Today Howard Dean said:
"It's not necessary to tear down the other opponents''...
"The race needs ``a little character transplant'' ...
But this article from Thursday - October 23, 2003, clearly shows that Dean was the first to attack the other candidates:
In New Ads, Dean Becomes First in Campaign to Attack Fellow Democrats
By JODI WILGOREN and JIM RUTENBERG (NYT)
CRESCO, Iowa, Oct. 22 -- Howard Dean this week began running two new television advertisements that criticize his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination as ''Washington politicians'' who have failed to deliver prescription drug benefits and were inconsistent on the Iraq war.
The commercials are the first of the election campaign's nascent television advertising battle in which a Democratic candidate has criticized the other primary contenders. (President Bush has been fair game for weeks.)
While the spots fall short of singling out Dr. Dean's opponents by name, they are unusually negative for this stage of the campaign, when biographical commercials are the norm.
Officials of the Dean campaign said the commercials were devised to address biting criticism from rivals and to emphasize Dr. Dean's status as a Washington outsider. Dr. Dean's opponents said the spots were a sign of growing concern in his campaign that his opponents' attacks from the stump were having an effect with voters.
The advertisements will run for a week to 10 days in New Hampshire and Iowa, though they will also be seen in the Boston area and parts of Vermont. The Dean campaign said it paid $300,000 for air time.
The spots refer blindly to ''my opponents.'' But they are clearly aimed most directly at Representative Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri and Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, Dr. Dean's most serious competitors in Iowa and New Hampshire.
In both advertisements Dr. Dean, the former governor of Vermont, delivers the critiques himself, standing in front of an outdoors backdrop of a tree-spotted grassy expanse.
In the Iowa spot, first shown on Tuesday, Dr. Dean talks about high prescription drug costs for the elderly. He begins by vaguely addressing criticism of comments he made in 1995 supporting a reduction in the growth rate of Medicare spending, which opponents said put him in line with Congressional Republicans.
''Instead of fixing the problem, the best my opponents can do is talk about what was said eight years ago,'' Dr. Dean says. ''For years the politicians in Washington have talked about health insurance and a prescription drug benefit. And all you got was talk. But in Vermont, we did it.''
Dr. Dean was making reference to the fact that about one-third of Vermont's elderly residents had prescription benefits paid for by the state and that nearly every child in the state had health insurance.
In the New Hampshire advertisement, first shown on Wednesday, Dr. Dean focuses on the invasion of Iraq: ''The best my opponents can do is ask questions today that they should have asked before they supported the war.''
While analysts said they did not expect Dr. Dean's spots to set off a significant round of commercial counterattacks, the new advertisements did lead to an intense round of press releases, phone calls and e-mail messages from opponents' campaigns to reporters debating how negative the spots were.
Mr. Kerry's staff quickly e-mailed the advertisements' scripts to reporters with the subject line ''Dean goes negative.''
Mr. Gephardt's staff sent out a statement that refrained from using the word ''negative,'' while praising Mr. Gephardt's record on health care and renewing his critique of Dr. Dean's record in Vermont and past statements about Medicare.
Dr. Dean, campaigning across a lightly populated stretch of northern Iowa, said the advertisements were not ''negative,'' but simply a rebuttal to attacks his rivals have made in recent weeks in debates, in news releases and on the campaign trail. ...
Joe Trippi, Dr. Dean's campaign manager, said this was ultimately a pre-emptive television strike. ''That's what we're supposed to do with the money, is get the message out,'' he said. ''We aren't waiting for them to go negative.''
And then there was this one:
Dean Spares No Opponent As He Sprints Across Iowa
By JODI WILGOREN (NYT)
MONTROSE, Iowa, Oct. 14 -- Howard Dean, who is increasingly giving his presidential candidacy an anti-Washington cast, cranked up his rhetoric on Tuesday, saying that if he won, members of Congress were ''going to be scurrying for shelter, just like a giant flashlight on a bunch of cockroaches.''
His jab at Capitol Hill, institutional home to four of Dr. Dean's five main rivals for the nomination, came in response to a question about how he would handle Congress and the entrenched Beltway bureaucracy. The questioner mentioned Republicans and Democrats alike, and Dr. Dean made no distinction.
Tacky, Tacky, Tacky! It seems to me, that if Howard Dean Can't Stand the Heat, He Needs to Get Out of the Kitchen or the Race!