May 31st, 2008
10:34 AM ET
6 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. steve

    howard dean should stop talking to reporters and get his party in order

    May 31, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  2. mama coo

    Dean is right about this. The media has been a major issue but so has he and Pelosi and Reid. They have allowed this race and its coverage to be as one sided as it has been. The way Senator Clinton has been treated by both the media and Democrats has been deplorable, unfair, sexist and uncalled for. Many of us will not forget. And while I'm at it, the Obama camp may want to reign in their bloggers because they are just as bad, if not worse.

    Clinton supporters understand the importance of this election. We get it. If I were Dean, I would be looking for a way to bring those people back into the fold because I think they are underestimating how angry Clinton supporters are over the horrible treatment not only she has received but also former President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton.

    May 31, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  3. Laidetea

    Go Dems. Tell the media what you really feel. The media has made a mockery of this political race. First, claiming victory for Clinton without verfiable proof. Digging up fictional propaganda against Obama.

    Just should it down and save the party. Obama is the prosumtive nonminee. He won fair and square. He followed the rules. Hillary Clinton needs to pack up and go home.

    May 31, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  4. Sean Tyla

    The Florida and Michigan primaries were illegal under DNC rules. Obama stuck by the guidelines, Hilary didn't. You can't change the rules now. Hilary's votes don't count – period. Seat the delegates by all means but they must remain toothless – they broke the rules. Does it get any simpler than that? Thank God I live in the UK – a real democracy.

    May 31, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  5. John G Charleston SC

    So let me see if I understand this.

    2 states violate party rules. As punishment they are stripped of their delegates in accordance with party rules. Now there is a chance all the delegates will be seated because enough people whined loud enough. And republicans flip flop on the issues?

    I also think it's funny that if the Black guy loses it's racism and if the woman loses it's sexism-nothing to do with ability or leadership or anything of that nature just discrimination....

    May 31, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. Marclle

    Well, what we need to do is kick all current elected democratic persons in Flordia & Mich.out of office and go ahead and let the people vote. This whole thing has been stupid! I have an idea, lets go back to acting like adults!

    May 31, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  7. Jerry Lee

    Hillary is setting herself up as becoming the most hated politician the Democrats have ever produced. The idea that she could "win" this nomination and actually go on to win the general election is ludicrous.

    The GOP was hoping to run against her in that she would be the single biggest item to rally the entire GOP and now she has created milliond of Democarts that can't wait for her to go away.

    Her people think Obama could not win the general election?? She would be a huge failure.

    May 31, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  8. gene

    Florida and Michigan may have violated the rules, but the DNC screwed everything up before and after .Who in their right mind even thinks that we should not count all of their votes and then expect to carry these states in the fall.These states could have been revoted, but the Obama lawyer's held up the process and if I was Clinton and they did not allocate the delegates as per the vote, I would take it all the way to the convention, because its a sure loser if the Democrats do not carry these states in the general election.

    May 31, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  9. Harvey, Tampa, FL

    Howard,
    The media wouldn't feast on you if there wasn't anything to feast on. While I don't typically defend the media and their cheesy tactics, you and the DNC have made this the spectacle that it is.

    May 31, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  10. just say no to Obama

    And what did everyone expect? Just look at the comments here! The Democrats have shown how divided their party is and the media feeds on it 24/7. They have set themselves up to fail in the general election regardless of who is nominated its virtually inpossible for them to win. Thank you Democrats for keeping your party SO mixed up that even the high ranking ones have no idea what hit them.

    May 31, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  11. Lynette Stapleton

    Dean is right about one thing – it's not about the individual – it's about transparency – its about every citizen having the right to vote and that vote count.

    How dare a group of so called leaders of a political party deprive them the people of there democratic right

    Dean and the DNC have created this mess -

    May 31, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  12. Jarhead

    In plain language–somebody needs to tape his lips shut. His comments of late have done nothing but damage the Democratic party and both Clinton and Obama.

    May 31, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  13. brian

    We will not come together you moron, obama is a hand picked clown by you experts, no way he could run this great country, he's not qualified.

    May 31, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  14. Chris

    well let me say– i have a preference in the election-
    and i believe that your preference is equal to mine-republican or democrat–any person or party- but i will not accept any candidate or party who choses their candidate through threats of litigation.
    bad enough it's always been the wealthy that control the country, once states and candidates are no longer held by the rules that govern their
    participation in their respective parties,,,, and the voters of florida and michigan knew the consequences of their choices before they were made well- will this be the first year a candidate tries to sue their way into office???-- sorry i am one short step away from believing in our governments pretense of democracy, and believing that indeed-the wealthy and the lawyers control all our fates - a sad conclusion from a true believer in the hopes that our country has a better system of government ,,and that we would be a guiding light for the oppressed and disillusioned. the votes from florida and michigan should not count in the primary unless they hold new state elections, and both states missed that opportunity.

    May 31, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  15. Last Honest Man

    Dean, Pelosi and lets not forget Reid....geeeeez. the Dems must be proud of this trio. I can still hear the Dean Scream. It sounded like a flush then (his Presidential Bid) and still does.

    May 31, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  16. Carol, California

    If these people spent half as much time working as they do blaming others (and each other) – maybe they could accomplish something.

    May 31, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  17. Karen in Cape Cod

    Yes THEY have been SEXIST and RACIST (anti-white) in their media presentation and a lot of voters are SICK of it!

    May 31, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  18. Carol from MI

    The media has taken every little tidbit of "news" and made it a world topic 24/7 on every channel. They are the ones who has caused a split in the party......not the candidates themselves.

    People need to look beyond this "news" and stop believing the trash they are constantly being told.

    Obama has constantly taken the blame for nearly everything since this campaign begun........even when someone said something and he wasn't even there at the time.

    May 31, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  19. A CANUCK

    Hillary is as repulsive as Rush Limbaugh...because she also encourages CHAOS. The Clintons are crybabies who have NEVER played by the rules ....feel that the White House is THEIRS and will not accept the fact that IT IS OVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 31, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  20. Charlotte

    Seat the delegates as fairly as possible. I was reading the Pfleger blog and was surprised by the number of educated Obalegerwright supporters who are unaware of the Catholics leagues critisim of Hagee? These are the so called educated voters? Educated, yet not informed? Obalegerwright is a liar and very disloyal to his friends for political gain. Is there anyone he won't throw under the bus? We now have two 20 year friendships under the bus and his white grandmother. How can you know someone 20 years and not have a clue as to their thoughts on matters? You can be fooled about some things, but not the basics!

    May 31, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  21. Matt, Chico, CA

    They (Mich and Fla) broke the rules, knowing what the penalties would be. NO DELEATES

    May 31, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  22. Jim, Indiana

    Well, Mr. Dean, if it's about your country then why don't you let Americans vote in Florida and Michigan and recognize the results. Have you forgotten that voters living in these two great states are just as American as you are?

    May 31, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  23. Flem

    This guy is a complete moron! He's slamming the exact same behavior he has become known for in the past.

    Pathetic!

    May 31, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  24. KHAL Houston, Texas

    Play by the rules....on move on...it about your country...Members of the committee..do what should...penalize....and......and let play continue...as with any game...enough said!!!!!

    May 31, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  25. ROBERT

    The media played and continues to play a majore unethical role in this election nomination process. There has been so much biased coverage over the last year +. It is disgusting the role the media plays and contiues to play. Cudos to Dean for the statement made! Now let's get the votes seated and move on! Go Hillary!

    May 31, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
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