Terry McAuliffe, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was in Tampa today to address senior citizens enrolled in USF’s Senior Learning Program. WMNF’s Amy Snider has the story…

Over 100 senior citizens enjoyed an afternoon of Bush-bashing as part of their family values, lunch and learn program at USF. On hand was Terry McAuliffe, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who is in Tampa to attend his niece’s wedding. McAuliffe, who chaired the Gore campaign, says that under his leadership the Democratic Party is now debt-free. He declared that today was the beginning of the end of the Bush administration. He vowed that the mistakes made in the 2000 presidential election in Florida would not be repeated, and promised that in 2004, every vote will count.

In addition to criticizing George Bush’s record as president, McAuliffe also joked several times about the Fox news network, which he called a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican National Committee. McAuliffe is angry as he believes that the President used unreliable information to persuade the country to attack Iraq:

McAuliffe actuality re:Bush misleading public

According to McAuliffe, the 2004 presidential race will come down to the economy. He cited several recent polls in which the President’s approval rating has sunk, and said that under George Bush, 3 million American jobs have been lost and 500,000 after school programs have been slashed.

McAuliffe charged the President has abandoned senior citizens, who McAuliffe says are the most reliable voting block in America, and he urged seniors to get involved in politics and even to run for office. He listed what he considered to be the most important issues for seniors:

McAuliffe re:senior issues

He said while the Republicans make sure to include diverse speakers on the podium at their conventions, the delegates in the audience are all white. Democrats, he said, represent the “sea of America.� He said that while the DNC is undertaking outreach programs to attract minority voters and is committed to diversity so that the party is representative of America:

McAuliffe re: Bush outreach

McAuliffe’s speech was described as “dynamic� by many attendees. WMNF asked Walter Isaac, an African-American man from Valrico, if he thinks Democrats are doing enough to attract black voters:


McAuliffe told the seniors that he is totally neutral about candidate Howard Dean, as he is about the current 9 Democratic presidential hopefuls. He said that Democrats should unite after the primaries behind one candidate. Hal Alterman of Clearwater proudly wore a Howard Dean for President t-shirt and is energized by McAuliffe and Dean.


Marilyn Bartholomew, a Republican, of Carrollwood was surprised to find herself impressed with McAuliffe:


McAuliffe said that Senator Joseph Biden and General Wesley Clark are seriously considering entering the race. He predicted that with the newly restructured primary calendar, which hadn’t changed in 24 years, the Democratic Party would have a Presidential nominee by March 10, 2004.

For WMNF news, this is Amy Snider.

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