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. ket

    There have been both racism and sexism but the true leader will get beyond this one of those leaders hit it straight on.The other just complained. The media will not focus on the issues which the democracts have in thier favor but the big media bosses have thier own agenda. CNN will be as fox news this election year.

    May 31, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  2. Apu

    follow and stick to the rules. there should not be any debate about it. it is fair and clear. there is no point changing the rule in the mid game. if you do , then there should not have been any rule in the first place. it is not about accommodating certain group of people , it is not about democracy
    and not even about winning or loosing in Nov. it is about principle and
    discipline in society which seems to be lacking. if we want to win at any cost , that is wrong.

    May 31, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  3. pete

    if they are not seated properly, i will not vote democrat in november.

    May 31, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  4. s.boatman warrensburg mo.

    In The End I Think All Of The Democrats, Even The HRC Supporters Will Come Together So The Policies Of This Country Can Change. Then We Can All Have Change We Can Believe In!

    May 31, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  5. Too Little Too Late, Dean!

    I'm outa the party. THIS time I don't vote party - this time I vote for the country I love and have ALWAYS been proud of - Hillary Clinton first, McCain second.

    I happen to live in So. Cal., and yesterday I visited the Reagan Library here. I also remembered that, even though I'm a lifelong Democrat, I voted for Reagan. And seeing and watching him in action in film and photo, I remembered why.

    He was a moderate politically, but he was a REALIST and packed a punch when it mattered: He simply WALKED OUT of discussions where the Soviets (then the perceived "terrorists") were trying to sabotage his defense strategies to protect Americans.

    He refused to merely "talk" to those wanting to tear down or impede democracy. And after he made sure that America was strong miliarily - only then was he able to shout: "MR. GORBACHOV, TEAR DOWN THIS WALL! " And down it came!

    Suddenly I remembered why I voted for him twice - HE WAS A MAN OF SUBSTANCE - A REALIST - NOT FULL OF EMPTY RHETORIC!

    Only Clinton and McCain come even remotely close!

    May 31, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  6. Go Obama

    Slam the media?? Maybe but who gives the media the information? Where are they getting these Racist, and Sexist remarks?

    I hear it from the Clintons speeches all the time! They only get it from thier sources.. now posting about it all the time yeah that is the media but what else do they have to report about?

    OH yeah... They get to report about how Clinton clan and Ferraro like to split up the Democrat party totally into bits with their comments and lost crusades!

    May 31, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  7. RufusVonDufus

    Like a bunch of little kids taught to cheat by their fathers, the Clinton campaign people think it will be ok to change the rules in midstream. What a bunch of true Democrats. I am ashamed that I am/was one of them for a long time. Anything Hillary means many of us vote for McCain. She is the curse of our times.

    May 31, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. jbarrow

    tsk, tsk, Howard Dean, you may try to ride herd on the DNC politico's but it doesn't work with the rank and file voters. Those voters outside the hearing today is why the DNC even exists. Maybe you should eat a little humble pie and look at it from their point of veiw. Unless of course you want those states (and many more) to go to the republicans in the fall. And if they do, Mr. Dean, you will be the one at fault.

    May 31, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  9. Coleman R. Brice, Asbury Park, NJ


    May 31, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  10. Yak

    Because media has indeed persuaded the regular voters and skyrocketed Obama to rockstar status. Without the media, O'bama would be unknown and Clinton would have won most states by land slide. Media is the reason why Obama is at the top. A rockstar with no experience and substance.

    May 31, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  11. matt

    In watching the DNC coverage on CNN, Let me say this. I have enjoyed your coverage. I do not vote because of, these states in question. I see time and time again agreements being made and then after the fact ,they do not like the out come, so the party that signed the agreement wants to change the goal post. (when a person starts a bussiness, and does not make a profit in 6 months,will all involved financial, suppliers,clients,advertizers,employees,ect, Be willing to go back to the drawingboard and say lets try something that profits me more?). of coarse not. So if those two states get what they are asking for,then the to be fair all states with caucuses should be counted, all 48 states with popular votes also. I feel that those signing and voted on the primary being moved should be told to the voters of that state so they can take the problem to the signers,and vote them out of office or throw them under the bus. Matt

    May 31, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  12. John NC

    For the biggest problem the DNC has faced this election year, Gov. Dean need only look in the mirror.

