The other shoe has hit the floor: Democrats–or at least one Democrat speaking for others–is blaming President George W. Bush for the bombing in Madrid last Friday. I’ve been waiting for this to happen, and it didn’t take long.

The accuser was, of course, our old friend and failed presidential candidate Howard Dean (Thanks, Drudge, for the highlight), now stumping for front-runner John Kerry. The former Vermont governor was holding a conference call set up by the Kerry campain to counter Bush administration charges that Kerry has turned his back on the war in Iraq. Asked if he was linking the events in Spain to the war in Iraq, Dean replied (according to the Associated Press’s Nedra Pickler): “The president was the one who dragged our troops to Iraq, which apparently has been a factor in the death of 200 Spaniards over the weekend.”

Later, of course, Dean backtracked, claiming to have been simply parroting the Al Qaeda videotape when he declared that the Madrid bombing was Bush’s fault. In a written statement to the Associated Press, he declared: “Let me be clear, there is no justification for terrorism. Today I was simply repeating what those who have claimed responsibility for the bombings in Spain said was the reason they carried out that despicable act.”

Sure. Dean, speaking for Kerry, accuses the president of the United States of being, if not a murderer, a reckless participant in the death of a couple hundred civilians. It will be interesting to learn what, if anything, Kerry has to say about Al Qaeda spokesman Howard Dean’s flip remark. Don’t hold your breath, however. Kerry’s campaign office is currently in that  tried-and-true Democratic fallback position: It’s all Bush’s fault that Dean made his statement in the first place. Kerry campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter had this to say to the Associated Press’s Pickler:

“Governor Dean was simply repeating what’s already been reported by news organizations about a group that claims responsibility for the enormous tragedy in Spain….It’s clear that what happened in Spain is a painful reminder that the war on terror is far from over and the nation would be better off if this administration took the time to rebuild our alliances rather than engaging in political attacks.”

Uh huh. Guess the Kerry campaign, spearheaded by Dean, is the only entity entitled to engage in political attacks