May 31st, 2008
10:34 AM ET
7 years ago

Dean slams media coverage as he opens meeting

Democratic National Committee members at Saturday's meeting.
Democratic National Committee members at Saturday's meeting.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean had tough words for the media on Saturday, saying that the presidential race had been plagued by "blatantly sexist comments, particularly by some members of the media - and blatantly racist remarks."

"The media will...look for conflict," he told members of the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee gathered to resolve the impasse over seating the Florida and Michigan delegations. "They will not talk about your energy and your passion for your candidate, and your enthusiasm."

Supporters of Hillary Clinton's presidential bid have increasingly targeted reporters and other members of the Democratic Party for what they say is unfair treatment of the New York senator because she is a woman. As he spoke, hundreds of Clinton supporters rallied outside to press for the full seating of both the Florida and Michigan delegates.

Dean seemed to direct his comments at these angry voters, many of whom carried signs Saturday that threatened to withhold their vote in November if both states were not seated in full in accordance with the results of their January primaries, as Clinton has urged.

As he stewed over the demise of his own presidential bid in 2004, he recalled, he received a call from Al Gore. Dean said he spent several minutes "ranting and raving" about the way he felt he had been mistreated by the party. He said that Gore responded: "Howard, this is not about you - it's about your country."

"I'm not going to gloss over the challenges of an extended primary," said Dean, who has faced criticism for not weighing in on the conflict early in the process. "We are strong enough to struggle and disagree - and still come together at the end of the day and be united."


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • DNC • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. GMC From Columbus

    Howard Dean is a committed patriot to this country, and to this day, I have the utmost respect for him. He's not afraid to talk tough. I know this party is in good hands with him as Chair of the DNC.

    May 31, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  2. Judy

    It also may not be about Hillary, but it IS about the 17 million people who have supported her. Way to go DNC, your idiotic scheduling and inequality in methods of primaries throughout the US have created a dilemma which might just come back to bite you in the GE. Way to blow it once again. Your leadership ranks right up there with GWB.

    May 31, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  3. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    This is nothing more than a word game of ones own interpretation and loopholes. Nobody is going to be happy with this outcome and all the lawyers are just sitting around waiting to sue.

    May 31, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  4. Carrie Pa

    The DNC needs to stop blaming the media for the the problems that they created.

    May 31, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  5. E. POWELL I MD, E POWELL MD II & ER. POWELL MD

    DEAN DON'T BLAME THE NEWS MEDIA. HRC, GF AND BOB JOHNSON ARE THE MAIN PLAYERS IN THIS SAD COMMENTARY. IF IT WAS NOT FOR THOSE WITH AN IQ ABOVE 90, MR. OBAMA WILL BE JUST LIKE ALL REST OF THE NOMINEES THAT FELL BY THE WAYSIDE. OUR YOUNG PEOPLE WILL NOT LET THE OLD POLITICAN CRONIES HAVE THEIR WAY. WHAT BOTHERS US IS THAT ALL THE PEOPLE THAT POINTED TO THESE HURTFUL ISSUES ARE GREATER THAN 50 YEARS OF AGE. WHAT MAKES US VERY HAPPY IS THEIR IQS ARE HIGHER ENOUGH TO SEE "HOPE AND CHANGE". MOST OLD PEOPLE ARE FRIGHTEN OF THE UNKNOWN. "HOPE AND CHANGE" IN POLITICS. IS LIKE X IN MATH –"UNKNOWN". THIS ELECTION IS TO IMPORTANT TO STOP AND LISTEN TO OUR ELDERS. IT IS THEM THAT GOT OUR COUNTRY INTO THIS MESS IN THE FIRST PLACE. IT IS LIKE WE SAY IN THE SOUTH - " IF YOU KNOW THAT THE OLD FOX ATE YOUR CHICKEN THE FIRST TIME, YOU DO NOT INVITE HIM BACK TO YOUR CHICKEN HOUSE AGAIN TO WATCH YOUR CHICKENS.

