Bayh bashes GOP in convention speech

Hoosier senator links Bush, McCain policies to problems in Indiana


Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., speaks at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday in Denver. Buy Photos

DENVER — Sen. Evan Bayh delivered a scathing attack on the Bush administration and presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain on Wednesday, citing what he called “this administration’s disgraceful incompetence.”

The Indiana senator and IU alumnus even linked their policies with problems in the Hoosier state.

Bayh, who was on Sen. Barack Obama’s shortlist of candidates for the Democratic vice-presidential nomination and is thought to still have presidential ambitions, wasted little time in declaring McCain as just another Bush.

“Let’s start with some good news,” Bayh told the Democratic National Convention crowd at the Pepsi Center. “In less than five months, the Bush Administration will be gone, finished, outta here. Forever. Unless, of course, John McCain is elected, in which case we’ll have to endure four more years of the same old thing.”

Bayh’s critical remarks come as part of an increased effort by Democrats to criticize the Bush administration during this week’s Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Throughout his speech, Bayh called McCain’s proposed policies “wrong” and “divisive”.

“John McCain is not a bad man, but he is badly mistaken about embracing the Bush agenda,” Bayh said. “He says he agrees with George Bush on virtually every major issue. He votes with Bush 90 percent of the time.”

Bayh brought national issues closer to home for Hoosier voters.

“What’s most incredible, he says our economy has made ‘great progress’ over the past few years,” Bayh said. “Try telling that to middle-class families across Indiana trying to make ends meet.”

Indiana delegates interviewed before Bayh’s speech said the senator’s national influence will push Hoosiers to vote for Obama in November.

“It looked until very recently like (Bayh) was in a very good position to be vice president, and that absolutely puts Indiana on the map as far as Democrats are concerned,” said Peter Mullen of South Bend.

In addition to his criticism of Republicans, and McCain in particular, Bayh tried to cast Obama as a candidate with specific plans on hot-button issues, including the high cost of a college education.

“He will lower health insurance premiums for middle-class families by $2,500 a year and offer a $1,000 tax cut for middle-class families to offset the high cost of gasoline,” Bayh said. “He will give students a $4,000 tax credit for college in exchange for community service. He will reduce the record deficit and bring fiscal responsibility back to Washington. And finally, after too much treasure and too many lives lost in Iraq, Barack Obama will responsibly end this war and bring our sons and daughters home.”

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