Press Conference at a Forum in San Francisco

The famous "white Christian party" remarks, among others
June 6, 2005

Portia Li, reporter for the World Journal: ...a few [?] groups that shows that in the last few years, Asian voters supported the [unintelligible] in the past. I remember maybe two or three studies that I covered recently that shows that people 12 years ago, so quite many Asians support Republican. But now last year it shows that quite many Asians support Democrats. Do you have any comment you want to make about this, and...

Howard Dean, Chairman of the DNC: I think a lot of it has to do with [noise of a reporter shuffling papers]. The Republicans are not very friendly to different types of people. They're a pretty monolithic party. They're pretty much, they all behave the same, they all look the same, and they all... you know, it's pretty much a white Christian party, and the Democrats have got everybody you can think of in our party.

So this gentleman[ph] I'm talking about, it's a coalition of a lot of different interest groups. The problem is we've got to make sure it turns into a party, which means this: I've gotta spend time in the communities and our folks are going to spend time in the communities.

I think we're more welcoming to different folks because that's the kind of people we are. But that's not enough. You do have to deliver on things, particularly on jobs and housing and business opportunities and college opportunities and so forth.

I think there has been a lot of progress in the last 20 and 40 years, but the stakes keep changing. I think there's a lot of folks who, maybe right now, [noise] want to vote Democratic because they're angry at the President on his immigration policies [noise] Patriot Act, but what we need to do while this is going on, is develop a really close relationship with the Asian American community, so that when there's, later on there's gonna be a benefit of more equal division, there'll be some party loyalty, because people will remember that we were there and we really made a difference. That's really what I'm trying to do.

If I come in here 8 weeks before the election, we're not going anywheres. I'm just asking for your vote, you're still mad at the lesser of two evils... so that's why I'm here 3 ½ years before the election.

We want different kind of people to run for office, too. We want a very diverse group of people running for office-- African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos... I think Villaraigrosa's election in Los Angeles is incredibly important for the Democratic Party. Bush can go out and talk all he wants about, "this is the party of opportunity," and he can make his appointments-- Condi Rice, or what's this guy's name who's the Commerce Secretary, um, he was just on the... Gutierrez. But you can't succeed electorally if you're a person of color in the Republican Party. There are very few people who have succeeded. You can pick some out. J.C. Watts. I'm trying to think of an Asian American who's been a success as a Republican. I can't think of one off the top of my head.

You know, there's always a few. But not many. Because this is the party of opportunity for people of color, and communities of color. So I think that's why we're-- and we're hoping to cement that relationship so that it'll always be that way.

Carla Marinucci, Reporter for the Chronicle: You've come in for some tough words from Democrats, you've been very tough on the Republicans, some of them criticized you over the weekend for doing this with-- Senator Biden and--

Dean: -- I just got off the phone with John Edwards. You know, what happened was John Edwards was in a sense set up by the reporter [who] said "well, you know, Governor Dean said this"...

Marinucci: Yeah.

Dean: Well, what I said was, the Republican leadership didn't seem to care much about working people. That's essentially the gist of the quote.

Marinucci: Right.

Dean: And you know, the RNC put out a press release. So I don't think there's a lot of difference between me and John Edwards right now. I haven't spoken to Senator Biden, but I'm sure that I will.

Today it's all over the wires that Durbin and Sheila Jackson Lee and all these folks are coming to my defense. Look, we have to be tough on the Republicans. The Republicans don't represent ordinary Americans and they don't have any understanding of what it is to have to go out and try to make ends meet. The context of what I was talking about was these long lines that you had to wait in to vote. How could you [unintelligible] design a system that sometimes causes people to vote-- to stand in line for 6 or 8 hours if you have any understanding of what their lives are like? They gotta pick up the kids, they gotta work, they gotta, sometimes have two jobs. So that was the context of the remarks. You know, I don't say that--

Reporter 2: --[untintelligible] stole the elections, [unintelligible] even--

Dean (sharply): I didn't say that!

[general laughter]

Dean: See--

[crosstalk between him and the reporters]

Dean: -- Just between us, right--

[a few remaining chuckles]

Dean: But, you know, so I did speak with John Edwards this morning, and he blogged today. You can go look at-- where is-- where is that blog, anyway? I'll get that to you.

Marinucci: Okay, that's good, thanks.

Dean: This is one of those flaps that comes up once in a while when I get tough. But I think we all wanna be tougher on the Republicans.

--- End ---

Transcribed from an audio file linked by the SF Gate.

Audio, streamed by SF Gate.

This recording sounded like it was made on a reporter's iPod which they had on their lap next to their notepad, and as such there is a lot of background noise, and Portia Li in particular is very hard to hear. I apologize for the parts that are missing and if you can shed any light on them, feel free to drop me a line at .



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