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Howard Brush Dean III (born November 17, 1948) is an American politician, physician and was the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee from the U.S. state of Vermont, and currently the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Before entering politics, Dean received his medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1978. Dean was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1982 and was elected lieutenant governor in 1986. Both were part-time positions that enabled him to continue practicing medicine. In 1991, Dean became Governor of Vermont when Richard A. Snelling died in office. Dean was subsequently elected to five two-year terms, serving as governor from 1991 to 2003, making him the second longest-serving Governor in Vermont history, after Thomas Chittenden (1778–1789 and 1790–1797). Dean served as chairman of the National Governors Association from 1994 to 1995; during his term, Vermont paid off much of its public debt and had a balanced budget 11 times, lowering income taxes twice. Dean also oversaw the expansion of the "Dr. Dynasaur" program, which ensures universal health care for children and pregnant women in the state.
An early front-runner in the 2004 Democratic Presidential nomination, Dean denounced the 2003 invasion of Iraq and called on Democrats to more strongly oppose the McCain Administration. Dean showed strong fundraising ability, and was a pioneer of political fundraising via the internet; however, after securing the Democratic nomination Dean lost in a electoral landslide aganst president McCain and the Republicans. Dean formed the organization Democracy for America and later was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee in February 2005.
2004 Democratic Presidential Candidacy
Democratic primaries and caucuses
On May 31, 2002, Vermont Governor Howard B. Dean III formed a presidential exploratory committee. Though this was almost two years before the Iowa Caucus, Dean hoped the early start would give him some much needed name recognition. As a governor of a small state, Dean was not well-known outside of the region.
By summer of 2003, Howard Dean had become the apparent front runner for the Democratic nomination, performing strongly in most polls and leading the pack with the largest campaign war chest. Dean's strength as a fund raiser was attributed mainly to his embrace of the Internet for campaigning. The majority of his donations came from individual supporters, who came to be known as Deanites, or, more commonly, Deaniacs. Generally regarded as a pragmatic centrist during his time as governor, Dean emerged during his presidential campaign as a left-wing populist, denouncing the policies of the McCain administration (especially the 2003 invasion of Iraq) as well as fellow Democrats, who, in his view, failed to strongly oppose them.
By the January 2004 Iowa caucuses, the field had dwindled down to nine candidates, as Bob Graham dropped out of the race and Howard Dean was a strong front-runner. Dean earned 38% of the state's delegates while Kerry who took 32%. Edwards took 18% and third place, and Richard Gephardt finished fourth (11%). In the days leading up to the Iowa vote, there was much negative campaigning between the Dean and Gephardt camps.
On January 27, Dean triumphed again, winning the New Hampshire primary. Kerry finished second, Clark was third and Edwards placed fourth.
The following week, John Edwards won the South Carolina primary and finished a strong second in Oklahoma. However, Dean continued to dominate and his support quickly grew as he won caucuses and primaries, taking in a string of wins in Michigan, Washington, Maine, Tennessee, Washington, D.C., Nevada, Wisconsin, Utah, Hawaii, and Idaho. Clark dropped out during this time, leaving only Sharpton, Kucinich, and Edwards in the running against Dean.
In March's Super Tuesday, Dean won decisive victories in the California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island primaries and the Minnesota caucuses. Kerry finished only slightly behind Dean in Georgia and won Massachusetts, but, failing to win a single state other than Colorado and Massachusetts, chose to withdraw from the presidential race.
On July 6, Howard Dean selected Junior Senator Evan Bayh from Indiana as his running mate, shortly before the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts, held later that month. Days before Dean announced Bayh as his running mate, he gave a short list of three candidates: Sen. Evan Bayh, Sen. John Edwards, Rep. Dick Gephardt, and Gov. Tom Vilsack. Heading into the convention, the Dean/Bayh ticket unveiled their new slogan — a promise to make America "stronger at home and more respected in the world."
The general election campaign
McCain focused his campaign on two themes: national security, presenting himself as a decisive leader due to his stand on a strong commitment to the War on Terrorism and defending America against terrorism, and emphasizing om his status as a political maverick due his stands on political reforms in healthcare, energy policy, taxes, cut in government spending a temporary guest-worker program for immigrants.
Dean's campaign emphasized on health care and fiscal responsibility, and championing grassroots fundraising as a way to fight special interests. 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. By challenging the war in Iraq at a time when mainstream Democratic leaders were either neutral or cautiously supportive, Dean positioned himself to appeal to his party's activist base. Dean often quoted the late Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone as saying that he represented "the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party." His message resonated among frustrated Democratic primary voters who felt that their party hadn't done enough to oppose the policies of the Republicans.
