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Dean stumps in Kerry's stronghold

Compares supporters to Tea Party patriots

Democratic presidential contender Howard Dean brought his message yesterday to the hometown of Senator John F. Kerry, rallying a lunch-time crowd in Copley Square with a speech threaded with anti-President Bush one-liners.

Dean, who was joined at the rally by his brother Bill Dean, an investment banker in Boston with a residence in Dover, kept his speech to stump standards, railing against Bush's tax cuts and his handling of the war against Iraq.

"We stand here as Americans who are no longer willing to accept an administration which lies to the American people about the reasons for sending our sons and daughers and brothers and sisters to die in a foreign land," Dean said.

Dean compared his supporters to participants in the Boston Tea Party, invoking a patriotic episode on behalf of a campaign fueled by antiwar sentiment.

"Right here in Boston, 50 dedicated patriots known as the Sons of Liberty boarded three ships in Boston Harbor to protest a government more concerned with moneyed interests than its own people," Dean told a crowd estimated by Boston Police at 2,500. "Today, once again, we stand here in Boston as patriots -- and we stand with more than 410,000 other patriots across the nation who have joined our compaign."

Signs dotting the square for the rally for the former Vermont governor proclaimed "Beantown is Deantown!" A national CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released this week showed Dean with a slight edge over Kerry, 13 percent to 11 percent. But retired Army General Wesley K. Clark, who entered the race for the Democratic nomination last week, led with 22 percent.

Undecided voters in the crowd said Clark's late-starting candidacy was appealing, one they are seriously weighing.

Cathy Bernstock, 24, who works in publishing near Copley Square, was impressed by Dean's directness. "He's very refreshing," she said. "He directly stated the problem with George Bush." But she said the speech did not cement her support for Dean, with Clark and Kerry still serious contenders for her vote.

Some committed Dean supporters, too, said Clark's entry was heartening. "Anything but Bush!" said Elisabeth Taylor, 56, a performance artist who lives in Boston. "I want anybody who gets in to get the regime changed." Following the rally,Dean headed for New York. He will participate in a 10-way Democratic candidates forum tomorrow.

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