    May 31, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  6. Mario

    The 24/7 media needs conflicts and they will look at them in every minute event. I agree with Gov. Dean. I also believe that HRC undersigned the rules of striping MI and FL delegations when they moved their primaries. A fair compromize is to give each state 1/2 vote.

    May 31, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  7. Travis

    Dean, why don't you just shut up already and count the Florida and Michigan votes? You're only punishing the voters, and not the people who set up the voting early. Do the right thing, count all votes, or none at all! If you don't count them, don't bother counting mine because I won't vote!

    May 31, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  8. John D

    Mr. Dean should have done something earlier on in the election process to count the Florida and Michgan delegates. Conflict this late in the process may seriously hurt the democrats in the general election.

    May 31, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. WarwickRI

    I agree with Dean. The media looks for the attention-grabbing headline and disregards the intent of the story to the detriment of the party.

    Democrats Unite for '08

    May 31, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  10. Theresa from Minnesota

    I agree that the media has been onesided in their reporting of the candidates. I wonder why you men ( and a few women) are so afraid to have a woman President. One thing I do know, is that the DNC is making a lot of McCain Democrats with their 3rd grade mentality.

    May 31, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  11. B - NYC

    As he should... The media beat the crap out of Senator Clinton and worshipped Barrack Hussein Obama...

    Why? Because he is beatable and she can not be stopped... Big difference between the two. One a true leader that will not quit, the other can't make a decision unless the media dictates it (example, Rev. Wright)...

    The choice for a true leader is quite clear.

    May 31, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  12. After further review,Texas.

    Both Parties have lost all credibility.With the increased scrutiny into how the Dems operate their primaries,we now see how corrupt and immoral the two party system really is.It looks to me like there is just one party and that is the Pendulum Party.One runs up the bill with credit card spending,then lets the other pay the bill with new taxes.

    May 31, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  13. Susana, Sacramento

    I do blame the media for the racists coverage and stirring the pot. I haven't seen much sexist comments. I think if anybody should be upset it should be the Latino and Black communities.

    Obama is bigger than all this. The circus needs to end. We have a bunch of clowns in the tent right now, trying to figure out what should have been worked out months ago.

    Superdelegates are looking for a break. Instead of using common sense, they are afraid to put themselves out there. Very sad indeed.

    May 31, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  14. The Truth

    It is Hillary, Bill and their supporters that have ignited this devide among the democratic party.

    With people like the racist bigot Geraldine Ferraro making hateful comments, is it no wonder that the media follows this train wreck?

    The Hillbots deceive themselves into beleiving that they are protecting the rights of voters ...but they are only trying to disrupt a maybe not perfect nomination process but legal and agreed upon process.

    By trying to seat the delegates as is, they are denying Obama's supporters a chance to vote and let their voices be heard.

    Do you honestly beleive that if Obama had been on the ballot in MI that he would not have received any votes?...........0 votes?.. None?

    Then there is the argument from Clintonians of we have 17 million voters......Well Obama has the overwhelming support of well over 17 million voters and counting.

    The truth of the matter is the Caucus is part of the Dem Primary ( This in effect when Bill ran ) Also the date of when a state holds it's election. There has to be some kind of penalty or every state would hold it's primary on Feb. 5th.....

    It has to be hard to realize that a year ago Hillary was all but crowned but now to realize that her dream is over.....OK get over it..YOU LOST.

    Bush is in office......Bush II is trying to get into office...We need to unite behind the candidate America has chosen....By delegate not electoral.

    Obama can and will defeat McCain in November....Americans must decide, are we fighting for what is best for the Clintons or what is best for America?

    OBAMA '08!

    May 31, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  15. gp

    He has entire responsibility for what we have now as a picture in Democratic party. All those coments- conflict is good for party.How you can make decision not to count Mi and Fl , have everybody agree with that, and now acept that even count votes since Clintons need them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!That is shame on what DNC spents time.

    May 31, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  16. Patty

    Are the democrats stong enough to overcome the conflict? I think it's the same old, same old, they can't agree on anything positive! Hey, there is no "I" in Team! That's why as much as I admire Obama, I am still a republician and will continue to vote as such!

