Hannity & Colmes

January 13, 2005

Governor Dean appeared on FOX News with Alan Colmes Thursday evening. The following is a transcript of that interview. Special thanks to Blog for America contributor, Christine Polewarczyk, known as "Christine in Mass.," for generously providing this transcript.Original on BlogForAmerica.

Colmes: I'm Alan Colmes. Earlier today I sat down with former presidential candidate Howard Dean, who this week announced his candidacy for the Chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee.


Now that you've announced you're seeking the DNC Chairmanship, does that mean you're not going to run for President in 2008?

Dean: If I become the DNC Chair, I will not run for President in 2008. You really can't use this as a stepping stone to elective office, and my job will be to get other people elected.

Colmes: If you don't get the DNC Chair and you lose this election, would it hurt your chances to run for President?

Dean: I haven't even thought about that. You know, you focus on one election and I'm focusing on the DNC election.

Colmes: Why do you want to do this?

Dean: Because I think we're in the best financial shape we've been in, probably ever, certainly in my lifetime. We don't have a debt coming out of the presidential race, which is extraordinary. We now need to do, frankly, some of the things Republicans are doing. There's nothing I admire about the Republicans. They can't manage money. They've gotten us into a war without telling us the truth about why we're there. But I do admire their discipline and their organization. And we need to build a grassroots organization in the states the way the Republicans have.

Colmes: You said on Meet the Press, it could take some time to bring the Party together, diverse factions. You said, "I really fried the Party when I was out there running for President." What did you mean by that?

Dean: Well, you know, I think there's a tendency within the Party—inside Washington, not so much outside Washington—towards the Stockholm Syndrome. That is, you kind of drift towards the winner. In this case, the winner turns out to be a fairly right wing president. And I think it's a tendency inside Washington to think that if we can only be a little more like the Republicans, then we can win.

It's a bipartisan problem. Bob Michael had this problem when he was Minority Leader, and Newt Gingrich stood up for what he believed. Now there's nothing I believe that Gingrich believes, but I do admire Gingrich's strategic ability. He differentiated the two Parties, claimed a particular set of issues and then beat us with those. We really need to understand that you win by differentiating yourself from the other party.

Colmes: You want to use the Gingrich model.

Dean: It is the Gingrich-Reid model. It's grassroots and it's standing up for what you believe in.

Colmes: Outgoing Iowa Democratic Chair Gordon Fischer says we're a Party on the ropes. Do you agree with that?

Dean: Nah. You're not on the ropes unless you think you're on the ropes. You know, we've got to fight every inch of the way for what we believe. We want an inclusive society. We want a society where the budget's balanced. You know, these Republicans, they cannot handle money. They know nothing about it. Imagine trying to borrow two trillion dollars on top of the biggest deficit in the history of the country. These folks, you just cannot trust them with your money. We have the American people on our side.

Colmes: How about spending 40 million dollars on an inauguration? Bill Clinton did it. I mean, other presidents have done it.

Dean: I think spending--

Colmes: Is it different now though?

Dean: I personally, Alan, believe that these inaugurations are too glitzy, whether it's Bill Clinton's inauguration or George Bush's. I mean, for 40 million dollars, think what you can do for people all over America, or in other parts of the world, to help them. I really hope that we'll start toning this down. The American people don't need an enormous, privately-financed celebration. And the other thing that bothers me so much about this inauguration is that at least when Bill Clinton spent, it was derived mostly from small donors and souvenir sales. This inauguration is being paid for by lobbyists who are then going to ask the Bush Administration for favors, and I think that's a bad way to start your term.

Colmes: You used Paul Wellstone's theory. You said you're from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party. That upset some people who have perhaps other views than you do about where the Democratic Party should go.

Dean: I don't mind differences of opinion at all. I've said before, there are good people in our Party who are pro-life. We ought to embrace those people, because our Democrats who remain pro-life really believe in protecting children not just before birth but after birth.

Colmes: Has the Democratic Party made a mistake up until now not embracing the pro-life position enough?

Dean: Well, I didn't say we should embrace the pro-life position. What I said is that we ought to embrace our pro-life members with respect, because they will take care of children after birth and not just worry about what happened before birth.

Colmes: Marshall Whitman, who used to work for John McCain, is now the Democratic Leader Conference, which is the more centrist part of the Party. He is saying that your red state appeal is a question and whether or not you can appeal to the issue of national security and terrorism that the Democrats need to address.