    May 31, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  13. Rowland

    The rules are the rules. We must not bend them to favor anyone. We must at all times obey and go by the rules that guide and put us in the right place and time. We have the right to choose firstly , and subsquently face the penalty if we chose to do wrong.

    Our party is defined by the rules we keep and that is why we have the Constitution and go by the Constitution and its Amendments. The Constitution guides and keeps us in shape when we are undecided.

    May 31, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  14. Media Hacks

    The media, including this self-proclaimed 'best' outlet, has switched back and forth on the most sensational items without balance and filtering to help force momentum to the apparent underdog at any given moment – in my view – to stretch this thing out to extend their own price and value of media buys for their programing.

    I doubt CNN will post this, but it is my opinion that they've reduced themselves to industry and entertainment before genuine, independent, traditional reporting interests.

    May 31, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  15. persaud

    its not about you, but your country. most candidates don't run for the sake of their country; they run for themselves. they want power, because they think that they're the person that can effect changes. but the pull of power is important. some, like the democrats, care about our issues - the issues facing america. other, like the republicans, care about issues that will benefit themselves.

    in recent politics, the issue has not been about our country, but about party politics - as it seems to always been about. politicians use rhetoric to pull voters. their speeches are elocquent, with pretty words and wonder turn of phrases. but they operate in the clouds. they don't come down to their citizens and see what we want. we are besides the point. we are only the cattle that vote. gore may have said the for your country statement, but he wanted to be president to push his environment agenda.

    with everything i have said, i believe in the democratic party. i believe that they fight for the american people. i believe that they care about me - from gay rights, to immigration, to don't ask don't tell, to the war. they understand change; they understand what it means to make the best decision for the country. republicans makes decisions based on conservative views, not decisions in the best interest of the country. conservative views don't leave room for change and indeed they indeed they never change.

    May 31, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  16. s.b.

    It is not just the media Mr Dean and you know it. Women aren't going to be fooled so easily. The Democratic Party has behaved attrociously towards its female candidate and attacked her with sexist terms in a manner that would never be used against a male candidate. You have allowed this to happen and have actively encouraged it.

    May 31, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. wendy

    How can we call ourselves a democratic society if we don't allow ALL of the people's voices to be heard? Don't punish the people for the mistake of a few!

    May 31, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  18. Loretta from California

    It was Hillary Clinton's racist voters that helped me decide.

    Obama 08

    May 31, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  19. steve dumford, Scotts valley ca.

    Finally, someone from the DNC speaks up about the disgusting blatant sexism against Hillary Clinton in the media. It took way too much time. The worst offenders are the cadre of old boys of MSNBC. Matthews, Olberman, Shuster and company, followed closely by CNNs' Cafferty and Roland Martin. These are poor excuses for men and their unprofessional conduct is reprehensible. What's the matter boys, do you see your manhood shriveling when faced with a strong intelligent woman? It shows. I will never tune Into MSNBC again. They have absolutely no credibility They helped create the atmosphere in which Obama bloggers on this site say some of the most vile, disgusting, insulting, sexist things about Hillary. It's an ugly disgrace. These haters, which include his religious friends, are the types of people who are drawn to Obama. NO THANKS

    May 31, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  20. CJ

    I'm glad that Al Gore told him that... Now maybe together, they can tell it to Hillary!

    May 31, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  21. Tom, Boston MA


    the corporate media are spinsters of the neo-con / corpo-con / theo-con masters.

    they are the willing collaborators of the murderous fascist regime that has been ruling the country ever since its inception.

    May 31, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |




    GO HILLARY 08!!!!!

    May 31, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. nannie bouroughs, Kenosha, WI

    Yeah, RIGHT!

    Although I do agree with Howard Dean on his comments regarding the media... one must also understand that his total lack of leadership on this issue, early on, gave the media the opportunity to settle old scores with the Clintons and really stir the pot...

    May 31, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  24. jim

    I agree, the media particularly CNN favors obama. I am glad that this happened.

    May 31, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |




    GO HILLARY 08!

    May 31, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
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