Howard Dean

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"I don't mind being called a liberal. I just don't really think it's true."

Howard Brush Dean III (born November 17, 1948) is an American physician, author, and retired politician who served as the 79th governor of Vermont from 1991 to 2003 and chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) from 2005 to 2009. Dean was a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2004 presidential election where he campaigned as long-shot candidate. Later, his implementation of the fifty-state strategy as head of the DNC is credited with the Democratic victories in the 2006 and 2008 elections. Afterward, he became a political commentator and consultant to McKenna Long & Aldridge, a law and lobbying firm.


  • You think the RNC could get this many people of color into a single room?...Maybe if they got the hotel staff in there.
  • No doctor is going to do an abortion on a live fetus. That doesn't happen. Doctors don't do that. If they do, they'll get their license pulled, as well they should.
    • Howard Dean during a teleconference with reporters on January 15, 2004 [citation needed]
  • I don't know. There are many theories about it. The most interesting theory that I've heard so far, which is nothing more than a theory, I can't—think it can't be proved, is that he was warned ahead of time by the Saudis. Now, who knows what the real situation is, but the trouble is that by suppressing that kind of information, you lead to those kinds of theories, whether they have any truth to them or not, and then eventually they get repeated as fact. So I think the president is taking a great risk by suppressing the clear, the key information that needs to go to the Kean commission.
    • Describing a theory held by some that President George W. Bush knew about the 9-11 attack coming to America. The Diane Rehm Show, public radio station WAMU, December 1, 2003. Quoted by Timothy Noah, "Howard Dean: Whopper of the Week", December 13, 2003. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  • We don't know that yet. We don't know that yet, Wolf. We still have a country whose city is mostly without electricity. We have tumultuous occasions in the south where there is no clear governance. We have a major city without clear governance.
    • Howard Dean's reply to CNN's Wolf Blitzer, when asked if Iraq was better off without Saddam Hussein, April 23, 2003. [citation needed]
  • From a religious point of view, if God had thought homosexuality is a sin, he would not have created gay people.[citation needed]
  • Well, Republicans [...] a lot of them have never made an honest living in their lives.
  • Their…they talk about morals, but they don't do anything to help the poor. The last time I saw that, helping the poor was somethin' that was mentioned 300…3000 times in the Bible; I've yet to find a reference to gay marriage in the Bible.
    • The Daily Show, June 23, 2005.
  • This is a struggle of good and evil. And we're the good.
    • His opinion of the difference between Republicans and Democrats. Remarks at a Democratic fundraiser at the home of John and Nancy Hiebert, February 25, 2005, in Lawrence, Kansas. Quoted in "Dean Roars Into Town" by Joel Mathis, Lawrence Journal-World, February 26, 2005. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  • He called for House majority leader Tom DeLay to serve a "jail sentence" for corruption, when DeLay had not been convicted of any crimes [26][citation needed] (though DeLay was indeed subsequently indicted and arrested on charges of criminal conspiracy and money laundering.)
  • In a radio interview with San Antonio station WOAI on December 5, 2005, Dean said, "The idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea that, unfortunately, is just plain wrong." [29][citation needed]
  • In a speech given to the American Jewish Committee, Dean said "I was recently asked about the difference between the Democratic and Republican parties," When it comes right down to it, the essential difference is that the Democrats fundamentally believe it is important to make sure that American Jews feel comfortable being American Jews." [30][citation needed]
  • Referring to Nouri al-Maliki, he told a group of business leaders "The Iraqi prime minister is an anti-Semite. We don't need to spend $200 and $300 and $500 billion dollars bringing democracy to Iraq to turn it over to people who believe that Israel doesn't have a right to defend itself and who refuse to condemn Hezbollah." [31][citation needed]
  • Appearing on the 700 Club on television, he incorrectly said, "The Democratic Party platform from 2004 says marriage is between a man and a woman." [32][citation needed] Dean later apologized for misstating the party's official position: "The Democratic Party remains committed to equal protection under the law for all Americans. How we achieve that goal continues to be the subject of a contentious debate, but our Party continues to oppose constitutional amendments that seek to short circuit the debate on how to achieve equality for all Americans."
