Chairman: Bush didn’t touch tough issues |

Chairman: Bush didn’t touch tough issues

The chairman of the Democratic National Committee said Thursday that Nevada’s five electoral votes are key to a Democratic presidential win and the party hopes to take back the state this year.

Terry McAuliffe said Nevada could be key in selecting the Democratic nominee because, after the seven primaries scheduled Feb. 3, the field will probably narrow from seven to two or three candidates. Nevada’s Democratic caucuses are Feb. 14.

Nevada could develop into a swing state in November, according to McAuliffe.

“Nevada, obviously, is going to be critical to us,” he said.

He said the party should have a nominee by March 10 when, he said, 70 percent of the convention delegates will have been selected. At that point, he said the party must pull together to beat Bush.

“The president will use the springtime to spend $107 million against our nominee,” he said. “We need to be organized. We need to be unified with one message.”

McAuliffe said the president is trying to distract people from economic issues.

“A lot of these issues are important issues,” said McAuliffe. “But this is not what people want from their president in a State of the Union message. They want jobs.”

He said in a telephone interview with several Nevada reporters that Bush doesn’t want to discuss tough issues, such as the loss of jobs during his term.

“Forget about job training for prisoners,” he said. “How about some job creation?”

“President Bush did not offer a plan at all to address his dismal job creation or, in his case, his destruction of jobs in this country. He is the first president since Herbert Hoover who has lost jobs in his time as president.”

He said there are more than 2 million more people out of work than when Bush took office and millions nationwide without health insurance. He said that includes 418,000 Nevadans without health insurance.

Instead, he said Bush’s State of the Union address offered “only a plan to cut taxes for millionaires.”

He said one issue that should resonate loudly with Nevada voters is Yucca Mountain. Bush promised in his 2000 campaign to make the decision on whether to order the nuclear waste dump in Nevada strictly on sound science.

But when the recommendation arrived at his desk, Bush approved Yucca Mountain almost immediately.

McAuliffe said a scientist who recently left the Nuclear Waste Technical Advisory Board said this week that the decision was political, not based on science, and that there are major safety flaws in the Yucca Mountain plan.

“George Bush should have waited for this report before making his decision.”

He said a GOP prescription drug plan left nearly 20,000 Nevada seniors worse than they were before and should sway Nevada voters to the Democratic candidate.

He said working Nevadans also should remember the president’s attempt to change laws so that their bosses could deny many of them overtime pay.

But he didn’t spell out how the job creation issue would help Democrats in Nevada since Nevada’s total number of jobs increased 3.6 percent last year – unlike many other states.