Karl Dean struck back at Bob Clement today in response to the first TV attack ad of the mayor's race. Dean, criticized on the tax issue in the Clement ad, pointed out at a news conference this morning that Clement voted dozens of times for higher taxes as a congressman. And as a candidate for mayor, Dean noted, Clement has made proposals costing hundreds of millions of dollars. Clement wants to bid for the 2020 Olympics and add five new Metro offices and programs, Dean said.
Dean painted Clement as a desperate political hack. "My opponent has run for six different offices 13 times over the past 35 years, and he has a history of going negative when he's behind," Dean said. "But I encourage him again to go back to talking about what the people want to talk about in this campaign and not to use the attack ads or the vicious politics that is common in Washington. I think the way candidates conduct themselves is a good indication of the way we'll behave in office. This ad is a clear indicator of old-style politics. I hope the voters share my disappointment with this and urge him to get back to the discussion of the issues."
More Dean: "I oppose an increase in property taxes. I have said so repeatedly and Bob Clement knows it. I will not pass a property tax increase."
Then why not take the no-tax pledge that Clement has been touting? "A pledge is a gimmick," Dean replied, "It's a political gimmick. My position is crystal clear. I'm opposed to property tax increases and I'm not proposing a property tax increase and I can't really say it any more clearly."Update
: Asked about Dean's aspersions this afternoon after an appearance on a gospel radio station, Clement said, "The major tax increase was 1994 and I voted no on that tax increase. But naturally over 15 years [in Congress], I raised taxes and reduced taxes. I had the opportunity to do both and I did it."
As for his no-tax pledge, he said, "Little children understand, 'I pledge allegiance.' That's a big deal. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, they say, 'I pledge.' That's a big deal. That's a pledge and commitment. You remember at the debate the other night, Karl Dean said, 'I don't have the intention of raising property taxes.' Well, that's not good enough. The fact is, I've said very clearly I will not raise property taxes in the next four years."Update II:
The Clement campaign says it has won the endorsement of talk radio host and anti-tax freak Dave Ramsey
. Here's Sean Braisted
on Brother Dave: "Ramsey is the quintessential wealthy Williamson County Republican who thinks Social Security, et al, are just socialist schemes which take away from the duties of the Church."