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. Mary

    I don't understand why Hillary is still in the race. The numbers show that she can not win.
    How can people still want to vote for her after all the lies she's told to the American people?
    Hillary is dividing and destroying this country.
    Hillary will never be able to recover from all the harm she's done to the people.

    April 10, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  2. clmartin

    uhmmm Florida Repulicans diss their own people all the time. I ask that us Floridian never vote for Republicans. They obviously cannot get things right in our state.

    Funny how Republicans who didn't follow directions are now blaming Dean, Obama and other. Republicans are always playing politics and now they are doing it to Obama and Hillary.

    Ps. Stop making it a Obama thing. Remember you said you would abide by the rules and that you will not care about Florida and Michigan cause the race was going to be over by Feb5...lol

    April 10, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  3. Retired Professional w/woman for obama

    Mr. Bigshot a__hole Mitt Romney is a Rich Man that doesn't know squat. All he possesess is a good stature of an egotistical maniac.
    Stand up and say you are a Republican and WE Will always remember you.

    April 10, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  4. Jules

    Mr. Dean and Ms. Pelosi – two people I would like to thank very much for giving me the clarity and reason to become an independent. Who exactly promoted these two to ineptly "lead" the democratic party. Dean might as well wear a happy, happy face now – come November it's going to be a whole new ballgame and guess who everybody is going to be asking "why" and "how could this happen" to? Yep, Mr. DNC.

    April 10, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  5. Pennsylvania Voter

    People fail to realize that Michigan and Florida broke the rules, and the reason their delegates are not being counted is because of Michigan and Florida.

    I think we need more people who are actually consistant to the ryles. If you're told the rules and you break them, you should have to pay the price.

    Unless you personally want to pay out of your pockets for another primary, I doubt the many who complain are willing to do that.

    And about Rev. Wright; get over it. There are tons of people in everyone's lives that they love, and respect but may not necessarily see eye to eye with. Contrary to popular belief, some people can actually think for themselves.

    It's interesting how people keep trying to dig up Wright because it's probably the only thing they can think of mentioning.

    If you want mention something, lets mention how Hilary can't seem to keep a story right. Her life, someone elses life, her memory escapes her.

    I'd like a president who knows the difference between a casual stroll and sniper fire.

    April 10, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  6. Venus

    It's amazing how some of Hillarys supporters drag the Rev. Wright issue with them to every blog- never mind the subject! I fear Hillary and Mc Cain!!! At least Rev. Wright has done a lot of good for his communites and served in the US Marine – a lot more than some people give him credit for...

    Dear For Freedom – Good bye and take Hillary with you! Don't forget – Obama's supporters will also have an option if it comes down to Mc Cain/Hillary! If you can't stand people making negative remarks about Hillary – then you and many of her supporters shouldn't blog your negatives at Obama!

    April 10, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  7. Ashlo--

    Mr. Obama,

    If somehow Hillary steals this nomination GO INDEPENDENT.

    April 10, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  8. Chuck

    Why they blame Dean for the stupidity of FL and MI democrate? Instead of making such prompt conclusion, educate yourself about the issue first, then you'll be able to make a mature statement. I gues what else to expect from Hillary supports...their leader is a lier.

    April 10, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  9. Brian in Tampa

    Romney would have been scary as the RNC nominee. If he gets on as the VP on a McCain/Romney ticket, we (DNC) are very much in trouble due to the bickering between HRC and Obama. Several of the people I know are considering "crossing over" because of this mess now.

    As for Dean, he did not cause the problems in FL and MI. Where do you people get that from. NOBODY thought FL and MI would matter, so he did what he thought was right and ALL Dems backed him up....... uh........ until HRC NEEDED the votes. Let's be honest, we (FL) &%*&% up! We can blame no one but our politicians in FL for moving the date up. Same for you idiots up north in MI.

    We made our bed and must live in it now. If HRC would just give it up, since she can in NO WAY make up the delegate or popular vote count, we could move on with this thing. But Clinton's will be Clinton's.

    Vote OBAMA '08

    April 10, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  10. Dave

    can't say I disagree with you Mr. Dean. McCain, Obama, Hillary......what a mediocre choice this year.

    April 10, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  11. Il Teacher

    I am afraid Dean has destroyed the Democratic Party and that McCain will win in November.

    April 10, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  12. Chanda-Cincinnati Ohio

    You really need to step away from what ever glue you are sniffing. I guess you are apart of the 10% of the democratic misinformed that still believe Obama was/is a Muslim. Even if he was ...I believe in the restorative powere of Jesus, and now he is a Christian. There is no proof that he ever was a practicing Muslim. Stop making this country look so ethnicly backward!! Obama has more elected office experience then Hillary and has an extensive legislative record. Since Hillary has been in office her most impressive piece of legislation authored has been to honor the Syracuse LaCrosse team for a national title. Why isn't anyone still asking her why she felt the need to embelish her foreign policy experience with the fake Bosnia story? What about her prayer group "The Family"? Hannity called Wright's church a cult, you people need to look what The Family believes. What exactly is her stance on NAFTA today? Does not matter, becasue it will change next week. Why didn't she fact check the FALSE story on the WV. woman that died from complication so f child birth? Probably because she is not big on fact checking...hence voting for a war without reading the intelligence information. Why haven't the people of NY seen th ejobs she promised them when she ran for Senator...the first term? Forget Monicagate, what about the suspicious circumstances behind Ron Brown's death. She wants to tout Bill's administration in her credentials, maybe she can shed some light on that issue for me. She keeps taking aim at Obama saying he can give a good speech, but she will get things done. Well she was given one major task during her husband's term...HEALTHCARE. She could not get it pased then, and the same plan won't work now. All she does is give speeches herself. Speeches full of lies. Yeah...she really seems like the right person for the Job...NOT!!!!