    May 31, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  17. Joaquin

    There is another headline in the CNN list of stories that reads "Woman with shotgun holds 15 in vault." I wondered if this might not be the continuing coverage of the Clinton campaign for the nomination. The woman being Clinton and the 15+ in the vault being the DNC rules committee meeting today.
    I love the Gore quote, "[I]t's not about you...." I don't fault the media for sexism or racism, but for letting the Democratic primary become about "her." We have been subjected to story after story about Mrs. Clinton and what her future holds; "what will she do now?" and has she been treated fairly. "[I]ts about the country" folks. That includes the wealthy news media entertainers who seem to revel in the mundane aspects of other people's personalities and their disorders.

    May 31, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  18. Dean - No Guts and No Glory

    Dean – you are a a failure. You sat silently by for months while the media engaged in the most sexist treatment of Hillary Clinton – the first viable woman presidential candidiate. Your words today are too little and way too late.

    You made a mess of Florida and Michigan. Now lets see if you have the strength and guts to correct your mistake by seating100% of the delegates.

    Shame on Dean. the DNC and all democratic leaders who sat silently by as the media trashed Sen. Clinton in the most sexist manner. Shame on Democrats if we don't count the votes and seat 100% of Florida and Michigan delegates.

    May 31, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  19. GJButler

    Ausman put on a pretty good case that the Charter "Super" delegates must be seated according to the DNC Charter. The pledged delegates should be seated at a 50% level according to the actual results of the primary. That inspite of the fact that it was not a true primary, since all of the Dem candidates followed the rules and did NOT campaign in the state of Florida.

    May 31, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  20. Dyan

    "Howard, this is not about you — it's about your country."

    Truer words were never spoken. What a shame the Supreme Court gave use George W instead.

    May 31, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  21. rose, texas

    everybody that has any sense knows that they have done hillary wrong. but he is wrong about coming together, not if obama gets it.my vote will be 4 mccain r not vote @ all. people talk about reseaching a candidate,but have they really done their homework on obama, his not 4 the people he is 4 him and him alone. look how he won the senate made sure nobody was on the ballot but him....people we don't need someone like that 2 run our counrty .wake up before it's 2 late r it's might b already.....

    May 31, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  22. BH

    Thank you chairman Dean. You sound very neutral. Yes the media is just biased, racist, and sexist and it does not admit so. It is disgusting to see the media twisting words. Especially people like Ronald Martin, Jack Cafferty, Chris Matthews, Tim Russert, Olbermann, Campbell Brown should not be in the air campaigning for Obama.

    I thank part of the media for being fair, such as Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, Larry King, David Gergen, Dan Abrams, Joe Scarborough, Pat Buchanan. Not everyone in the media is bad. But a part of it has been disgustingly biased, racist, and sexist.

    May 31, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  23. Too Little Too Late

    Dean – you are a failure. You sat silently by for months while the media engaged in the most sexist treatment of Hillary Clinton – the first viable woman presidential candidiate. Your words today are too little and way too late.

    You made a mess of Florida and Michigan. Now lets see if you have the strength and guts to correct your mistake by seating100% of the delegates.

    Shame on Dean. the DNC and all democratic leaders who sat silently by as the media trashed Sen. Clinton in the most sexist manner. Shame on Democrats if we don't count the votes and seat 100% of Florida and Michigan delegates. I am disgusted by the Democratic leaders this primary season.

    May 31, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  24. Foreign observer

    And so... compromise is needed !!! Best is to do a 50:50 arrangement for Michigan and to count the Florida vote to 50 %. The other 50 % of Florida delegates should be seated according to the American vote of all states. Florida is a microcosmos of the U.S.

    May 31, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  25. Jill E.

    Now that I have heard the details of the voting fiasco I feel the Florida Democrats SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO VOTE AGAIN!

    As a retired educator I strongly feel FLORIDIANS WERE NOT EDUCATED AND READY TO VOTE IN JANUARY! WE HARDLY KNEW THE CANDIDATES AND WHAT THEY STOOD FOR!

    My vote would not change however I feel the overall vote WOULD BE DIFFERENT!

    FLORIDA DOES IT AGAIN!

    May 31, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
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