  • The fact that the president was willing to reveal classified information for political gain and put the interests of his political party ahead of America's security shows that he can no longer be trusted to keep America safe.
  • You have the power to take our country back.
    • From his formal announcement speech on July 23, 2003 [4]
  • Not only are we going to New Hampshire, Tom Harkin, we're going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona.. and North Dakota and New Mexico! We're going to California and Texas and New York! And we're going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan! And then we're going to Washington D.C. to take back the White House! Yeah!!!
    • From his concession speech on the eve of the January 2004 Iowa Caucuses, the "Dean Scream" incident
  • We are the great grassroots campaign of the modern era, built from mousepads, shoe leather and hope.
  • George Bush calls his biggest fundraisers Rangers and Pioneers. We gather here today and we call ourselves simply Americans.
  • And the reason we're going to win the nomination is because of you. Because soon or later, all Americans are going to learn what you've already learned; that the biggest lie told by people like me to people like you at election time is that, "If you vote for me, I'm going to solve all your problems." The truth is, the power to change this country is in your hands, not mine.
    • January 27, 2004 [5]
  • I was hoping to get a reception like this, I'd just hoped that it would be on Thursday night instead of Tuesday night.
    • 2004 Democratic National Convention speech, after the audience cheered enthusiastically while he politely asked them to let him speak.
  • I don't mind being called a liberal. I just don't really think it's true.
  • 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.
    • December 2003 [7]
  • 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.
    • January 3, 2004 [9]
  • I think the problem with the country is that we operate on a sickness model, not a wellness model... Basically, we treat people who become ill. What we don't do is do a very good job in keeping them healthy in the first place... We lose all the educational benefits, all the things we could be doing, all the things we ought to be doing, in terms of food safety... because the emphasis is on sickness. But I really don't think there's a conspiracy to make people sick so we can heal them. That I don't agree with.
    • Source: Real Time with Bill Maher, October 15, 2004
  • I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for, but I admire their discipline and their organization.
    • Maggie Haberman, "Dean's Howling For Shot To Lead DNC Into Future Battle To Head Democrats", New York Daily News, January 30, 2005. Retrieved from Proquest May 12, 2016.
  • You -- (applause continues) -- you know, the idea that you have to wait on line for eight hours to cast your ballot in Florida -- there's something the matter with that. You think people can work all day and then pick up their kids at child care or wherever, and get home and then have a -- still manage to sandwich in an eight-hour vote? Well, Republicans, I guess, can do that, because a lot of them have never made an honest living in their lives. (Light applause.) But for ordinary working people, who have to work eight hours a day, they have kids, they got to get home to those kids, the idea of making them stand for eight hours to cast their ballot for democracy is wrong. We ought to make voting easier to do. Mail -- Oregon has got it right. (Applause.)
  • The Republicans are not very friendly to different kinds of people. I mean, they're a pretty monolithic party. They pretty much, they all behave the same, they all look the same. It's pretty much a white Christian party. Again, the Democrats abduct everybody you can think of. So, as this gentleman was talking about, it's a coalition, a lot of it independent. The problem is, we gotta make sure that turns into a party, which means this: I've gotta spend time in the communities, and our folks gotta spend time in the communities. I think, we're more welcoming to different folks, because that's the type of people we are. But that's not enough. We do have to deliver on things, particularly on jobs, and housing, and business opportunities and college opportunities, and so forth. I think, there has been a lot of progress in the last 20-40 years, but the stakes keep changing. I think there's a lot of folks who vote, maybe right now, in the Asian-American communities, who don't wanna vote Democrats, but they're angry with the President on his immigration policy, the Patriot Act. But, what we need to do while this is going on, is develop a really close relationship with the Asian-American community, so later on there's gonna be a benefit, you know, more equal division. There'll be some party loyalty, as people would remember that we were there when it really made a difference. That's really what I'm trying to do. If I come in here 8 weeks before the elections, we're not getting anywhere. Asking if you would vote, you're still mad at the lesser of two evils. So that's why I'm here 3.5 years before the elections. We want