Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean predicted ethics troubles would hurt Republicans' chances of holding the House and Senate in November, saying "This is a culture of corruption that they have brought to Washington."
In an exclusive Sunday interview on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Dean dismissed the idea that Democrats would seek to impeach President Bush if they won back control of Congress -- a possibility floated by Republicans looking to galvanize their base.
Dean's Republican counterpart, Ken Mehlman, the chair of the Republican National Committee emailed supporters saying, "The Democrats' plan for 2006? Take the House and Senate, impeach the President. With our nation at war, is this the kind of Congress you want."
In an earlier "This Week" interview today, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, accused Dean of creating "a cult of hypocrisy" by criticizing Republican lawmakers' ethics transgressions while ignoring Democrats'. "I think this is really unfortunate that the Democrats are trying to play the politics of personal destruction," he said.
Dean said DeLay was himself pointing fingers over ethics issues while ignoring his own problems. "There was one name that he left of the list and that was his own," he said.
Dean He also said Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., who is accused of improperly using his influence to direct business toward a favored company, should resign immediately that if indicted.
"There are individual congressmen who have made mistakes," he said, while insisting Republicans had more to answer for.
Dean promised that if Democrats take the House in November, "within 100 days, we will vote on real ethics legislation.
"No more free trips, no more free lunches," he promised.
George Stephanopoulos's entire interview with the DNC's Howard Dean can be viewed at www.thisweek.abcnews.com.