    April 10, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  13. Matt, WI

    "Weak candidate" Howie? I think weak candidates are those who self-implode after losing Iowa. McCain didn't, but somebody here did.

    YAAAAAAAAA McCain '08!

    April 10, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  14. Venus

    Keep in mind folks! FL and MI – voters made their MESS! Is english a problem? Then again – they must be Hillary's supporters! It was fine with them until Hillary woke up and said – Oh I NEED their votes NOW!
    Please – take Hillary and the Clinton's and move to South America along with the rest of the jobs they are SELLING! A person must be on DRUGS to vote for Hillary at this point>

    April 10, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  15. Peter Paul

    How could a Hillary supporter vote FOR the war? God, people are so ignorant. That's the real problem with this country.
    I am from Canada and I can tell you that 40% of Hil- liar supporters are some what racist older people. Its true no matter how you slice it, they will vote for McCain, please spare us.
    People over here can not believe that you have a great future president in Obama and you don't vote for him.

    I feel bad for the true Dems that want to end war, have a better education for there children, health care, jobs.

    Hillary is for Nafta which kills America jobs, she is full of crap but even then you have to vote for dem because the alternative is McSame and believe WORLD WAR 3 and we will not live to see another day.

    So the prejudice Hill voters that want McCain, get him.
    Be carefull what you wish for you might just get it, for worse.

    What's Bills is mine and what's Mine is Bill's.

    She thinks McCain and herself would be a better President and Bill Said the same thing.
    Some of her supporters, not the educated ones, said they would vote for McSame.
    What's this all = not true Democrat's.

    Vote Democrat '08

    April 10, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  16. Robert Wooller

    It's about time Clinton finished her campaign. Please, Hillary, I beg you for the sake of the Democratic Party. I beg you because you are losing Obama. We don't want four more years of Bush if McCain wins. This fighting and race between Obama and Clinton can't go on much longer, because it is starting to hurt the party. So give up and stand again in four years time when you have a much better chance of winning.

    April 10, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  17. SH

    Dean my friends. The ONE and ONLY solution this mess is the following –

    Hillary/Obama – 08
    Obama/Hillary – 12

    Democrats are divided over these two great candidate. Let the candidates take turn to server our country as UNITED States of DEMOCRATS.

    Have you learned NOTHING in Grade [I meant to say GRAD] School?


    April 10, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  18. Thomas, LA

    Quote: "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.""

    If only Hillary and her delusional supporters had the same unselfish committment to the greater good as Romney did. But alas....she's finished in Democratic policics after this. Between her husband and her own conduct in this campaign their reputations are forever ruined.

    April 10, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  19. Jon

    Howard Dean himself is the weak one. He is the ruin of the Democratic party.

    April 10, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  20. ***AMERICAN***

    The only thing we have to fear is Clinton herself.

    April 10, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  21. wake up people....

    Michigan and Florida messed up Michigan and Florida...

    Dean brought a crippled Democratic Party back from being a coastal group to be a national party, again, with the 50 state strategy.

    For the first time in decades, the Dems may have a chance to compete in Middle America, so I think Dean should get credit where its due.

    April 10, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  22. Venus

    To Mc Cain supporters – what on earth can Mc Cain do to Obama?
    Mc Cain will work to do to bet Obama! You can start with the WAR – do you really believe that Americans will stand by while we hang-out in Iraq for 4-more years! Plus – this country is BROKE! No homes – no jobs!!!

    April 10, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  23. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I agree with Dean. Romney was the strongest of the Republican candidates and I as a democrat was seriously considering him. I think the Republicans made a big mistake on this one and it probably had to do with Romney's religion. McCain is too old and the likelyhood of him accepting anything new is not going to happen, he's set in the past.

    April 10, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  24. Dan C

    This is true. People forget that Romney is by far the most accomplished Presidential candidate in the ’08 race. Some may disagree with his style and policies, but there is no question that he is man that can get the job done. How many can say that they ran one of the most successful business consultancy firms in the nation (Bain & Co) and saved the 2002 Winter Olympics?

    Its too bad that Huckabee and McCain tag teamed to take Romney down in the primaries. They successfully labeled Romney as a fake (which is completely inaccurate) and took Romney out.

    Romney would give McCain some credibility as has a record of getting the job done. Additionally, he’s not a Washington politician—which I think people like.

    April 10, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  25. Now for Obama

    Dems know how to fight the "enemy." That is everyone except Hillary who would attack Obama and "endorse" Mccain. Why are you doing this to us Dems Hillary? Are you doing trying to divide the party on purpose? Do you hate America that much, or is it just because you are losing? Don't bring the Dems down with you Hill.

    April 10, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
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