John Leo

This is a make-believe interview with Howard Dean. All the questions were made up, but all of the responses are real-life direct quotes from Dean.

Q. Dr. Dean, it?s been 28 months since the 9/11 attack. How would you assess the job President Bush has been doing in the war on terror?

A. The president spent 30 months destroying our ability to defend ourselves against terrorism.

Q. I see. What about catching Saddam Hussein?

A. The capture of Saddam has not made America safer. If we are safer, how come we lost 10 more troops and raised the safety alert?

Q. When Saddam?s regime fell, you said, ?I suppose that?s a good thing.? How about something a bit more positive?

A. I think it?s terrific that he?s gone.

Q. Much better. What about your comment that we mustn?t assume that Osama bin Laden is guilty of attacking us on 9/11. Isn?t it a clue that bin Laden made a videotape bragging that he did it? How about saying something more forceful?

A. I share the outrage of all Americans. Osama bin Laden has admitted he is responsible for killing 3,000 Americans as well as scores of men, women, and children around the world. This is exactly the kind of case that the death penalty is meant for.

Q. Nice one. I understand you have some interesting theories about why President Bush is reluctant to cooperate with the Kean commission investigating 9/11.

A. The most interesting theory that I?ve heard so far, which is nothing more than a theory, I can?t -- think it can?t be proved, is that he was warned ahead of time by the Saudis. Now who knows what the real situation is ... ?

Q. But why would you float a no-evidence rumor like that and call it interesting?

A. Because its?s a pretty odd theory.

Q. So it?s interesting because it?s odd. Now about ?partial-birth? abortion. Though you are a supporter of the abortion lobby, surely you must acknowledge that this is an issue that morally serious people can disagree on.

A. This is an issue about nothing. It?s an issue about extremism.

Q. I see that in Iowa you said it might not be fair to blame President Bush for the current mad cow case, but didn?t you go on to blame him anyway?

A. Ordinary farmers in Iowa can?t sell their calves right now because the president of the United States did not take the precautions that we could have easily predicted.

John Leo

John Leo is editor of and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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