Dean (left) with wife Dr. Judy Steinberg.
Howard Brush Dean III, M.D., (born November 17, 1948), is a Democratic politician who served as Governor of Vermont from 1991 to 2003. While initially favored to win the 2004 Democratic Party Presidential nomination, he suspended his campaign on February 18, 2004 after winning only the Washington, DC primary. On March 2 he won the primary in his home state of Vermont, the only Super Tuesday state not won by John Kerry.
Dean's presidential campaign was remarkable at the time for its extensive use of the Internet to reach out to its supporters. The candidate and his staff frequently "blogged" while on the campaign trail and even took important campaign-related decisions based on polls conducted on his website. By soliciting contributions online, mostly in small donations from individuals, the campaign shattered previous fundraising records for the Democratic presidential primary. Dean has thus been credited with being the first national candidate to play to the strengths of the Internet, in particular by engaging the American public directly in the political process.
Howard was born in New York City to Andree Dean, art appraiser; and Howard Brush Dean Jr. (deceased), former Dean Witter Reynolds top executive. He graduated from Yale University in 1971 and spent the next few years working as a stock broker. Dean received his doctor of medicine degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1978 and practiced as a physician until he became Governor of Vermont upon the death of incumbent Richard Snelling. Raised in the Episcopal Church, he became a Congregationalist in 1982.
Dean married Judith Steinberg Dean, M.D. She uses her maiden name (Judith Steinberg) in their joint medical practice to avoid confusion with her husband. Elsewhere she goes by Judith Dean or Judy Dean.
Early Political Career (Timeline)
- 1980 Volunteer in Jimmy Carter's re-election campaign
- 1982-1986 Served in the Vermont House of Representatives
- 1985 Elected Assistant Minority Leader
- 1986 Elected Lieutenant Governor
- August 14, 1991 -- Assumed governorship (after Governor Richard Snelling died of a heart attack)
Major Gubernatorial Accomplishments
- Instituted Civil Unions- 2000
- Health coverage for 96% of Vermont's children
- Balanced state budget every year
- Dramatic decreases in teen pregnancy and child sexual abuse
- Eliminated public school funding disparities
Campaign for 2004 Democratic Nomination
On May 31, 2002, Dean declared himself a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination in the 2004 U.S. presidential election cycle. Though he began his bid as a "long shot" candidate, his campaign's unconventional embrace of the Internet propelled his candidacy forward. By autumn of 2003, Dean had become the undisputed frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, outpacing his rivals in fundraising (mainly from individual contributions on his website) and performing strongly in most polls.
Dean began his campaign by emphasizing health care and fiscal responsibility. However, his opposition to the U.S. plan to invade Iraq (and his forceful criticism of Democrats in Congress who voted to authorize the use of force) quickly eclipsed other issues, resonating with disillusioned Democrats and using momentum from the burgeoning anti-war movement to build an impressive online campaign. Early on in the campaign, Dean repeatedly contrasted his positions with those of other Democratic candidates by claiming that he came from "the democratic wing of the Democratic Party" (implying that the other candidates' positions barely differed from those of their Republican opposition). The phrase was first used by the late Senator Paul Wellstone.
Much discussion and criticism focused on Dean's perceived electability. Critics (including fellow candidate Joe Lieberman and the centrist Democratic Leadership Council) claimed that Dean's positions appeared too liberal and his rhetoric too strident to appeal to moderate voters in the general election. Dean and his supporters responded by arguing that the Democrats will never win with "Bush light," and that the party needed a candidate who would stand up to George W. Bush and energize the Democratic base. (Some pundits have cited national polls showing a unusually polarized electorate going into 2004, suggesting that voter turnout will be particularly important.)
The media began in 2003 to more closely scrutinize Dean's record as governor of Vermont, which appeared arguably more moderate than his new national profile: "Dean's emerging national reputation as a liberal tribune [...] obscures the centrist course he steered during his tenure as governor of Vermont" (Washington Post, Aug. 3 2003). As Dean told Salon.com: "I don't mind being characterized as 'liberal'—I just don't happen to think it's true."
Some, most notably fellow candidate Dennis Kucinich, attacked Dean from the left, challenging his credentials as an anti-war candidate due to his refusal to support the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and cuts to the Pentagon budget. Kucinich further criticized Dean for his failure to support a universal single-payer health care system (which Dean rejected as politically impossible).
Dean received the endorsement of Al Gore, former United States Vice President and 2000 presidential candidate, on December 9, 2003. In the following weeks Dean was endorsed by former U.S. senators Bill Bradley and Carol Moseley Braun, unsuccessful Democratic presidential candidates from the 2000 and 2004 primaries, respectively.
