April 10th, 2008
04:15 PM ET
10 years ago

Dean: I feared Romney more than McCain

 Howard Dean says John McCain is a 'weak' candidate.

Howard Dean says John McCain is a 'weak' candidate.

(CNN)— Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said Thursday he feared his party's nominee facing Mitt Romney in the general election more than any other candidate.

“Frankly, Mitt Romney was the candidate I feared the most in the general because he’s got plenty of money, he’s wealthy,” Dean told reporters at a committee briefing. “He’s very articulate and he willing to say practically anything, and Republican voters want discipline.”

When asked if he'd fear a McCain-Romney ticket, Dean said the former Massachussetts governor was the best candidate the Republicans were probably “ever going to get.”

Romney dropped out of the presidential race last February saying that if he continued his campaign it would "forestall the launch of a national campaign…making it easier for Senator Clinton or Obama to win." His departure from the race essentially secured John McCain’s place as the presumptive Republican nominee.

Dean also characterized McCain, as a “weak candidate,” one who is very out of touch with “21st century Americans” on issues like the economy, Iraq War, and health care. He added that McCain has no plans to get out of Iraq or solve the mortgage crisis.

(UPDATED with RNC response after the jump)

Largely placing the blame of McCain’s “weak brand” on the Republican National Committee, Dean said what frightened him the most was, “the extent that the [RNC] were willing to brand John McCain as a wishy washy person,” without any pressure from their Democratic rivals.

While Dean expressed that McCain should be widely admired for his service to the United States, he said "that was 40 years ago," and doesn't mean he should be the next president.


UPDATE: The Republican National Committee responded to Dean's attack Thursday:

“Howard Dean’s delusions aside, John McCain is widely respected for being straightforward and honest with the American people, and he has a lifelong and distinguished record of service that has warranted the admiration of voters from all walks of life," said RNC spokeswoman Amber Wilkerson. "At the end of the day, Americans are going to elect Senator McCain as President because he has the judgment, character, and positive vision to strengthen our nation’s economy and win the War on Terror.”

Filed under: Howard Dean • John McCain • Mitt Romney
soundoff (190 Responses)
  1. KiloWhiskey - Denver

    I'm thinking McCain-Obama here.....wouldn't that confuse them in Florida!

    April 10, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  2. Tom,des moines

    I think Howard Dean should be fire.Because he is the one that mess up the democrat in MI and FL.

    April 10, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  3. go away Howard!!!

    DR. DEAN:

    Please go away and shut up... you really mess this one up.... is all your fault.

    April 10, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  4. Veterans for Obama

    Amen...but there is still much to fear.

    April 10, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  5. Ian

    Obviously they aren't concerned about Ron Paul since no one cares that he is the only candidate following the constitution. You know, the piece of paper that used to contain your rights as a human being?

    April 10, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  6. Nancy

    The only one I fear is Hillary.

    April 10, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  7. no bama

    Dean is to blame for the corruption in the democratic primary.

    He should have let the voters decide instead of trying to install his nominee, Obama.

    Obama will fail.

    April 10, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. Barb Canada

    Howard should Fear Florida and Michigan!

    April 10, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  9. mep

    Be VERY afraid if McCain gets this election.

    April 10, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  10. Darth Vadik, CA

    Leave Dean alone, he knows what he's doing, despite what it may look like to us on the outside, thank you Mr. Dean for the 50 state strategy, it whooped the Republicans in 2006,

    and he is correct about this one too, I've been saying that McCain is the weakest Republican candidate in 50 years.

    April 10, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  11. Uncle Sam

    It appears that Mr. Dean is afraid of John McCain. And he should be.

    President McCain '08

    April 10, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. Independent voter

    Hes right. Romney would have a better rep on the economy than Obama, clinton, or McCain.

    April 10, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  13. PA for Obama, because Clinton not truthful

    Former governor Mitt Romney Wednesday endorsed President Bush’s plan for a troop increase in Iraq,

    This ticket will still keep the war going.

    April 10, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  14. chris

    An independent's view:

    If Obama wins the priamary, I do believe McCain will be the ultmate winner. (Race is not a matter for here.)

