean said Thursday, ''Republicans, I guess, can do that because a lot of them have never made an honest living in their lives." Dean said later his comments did not refer to hard-working Americans, but rather to the failure of Republican leadership to address working-class concerns.
Responding to Dean's initial remark, Edwards said Dean ''is not the spokesman for the party."
Dean is ''a voice. I don't agree with it," Edwards, a former senator and the Democrats' vice-presidential nominee in 2004, said Saturday at a party fund-raising dinner in Nashville. Edwards has not decided whether to seek the nomination in 2008.
Democratic Party spokeswoman Karen Finney said yesterday, ''At times we may have disagreements in our party, just as Republicans have disagreements, but as Democrats we are unified in our efforts to get our country back on track."
Asked about Dean's remark about Republicans and honest living, GOP chairman Ken Mehlman said on NBC's ''Meet the Press": ''I'm not sure the best way to win support in the red states is to insult the folks who live there. I think that a better approach might be to talk about the issues you're for."