On January 19, 2004, Dean's campaign suffered a blow when a last-minute surge by rival John Kerry led to an embarrassing defeat for Dean in the 2004 Iowa Democratic caucuses, representing the first votes cast in primary season. Dean had been a strong contender for weeks in advance in that state, battling with Dick Gephardt for first place in the polls. To the surprise of the Dean and Gephardt campaigns, Dean finished third in Iowa behind John Kerry and John Edwards (Gephardt finished fourth.) Some Dean supporters questioned whether allegedly unfair media coverage played a role in the result. Other pols attribute the loss to his staff and supporters inexperienced with a caucus process in which party regulars dominate. Dennis Kucinich's caucus-eve call to his supporters, to switch their allegiances to John Edwards in order to stop Dean, had a major impact on the result.
At a post-caucus rally in Iowa, Dean gave an animated speech intended to cheer up the thousands in attendance. However, many in the television audience criticized the speech as loud, peculiar, and unpresidential. In particular, a quote from the speech was aired repeatedly in the days following the caucus. Dean conceded that the speech did not project the best image, jokingly referring to it as a "crazy, red-faced rant" on The Late Show with David Letterman. In an interview later that week with Diane Sawyer, he said he was "a little sheepish, ... but I'm not apologetic." Sawyer and many others in the national broadcast news media later expressed some regret about overplaying the story, especially after comparing the broadcast feed of the speech (which failed to capture the crowd noise because Dean used a noise-cancelling microphone) to recordings from within the crowd.
On January 27 Dean again suffered a defeat, finishing second to Kerry in the New Hampshire primary. As late as one week before the first votes were cast in Iowa's caucuses, Dean had enjoyed a 30% lead in New Hampshire; accordingly, this loss represented another major setback to his campaign.
Iowa and New Hampshire were only the first in a string of embarrassing losses for the Dean campaign, culminating in a disappointing third place showing in the Wisconsin primary on February 17, 2004. The next day, Dean announced that his candidacy had "come to an end," though he continued to urge people to vote for him, and he later won the Vermont primaries on Super Tuesday, March 2, 2004.
While his presidential bid ultimately ended in failure, his supporters felt it was not a lost cause, serving to frame the White House race by tapping in to voters' concerns about the war in Iraq, in the process energizing Democrats and sharpening criticism of incumbent George W. Bush. At present, many political pundits affirm that Dean's contribution was "cathartic" for the party.
- May 31, 2002 - Files paperwork to run for 2004 presidential election
- March, 2003 - Campaign signed deal with Meetup.com to integrate Meetup functionality directly into the main page of the campaign website.
- June 23, 2003 - Formally announced candidacy for President in 2004.
- November 8, 2003 - Announces intention to forgo federal campaign financing (and hence primary spending limit), following online vote of supporters
- December 9, 2003 - Receives endorsement from former Vice President Al Gore
- January 6, 2004 - Receives endorsement from Bill Bradley, former US senator and Gore's rival for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 2000.
- January 15, 2004 - Carol Moseley Braun drops out of the race and announces her support for Dean, saying that "Governor Dean is the candidate best-equipped to bring Americans together, to renew our country, and restore our privacy, our liberty and our economic security."
- January 28, 2004 - Appoints Roy Neel as CEO of his campaign; campaign manager Joe Trippi leaves after being offered a lesser position on the campaign and refusing it
- February 18, 2004 - Dean ends his campaign for president after coming in a distant 3rd place in the Wisconsin primary on February 17, 2004.
- March 2, 2004 - Dean wins a primary in his home state of Vermont.
- March 18, 2004 - Dean launches Democracy for America, an advocacy group dedicated to returning political power to the community level.
- March 25, 2004 - Dean endorses John Kerry.
In the "invisible primary" of raising campaign dollars, Howard Dean led the Democratic pack in the early stages of the 2004 campaign. Among the candidates, he ranked first in total raised ($25.4 million as of September 30, 2003) and first in cash-on-hand ($12.4 million). However, even this performance paled to next to that of George W. Bush, who by that date had raised $84.6 million for a primary campaign in which he had no real challenger.
Many commented on the Dean campaign's unprecedented success with fund-raising over the Internet. While presidential campaigns have traditionally obtained finance by tapping wealthy, established political donors, Dean's funds came largely in small donations over the Internet; the average overall donation size was just under $80. This method of fundraising for the campaign offers several important advantages. First, next to virtually any other method of fundraising (events, telemarketing, direct mail), raising money on the Internet costs virtually nothing, netting a greater amount. Second, because donors on average contribute far less than the legal limit ($2,000 per individual), the campaign can continue to re-solicit them throughout the election season - which importantly improves mindshare: the more times people contribute, the more investment they feel they have... and not just financially.
