The Spin Game -- Gone Bad

For months the other campaigns, pundits, and others spun each other and the press in an attempt to marginalize Howard Dean. "He's not electable" they said -- despite the fact that he is the only candidate bringing thousands of people who have never participated in politics into his campaign. Meetups "are like a bar scene from Star Wars" they said -- even though if you go to a Meetup or look at the picture below of the Austin Rally -- you see Americans who are willing to do the hard work of making Democracy stronger in their local community, people who are becomming more involved and more active, and are energized by one candidacy -- Howard Dean's.

They have tried to marginalize Howard Dean by saying he is George McGovern (which did not work) so now they are labeling him as Jerry Brown (which won't work either). It won't work because anybody who sees him and listens to him knows he isn't anybody but Howard Dean. Too many in the press have bought the spin and repeated it over and over again -- but the spin isn't working. Why because it is a mistake to try to label Howard Dean -- I gave up trying to figure out how to label him years ago.

Howard Dean bases his decisions on the facts (I think its the doctor in him) And if the facts as he sees them say invading Afganistan is the right decision he supports it (as he did) and if the facts in front of him say that Iraq is the wrong war at the wrong time for our country he says so. If we can figure a way to REALLY provide health coverage for every American -- he looks at the facts -- and develops a plan to get it done (as he did for 97% of the children in Vermont and 91% of adults). And yes if the facts say Vermont does not need a ton of gun control laws (5 homicides in one year in which he was governor) then he doesn't see a big need for making gun control laws in Vermont -- and says lets keep the federal laws that we have, close the gun show loophole -- and let each state decide what laws they want to add. And its why regardless of the popular opinion -- when the facts as a doctor tell him there is no such thing as "partial birth abortion" he says so loud and clear.

What the spinsters from the other campaigns, and the pundits have either failed to realize, or report, or just don't get is it isn't the war, or any of these things -- its that Howard Dean is real, he has given exactly two prepared speeches in this campaign -- count em two. What they have haven't reported, or have not figured out is that if America is looking for a "programmed" candidate for President -- there are plenty of them in this field. Howard Dean is giving people a choice -- he's the unprogrammed candidate. He is who he is -- Howard Dean -- he defies labels -- yet they persist in labeling him. And no matter how hard they spin it another way -- it will not work -- because when people see him -- the spin does not ring true.

But the wake up call is coming -- our growth will not stay contained in the coffee shops and restaurants where Dean Meetups are held. Three months ago it was 500 to 600 at a New York Meetup, two weeks ago it was 1,200 strong from all across the state of Washington, and last night in Austin 3,200 people came to see Howard Dean speak and join our campaign.

We must make June ours -- we need to make the June 23rd Declaration of Candidacy events a display of the Dean grassroots strength across this country -- please sign up on our website for a June 23rd event or create one with our new organizing tools. We surprised everyone with the amount we raised in the last reporting period in March -- on June 30th (just 20 days from now) we must reach and surpass our fundraising goals again. We could not have surprised anyone in March without the netroots and grassroots support of hundreds of thousands of dollars of small donations, and we will not do it in June without the same response from every Dean supporter who can afford to make a contribution this month -- and every penny will count.

The time is now -- we need everyone's help now more than ever. We can expose the spin of the other campaigns for what it is -- a failed attempt to marginalize a candidate, a campaign, and an energized grassroots -- that simply cannot be marginalized. I mean its time to make these people's jaws drop. Last night mine did when I heard about Austin, as I suspect many of your's did when you heard about it - and we know what we really are.


3,200 people showed up to hear Howard Dean speak at the Plaza Saltillo in Austin on Monday, June 9th.


