(CNSNews.com) - Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean says the so-called "leakgate" case is really about President Bush's "dishonesty over the Iraq question."
Appearing on ABC's "This Week" Sunday morning, Dean said, "This is not so much about Scooter Libby and Karl Rove. This is about the fact that the president didn't tell us the truth when we went to Iraq, and all these guys involved in it -- it's a huge cover-up. That's what they're in trouble for."
It's thanks to former ambassador Joseph Wilson that the Bush administration's "dishonesty" has come to light, Dean indicated.
"Half the stuff the president told us about Iraq -- weapons of mass destruction, the trip to Niger, the purchase of uranium -- we know it's not true," Dean said. He added that the 9/11 commission found "no evidence of a terror connection" between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, and that Saddam "had nothing to do with 9/11."
Dean accused President Bush of "pushing that line nevertheless. We know the president wasn't truthful with us when he sent us to Iraq."
[President Bush has said that pre-war intelligence indicated that Saddam Hussein was a threat; that the U.S. Congress "looked at the intelligence, and they saw a threat," and even the United Nations saw a threat, Bush said in July 2004, a few months before he was re-elected.]
According to Dean, President Bush's top adviser Karl Rove and Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby are in trouble for "attacking somebody who criticized them and disagreed with them."
Although both Rove and Libby have appeared before the federal grand jury investigating the leak of Valerie Plame's name and CIA affiliation, neither man is in trouble yet.
However, the federal grand jury's term ends on Friday, and if indictments are forthcoming, they'll be issued this week. Speculation about who, if anyone, will be indicted has been swirling for weeks.
Dean was asked what would happen if the federal grand jury does not return indictments. "Will you accept that as the end of the matter?" Stephanopoulos asked the DNC chairman.
"No," Dean said. "Because I fundamentally don't think these are honest people running the government."
On Sunday, Dean pointed to news reports indicating that the recent Iraqi election, where people went to the polls to vote on a constitution, wasn't "completely honest." Dean cited as proof an ABC News report saying that one Iraqi man had filled out seven ballots and stuck them all in the box.
"If that's what we're fighting for in Iraq, we don't belong there," Dean said. "If this election was corrupted, it's time to figure out how to get [the troops] out."
"This Week" host George Stephanopoulos reminded Dean that early indications show "there was no widespread fraud."
Dean responded, "All I know is an ABC correspondent saw it and talked about it on television. That's what I know. Let's find out more. When you have 99 percent of the people voting yes, that's always some indication that things may not quite be exactly as they seem."
The Republican National Committee criticized Dean's criticism of the Iraqi election, saying he "displayed a troubling unwillingness and inability to acknowledge the real progress occurring in Iraq.
"Chairman Dean's criticism of an election where Iraqis turned out in record numbers to approve a constitution illustrates that many in the Democrat party are still focused on pessimism and defeatism when it comes to advancing freedom in the Middle East and winning the war on terror," the RNC statement said.
"Continually explaining what you are against and tossing out negative attacks is not an agenda, despite Chairman Dean's claims."
On Sunday's show, Dean told Stephanopoulos that "Democrats are the party of moral values" and that most Americans agree with those values.
He said those values include "honesty in government": balancing the budget; restoring jobs; "a health care system that benefits everybody"; and a "decent public education system."
"We want ethics legislation and campaign finance reform and health care reform. We will be the party of change, and we're serious about this and Democrats will have to live by these changes just like Republicans. We want fundamental reform in the United States."
Dean said Democrats won't accept corruption in the Republican Party -- or among Democrats, either.
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