In a section titled "It Depends On What The Definition Of 'Win' Is," National Journal's Hotline today follows-up on Howard Dean's email from Thursday morning stating that "anything less [than a win in Wisconsin] will put us out of the race." By the afternoon, the Dean campaign was playing down the do-or-die tone, saying Dean's email should not have been taken so literally. Although his name was signed to the bottom, Dean later called the note "a brilliant ploy" written by someone else in the campaign.
From the Hotline: "In a conf. call with reporters that p.m., [Dean] 'refused to endorse the clear sentiment in the e-mail' (Balz/Harris, Washington Post, 2/6). Dean 'declined to say how he would define a victory' in WI, and 'wouldn't rule out the possibility' of continuing on if he 'fell short of that,' saying: 'I'm not going to get into semantics' (Fitzgerald, Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/6). Said Dean: 'We're just going to win, that's all I'm going to say.'"