WASHINGTON (CNN) - With Dr. Sanjay Gupta taking himself out of the mix as President Obama's choice for Surgeon General, CNN has learned that the name of former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean has now emerged as a possible pick for the high-profile post.
Senior Democratic officials say that Dean, a medical doctor and former Vermont governor who championed health reform, has privately made clear that he is interested in the post. Dean had publicly expressed interest in serving as secretary of Health and Human Services but lost out, and many Democrats believe he was blocked because of a feud he had with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel back in the 2006 election cycle.
But two White House officials told CNN that while it's too early to compile an official list of candidates for Surgeon General, they believe that it's possible for Dean to get the job. "I would not dismiss it," one of the White House officials said of the possibility that Dean will be selected.
One Democratic strategist close to Dean made clear the former DNC chair would take the position if it is offered. "He'll do whatever the President would like him to do," said the strategist. "He's certainly well-suited and well-qualified for that job. It would certainly shut up a lot of Dean supporters."
But another source close to Dean said nobody at the White House has contacted him about the job and noted that the former governor has previously indicated he’s not interested in this particular position.
Supporters of Dean believe he should get some kind of reward for presiding over the Democratic party in which they scored major electoral gains in the 2006 and 2008 election cycles. But Dean famously clashed with Emanuel in 2006, who was serving as the chairman of the House Democrats' campaign arm at the time, over where to spend scarce campaign cash in the final days of the campaign in which Democrats ended up taking control of Congress.
People close to Dean and Emanuel, however, insist the two men have since patched up their differences and recently had lunch together. Those sources also noted that in recent months Emanuel reached out and offered Dean a lower-level health-related job in the administration that was turned down.
(Updated with additional information from source close to Dean)
Will Dean provide us with his patented scream every week?
If President Obama names Dean Surgeon General, will he give out one of those awful screeches like Howard Dean does? I wonder how they would spell that out on his teleprompter....
And this would be a further indication of the complete idiocy that is this administration. This idiot, being the so called 'top doctor' of the land? Makes me miss Jocilyn Elders.
You weren't elected President. I wasn't either.
Let the President make the decision. You "Monday Morning Quarterbacks" are tiresome.
Sanjay Gupta is the best for this position....he's the bomb as far as I'm concerned.....
works for me...the Democratic party's Rush Limbaugh. "Everybody who disagrees with me is wrong and everybody who thinks the same is ok.
Way to go Obama...Change is on the way!!!
Howard's a good guy, but for heaven's sake, he couldn't even make a decision when it came to the Super-delegates in the Dem. primary. Mr. dean can't make a decision on his own. How effective would this guy be?
I don't know about this one. I certainly think he would be a far better choice than Gupta (WTH was that about?) but he does have a tendancy to stick his foot in his mouth and that's Mr Biden's job.
Better qualified candidates are still out there.
HOWARD DEAN IS THE MOST VERSATILE AND CAPABLE DEMOCRATIC POWERHOUSE.
I hope the Obama Administration lock him in for Surgeon General.
Howard wooooooooo Dean.
Hope his medicine is better than his demeanor.
You definitely got my vote, Dean.
I personally like Mr. Dean and hope he gets the position.
While I'm a strong supporter of the Obama administration, they should leave wackos like Howard Dean alone.
Ridiculous! Is this man even a doctor?
I mean a real doctor?
Surgeon general is a high-ranking position, I'm not sure Howard dean is a good choice. This is a man who can't make a decision on his own.
Of course he is a socialist. Dang it America, we're probably going to get stuck with socialized healthcare. That stinks.
Howard Dean given the position based solely on presiding over the Demo. Convention. Not a good reason.
Howard Dean deserves this position as he was quite effective and DNC chairman and he came close to winning the Pres nomination a few years ago.
Oh Please not Howard Dean. His decisions during the election nearly split the democratic party in half. There are other qualified doctors out there. Let's let Howard Dean just go away.
GREAT! A nut job in charge of health.
Better check his tax returns,,,,,,,,,,,,
That would be a good choice, or Ron Paul. Forget politics in the choice, what is best for the country should be top priority. OOPS, forgot, no one can set aside politics and do what is best for the country right now.....silly me.