March 6th, 2009
04:52 PM ET
5 years ago

Democrats pushing Dean for Surgeon General

Two White House officials say it's possible Dean could be tapped for surgeon general post.
Two White House officials say it's possible Dean could be tapped for surgeon general post.

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)


Filed under: Howard Dean
soundoff (142 Responses)
  1. Matt

    YeaaaHawww another idiot dem placed in a position they don't deserve. How long has it been since he last cracked a medical book? or saw a patient?

    Can't we find a real doctor?

    March 6, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  2. Omari - Phx

    All have to say is......... yeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 6, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  3. MAD

    I hope they can let by gones be by gones and get down to business. I say get these positions filled and keep it moving.

    March 6, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  4. southerncousin

    Howard the Screamer as Surgeon General. Does this mean ACORN would run that office too?

    March 6, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  5. ElderLS

    Dr.HD is the man...for that j.o.b.

    March 6, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  6. Kevin in Ohio

    AYaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Screamin' Howard! Sounds like a typical choice to me.

    March 6, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  7. focused

    Don't bite off your nose to spite your face. Give it to Dr. Dean. He makes more sense than Gupta anyway. Plus, he's got the political prowess that wins elections. He needs to stay in the thick of things.

    March 6, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  8. The Truth

    The Barnum & Bailey Administration always has room for one more clown.

    March 6, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  9. AndyL

    Wonder if he will go into a lunatic rant when nominated, remember Iowa.

    March 6, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  10. Matt Simpson

    If anyone can get health care reform it would be Howard Dean! He is such a great leader and knows how to compromise and generate consensus. The only one who could do a better job would be Hillary Clinton. I sure hope Dean has paid his taxes, because we really need him to reform health care – he is the only one who can do the job. (Or the only one, now that Tom Daschal is not available, since he was the only one who could have reformed health care before).

    LOL... so much for change.

    March 6, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  11. Lanie Fleischer

    We think Dr. Howard Dean would be a fantastic appointment!

    March 6, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  12. No Vaseline

    Self-destructive Democrats...

    March 6, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  13. Omari - Phx

    First He ran for Governor; then President; then the DNC chair; and now Surgeon Generaaaaaaallllll..........Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!!!!!!!!!!

    March 6, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  14. Michael M. Noonan

    Maybe the former guv can teach his minions scream therapy as treatment.

    March 6, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  15. Bruce

    Surely I'm reading an article from "The Onion." This has to be a joke. When I think of all the capable people who could fill this position. Is our president a glutton for punishment. This guy probably has more skeletons in his closet than any appointee yet. Why does he keep doing this to himself?

    Add to that, Dean proved himself to both Demos and Repubs alike to be an absolute moron.

    March 6, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  16. change

    well for one the Republican will push him .. not have one single problem with him..

    Howard Dean hates gay people.. So he is right up their ally

    March 6, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  17. texas teacher

    Dean? Just saying. Now I'll REALLY spit up in my mouth!

    March 6, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  18. Deb

    Yes, Yes, Yes we want Howard Dean!!!!!!!!

    March 6, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  19. Jon in CA

    Oh great... a surgeon general who will just SCREAM at us for 4 years!

    Glad to see Obama cronies getting government appointments. THIS is "change"???

    March 6, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  20. Skyview

    Dean is a goodf man and should be seriously considered for the position of Surgeon General. He is the true leader of the Democrats "National Agenda" as opposed to "Battleground State" strategy and his national view will be a big help to President Obama as he struggles against the entrenced priveleged few agenda.

    March 6, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  21. INDEPENDANT VET

    THIS ONE WE DO NOT NEED , FOR HE CAN OUT DO BARRACK ON LIES AND MORE LIES. PUT IT IN CORRECT FORMAT , FLIP FLOPS , ARE CROCK'S '

    FOR WHEN THE DRIVER ( BARRACK ) GOES OVER THIS CLIFF , THIS IS NO ONE TO APPLY FIRST AIDE.

    JUST ADDING MORE TO THE MESS. IT ALL IS GETTING SICKING , WANT TO VOMIT I DO . HIS NAME ALONE , MUCH LESS TO HEAR HIM FLIP , AN FLOP. THANK GOD FOR THE REMOTE.

    March 6, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  22. Griff............... on The Truth...

    But in what theatre? Pakistan?

    March 6, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  23. independentvoter

    He should have been top of the list...

    March 6, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  24. dem

    Yes, Dean. Smart man, good leader. He would serve our country well.

    March 6, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  25. chubby

    You are joking aren't you? This guy is a bum and not all that stable. Remember the scream, he is totally screwed up, but at least I guess he has paid his taxes and that is different anyway.

    March 6, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
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