LES BLUMENTHAL; The News Tribune
WASHINGTON - Congressmen don't normally get involved in presidential politics this early, but Rep. Adam Smith of Tacoma says former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and his activist supporters are threatening to tear the Democratic Party apart and ensure the re-election of President Bush.
"I don't think it cuts in our favor if the electorate sees a frothing-at-the-mouth Democratic Party," Smith said.
Both in an interview and a guest column in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, Smith said Dean has used "shameless opportunism" and "wedge politics" to divide the Democratic Party and fashion a message that could keep Bush in the White House and leave Republicans in control of Congress.
Smith said Dean has emerged as the leader for the Democratic presidential nomination by vilifying his opponents as "cockroaches" and denouncing their politics as "Bush lite."
"Dean needs to retool his strategy and stop pitting one part of the party against the other," Smith said.
Smith is one of the few members of Congress to have endorsed a presidential candidate and one of only two Democrats from Washington state. Smith announced his support for John Kerry months ago and has campaigned for the Massachusetts senator in Iowa.
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