Dean supporters upset by surgeon general talk

Friends and allies of the former DNC chair think leaks about him being considered for the job are just politically motivated.

Published March 9, 2009 7:20PM (EDT)

The Obama administration just can't win: First, they don't talk about former Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean for Cabinet jobs, and Dean's allies get mad. Now, the White House is talking about him as a candidate to be surgeon general, and Dean's allies are mad.

Of course, nothing's quite that simple, especially when the competing egos of Dean and his longtime rival, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, are in play. In this case, the former Vermont governor's friends believe, Dean's name is coming up because the administration is trying to rid itself of some of the heat it took for passing him over before.

"The White House knows Dean indicated he was not interested last December, so it seems odd that they are floating his name," one anonymous ally told the Huffington Post's Sam Stein. "I question the timing given that they have been getting criticism for how he's been treated."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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