Dean: First off, I'm not running for President, so my job is to get other people elected president. It's the candidate that speaks for the Party, not the Party Chair. Secondly, we'll find out how much red state appeal I have, because I'm not going to win this without red state support. I'm just going to go down and do a fundraiser in Mississippi; I've done fundraisers in Utah; and with pretty good results. So I think that the Party faithful are going to want to rally to somebody, to a Party, that stands up for what they believe in.

We've gotten people elected through my group Democracy for America in Utah and Idaho and North Carolina and Alabama. We've done pretty well doing that. So I would beg to differ with the DLC.

Colmes: The Washington Post said the other day, "Critics say your election next month would compromise the Party's efforts to win voters in the South and conservative areas of the Midwest, exposing Democrats to the charge that they're weak on defense and terrorism, and have been captured by their left wing."

Dean: That's pretty much nonsense. You know, a lot of people bleat in Washington. My favorite saying about Washington is that those who know don't talk and those who talk don't know. And, fortunately, it's not the pundits who are going to decide this; it's the members of the Democratic National Committee.

Colmes: Does it drive you crazy when they say left wing—Howard Dean—left wing?

Dean: That's just propaganda.

Colmes: But you are not left wing. You are NRA supported, balanced how many budgets?

Dean: It doesn't really bother me what folks say, 'cause, as I said, those who know don't talk and those who talk don't know.

Colmes: Coming up next, I'll ask Howard Dean what John Kerry had to say about his candidacy for Chair for the Democratic Party. That is coming up next on Hannity and Colmes.


Hannity: Now a candidate for Chairman of the DNC, Howard Dean.

Colmes: Is Zell Miller right when he says Democrats can't win without the South?

Dean: Well, I don't know. I would hesitate to say that Zell Miller was right about much. He was a great governor, but something terrible happened to him when he came to Washington, which is not unusual, I guess. I think that we shouldn't win without the South. The South is an important part of our country, and I do not believe in an eighteen state strategy. One of the things I'm doing in my platform is to have 50 states in play, which means that the Democratic National Committee is going to have to put some resources into the state parties. The reason for that is there are great Democrats in every single state and territory, and we need to win in those states. And we can win.

Colmes: What do you do? How do you win?

Dean: When I was Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, thereafter, I left DGA with Democratic governors in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. We can do that again.

Colmes: How do you make that appeal?

Dean: You simply let the local people how they're going to run their campaigns and you make sure they have the resources to do it.

Colmes: Kerry has said that you—or I think your own campaign for this has said—that you spoken to Kerry a lot more in recent days.

Dean: I've spoken to all the keys. I've spoken to President Clinton. I've spoken to all the potential presidential candidates. I've spoken to Vice President Gore. You know you have to do those things and that's part of it, and I'm not going to characterize my private conversations with them.

Colmes: How would you be a different Chair than Terry McAuliffe?

Dean: Terry has different strengths than I do. He has a lot of strength in the big donor community. I don't. I have a lot of strength in the small donor community. I would add, you know, Terry's not a popular figure among the grassroots. That's not fair to Terry. I'm going to ask him for his advice in terms of the things that he has done. I think one of the things that I will be able to do that's different is— because I was a presidential candidate— I have enormous support among the grassroots in the party. And part of the job, part of my job, because I'm not running for president, is to get our grassroots really excited about change. You know this Party is going to be the Party of reform and the Party of change. We have a financial disaster. We have a trade disaster. We have a jobs disaster. We have a foreign policy disaster. We need change in America and the Democratic Party is going to be the vehicle for that change.

Colmes: Is Hillary the candidate in 2008 if she wants it?

Dean: You know, certainly as a potential DNC Chairman, I would never answer a question like that.

[Colmes and Dean chuckle.]

Dean: We'll see. There will be many people running. They'll all be good. And we'll treat them all—

Colmes: In an interview, you love when someone says I'll never answer a question like that.

Dean: Well, it would be foolish for me to answer a question like that. I think, you know, I've got to treat everybody fairly and equally who's running for President in 2008, and they'll declare themselves when they choose.

Colmes: What message do the Democrats have to get out there right now?

Dean: That we are the Party of strong national defense and honesty. And that we are the Party of fiscal responsibility, which we have not seen from a Republican since 1968. Not one Republican has balanced the budget in this country since 1968. You can't trust Republicans with your money. If you want to hold onto your wallet, then you better elect Democrats.


Hannity: Ouch. A calmer Howard Dean.

Colmes: I hope you enjoyed it.

Hannity: That is all the time we have left this evening. Thanks for being with us.

Posted by Tara Liloia at 12:58 AM

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