different kind of people to run for office, too. We want a very diverse group of people running for office, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Latinos. I think Villaraigosa's election in Los Angeles is incredibly important for the Democratic Party. Bush can go out and talk all he wants about "this is the party of opportunity", you know, he can make his appointments, Condi Rice, or, what's this guy's name, Commerce Secretary, Gutierrez. But you can't succeed electorally if you're a person of color in the Republican Party, there're very few people who have succeeded. You can pick some out, JC Watts, I'm trying to think of an Asian-American who's been a success who's a Republican, I can't think of one off the top of my head. You know, there's always a few, but not many. Because this is the party of opportunity for people of color, and for communities of color. And we're hoping to cement that relationship so that'll always be that way. [Q: You've been very tough on the Republicans, some Democrats criticized you over the weekend for doing that, Joe Biden...] I just got off the phone with John Edwards. What happened was, John Edwards was, in a sense, set up by the reporter, "well you know, Governor Dean said this". Well what I said was, the Republican leadership didn't seem to care much about working people. That's essentially the gist of the quote, and, you know, the RNC put out a press release. I don't think there's a lot of difference between me and John Edwards right now, I haven't spoken to Senator Biden, but I'm sure that I will. Today, it's all over the wires that Durbin and Sheila Jackson Lee and all of these folks are coming to my defense. Look, we have to be tough on the Republicans; the Republicans don't represent ordinary Americans, and they don't have any understanding of what it is to have to go out and try to make ends meet. You know, the context of what I was talking about was these long lines that you have to wait in to vote. How could you design a system that sometimes causes people to vote, to stand in line for 6 or 8 hours, if you had any understanding what their lives are like: they gotta pick up the kids, they gotta work, sometimes they have two jobs. So that was the context of the remarks. [crosstalk/laughter] This is one of those flaps that comes up once in a while when I get tough, but I think we all wanna be tougher on the Republicans.
  • My view is FOX News is a propaganda outlet for the Republican Party and I don't comment on FOX News.
  • I may be controversial, but my allegiance is to people outside the Beltway.
    • National Public Radio, June 13, 2005
  • Barry Goldwater once said, 'I'd rather be right than president.' I can't tell you how much I disagree with that Barry Goldwater.
    • On Hardball, June 29, 2005
  • The president and his right-wing Supreme Court think it is 'okay' to have the government take your house if they feel like putting a hotel where your house is.
  • The Iraqi prime minister is an anti-Semite. We don't need to spend $200 and $300 and $500 billion bringing democracy to Iraq to turn it over to people who believe that Israel doesn't have a right to defend itself and who refuse to condemn Hezbollah.
  • Not only are we going to New Hampshire. We're going to South Carolina and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we're going to California and Texas and New York. And we're going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan. And then we're going to Washington, D.C. to take back the White House. YeAeeAeeAeeAeeAeeAeHHHH!
    • Said excitedly during the Iowa Caucus on January 19, 2004

About Howard Dean[edit]

  • Maybe his mother loved him, but I've never met anybody who does. He's never won anything, as best I can tell.
  • As somebody who is a Christian myself, I don't like it when people use religion to divide, whether that is Republican or Democrat. [...] I think in terms of his role as party spokesman, [Dean] probably needs to be a little more careful and I suspect that is a message he is going to be getting from a number of us. [...] We are at a time in our country's history that inclusive language is better than exclusive language.
  • I hope Governor Dean will remember that he didn't get elected to be a wimp. We have been waiting a long time for someone to stand up for Democrats.
    • DNC member and South Carolina state representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter, June 11, 2005 [14]
  • Dean is a raving nut bag...a raving, sinister, demagogic nutbag...I and a few other people saw that he should be destroyed.
  • The worst thing that a politician can be called is elitist-and what do we mean by that? In Iowa, Howard Dean was labeled that-a sushi eating, PBS watching, Volvo driving man-not macho enough, clearly, to win the vote of working men. But who determines the massive layoffs and the movement of corporations abroad that gut the economies of so many cities and drive families from comfort into chaos? Those are the members of the real elite
    • Marge Piercy "THE MORE WE SEE, THE LESS WE KNOW" in My Life, My Body (2015)

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