Howard Dean Avoids Boxer, Brown

OCT. 19, 2010

By KATY GRIMES

While in California on Friday,  former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean made a speaking appearance, but didn’t do any campaigning for Democratic candidates.

It appears that every news outlet in the state is reporting that former Alaska governor and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, traveled up and down the state last week making special appearances, but did not make any campaign appearances with U.S. senate candidate Carly Fiorina, or gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, because they are distancing themselves from her.

At an event Friday in Sacramento that featured Palin and Dean, Palin spoke openly and supportively about Fiorina and gave her a rousing endorsement. Palin even made another reference in her speech to the next California Governor as “she.”

Dean however, did not mention U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer or gubernatorial candidate and former California Gov. Jerry Brown once during his speech, despite the tight races both candidates are in.

After Barrack Obama was elected in 2008, he replaced Dean at the DNC with a close ally, Tim Kaine. Yet, there is still talk of a Dean presidential run in 2016.

Kevin Eckery, a Republican political consultant said that he wasn’t surprised Dean didn’t do any campaigning while in California for Democratic candidates. “Dean represents the status quo and the party institution,” said Eckery.

And Eckery said, “Most candidates are concerned because Dean has been front and center on the health care issue.”

Despite speaking like a moderate to the Chamber of Commerce sponsored event, Dean recently wrote about Republican opposition to national health care in The Huffington Post: “Once again in their zeal to obstruct, the Republicans have struck out, and America will be stronger because of their failure.”

But according to Eckery, “Dean’s been on a 12-step campaign since the last election.”

Dean is often remembered for the famous campaign scream during his run for President: “Not only are we going to New Hampshire … we’re going to South Carolina and Oklahoma 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. Yeeeaah!”

However, at Friday’s Sacramento event, in a self-deprecating moment, Dean subtly mocked the campaign incident as he started his speech. After greeting the California audience, Dean said, “and we’re going to South Caroline and Oklahoma… but that didn’t work out so well.” Only a small group in the large audience reacted, and those who realized what he was referring to, laughed.

Democratic political consultant Steve Maviglio had a different perspective on Dean’s brief California visit with no campaigning. “He’s not at the DNC anymore, and seems to be on the private lecture circuit,” Maviglio wrote in an email, explaining why Dean did not stay in the state and campaign.

After Palin resigned as Alaska Governor, she immediately embarked on a speaking and appearance circuit. This election cycle, Palin has offered her endorsements to many Republicans – more than two-dozen at last count.

And while Palin is not actively campaigning with Fiorina or Whitman, most political consultants say it’s because there are not enough Republican base voters in the state to carry either candidate to a victory in California. Independent voters have been the primary target during the campaigns recently.

However, this past weekend former President Clinton was in the state stumping for Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom, but Howard Dean was absent.

Palin attended a Republican fund-raiser in Anaheim along with RNC Chairman Michael Steele, demonstrating that she’s not persona non grata in the state.

The Brown and Boxer campaigns didn’t have much to offer in the way of an explanation when asked why Dean did not do any campaigning for them. At Boxer’s campaign office, one campaign employee said she was “not entirely sure,”  if Dean had campaigned, or why he had not.

She then told me to call the the press office, but the phone number she gave was incorrect.

Brown’s press spokesman did not return calls or emails by publishing time.

Meanwhile, Howard Dean hasn’t tempered his comments, despite being critical of the lack of civility during this election. “If you look at the ads, the average ad is about 20 percent fact and 80 percent fiction. They are outrageous,” he said during his speech.

But last week, Dean send out an email from his political action committee that blasted the candidates Palin has endorsed as “extreme.” He singled out Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, and Joe Miller in Alaska, both with strong Tea Party movement backing. “I have been in politics for a long time now, and I have never seen more extreme candidates than the ones being pushed today by Sarah Palin,” Dean said.

On Friday however, Dean said O’Donnell, Miller and other “outliers” in the conservative movement distorted the message.

In a story last week in The Sacramento Bee promoting the political big whigs campaigning in the state, the Bee reported, “Palin will share a stage today with another former governor, 2004 Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean, when the two speak at the Sacramento Metro Chamber’s annual Perspectives event at the Sacramento Convention Center.”

The story reported, “Palin, meanwhile, is headlining a Republican National Committee ‘victory rally’ in Anaheim on Saturday.” There was no mention of where Dean would be heading after his appearance, or why he wasn’t sticking around to campaign.

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