CNN 'Live From...'
July 30, 2004
HOWARD DEAN (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks for having me on.
PHILLIPS: Well, we were talking last night, actually on CNN Radio and it was just prior to John Kerry's speech and we were sort of tossing around, well, what will he talk about? What is important? Then the speech happened and it was interesting because listening to what he said reminded me of a number of your speeches. Very similar philosophy with regard to democracy, family values--did you feel a connection?
DEAN: Yes, I thought that was one of the best speeches I have ever heard him give. That was just phenomenal. He did exactly what he had to do at the convention, which was to give people some sense of who he was and what his priorities were. I thought it was a pretty extraordinary speech.
PHILLIPS: You talk a lot about democracy now, especially with your new campaign going on and you talk about progressive Democrats. What did he say that moved you in the right direction? What did he say that Democrats needed to hear?
DEAN: Well, first of all, I thought it was great he addressed the war because there was a lot of complaining about that in the media and I think he put that to rest and I think his position on Iraq is very clear and I thought that was very helpful. Secondly, I think the biggest piece of his speech, other than the personal stuff, which was very effective, had to do with the economy and economic security. You know, all of us want the same thing. We want decent jobs, decent health care, schools and some kind of a national security policy that is consistent with American morality. The Republicans strike out on all four of those. John Kerry hit all of those out the park and I thought that was a great way to start the race.
PHILLIPS: There are a couple questions I've been wanting to ask you and I didn't get a chance to do it yesterday. As you--you see a lot of voters and a lot of politicians still talking about the Dean factor. I want to go back, I want to come forward and then I want to look into the future. Let's go back when the Dean factor was extremely hot; you hit a bump in the road. What was going through your mind at that time when you were so on fire and then it just kind of came to a halt and things definitely changed at that moment?
DEAN: Well, John Kerry ran a great race in Iowa. We knew whoever won the Iowa primary was going to win the whole thing, which is why we spent so much time and effort and money in Iowa trying to win. He won, he ran a great campaign the last three weeks, came from behind, nosed out the field and went on to become the presidential nominee. And we were all left to collect what was left of our campaigns, the rest of the other nine of us. But I think he deserves credit for that. You know, it was a tough, hard-fought campaign. But I've always believed that when you're on the same team after the fighting is over about who is going to be the leader, you get up and dust yourself off and now you're on the team.
PHILLIPS: And you've done that, but was there any moment last night, maybe the day before, maybe even when you were speaking that you thought, as you were looking at John Kerry, "That would be nice if that were me"?
DEAN: That kind of stuff is all behind me, I don't look back very often because I don't find it is very productive. We have a big job ahead of us. This is not over. November 2nd is probably the most important election in most Americans lifetimes. Are we going to continue down the road with the kind of extreme radicalism that we have had, half a trillion dollar deficits, troops abroad with inadequate support--or are we going to have somebody who really knows what they're doing become President of the United States?
PHILLIPS: All right, let's look forward. Two questions. How are you going to stay involved? How are you going to be active with John Kerry, John Edwards and the path with the Democrats? DEAN: Well, we're going to do whatever the Kerry-Edwards folks ask us to do. We already have done fund-raising surrogate appearances and campaigned with John Kerry. But I also am running something called DemocracyforAmerica.com which is a grass roots organization and we have about 600,000 people on our list. We have 800 people running for office, which is where a lot of my energy goes, is trying to get those people elected. And so far, they're doing pretty well. More of them have won their primaries than lost and that is pretty exciting. This is an attempt to get grassroots, progressive Democrats elected to state houses and county commissioner seats and inspectors of elections in Florida, which has turned out to be a pretty important office.
PHILLIPS: OK. Final question. You have to be honest with me now on this one, OK? Let's say John Kerry does win the presidency, let's say he comes to you and says, I want you to be part of my administration. Would you do it and what would be the position you'd want?
DEAN: I've pretty much disciplined myself to not think about that. I think you make a terrible mistake looking down the road. I think all of us have to concentrate on winning on November 2nd. I am quite sure that John Kerry is not spending much time thinking about who is going to be in his Cabinet and if he is we're not going to win. So that's not something we're going to think about until after November 2nd. We're going to think about getting John Kerry elected President of the United States.
PHILLIPS: Governor Howard Dean, sounding like a president there, sir.
DEAN: Thanks very much.
PHILLIPS: ... Governor, thanks for being with us.