Interview on "The Daily Show"
May 15, 2006
Jon Stewart, Host: Welcome back to the show. My guest tonight: a former governor of Vermont and Democratic Presidential candidate; he's currently the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Please welcome back to the program, Governor Howard Dean! Governor!
[Dean walks onstage to audience cheering and shakes hands with Stewart.]
Dean: [to audience] Thank you! My goodness. Thank you.
[Dean and Stewart sit down.]
Stewart: We have to be careful because as they know, you are "people-powered".
Dean: It's true, it's true.
Stewart: So you may end up running around the room.
Dean: I just don't wanna get Crotchety Guy on the Street's agenda, whoah!
Stewart: He's a rough one.
Dean: He is.
Stewart: Ah, President Bush is very low in the opinion polls, I believe he's now negative thirteen--
Stewart: People are displeased with his handling of Iraq, the economy... his family--
Stewart: Katrina... how will the Democratic Party blow this?
[Dean throws back his head in laughter]
Dean: Well, we're hoping not to for a change. We got last-- two weeks ago, we actually knocked on a million doors. A thousand groups of people went out and knocked on a million doors in every state in the country, with a message that we hope that Americans will like.
Stewart: So... the Democrats are now as powerful as some of the Jehovah's Witnesses.
Stewart: Is that what you're suggesting to me?
Dean: Well, of course we believe in the separation of church and state, so...
Stewart: I believe you do. You'd wait for them to leave and then you'd knock.
Stewart: You've been-- a million doors per state? Or--
Dean: No, no, a million doors altogether. But we'll do it four or five more times before we get it done.
Stewart: Now, there's been some talk in the Democratic circles, that they're not crazy about your strategy, which I guess you call the "50 state strategy"? [Dean nods]
How many states would they have you work on?
Dean: If they had their choice, probably one, maybe. New York or something like that.
Dean: But, you notice the Democrats haven't been doing too well, and I think when you're not doing too well, there's no sense in repeating the same thing again and again and again. So I--
Stewart: What is the difference in your strategy? What do you see?
Dean: -- in my strategy, we're in every state. We have at least 4 people organizing folks all over the country, in every single state. We haven't given up on Utah and Mississippi and Alabama. We're winning races in those places.
If you want to-- ultimately--
Stewart: Is that what displeases them? They would rather have you leave states that they feel like--
Dean: Yeah, that's true. They would like to spend-- Look. Mostly it's the Washington inside folks that are upset. They wanna spend the money on getting themselves reelected, which hasn't been very successful in the last eight years, so I figured we'd try something different.
There's another problem too. The other problem is, I think we're gonna govern again. Probably, I think we're gonna pick up either the Senate or the House or maybe both, and I hope to pick up the Presidency in '08--
[Applause and cheers]
Dean: So... if you're gonna govern, it's a good thing to govern all 50 states and not to ignore 15 or 20 of them. All those people are Americans. They may not agree with us at all times, but they're Americans.
And actually, they do agree with us on a lot of things. Some of the things they're worried about are some of the things we're worried about.
Stewart: You're worried about them? Because that seems like...
Stewart: What about, though-- the big criticism is, the Democrats-- and I think this as a valid criticism-- they seem to be holding back. They got 49% of the vote, but you don't really see their effect of any influence in Washington, and they don't really have a specific plan of what they may do if they were to govern.
Dean: Ah ha. I thought you were gonna ask this... [reaches in and pulls something out of his jacket]
[Holds up a blue sheet of cardboard with printing on it] This is a door-knocker hanger...
Dean: [pantomes knocking on a door] I was the door knocker. I knocked on doors in North Carolina.
Stewart: A door knocker?
Dean: [pointing out the hole in the top of the sheet] You hang this over the doorknob if nobody's home.
And it's got things that--
Dean: Hopefully, you'll actually see--
Stewart: [pulling the sheet over to himself to look at it] -- You are so not taking back the House and the Senate!
