The Memphis Flyer on Howard Dean's recent visit to Tennessee:

What is new in the Howard Dean of 2005, or at least made more explicit, is his overt appeal to moral and even religious sanction.

"We don't ever have to be ashamed of our values," Dean said at Vanderbilt. He made a point of invoking Holy Writ, championing "paycheck-to-paycheck" working people against the predatory wealthy via the famous passage which says a rich man's entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven is as difficult as a camel's passing through the eye of a needle. He employed scripture to defend civil rights for gays: "When Jesus said 'love thy neighbor' he didn't mean choose which one to love."

Late in his presidential effort, Dean had been quoted as saying that he intended, if nominated, to discuss his religious faith openly during the general election campaign. Judged from afar, from news reports that were necessarily brief, that statement had seemed, to many observers, to be forced and artificial, so much pandering. Such a judgment may have been over-hasty. The salvific tone seemed to come naturally to Dean in Nashville.

It was present in his statement that the American electorate wanted "people at the top of government who stand up for traditional American values" and in this exhortation: "We need to talk about values and not be afraid of them. Until we do that, we're not going to win in the South."