    See what Obama can show the nation:

    1. He's expert at making good speeches (though not sure if he can actually deliver them);
    2. He was hard to be attacked, because he has not much records to show;
    3. His long time close connection with his priest ... By the way, WHAT DID OBAMA BELIEVE BEFORE HE WAS 26? Is he a muslim? Is he a ... He believed in Jesus only when he turned 26 ...
    4. He's too liberal to be president of such a great nation.

    See what John Mccain can show our nation:

    1. He's experienced;
    2. He has unbeatable records;
    3. He has his sons serving our nation in Iraq now (just knew it from CNN);
    4. Guess who can beat John McCain on November?

    Hillary Clinton, I say so – as an independent.

    April 10, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  15. Lin

    This shows how incompetant Dean really is , he should resign or quit.

    April 10, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  16. Debby

    Well Dean you will have more to worry about if McCain picks Romney as his VP. McCain isn't that weak either he is just ahead of your Golden Boy in the polls. Imagine an old man like that. LOL

    April 10, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  17. Spirit of America

    Dean, what you should fear are the voters you disenfranchised in Michigan and Florida. You better replace your party-destructive bureaucratic role with a party-strengthening democratic one. Let those votes count or count on losing both states.

    April 10, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  18. Mike

    Both are not very popular with the GOP. McCain almost jumped over to the democrat side one time and his policies are very liberal. Mitt was an independent turn republican just for this race. However Mitt is very liberal too.

    However it makes no difference even if Bush could run again. The GOP blew away a war hero like Kerry in 2004. Just imagine the field day they are going to have with Obama and his racist, anti-Americanism church.

    Hillary has the only realistic chance of winning the presidency.

    April 10, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  19. Timothy

    Dean... Dean, Dean who is he again. Oh, he is just a insignificant, spineless DNC chairperson. This is excatly why their is no definitive candidate on the democratic side. Know wonder he did not get the presidential nod in 2000 he lacks leadership he can't seem to get a fix on this quagmire. Don't waste time airing deans comments.

    April 10, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  20. ALBO

    The hate campaign waged by Hillary has demonized OBAMA for her fanatic gender-motivated supporters and parallely generated a so deep repulsion for Hillary between the young and the afro-american supporters of OBAMA, which will NOT EVAPORATE, in the best case only only very partially

    And his absurd observation regarding ROMNEY VERSUS McCAIN is
    a campaign tactic to belittle McCAIN, coordinated by the Democrats and visible by the COORDINATED bombardment of hate messages on all the blogs

    2) HILLARY has no chance in front of McCAIN, as the main attack point agaisnt her were still not used. THERE IS PRESENTLY AN

    3) There are increasing Rumors tha JOHN EDWARDS WILL ENDORSE NEXT WEEK OBAMA, with the implications on the
    Blue collar voters in PA and IN, where OBAMA has already nearly closed the gap and with such endorsement OBAMA WILL MOST PROBABLY PULL AHEAD, squashing HILLARIY's last hopes

    4) The argument of HILLARY's electibility in the states she won is
    risible: in NY, CA, NJ Democrats are majority and ANY DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE WILL WIN ANYWAY!!


    April 10, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  21. jp/michigan

    Howard Dean , you my friend have a lot to fear. You messed this up really good. Michigan and Florida voters have been dumped in the trash because of you. You let Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carol ins move up their primaries and you punished Michigan and Florida. Well you boy , Obama becomes the nominee, you will loose millions of democratic voters to the Republicans. You made this democratic race bias and unfair to one candidate and you bowed to another.

    April 10, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  22. kerry

    How true!

    April 10, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  23. Cosmo

    Haha, Howard Dean still in a position of authority for the Dems. Now if that isn't an indictment of the awfulness of that party, I don't know what is.

    Although he is right, Mitt would've wiped the floor with whomever he was going to face.

    April 10, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  24. gerry

    Dean should be aware that if one keeps poking someone with a sharp stick, sooner or later it comes back to haunt you.

    He could make himself more useful and go play in traffic.

    April 10, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  25. Bayou Joe

    It is not Dean's fault. It is your fault for voting for a charismatic leader with no credentials and a lot of bad baggage.

    To the person that wants answers to What would it take to elect a Black President?

    Simple answer: Put up for election a real American Black that loves and supports his country, has sacrificed to prove it, either in combat or military services. Is not a militant and has knowledge of world affairs. Two names come to mind. Condelezza Rice and Colin Powell. That's what it will take....

    April 10, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
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