A new concept: Vice President Howard Dean

Mark Follman
February 7, 2004 7:30AM (UTC)

He can't quite seem to decide which road will get him to the Democratic national convention this July. In fact, since his poor showing in primaries earlier this week, Howard Dean has signaled, well, all kinds of things about the future of his campaign. Even though he didn't come close to winning any of the seven states up for grabs on February 3rd, Dean pledged he'd keep "going and going and going and going, just like the Energizer Bunny." He then indicated that the "turning point" of his campaign might be the Washington state caucuses Saturday. Then he suggested the Super Tuesday primaries on March 2 would be his do-or-die date. Late Wednesday, his campaign sent out a release hinting that he'd be out of the race if he didn't win Feb. 17 in Wisconsin.

But after all that indecision, the New York Times reported late Friday that Dean may instead be lining up for the vice presidential slot. His reason? Poor poll numbers notwithstanding, Dean is firmly in the Anbody But Bush camp:


"Acknowledging that his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination is 'a longer shot than it was,'" the Times reported, "Howard Dean suggested today that he would accept the No. 2 spot on a national ticket if it were offered.

"'I would, to the extent, do anything I could to get rid of President Bush," Dr. Dean said on a morning radio program in Milwaukee. 'I'll do whatever is best for the party. Obviously, I'm running for president, but whatever's best is what I'll do. Anything. We've just got to change presidents. We're really hurting right now.'"

Though Dean was almost continually attacked as a party outsider (he himself used that as a selling point), you gotta give the guy credit for sounding the call for party unity now -- even if he may be closer to bowing out of the running for the top job.

Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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