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. Ralph

    I completely agree. He was scary as hell. Has butt loads of money. And was reinventing himself for the right wing freaks who represent all that is wrong with America. Thank the lord he is just a footnote.

    April 10, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  2. Tom,des moines

    Howard Dean please go away. u have done so much damage to the democratic party in MI,FL and across the country.

    April 10, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  3. Tn

    how about clintons make WH for their private bussiness thats using his wife to make a deals,The Clintons have always been crooked and will continue to be crooked. That's their nature...plain and simple. If anyone denies it.... they are only fooling themselves

    April 10, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  4. Nancy

    If the Republicans ever attacked Hillary, she would either blame someone else or go crying "They're picking on me".

    God, I can't stand to even look at her anymore, she turns my stomach !

    April 10, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  5. Marc, Texas

    Dean is completely wrong about McCain being a weak candidate. If McCain is such a weak candidate he would not have received the votes in the primary to secure the nomination. I hope Dean continues to lead the Democrats for many years, because obviously he has no clue.

    Additionally, Obama will say anything to get elected. The entire Rev. Wright explanation given by Obama makes no sense and shows that he is not truthful. You don't stay at a church for 20 years then finally realize that the Pastor is a racists.

    With the right money anyone can look and soundfgood, but what about judgment and character?

    McCain/ Romney in 2008.

    April 10, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  6. Joe

    McCain will lose this election worse than Jimmy Carter did. The Republicans will cringe and crawl in a hole from the shame of what Bush has wrought with his foolish war. When the voters of PA realize the truth, that Hillary and Bush are two sides of the same coin. Both chained to the Corporate Lobby masters who have run our Government like a puppet during the twenty year Bush/Clinton Dynasty.These PA voters will seal Hillary's defeat and send her despicable power grabbing attempt to the trash bin of history.

    April 10, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  7. lynette

    if you are voting for obama be sure to blog positive messages up to the penn primaries YesWeCan! Unity and peace for America- obama 08, but make the message positive, so please no insults about the other candidates, just blog a positive message, spread the word!!! Spread the love!!!

    April 10, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  8. Dan , TX

    Doesn't matter who the democratic nominee is, either one will win nationally. Clinton 52%-48% McCain, Obama 60%-McCain 40%.

    April 10, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  9. common sense

    Are you all serious? Im a politial science major but even if I wasn't common sense would tell me that the MI and Fl problems did not come from this lone man. He set rules and MI and Fl broke them he can't take there delegates away himself. Its just like the laws of the land if you break them there are consequences.

    April 10, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |

    It is Dean's fault! States should be able to decide when they hold their elections not the democratic national committee. And why punish the voters they didn't get a say in when the elections were going to be held.

    April 10, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  11. Sharon Minnesota

    Dean should be more afraid of a nominee who is damaged and cannot win in November.

    When McCain and the right wing are finished with Obama we will again have another Republican president. The warning voices are getting louder and louder. It's time to listen before it's too late.

    April 10, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  12. Ron Williams

    Let's see; we have a presidential candidate whose Husband is for what she says she's against. But in the meantime, our chief campaign strategist is brokering a deal that directly conflicts what she says she's against. As a result, he the strategist is not expelled, he is simply moved down the totem pole a notch or two. In the meantime, there is no telling the capital gains enjoyed by the candidate's husband while making deals in the same arena that the candidate states she is not a part.

    The Clinton's God bless their souls, are too money connected inside and outside the United States for us to be able to trust that our best interest would be primary if she is elected.

    April 10, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  13. Tim

    Lol i love all the people blaming Dean that FL and MI dont count. They will get over it. They are a little angry now but I'm sure voters in both states will realize how bad John McLame is.

    April 10, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  14. Matt

    Just when you think Howard Dean can't make another insensitive, so incredibly stupid comment, he surprises you once more! First he makes a huge debacle in FL and MI, and offers no resolution, and now he takes a cheap shot at the Republican nominee. If he wants to keep his job past November, he's going to need to be a bit more cordial, and a little less arrogant. As Hillary Clinton would say: this is a page right out of Karl Rove's playbook.

    April 10, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  15. Geoff, NH

    Yes, Dean is a moron. However, people need to stop blaming him for the FL-MI debacle. He gave the party's ultimatum (which was perhaps somewhat ill-advised) BEFORE the state governments in those states officially voted to move up their primaries. When they went ahead and defied the party rules anyway, he was left with no choice but to follow through on his threat. DO NOT BLAME HIM. It is very much the legislatures of FL and MI that are to blame, and angry voters in those states should take out their rage on them come November.

    That said, the man was a fool in being so Draconian about the issue, and should seriously consider a change in career.

    April 10, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  16. Paris

    Howard Dean needs to just go away.
    Dean you are history.

    April 10, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  17. Ron Williams

    McCain's platform is predicated on the idiom that America is a place where everyone is on their own because everyone has the opportunity to succeed. Those that find themselves in need of healthcare, a decent education, reasonable prices at the pumps or peace should not look to the government; because the government's only responsibility is to maintain a standing army for the President to use as he sees fit.

    April 10, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  18. dfdnfh

    Americans are real scary these days. Another world war would fix things up, right America?

    April 10, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  19. Retired Professional w/woman for obama

    People, Forget Dean. Let's not redirect our anger. It doesn't matter
    what he says.

    I cried today when I seen CNN Political Ticker of a Soldier fighting
    with all his might to defend us.
    I cried yesterday when I heard about the Military soldier that threw
    himself on a bomb to save his fellow soldier.
    Let us bring them Home and secure the HEll our of our Country.
    If we have any money left. That is precisely what should have been
    done in the first place. That is what I thought then and that is what
    I think now. We left our Country in the hands of an insane man!!!!!!!!
    HE DON'T Care about YOU. Neither does Hillary.

    April 10, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  20. Steve

    No one believes you Dean. No one cares who you fear! In fact ,you may want to think about fearing Michigan and Florida!

    April 10, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  21. R. Flair

    Hey Dean you stole my signature yelp!

    April 10, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  22. Herman LA, CA

    Be VERY afraid if McCain gets this election.

    Yep and all of you women lovers out there for John McCain he opposes “Roe vs. Wade”

    Yea go ahead and vote for McCain go ahead and make my day and you won't even have a choice with your own bodies.

    Obama 08!!!

    April 10, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  23. Hoser2

    What do you mean? Howard Dean as the DNC chair is brilliant. By disallowing Michigan and Florida delegates, he allowed the Democrat voters to crossover and vote in the Republican primaries!!. Why in the hell do you think we Republicans are stuck with McCain?? Brilliant ! Brilliant ! Brilliant !
    Now, after Dean managed to get a third rate opponent to run against, all he has to do is now let the Dem's re-vote in Michigan and Florida and all will be well.
    We Republicans got exactly what Howard Dean, the Democrat National Party, and the media wanted: a sub prime candidate. Brilliant!

    April 10, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |

    I love that Obama runs on a platform that he is the only one that can bring democrats and republicans together to make America a better place, but yet it fights republicans on just about every issue. John McCain has crossed party lines to work with democrats on numerous occastions and has gotten flack from conservatives for doing so. He is the only that can bring America together!

    April 10, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  25. Ric

    At this point Dean should be fearing any Republican. Look at history!! Every time there is a brokered nominee (someone who needs super delegates), that person LOSES the election. Kennedy vs Carter, Reagan vs Ford. Over and over! History never lies. Mc Cain will win this year. Best you Dems can hope for is reclaiming more than 60 senate seats. At least you'll be able to slow them down. And override any veto.

    April 10, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
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