In November, 2003, after a much-publicized online vote among his followers, Dean became the first Democrat to abandon the FEC's matching funds system (and the spending limits that go with them) since the system began in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal. (John Kerry followed his lead — an unattractive option in his particular circumstances at the time but one forced by Dean.) In addition to state-by-state spending limits for the primaries, the system limits a candidate to spending only $44.6 million until the Democratic National Convention in July, a sum that would almost certainly run out soon after the early primary season. (George W. Bush declined federal matching funds in 2000 and did so again for the 2004 campaign.) Previous cycles demonstrated how a financially limited nominee (such as Bob Dole) could not compete against a well-funded incumbent in the months before the party conventions.
In a sign that the Dean campaign was starting to think beyond the primaries, they began in late 2003 to speak of a "$100 revolution" in which 2 million Americans would give $100 in order to compete with Bush. But it would fall to John Kerry to (largely) adopt this formula.
Post Campaign & Democracy for America
Following Dean's withdrawal after the Wisconsin primary, he pledged to support the eventual Democratic nominee. Though many supporters encouraged him to support the only remaining "non-establishment candidate," John Edwards, Dean remained neutral until John Kerry became the presumptive nominee. Dean endorsed Kerry on March 25, 2004.
On March 18, 2004, Dean founded the group Democracy for America. This group was created to house the large, Internet-based organization Dean generated for his presidential campaign. Its goal is to help like-minded Democrats get elected to office, though some suggest it is merely a placeholder for a 2008 presidential bid should John Kerry stumble.
Dean has strongly urged his left-leaning, maverick supporters to support Kerry as opposed to Ralph Nader, arguing that a vote for Nader will only help to re-elect Bush.
Dean says: "I will support affirmative action, from which we have all benefited, because it has strengthened our institutions and provided opportunity. I will work to ensure that racial profiling ends and I will direct my Attorney General to use regulatory authority under existing anti-discrimination laws the 1964 Civil Rights Act to define racial profiling as discrimination, and to withhold federal funds from state and local law enforcement that violate those regulations. I will appoint an Attorney General who sees our constitution not just as a document to be manipulated, ignored, and violated, but who recognizes and respects it as the fabric that binds the American community together. I will oppose expansion of the Patriot Act, efforts to remove sunset clauses included in the act, and I will seek to repeal the portions of the Patriot Act that are unconstitutional. I will put the weight of my office behind the Innocence Protection Act, proposed by Senator Patrick Leahy, which would expand access to DNA testing and strengthen the quality of lawyers for defendants facing the death penalty. I will protect the civil rights of immigrants detained by the Department of Homeland Security. I will work for federal legislation to restore the right to vote in any federal election for ex-felons who have paid their debt to society."
Dean says, "As a physician, I do not like the idea that Congress or the President think they should practice medicine. Abortion is a deeply personal decision which ought to be made between the patient, the family and physician. It's none of the government's business." and "I will unflinchingly defend a woman's right to choose against those who would take away this right."
Dean says, "My administration will take ambitious steps to strengthen our clean air and water standards, promote renewable energy sources, conserve our wild and open spaces, strengthen our downtowns to reduce sprawl, and provide a safe and healthy environment for our children."
Dean says, "Fifty-five years ago, President Harry Truman delivered what was known as the Four Point Speech. In it, he challenged Democrats and Republicans alike to come together to build strong and effective international organizations, to support arrangements that would spur global economic recovery, to join with free people everywhere in the defense of human liberty, and to draw upon the genius of our people to help societies who needed help in the battle against hunger and illness, ignorance, and despair. Harry Truman believed that a world in which even the poorest and most desperate had grounds for hope would be a world in which our own children could grow up in security and peace not because evil would then be absent from the globe, but because the forces of right would be united and strong. Harry Truman had faith as I have faith, and as I believe the American people have faith, that if we are wise enough and determined enough in our opposition to hate and our promotion of tolerance, in our opposition to aggression and our fidelity to law, we will have allies not only among governments but among people everywhere. Such an alliance can never be beaten. The creation of such an alliance will be my goal if I am entrusted with the presidency of the United States. Because, this is what will keep America strong."
Dean opposes raising the retirement age or applying means tests to Social Security benefits. Has been criticized by other candidates for comments he made in 1995 suggesting that the retirement age ought to be raised to age 70, and for more recently saying he would entertain the notion.
