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

Dean slams media coverage as he opens meeting

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. William,from Ca.

    Howard Dean and the "Democratic Party" shall be thankful; to the Media, for some of their comments. If not for that, and the Media's bias, against G.W. Bush, and the War, and other "Negatives"; the Democrats, would be "Also-Rans" in this Election.........................

    May 31, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  2. len

    It ain't happening, Howard. This isn't about the party but it is about your hand picked candidate and the bizarre rules that enable a woman to win the popular vote and be pushed out of the nomination.

    You're toast, Dean. Pelosi is browning and Obama will be a rice crispie after November. McCain will be in the White House. You can blame the angry voters but you and Nancy are the ones who blew it. Next time vette your bloody candidate and count electoral college votes before you do another one of these amateur nights.

    May 31, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  3. Ellen Schufreider

    I am very disturbed by John King's analysis of Florida's vote in their primary.
    How can these voters or voter trends be acknowledged when Senator Obama didn't campaign in FL, especially when the state voted early in the process when he wasn't as well known as he is today?
    It appears to me that Senator Clintor won voter recognition and that the outcome of that primary could look very different if Senator Obama had the opportunity to campaign.

    May 31, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  4. KG

    The votes in Florida should all count,because both names were on the ballot and obama advertised in Florida which is a form of campaining, so he acutally broke the rules anyway , and I am sure just as many Hillary supporters didn't go to the polls that day as did obama supporters because they didn't think it would count, so it should be just as fair as a CAUCUS. So get over it and give the Florida votes as counted.

    May 31, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  5. David

    The delegates from Michigan and Florida should be seated – there is no doubt ab however, this should be done in a way that does not alter or jeopordize the results of the whole process. So, you agree to the set rules of the competition and when you believe that this competition will be a run and you opponent is a fairy tale. When he show the potential to beat you, youwant to bend the same rules that you sign so that the nomination is delivered to you in a sliver plate – that is not the america I know. Hilary should also respect the rules and those that did not vote.

    Hilary Clinton proposal is mean, calculating and clearly is intended to used by the campaign to legitimize the argument that she better electable, got the popular votes and should be the nominee. If Obama campaigned in FLorida and Michigan, these figures would not as-is, just think PA, he was 25 points before campaign, later 9.3 points down after campaign, Texas 20 points before campaign and 3.6 points down after the campaign.

    Hilary Clinton proposal is selfish and indicates how obsessed she is with the nomination – as much as people respect her spirit of fighting back, this is an example of exploiting a situation to her advantage. Clintons wants this nomination whatsoever, sad. It is not about Hilary becoming the president, but about the Democratic taking over the whites and working to get this country back on her feet in November. I wonder what has become of the Clintons!

    May 31, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  6. Roger Jones

    Sure Howard, blame the media and not yourself. What an inept little man you are. It was your responsibility to make certain the DNC ran a fair election, and you blew it. In spades you blew it. I doubt that we can even count the number civil rights laws that have been violated by the DNC. What we a re witnessing today with this charade of a kangaroo court is the demise of the Democratic party. With it's so-called superdelegates and arcane rules, the Democrates have managed to disenfranchise not just two states, but an entire country. Party elites like Howard Dean have choosen to ignore the will of the people. And today they pay for that mistake.

    May 31, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. Tony, Enterprise, Alabama

    Newsflash for Howard Dean...

    Your Uber-Liberal leadership of the Democratic Party has been just as bad for the Democratic Party as the Neocon leadership in the Republican Party, both a total disgrace!

    Somehow you have managed to saddle the party with a candidate who has no possibility of winning. Apparently that is just fine with you since you keep insisting on driving us into the ditch, at all costs, because "rules are rules". I thought you were smart enough to distinguish between elementary school and the big time, NOT!

    Well, here's the deal...most REAL Democrats, the moderates of the party, will not vote for Obama because he is too Liberal and inexperienced to be President. You can nominate him, but we will not vote for him.