From this morning's The Note:

We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Howard Dean might win both Iowa and New Hampshire; Howard Dean is the only major candidate in the race who talks like both a governor AND a real person from outside Washington; Howard Dean is really using the Internet to fundraise and organize (It ain't just hype … .); Howard Dean connects regularly with Democratic audiences in a way that the others can do only sporadically; Howard Dean has a long record of policy thoughtfulness and a capacity to connect it to the real lives of real people that governors do best (and is, dare we say it, Clintonesque) ; and he evinces real anger at George Bush's polices.

The dirty little (not-so) secret of political strategists of both parties is how hard it is to get people interested in, and emotional about, politics. Howard Dean is doing that, and he is bringing new (and young) people into the process. In a crowded field, that is a good thing.


You hear it everywhere. The pundits discuss Howard Dean. They discuss the 33,100 people signed up for Dean Meetups. They discuss the blog, sometimes, and the netroots momentum behind Howard Dean. And then they say, "It remains to be seen whether this Internet activism will make any difference in the real world, or on election day."

What they miss is that it is making a difference, today, in the real world. Last night, 3,200 people showed up in Austin, Texas to hear Howard Dean speak for 20 minutes. The event was organized online in less than ten days by local volunteers. 3,200 people. Carl with a K puts the number into perspective:

In 1999-2000 when I began work on Senator John McCain's campaign... getting people to show up for an impromptu political rally outside of New Hampshire was near impossible... unthinkable even.

Things slowly changed as the campaign progressed and AFTER New Hampshire it was not uncommon in South Carolina for the campaign to be greeted by screaming McCainiacs numbering in the 1500-2000 range. That's an important point to understand. McCain's momentum flowed from state to state as he did better. There is no way we could have flown to Nashville (Gore's hometown) and been welcomed by 3,000 supporters even if it had been the day after New Hampshire at the height of his popularity.

It becomes more clear each day that this campaign is different from any other insurgent candidacy of the past. Doctor Dean has a national support network ready at any time to turn out for him and get the job done. That's something the Gary Hart's and John McCain's of this world were never able to harness let alone 6 months before a vote was taken.

3,200 people showing up for Howard Dean is incredible. We can also demonstrate the power of the netroots by again exceeding fundraising expectations over the Internet. Click here to contribute to Howard Dean's campaign for America. We have only twenty days before the end of the second quarter.


Thank you, Texas!! Last night was truly amazing. 3,200 people showed up for a rally for Gov. Dean in Austin. We had been told that 300 people were waiting for the Gov. When we arrived at the rally site is was clear that someone forgot a zero! Being in George Bush's home state made the size of the crowd even more exciting. The Gov. spoke for about 20 minutes and had the crowd roaring - especially when he referenced the current President! What made the rally so impressive was that it was organized in ten days primarily over the internet. When we got in the car after the event the Gov. was elated and, needless to say, amazed by the size of the crowd.

Right now we're driving from Austin to Houston for two events. This is a trip to Texas that we will never forget.



This was a truly amazing night. 10:30 pm, end of a very long day here in Burlington... Nicco and I had just spooled up Trippi's email about the Declaration parties on June 23rd... and all of a sudden Burlington HQ just starts to hum with excitement as word filters in about what is happening in Austin. 3,200 people showed up for a rally for Howard Dean in Austin, Texas tonight! It's hard to put perspective on just how massive an event that is, and how such a turnout is simply unheard of.

The rally was a stand-alone for Howard Dean-- the people were there to see him. The event was organized locally by volunteers.

Has this ever happened, six months before the first vote is cast in a primary? 18 months before the general election, 3,200 people rally for an opposing candidate in the capital city of a sitting President?

Over 3,200 numbered name tags were given out. Cell phone reports have it that all the local stations were there-- the Governor did interviews afterward. We're working to get video up on Howard Dean TV and photos up on the blog. Send us any photos at deanforum@deanforamerica.com.

Rick Klau helped us break the story, while Blogger was down. We're awaiting a report from Kate O'Connor; meanwhile, the unofficial Dean blog has a good report.

The confidential schedule said: expect approx. 300 people. We were stunned by the turnout.


