Wednesday, February 19, 2003

On the campaign trail with the un-Bush

Jake Tapper’s profile in Salon yesterday was another solid piece fleshing out details of Dean’s candidacy. It’s a lengthy piece that both reinforces some stereotypes (“the most liberal of the Democratic front-runners”) while at the same time tries to give Dean chance to counter with his side of the story. (“I don’t mind being characterized as liberal. I just don’t happen to think it’s true.”)

One interesting bit is when Tapper talked with one of Dean’s roommates from Yale (both of Dean’s roommates were black) to get to the bottom of Dean’s claim that he can relate to black voters because he had black roommates:

“No question, I would roll my eyes too, probably,” Roman says. “But you really have to understand Ralph and me more to appreciate” that Dean actually has a point. Roman and Dawson were very active in the Black Students Government and were in the first class able to major in black studies, Roman says. Moreover, the year they lived together was 1967-1968 — during the Vietnam War, race riots, the trial of Bobby Seale, and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy.

“He was the son of a Republican investment banker, and he could not get his hands around the political views Ralph and I brought to the table at that early age,” recalls Roman, now a financial planner in Atlanta. “We weren’t Panthers or Weathermen, but believe me, we were definitely on the outskirts of the political spectrum at Yale.”

It’s still early in the race, but this is a good piece that should give Dean more exposure.

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