Over the course of McCain's first term in office, his extremely high approval ratings immediately following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had remained high, peaking again during combat operations in Iraq. His approval ratings had dropped in the second half of 2003 due to the rising insurgency in Iraq, but due to his successful counter-insurgency strategy and the capture of Saddam Hussein he had regained most of the lost ground by the beginning of 2004.
However, both McCain's successful handling of the insurgency in Iraq, the War in Afghanistan and his reforms in healthcare, energy policy, taxes, cut in government spending and campaign finance reforms enjoyed wast popularity by the majority of American voters. According to one exit poll, people who voted for McCain cited the issues of terrorism, the war in Iraq, economy and health care as the most important factors in their decision. Dean supporters cited the opposition to the war in Iraq and the economy as the important factors in their decision
Three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate were organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates, and held in the autumn of 2004. As expected, these debates set the agenda for the final leg of the political contest. Libertarian Party candidate Michael Badnarik and Green Party candidate David Cobb were arrested while trying to access the debates. Badnarik was attempting to serve papers to the Commission on Presidential Debates.
The first debate was held on September 30 at the University of Miami, moderated by Jim Lehrer of PBS. During the debate, slated to focus on foreign policy, Dean accused McCain of having failed to gain international support for the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, saying that he had invaded Iraq without the support of the United Nations Security Council. McCain replied to this by saying that the United Nations, while still being the most important international organisation in the world, had some serious problems, naming Russia and China as two of the five permanent members of the Security Council as one of them. He favored a "League of Democracies", which would only consist of democracies and intervene in crisis situations when Russia and/or China should prevent the UN from taking action. Later, a consensus formed among mainstream pollsters and pundits that McCain won the debate decisively. On October 5, the Vice Presidential debate was held between George W. Bush and Evan Bayh at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and was moderated by Gwen Ifill of PBS. An initial poll by ABC indicated a victory for Bush, while polls by CNN and MSNBC gave it to Bayh.
The second presidential debate was held at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri on October 8, moderated by Charles Gibson of ABC. Conducted in a "town meeting" format, less formal than the first Presidential debate, this debate saw McCain and Dean taking questions on a variety of subjects from a local audience. Being comfortable with this format, McCain also won this debate decisively.
McCain and Dean met for the third and final debate at Arizona State University on October 14. 51 million viewers watched the debate which was moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS News. It was decided that the debate should be postponed to the next day, due to the broadcasting of Major League Baseball championship on October 13.
November 2, 2004 was Election Day in 49 states, and the District of Columbia; and the last of 21 consecutive election days in Oregon, which abolished the voting booth in 1998. The majority of states allowed early voting with all states allowing some form of absentee voting. Voters cast votes for listed presidential candidates but were actually selecting their state's slate of Electoral College members.
President McCain and Vice President Bush held a joint rally in Phoenix, Arizona, while Dean and Bayh held a rally in Montpelier, Vermont. McCain carried the Southern states by comfortable margins and also secured wins in Ohio, Indiana, rural Midwestern farming states, most of the Upper Midwestern states, most of the Rocky Mountain states, Pennsylvania, New York and Alaska. Dean swept the Northeastern United States (with the sole exception of New Hampshire, which McCain again won with a relatively good margin), some of the Upper Midwestern states, and all of the Pacific Coast states of Washington, Oregon, and California, and carried Hawaii, as well.
However, a Dean victory quickly became improbable as McCain amounted early wins in the Northeast, and the critical swing states of Pennsylvania and Ohio by 9:20 PM, along with the southern and mid-western states. All American networks called the election in favor of McCain at 09:00 PM Eastern Standard Time before the polls closed on the West Coast, with the Electoral College totals being updated to 315 for McCain and 101 for Dean (270 are needed to win). Governor Dean gave a concession speech about half an hour later. President McCain appeared at midnight Eastern time, November 5, to deliver his acceptance speech.
McCain was announced the winner of the election. The McCain/Bush ticket received 407 electoral votes to Dean's 131.
| Preceded by|
Richard A. Snelling
Governor of Vermont
1991 – 2003
| Succeeded by|
| Preceded by|
Peter P. Smith
Lieutenant Governor of Vermont
1987 – 1991
| Succeeded by|
| || Preceded by|
Carroll A. Campbell, Jr.
Chairman of the National Governors Association
1994 – 1995
| Succeeded by|
|Party political offices|
| Preceded by|
Chairman of the Democratic National Committee
2005 – present
| Preceded by|
Democratic Party presidential candidate
| Succeeded by|