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. GAE



    May 31, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  2. Johnny Hatten

    Blatantly sexist or blatantly racist remarks inside or outside the media is and always have been a trait in America. It really comes down to the candidates. I'm not voting for Clinton because she's a woman and I'm not voting for Obama because he is black. I will vote for the democratic candidate who will represent me and the direction of American government. Sometimes I wish I we were all deaf and blind so these prejudices would not ever be a factor in our decisions.

    Johnny Hatten
    Los Angeles, CA

    May 31, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. obama =supporter==ARKANSAS

    were it not for the press and cnn
    there would not be such a mess.
    howard dean is right

    May 31, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  4. s.positive

    HRC supporters, you now see how deluded you've been... Not anyones fault but yours because you bought a LIE

    May 31, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |

    The DNC has been like a "thief in the night". They have gone out of their way to divide this Democratic party and make way for something new and to bring about a "change" as Barack Obama has instructed them to. The DNC is all about $$$$$. They believe that Barack Obama will stock the money flow and help them pay for things that they should have to work for and fight to get. Obama is their MONEY MACHINE.

    What will this party division and "change" truely cost them? IMHO, it will cost too much.........You have lost this Democratic and I will never vote for Barack Obama.....

    May 31, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  6. odj4real

    It is very sad to see that a respected personality like Hillary Clinton would encourage the kind of unruly behaviour that we see by placard carrying protesters outside the RBC sitting venue. What message does Clinton and her supporters want to send to fellow Americans and the world? That they are unprincipled and lack discipline? You reached a gentlman's agreement only to turn agains the agreement in the middle of the game because it does not favour you. Is this the kind of leadership that Hillary Clinton wants to provide Americans? I believe Americans deserve a better deal; men and and women of integrity and discipline are what Americans demand.

    I'm certain members of the Democrat's RBC know better; they know the consequence of yielding to the intimidation of the Clintonites. Apart from encouraging widespread indiscipline across the party, the Republicans could take them to the cleaners as undisciplined people who lack the toughness of lead a great country like America. My advise to Hillary Clinton is to preserve whatever honor she has left by doing the right thing: support Obama. She needs to know when the game is up; it is not a do or die affair.

    May 31, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. After further review,Texas.

    What was that shout again Howard?

    May 31, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. floridian

    The Obama Dems surely want this to be over. They cannot afford a continuation of the campaign, especially with the "friends/advisers" that keep popping out of the woodwork and on center stage. Sen. Obama can only say he is "disappointed"? How many more divisive, anti-white, racist people are going to pop up in Sen. Obama's circle of close friends and advisers? Kind of explains why his campaign wants to end the primary season and declare him the winner. The longer this drags on the more risk there exists. I say, give the varmits more time and take it to the convention and let those on the floor settle it. We, the American people, need the time to truly determine just who this Sen. Obama really is and what he really stands for, other than "change". Seat them all - live up to the party's name - democracy.

    May 31, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  9. Mary

    Howard Dean has not been a very good leader of the Democratic Party. In fact, my tom cat could have done as well. He should have demanded new primaries in both MI and FL. but since he is an Obama supporter, knew that Obama would not win, therefore, did not push for a new election. Besides there were 3 other states that had primaries on the same day as FL and MI and their delegates will be seated. The Democratic Party VIPs should not have more power than the voters.
    Count all the votes. Seat all the delegates as voted. Obama chose to pull his name from the MI ballot so it was his decision and fault he has no votes. He campaigned in FL with TV ads for 10 days and still lost.

    May 31, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  10. Grandma

    Hillary Clinton is to blame for the combative group rallying outside the meeting. If she wasn't insisting that ALL the Florida and Michigan delegates be seated with a whole vote, then the Democratic Party wouldn't be divided by the sign holding voters. She has kept them stirred up w/her entitlement attitude. It appears that a lot of them are women who feel Hillary Clinton has been the target of sexism.

    She isn't the target of sexism. She has been found to be an inferior candidate for the office of President of the United States. Lying and cheating are not attributes that we want in our Commander in Chief.

    Mrs Clinton is doing her best to keep the Democratic Party in a state of divisiveness so Barack Obama will find it more difficult to win the General Election in November.

    May 31, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  11. Barb

    Come on now enough is enough, Hillary knew the rules and that's it, she knew before we the voters did and still trying she cares about the voters (spare me). Now what does her committe mean about she's being treated unfairly, just like Bill said early on if you want to play football and don't want to get hit then don't put on the pads and stay off the field. Now he needs to pratctice what he preach, what he said early applies to Hillary, and her committe needs don't being divided and allow the democrated party stand tall.