There are now 33,000 people signed up to Meetup for Howard Dean on the first Wednesday of every month.

For those who haven't yet seen them, click here to check out the new meeting tools that we launched only days ago. These tools allow member of Meetup and other Dean supporters to arrange or find any type of event online-- house parties, viewing parties, recruiting efforts, tabling days, or any other project you want to do to help elect Howard Dean the next President of the United States.

You can set up an event any time, any place. One of the first things you can do is set up a viewing party to watch Howard Dean's announcement speech on June 23rd. If there isn't a viewing party in your area, please set one up. It is important that we demonstrate to the country that people across the nation are taking part in Howard Dean's official declaration.

The speech is scheduled to be broadcast at 1 pm ET. It will be webcast live and will be available on demand on the Internet by 6 pm ET. Set up a Monday evening party with your friends and neighbors to hear Howard Dean as he lays out his vision for the future of our country. Be sure to get your friends to join you using the online meeting tools-- it's the only way to demonstrate to the country how many people are taking part in the June 23rd celebration.


William Saletan at Slate is dutifully impressed by Howard Dean's appearance in Iowa this weekend. (Click here to view the video from Cspan.) Saletan writes:

Dean is far and away the most interesting player in the race. Not since Clinton have Democrats seen a talent like this. Here's Dean on the federal budget:

When Ronald Reagan came into office, he cut taxes, we had big deficits, and we lost 2 million jobs. When Bill Clinton came into office, he raised taxes without a single Republican vote; we balanced the budget; we gained 6 and a half million jobs. George Bush has already lost 2 and a half million. I want a balanced budget because that's how you get jobs in this country is to balance the books. No Republican president has balanced the budget in 34 years. …You had better elect a Democrat, because the Republicans cannot handle money. … We're the party of responsibility, and they're not.

When you hear Dean talk like this, you wonder why no one else can make the party's case so simply. If more Democrats spoke this way, maybe they'd control a branch of government.

If more Democrats spoke this way, we'd probably control all three.


Over 33,000 people have now signed up through meetup.com to organize locally for Governor Dean. They have raised nearly one third of a million dollars through the Meetup Challenge, a challenge from a New York Meetuper to raise $1,000,000 for Dean through Meetups (click here to add your contribution). Many of those same Meetup members are now organizing events to celebrate Howard Dean's official declaration of his candidacy on June 23rd. Visit http://www.deanforamerica.com/june23 and type in your zip code to see if an event has been scheduled in your area. As the June FEC filing deadline approaches in less than three weeks, these Declaration Celebration events and the Meetup challenge become critical to Dean's continued momentum.


The New Yorker's Ben McGrath takes in two fundraisers-- one with Howard Dean, the other with someone else-- and reveals some reasons why people are supporting Governor Dean:

[Cynthia] Williams is not, to be precise, a young professional; she said that she had been unemployed since September 11th, and, before she discovered Dean (watching c-span over the winter), she was, she said, “on the verge of being evicted. I didn’t know what would happen to my son.” Now that she’s a Dean supporter, things are looking up. “When I say he saved my life, I’m not overstating,” she said. “Last Friday, I went to the dinner in Atlantic City, and I had to borrow the money to even get down there. But once I got there I had a hotel room waiting for me, meals, everything. We Dean supporters look out for one another, you know? They say they like my enthusiasm.”
At another candidate's fundraiser, McGrath takes a one-person poll:

A Columbia student named Meredith... had been at Downtown Dean, too. (She had changed clothes between stops.) As the Late Night party began to thin out, after midnight, she looked around... and said that she’d been more impressed by Dean. “I found him very compelling,” she said. “Not necessarily arousing, but compelling. And the crowd there was more diverse.”


Tom Curry over at MSNBC reports on Howard Dean's appearance at Governor Tom Vilsack's picnic in Iowa this weekend:

Dean compared Bush to President Nixon during the Watergate crisis. “What did the president know and when did he know it?” Dean asked, in a reprise of the famous question posed about Nixon in 1974.

