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. Bubba

    Mad Dog Dean was, is now, and always will be useless.

    April 10, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  2. mary

    We fight in all these different countries so that people can have democracy. Yet, in United States we take away the votes of Michigan and Florida, we need democracy in our own country first!!!

    April 10, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  3. Ponder this

    what a dummy.....on't you think he should be more worried about his own party.......this is coming from a democrat..........Howard try and leash Hillary......then comment on the GOP

    April 10, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  4. Tom,des moines

    I do agree that McCain/Mitt Romny is hard to beat. Why? Because Mitt Romney will help McCain win in UT,CO and MI. MI is where Mitt Romney was born,also Bush had won OH in 2004. The only candidate that can beat McCain/Romney ticket is Hillary. the reason Hillary will win in MI,OH and PA because she has the governer mayor and most of elected official behind her and she had already won some of this states already and that just be enough to beat McCain/Romney ticket. Go Hillary!

    April 10, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  5. Brian

    Vote McCain 4 more years of torture!

    April 10, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  6. sue

    I do think that Obama and Howard Dean are laughable, they can't even unite their own party, yet somehow miraculously think they can unite the nation. Obama says he wants to run a different campaign...well let me tell you, he is running his campaign as dirty as all the rest of the politicians who aim to become president. All of you young people who are blaming Hillary-wait until the general election. Obama doesn't have a chance to win this.
    Hillary 08 (if the democrats can salvage anything at this point)

    April 10, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  7. will

    'Hoser2 April 10th, 2008 5:42 pm ET
    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!'

    Do you honestly think that Dean fixed the process to get McCain in so a Dem could beat him? ........... as a Democrat if feel that McCain had a better chance then any other Republican due to his ability to attract Independents.
    You do realize that both MI and FL hold closed primaries, meaning that cross overs to the Republican side by Democrats would be impossible.

    April 10, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  8. Esteban

    For the Dems, My 5 star dinner bet is Obama/Hillary
    For the Reps, My 4 star dinner bet is McCain/Romney

    Reality is that Reps will loose.
    Failed war
    Failed Economy
    Failed Health System
    Failed Education System

    All due to money diverted to the failed war and all created / destroyed under republican oversight. (Republican filabustering is not helping either!)

    Only conclusion is real change.

    Two white men can't deliver a clearer change then a Woman and a Afro dude!

    Oh, did I mention who is willing to protect our dying oceans and stop the acid rains slow destruction and alteration of our food crops?

    None of them. Therefore, what does it matter??

    April 10, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  9. Rapid

    Maybe Howard Dean should worry less about the republican candidates and more about keeping his job if the Democrats blow this election...which was once thought of an impossible.

    April 10, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  10. kathleen for Obama

    Has anyone mentioned. today, to Hillary that it is time to get out of the race. For th sake of the Democratic Party, she needs to stand by
    Obama and cheer for him.

    April 10, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  11. MBFLA

    We should all fear another 4 years of McBush should that happen. Four more years of the occupation and death of Americans and Iraqi civilians, 4 more years of our Constitution being shredded, 4 more years of America losing respect in the eyes of the world and 4 more years of our economy heading south because Republicans don't want to regulate any industry. How did that work our in the mortgage and lending business by the way?

    You want more of this garbage?

    April 10, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  12. I used to be a Democrat

    Howard Dean is one of the reasons why Obama is going to lose to McCain in November. Dean has royally screwed the Demoncrats.

    April 10, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |

    Who cares what Howard Dean says, but he better be afraid of Romney, he might be the VP candidate for McCan't.

    Dean is nothing but a bufoon anyway. idiot.

    April 10, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  14. Antoinette

    Well Gov. Romney, Sen. Clinton needs to take your advice and dro out too

    I respect you for wanting to strengthen your party and not weaken it

    April 10, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  15. Lynn D

    Mr. Dean, You should fear Senator Obama more than anyone. He will not beat Senator McCain in the Fall. The Democrats will have their worst showing if Senator Obama is the choice. Senator Obama has the following items dragging him down: Lack of experience, Rev. Wright, Rezko, Nafta/Canada, William Ayer, MalcomeX, Louis F. to name a few. Senator Obama is more untruthful, too. He said he was not in the pew during Rev. Wright's hate sermons against the US, Whites, Jews, and Italians. Do you want to win in November? Release the delegates in Florida and Michigan. Punish the states by making them vote last in 2012. You know I am right.

    April 10, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  16. John Smith

    What is your answer:

    "I feel I should not follow the same rules that other people do"

    If you answered "true": You must be a Hillary supporter

    If you answered "false": You must be a Obama supporter

    Just a quick emotional test in politics!!

    April 10, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  17. Grif

    Who's Garbage are you collecting today? You're Scared to you're Roots, of John McCain. Come November, you'll be scared out of you're Boots by John McCain.
    Don't try to pull, the wool, over another Straight Talker... You have already pulled a fast one, over Hillary.. Where are you're Credentials???

    April 10, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  18. john williams san diego, ca.

    Howard Daffy Dean...is he still around trying to screw up the Democratic Party???

    April 10, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  19. Awesome

    You guys need to spend your time better...

    April 10, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  20. Grif

    And another thing, Mr Dean. I suppose you saw the Blog yesterday, John McCain and Condolisa Rice Ticket. You would much rather he Pick this Guy Romney....... John will decide who he chooses not you,
    Dear Mr Dean...

    April 10, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |

    Howard Dean is the best president we never had, a true statesman, with keen insight, and effective strategies. Too bad the media slammed him hard in 2004 once he voiced his opposition to media deregulation. The "Dean scream" was a manufactured bogus event that America fell for. Make no mistake, it's our loss. At least his plans of a 50-state strategy, did contribute mightily to great Dem successes in the midterms.

    April 10, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  22. Grammar, please...

    As an independent, I can say that at this rate, the Democrats have no chance at winning in November, with about 80% likelihood. The bitterness that is growing between Obama and Clinton supporters is hardening, and there'll be too much resentment for the Democratic nominee to garner the votes necessary to win. Dean has some comments of merit and some of none, his problem is knowing when not to insert himself into an argument.

    In the meantime, McCain will probably win, because A) He's got tons of time on his hands to get organized, get some money, get some ads out there, and get going. B) With the Democrats ripping each other apart (stupidly enough), McCain can just promote himself, look like a guy who doesn't have to play dirty for votes (because he doesn't have to attack anyone), and C) As the Democrats' old wounds resurface, the just look worse, which, obviously enough, makes him look better by comparison.


    April 10, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  23. joe

    The only one I fear is Dean - who is anti-democracy and along with Obama shut down over 2 million voter's voices in America. Obama and his lawyers and supporters shot down a revote so that he can win an election - not a man of integrity and will never get my vote. He will go down in the General Election - along with Wright, Rezko, Farrakhan, The Weather Underground and his creepy cult following.

    April 10, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  24. obama is a liar

    Only person I fear is Obama.

    April 10, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  25. jimmy velman

    Romney would not be as strong a VP candidate as Mayor Bloomberg
    of New York, or Colin Powell who is far greater a national figure, a far more experienced politician that all of them.. Colin Powell with Mccain would beat Obama any day.

    April 10, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
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