Dean says, "We can't (withdraw from Iraq). We cannot lose the peace in Iraq. This situation was created by Bush, who ignored the greater danger in Iran and North Korea and Al Qaida at home to do it. This was a mistake, this war. And the president's gotten into it, now we're going to have to get out of it. But if we leave Iraq to chaos, Al Qaida may move in, if we leave Iraq to a fundamentalist Shiite regime with Iranian influence, we will be in both circumstances worse off than we were when Saddam Hussein was president." and "I opposed President Bush’s war in Iraq from the beginning. While Saddam Hussein’s regime was clearly evil and needed to be disarmed, it did not present an immediate threat to U.S. security that would justify going to war, particularly going to war alone. From the beginning, I felt that winning the war would not be the hard part - winning the peace would be. This Administration failed to plan for the postwar period as it did for the battle, and today we are paying the price."
Dean supports federal legislation to close the so-called gun show loophole and to renew the assault weapons ban. Supports the re-enactment of the Brady Bill. Would leave most additional gun control to the states. Received an "A" rating from the NRA most of his career.
Dean promises to force FDA evaluation of medical marijuana within one year after taking office, and says he will abide by their recommendation. Strident opponent of methadone maintenance to treat opiate dependence.
"I will work to expand equal rights to same-sex couples and ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, strengthen federal protections against anti-gay violence, give federal employees the right to name same-sex partners as beneficiaries, remove bias from our immigration laws, and end the military's Don't ask, don't tell policy." As governor, he signed the nation's first same-sex civil unions bill.
"I will work to ensure that people who work hard, pay taxes, and otherwise obey the rules can become full participants in our society, including becoming citizens. I will work to regularize the inevitable future migration of labor in a way that makes economic and humanitarian sense. Deaths in the desert do neither. I will propose reforms that ensure we can meet our economy’s need for workers at all skill levels, without pitting foreign workers against U.S. workers and while respecting workers' rights including the right to organize. I will work to forge stronger partnerships with countries from which immigrants migrate -- especially Mexico -- so that in the long run, fewer people will be driven by desperation to break laws and risk their lives for basic opportunities that every human being deserves. I will work to ensure that immigrants who are detained by the Department of Homeland Security are afforded their basic civil rights and that our concern for national security does not become another excuse for racial profiling. I will build on our country’s long history of welcoming immigrants in ways that reflect our need for security but do not sacrifice the basic ideals upon which this nation was founded."
Supports a negotiated peace based on acceptance of a two-state solution by majorities of both Israelis and Palestinians. Has indicated that his position is closer to that of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee than that of Americans for Peace Now. A minor controversy ensued when he made comments that the United States should not "take sides" in the conflict. In response to criticism, he affirmed his support for the "special relationship" the U.S. has with Israel, referring to America's economic, military, and political support for Israel. In April 2004, he stated that he supports Israel's assassination of Hamas leaders.
His campaigns failure
Dean commited political suicide when he declared himself to be a metrosexual.
Winning Back America
A collection of Howard Dean's speeches from the 2004 Presidential campaign and the beginning of the Democracy for America PAC.
"We are the great grassroots campaign of the modern era, built from mouse pads, shoe leather and hope."
"I've resisted pronouncing a sentence before guilt is found. I still have this old-fashioned notion that even with people like Osama, who is very likely to be found guilty, we should do our best not to, in positions of executive power, not to prejudge jury trials."
"As governor, I came to believe that the death penalty would be a just punishment for certain, especially heinous crimes, such as the murder of a child or the murder of a police officer. The events of September 11 convinced me that terrorists also deserve the ultimate punishment."
"Some would argue, you know, in some of the books of the New Testament, the ending of the Book of Job is different. I think, if I'm not mistaken, there's one book where there's a more optimistic ending, which we believe was tacked on later."
"..What I want to know . . . is why in the world the Democratic Party leadership is supporting the President's unilateral attack on Iraq?
What I want to know . . . is why are Democratic leaders supporting tax cuts? The question is not how big the tax cut should be -- the question should be: Can we afford a tax cut at all with the largest deficit in the history of the country?
What I want to know . . . is why we're fighting in Congress about the Patient's Bill of Rights when the Democratic Party ought to be standing up for health care for every man, woman and child in this country?
What I want to know . . . is why our folks are voting for the President's No Child Left Behind bill that leaves every child behind, every teacher behind, every school board behind and every property tax payer behind?
I am Howard Dean. And I'm here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party..."
- Democracy for America
- Official Howard Dean Campaign Website
- Official Howard Dean Web Log (Blog)
- E-Democracy's Top 50 Howard Dean Links
- Dean Campaign Organization Wiki
- Dean's genealogy - includes King James IV of Scotland
- Online archive of Howard Dean's syndicated column