    We are voting for Hillary Clinton period. I for one have been encouraging all of my friends to go to Hillary's website and encourage her to run as an Independent Democrat like Joe Lieberman. She will win the election in November when pitted against Obama and McCain because she is the best qualified.

    And when she wins, it will pleasure me to no end when she fires you!

    May 31, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  8. Del

    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.".
    If only Dean can use same words to Clinton and her supporter's that will make much sense. This is not about the Clinton's, it is about America!

    May 31, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  9. Paul

    Don't blame the media. The entire contest has been a zoo. The Florida / Michigan issue should have been resolved decisively at the beginning, not now. If you make rules, stick with them. The campaigns have been filled with smears, only Obama himself seems to have tried to steer away from them. The real fault is the stupid system of primaries that the Democrats (Republicans too) follow. It's time to get away from the non-democratic delegate system and let each state abide by a popular vote. Also have a rotation system for when the state primaries are held to prevent the stupid infighting of who gets to vote first.

    May 31, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  10. richard

    Hillary has not urged Democrats to with hold there vote in November. Another fabrication by ONN. Nothing wrong here citizen move along now.

    May 31, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  11. R. Seabron

    That's right Hillary. It's not about you, it's about your country. Stop being selfish and let it go!

    May 31, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  12. Marge Hibbing Mn

    He ought to be ashamed that he is causing it in the first place. The Democrats in Florida are not responsible for the fact that they republicans, who control the Florida congress, are the ones who moved up the date for the primaries.

    Why in the heck is Dean and his henchman punishing the Democrats in Florida..All they did was vote. Since day one they good old boys in this party have done every single think they could to push obama and cut the rug out from under Hillary.

    Well the jelly ball brigade will see they again made the mistake of snatching defeat from victor, by putting obummer up as the candidate. When McCain wins the GE we'll see which of the good old boys and the viagra poppers have to say.

    May 31, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  13. carmen

    Howard Dean, a person I had a lot of respect for prior to this the disenfranchisement of Florida and Michigan, should be fired from the DNC. He could have allowed these states to revote but did not because they all wanted to propel Obama to a victory. I will not vote for Obama because he also encouraged this injustice just to win. How different is he from Bush. I am a life long democrat that would prefer to vote for McCain than Obama. It also has nothing to do with my race since, I am a black women.

    May 31, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  14. Lindsay in CA

    Yes, there will always be both sexists and racists in the media and our society. But you can't deny the fact that Hillary has clearly benefited by having the conservative media virtually silent in their criticism of her. Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media outlets so badly wanted to run against her in the general election. It has definitely helped that they have thrown all their mud at Obama, while pretty much giving her a free ride.

    May 31, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  15. Marie

    What no mention about the blatant racism against Obama? CNN you have become such a disgrace. If Senator Obama becomes the the democratic choice, it will be interesting how far you will go in trying to distroy him. Move over FOX News Clinton News Network will show you how it's done.' The Most Trusted Name In News' give the world a break.

    May 31, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  16. Michiel W

    Howard Dean has waited too long to make this statement. He, along with all of the other party leaders are responsible for the disintegration of the Democratic party. Along with, of course, the media. Punishing voters for something beyond their control. The apportioning of delegates, and caucuses rather than primaries have contributed to the division. What happened to 1 person 1 vote?
    The DNC and party leaders are more interested in "making history" than in providing the best possible candidate to the Democratic voters for the most important job in this country.

    May 31, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. John O.

    This entire election is ridiculous. The Electoral College, this B.S. with the Democratic National Committee...why do these people get to make up rules for the way our votes should be counted? Why can't we simply use the popular vote? Get rid of the behind the scenes secretive dealings.

    May 31, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  18. Antonio

    I totally agree with Mr. Dean. Unfortunately, in our country gossip, garbage and B.S sells. The media does not care in addressing the issues affecting all Americans, because most citizens care more about the nonsense being reported than the issues affecting the lives. Stop watching staged TV that is doing absolutely nothing for you and start educating and informing yourselves. Do not let politicians take us for granted. Thank you.