“The country is facing a serious crisis,” Dean told the crowd. “Our people are dying in Iraq at the rate of nine a week and the American people may not have had the full information about why we went there.”

"The president’s credibility is at stake,” Dean told reporters earlier.


Adding to the Dean Internet presence is a new site, Progressive Christians for Dean. From their homepage:

Progressive Christians for Dean is a group of thoughtful and committed progressive Christians focused on electing Howard Dean President of the United States and getting his message to the larger community of faith. Gov. Dean has a record of commitment to social justice and fiscal responsibility, and he is dedicated to reviving the progressive voice in public policy and ensuring that no person is left behind. We encourage all progressive Christians to support Gov. Dean in his campaign.



Following up on the KCCI poll released Thursday, in which Howard Dean surged into a second-place tie in Iowa, the latest Zogby poll of New Hampshire voters confirms that Howard Dean is the only candidate advancing in the key states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

According to the Zogby poll of New Hampshire voters, Howard Dean has advanced 9 points in New Hampshire since February. Dean is tied for the lead in the Granite State with John Kerry, who has lost some traction in the state since the spring. Zogby writes:

In February New Hampshire polling by Zogby International, Kerry enjoyed a 2-1 lead over Dean, 26% - 13%, with Gephardt at 11% and Lieberman at 9% .

The results of the current poll, conducted June 4-7, show Governor Howard Dean at 22%, in a statistical tie with John Kerry (25%). Lieberman was a "distant third" at 10%, while Gephardt fell to 7%. The margin of error for the poll is +/- 4.1%.

John Zogby summed up the poll by writing: The real story here is Dean's rise.

Indeed, comparing the latest polls, while Gephardt rose in Iowa, he fell in NH. Kerry lost one percentage point in New Hampshire and fell six points in Iowa. Only Dean advanced in both states.

Also in the New Hampshire poll, 27% of voters were still undecided. 36% of voters had yet to become familiar with Governor Dean, while only 12% of respondents were unfamiliar with John Kerry, suggesting that Dean has the stronger chance of winning over those who are still looking for a candidate to support.


We are in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa for Gov. Tom Vilsack's and Lt. Gov. Sally Pederson's annual family picnic. The picnic was held at the Old Threshers Grounds. There were more John Deere tractors than you've ever seen in your life! Around 800 people were there. The Dean people came from all over: Chicago, Minneapolis, and Missouri. They did a great job greeting the Gov. and they were on there feet waving signs when the Gov. spoke. Gov. Dean made their drive worthwhile by giving a great speech! You can feel the enthusiasm for the Gov. building here it Iowa. Thankfully, the Gov. did not sing - like some of the other candidates did. I'm not sure his speech would have gone over as well if he did!

You can't have a picnic without food and the Vilsacks and the Pedersons put on a great spread: pork burgers (Never had one before - they're great), cole slaw, potato chips, lemonade, chocolate chip cookies and ice cream. This is one day that we won't be going without food.

Make sure to watch Road to the White House tonight on C-SPAN. They will be rebroadcasting the speech.

Right now we're in the airport waiting to catch a flight (unfortunately, it's a little plane) to Minnesota. It will be our second state in just one day!


The AP reports on the latest Zogby poll of likely New Hampshire primary voters:

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean lead the field among Democratic presidential candidates in New Hampshire, according to the latest poll of likely voters in the state.

Kerry was at 25 percent while Dean was at 22 percent in the Zogby poll released Sunday.

The poll of 600 likely voters taken June 4-7 has an error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points. That means Kerry and Dean are statistically tied for the lead.

According to the AP report, "About one-third of those surveyed said they are not familiar with Dean, while one in 10 said that about Kerry." These numbers suggest that Dean is more likely to gain additional support in New Hampshire.