Accuracy in Media

When Howard Dean was asked about concealing his records as Vermont governor, he said bluntly, “Well, there are future political considerations. We didn’t want anything embarrassing appearing in the papers at a critical time in any future endeavor.” Dean now says he was joking, but John Dillon of Vermont Public Radio was there, and he says that Dean “wasn’t giving the punch line of a joke.” Judicial Watch has sued to get access to the records.

The records may shed light on Dean’s lobbying for the homosexual agenda in Vermont, and his flip-flop on the death penalty. In the former case, Oreste Valsangiacomo, a Democratic member of the state legislature for 30 years, says Dean collaborated with the homosexual movement, not only to push “gay marriage” but to put homosexual recruiters in the schools through a group called Outright Vermont. Valsangiacomo says Dean conducted private meetings with members of the “gay rights” lobby and the state Democratic Party. The result was that Dean signed the first “civil unions” bill giving marriage benefits to homosexuals. Dean funneled state money to Outright Vermont, whose representatives were accused of promoting homosexuality in the schools.

It is reported that Dean is a “centrist” or even a “conservative” on some issues, and that he supports the death penalty. But Vermont has no death penalty statute. Asked about this, Joseph Gainza, the Vermont Program Coordinator of the American Friends Service Committee, told us that Dean “did nothing to get it [the death penalty] in Vermont. He began to say that he was ‘rethinking’ his stand on the death penalty, just when, it seemed to me, he was giving serious thought to running for president?”

Gainza said that legislators introduced a bill to reinstate the death penalty after a triple murder in Vermont. He said, “We organized against it and Dean did nothing to support it and it died in committee, much to my relief.” So there we have it?Dean’s so-called “support” for the death penalty is just rhetoric to make him look like he’s tough on crime while he’s running for president.

That triple-murder case involved Donald Fell and Robert Lee, high on crack cocaine, who stabbed two people to death and beat 53-year-old Teresca King to death after a kidnapping and carjacking. King had pleaded for her life. Families of the victims called for Vermont to reinstate the death penalty but Dean refused to push for it.

But, authorities moved on the federal level and got the death penalty for Fell. Lee hanged himself in prison, and Fell awaits execution today. The Washington Post noted that, “Members of King’s family? wanted Fell executed. In addition to unsuccessfully calling for capital punishment in Vermont, the family appealed to [Attorney General John] Ashcroft.” Ashcroft ordered the death penalty when it appeared that federal prosecutors were going to settle for a deal that would let Fell remain in prison for the rest of his life. Opponents of the death penalty said there were “mitigating factors” in the case, such as Fell’s history of drug problems. Ashcroft didn’t buy it.

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