Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean isn’t a very good surrogate for Hillary Clinton.
The failed 2004 presidential candidate threw labor unions under the bus during an interview on MSNBC on Friday while making a feeble attempt to defend Clinton against criticism over the millions of dollars she has earned on the corporate speech-making circuit.
“Why does Hillary Clinton have to put up with a double standard?” complained Dean, who served as chair of the Democratic National Committee after his failed presidential bid.
“I don’t hear anybody asking Bernie Sanders for his transcripts for some speech he made with a labor union,” Dean continued.
He then took aim at Sanders’ frequent campaign stump claim that he does not receive money from super PACs, which have become a target of progressives who support campaign finance reform.
Dean said that the statement is inaccurate since the 74-year-old candidate receives money from labor unions.
“For Bernie to say that he doesn’t have a super PAC, labor unions are super PACs. Now they’re super PACs that Democrats like, so we don’t go after labor unions,” asserted Dean, who is perhaps most famous for a maniacal scream he made following a third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses in 2004.
“This is a double-standard. I’m tired of the attacks on Hillary Clinton’s integrity. I think they are unwarranted.”
Clinton’s paid speech income took center stage in two Democratic events held this week.
At a town hall hosted by CNN on Wednesday Clinton fumbled a response to questions about $675,000 she was paid to speak at an event for Goldman Sachs, the investment bank. Clinton said the price tag was so steep because “that’s what they offered.”
That claim was inaccurate, however, since Clinton’s normal speaking fee for all events is $225,000.
Clinton also inspired little confidence on Thursday when she was asked during a debate hosted by MSNBC whether she would release transcripts from the Wall Street speeches.
“I’ll look into it,” she said before changing the subject.
Dean said in defense of Clinton that when she gave the speeches shortly after leaving the State Department she had not committed to running for president.