[Dean laughs uproariously]
Stewart: Are you serious??
Dean: [takes it back from him] Turn it over.
[reading off the sheet:] 'Honest leadership and open government.' That's not a bad thing to run on, right? You haven't seen much of that in the last five years...
Stewart: But that's pretty... broad, isn't it?
Dean: Yeah, but then we followed up with some specific things like, no more free rides on jets, no more free meals, and no more stickin' stuff in bills after it's already passed, that give $16 billion to oil companies while you're paying $3 a gallon for gas. Not a bad message...
[Audience cheers and applauds]
Stewart: All right. Hope you pull it off.
[pulling the door hanger back and looking at it] And this goes on the doorknob? Are you sure this isn't just a way for Democrats to let each other know they're getting laid? They put it on the ...
Stewart: "Don't come in here!"
[Audience laughs and cheers]
Stewart: So you have picked out-- to you-- now, OK, the President, the President has done a speech on--
[To audience] settle down.
Dean: Whoah, that was a high hard one, right under the chin.
Stewart: Yeah, exactly.
This is a tough game, politics. Tough game.
Dean: It's a helluva lot more fun to discuss that than some of the things we talk about, like listening in on everybody's phone calls.
The.. you are obviously, the governor of a border state, so...
Stewart: Right. Vermont.
Stewart: So, Canadians were constantly streaming over the border...
Stewart: Um, the President tonight is gonna talk about immigration. What would the Democrats have us do?
Dean: Well, there's two things we wanna do that's substantially-- we do agree with border security, obviously. Everybody's worried about that.
But the two things we would do that are substantially different, is that the President wants to make criminals out of clergy, doctors, nurses who help people... ask for their papers first, and if they're illegal and you help them you're a felon.
Stewart: The President's, the President's for the guestworker program. I think some in the Republican--
Dean: Well, the President's version of the guestworker program is indentured servitude. You come on over, you work for a corporation. If they wanna send you back because you asked for an extra bathroom break, they can do it. That's not a good way to run a guestworker program.
Stewart: But it's a helluva way to run a company.
Dean: And that's exactly the point.
Here's the big difference between us and the right-wing bill that passed the House with the President's support. This is a President who can't find a six-foot-four Saudi terrorist. How's he gonna find 12 million undocumented people and send 'em all back across the border? That's what he wants to do!
Dean: What we-- Of course we want to support immigration laws in this country. You know, we oughtta be a law-abiding nation. President's been there for five years; all of a sudden he's picking on this issue because it's an election year.
Stewart: Well, no, I don't know that he knew Mexico wasn't part of the United States...
Stewart: I hear what you're saying. ... But, for instance, let's talk about this NSA wiretapping thing. The President and his allies have said, 'look, we briefed Congress on this.' Is that true? Did Democratic Senators and representatives know about this, and if so, why didn't they say something before? Why didn't--
Dean: I have no idear if it's true or not, because there is a special intelligence committee that's not allowed to talk about what they get briefed on.
Stewart: So they're not allowed to talk about it?
Dean: It's true.
Stewart: What is it, the he-man woman-hater's club?
Dean: No --
Dean: It's probably a derivative of Skull and Bones.
But they're really not allowed to talk--
Dean: No. There's a committee in Congress, a bipartisan committee, which sensitive intelligence information that they're supposed to oversee goes to, and they're not supposed to talk about it.
Now the question is, what happens if they discover the President's breaking the law, which he has. This is the second time. He's not only broken the law, but then misled the American people about what he's doing.
But most of us don't mind spying on Al-Qaeda, we'd just like to not have them spy on my grandmother when I call her up 6 times.
Stewart: Unless... she's in Al-Qaeda-- which we don't know!!
Stewart: Governor, well, sir, thank you for coming by, always interesting things to say. We enjoy it.
Governor Howard Dean!
[Applause as they stand and shake hands]
Transcribed from the video on YouTube. Thank you, mcmanzi!