    May 31, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  12. Enlightened Voter

    Clinton supporters act just as nasty, spoiled, derusive, negative and racists as her and then they get angry when you don't agree with their rotten ways.

    May 31, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. Independant Vet

    Howard Dean, you have done nothing but cause more problems for all the remarks, you made longh ago. I take it you think, the Media Should PRAISE ALL YOUR REMARKS. WHY DON'T YOU JUST COME OUT AND SAY , THAT YOU WANT OBAMA HUSSIEN , AN SHUT UP.



    May 31, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  14. Laurie

    It infuriates me that the Florida/Michigan Democrats are meeting to determine whether the delegates should be seated. The question I would like to pose: Hillary, why did you elect not to follow the rules of the Democratic Party? If this were a Bill Richardson vs. John Edwards presidential contest, today's meeting would not even be happening. The Democratic Party has much at stake–they need to think about the long-term consequences of the political process and not consider the specific candidates.

    May 31, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  15. DannyCali

    I think Dean and those member of DNC have to step down because their
    make a bad judgment and slow react in Florida and Michigan vote. All need to be seat and count it already cause someone campaign and elect
    problem. This is not Democratic this is only "DEMOCRACK" .

    May 31, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  16. Jane, NC

    Gore was right to tell Dean, "...this is not about you; it's about your country." But you know what? Women are half this country, and what we've found in this process is that sexism and blatantly unfair treatment of women candidates is alive and well!" It's way past time we outgrew it.

    May 31, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  17. Shirley Wood

    I would like to know why the popular vote from PR has anything to do with our nomination process since they can't vote in the GE anyway.

    Why that even enter into the picture is puzzling to me. Hillary is trying
    every which way to finagle the nomination. She was alright with the rules of the DNC when she thought she was winning without them, now she wants us all to believe she is just worried about the rights of the voters in MI and FL.

    This should have been over long ago. Had the shoe been on the other foot, she would have been one of the first to suggest that Obama
    should get out of the race.

    Shirley, Kenosah, WI

    May 31, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  18. 58 old white ladies for OBAMA










    May 31, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. bitter


    Shut up and go away. It's not the media. It's the poor excuses for candidates we get to choose from. A junior senator and a self proclaimed queen. Nice Job Howard.

    May 31, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |

    E N O U G H !
    You post every friggin Tom Dick & Harry! Multiple posts! Illiterate posts!
    There's no justice in it! You moderators stink out loud!

    The whole thing leaves me slack-jawed.

    The DNC, the relevant MI & FL Democratic leadership, and ALL of the candidates, physically signed statements that MI & FL votes would not count. The media and the voters were clearly informed as well. All of this well in advance of the primary dates. The DNC formally requested that all of the candidates remove their names from the Michigan ballot. Only Hillary and Kucinich did not listen.

    This being true, NO ONE was "disenfranchised". Now Hillary wants to count MI as it stands?! So she wants to profit for defying the rules, and punish Barack with NO delegates for following the rules, and removing his name as instructed by the DNC.

    Make no mistake. The ONLY people facing disenfranchisement, are the reasonable adults who stayed home during the primary, because they understood, as told, that their votes would have no consequence. THEY will be cheated, if Hillary gets her way. Hillary knows all of this better than any of us, which means she has crossed the line from crazy to evil.

    To the layperson, Florida may seem questionable, but any voter that wants to count Michigan as it stands, 55% for Hillary, 0 for Barack, is clearly exhibiting sad, patently corrupt, disgusting, and evil behavior.

    May 31, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  21. Jim Florida

    Dean is not thinking for the best of the party he is thinking with a bias crying because he is scared the Clinton's will have him fired if they win and they should.

    May 31, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  22. Chuck

    No Hillary = a vote for McCain. Obama is a bigot without experience.

    May 31, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  23. Kevin Schmidt

    Howard Dean for VP!

    He is the main person responsible for the Democrats winning big on all levels in all parts of the country two years ago.

    He flew under the radar, literally, as he traveled all over the country empowering people so we could take back our country.

    He battled the neocons and won. Now he is battling the DINOs and will win again.

    Put him in the VP seat and he will battle for our Constitution and he will do what is right for WE THE PEOPLE.

    May 31, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  24. lily

    very simple, just count the votes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Florida and Michigan people have the right to exercise their vote., it's not their fault! So please count them . what are you scared of?

    May 31, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. Elizabeth, NC

    Shut up Dean. It is because of you, Pelosi and Reid and putting your foot down as leaders to push the Super delegates to declare their support that has led to all this nonsense. Obama could have reached the needed 2026 and the primaries could have still gone on and all the states would have been represented just like the GOP and the democratic nominations of all other times. Once again shut up.

    May 31, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
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