    May 31, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. White Female Veteran's Daughter

    I guess I always felt Bill and Hillary would get the nomination even if the rules had to be changed to give it to them.

    My promise to the Democrats is that I will not vote for Hillary Clinton if the rules are changed to give her the "entitlement" she thinks is her due.

    My mother served in the military for four years and she and I have discussed this and she said she understands my being disillusioned. I planned to work for the election of Obama during the summer and through the election in this, my senior year of college. A lot of my friends have the same plans and they will not touch Hillary Clinton with a hundred foot pole.

    I hope McCain will kick her big butt.

    May 31, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  20. Lindsay

    This is all going to end in very bad taste and the whole process is going to make the USA look even worse than ever.

    The DNC will pander to HRC as most of those "high up" in the DNC did not expect or want Obama to be the nominee. At the time, no one was worried 'cos HRC was ahead. Now those in power in the DNC see the FL and MI case(s) as one last chance to help HRC over the top, which is what was "planned" and "expected" all along – her being the nominee that is.

    Somehow, HRC is going to be "given" the nomination in spite of being beaten and it'll all be made to look "right" and "legal" following a new interpretation of the "rules".

    Obama is the USA's best hope to move forward and from the brink of falling into a very dark period but he'll be ousted by the more "powerful" and the world will look on and groan and laugh (maybe) and loose even more respect for a once all-powerful nation.

    Oh how the mighty fall. Not just Clinton, McCain, Obama but the USA as a whole.

    Sad, but the whole world still looks on with a little hope and faith.

    May 31, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  21. Terry in New York

    I just don't understand what all the arguing back and forth today is about. The rules were broke, they new what the penalty would be if hey broke the rules and the candidates accepted that penalty also. Why does any of this have to change now?
    Hillary could care less about MI. and FL. it's simply about her and what they can do for her. Any thought to the contrary is ridculous. She didn't see their importance when she agreed to the penalty. All these sign carrying idiots could care less about FL and MI also. They are just using the situation as a rescue rope for the Clinton campaign.

    May 31, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  22. New Day

    The media didnt turn this election ugly; the Clinton campaign did when she lost the elected delegate count back in February. The media is up for for ratings; get over it.

    May 31, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  23. Antonio

    I totally agree with Mr. Dean. Unfortunately, in our country gossip, garbage and B.S sells. The media does not care in addressing the issues affecting all Americans, because most citizens care more about the nonsense being reported than the issues affecting their lives. Stop watching staged TV that is doing absolutely nothing for you and start educating and informing yourselves. Do not let politicians take us for granted. Thank you.

    May 31, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  24. JC

    CNN and other media have every right to cover such an important and yet preventable meeting for the American people.

    I am one of those that suggested for DNC to stick with the original rules. No rules are perfect. The worst thing is to change the rules near the end of any competition. This just goes to show how incompetent DNC is compared with GOP. I am no fan of either party, but the spectacle of DNC's inability to govern their own party took up too much attention from issues that are critical to our nation.

    If DNC cannot govern itself, they should get out of the way for better ideas and more competent minds.
    Thanks to CNN for covering this even that I hate to watch!

    May 31, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  25. Shannon

    The media should focus on why Obama surrounds himself with hate filled racists. Obama supporters say he barely knew the guy, that is a lie. He flew him to Iowa to speak on his behalf, he made sure he received a $100,000 grant, and he appointed him to a committee on his campaign. Yeah, he barely knew him. Moreimportantly, Obama attended a church for twenty years where the congregation stood up and cheered this hate monger, and the hate of Rev Wright. Why would he go to such a place, do the people there represent the hope and change Obama is speaking about. Obviously if you attend a church for twenty years, you share the views of that church, otherwise you are a lying idiot, and a hypocrite to boot. Come on Obama supporters and come on media, explain why Obama and his wife, you know the woman who says America is a mean country, why do they attend such a church. Those people were on their feet cheering. Talk about racism, Mr Dean, just look at the people there. You will see plenty of racism and Obama is right in the middle of it.

    May 31, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
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