After six months of full-time campaigning, he has gone from being the asterisk to the rising star of the nine Democrats vying for the nomination to challenge Bush. In aggressively confronting the administration, Dean has tapped the discontent, and even anger, among the party’s ranks with the self-assurance of the doctor he once was and the combativeness of the governor he became. Now Dean, the shortish (about 5-foot-8) contender with the flushed face and the rolled-up sleeves, is the one with the buzz and the blogs.
At least 38 Web sites are devoted to his campaign, and online volunteer organizing has packed the pubs, cafes and living rooms where Deansters meet. If 20 people are expected at a Dean event, 50 or 100 show up. If 100 are expected, 200 or 400 show. And so on.
“It’s a problem,” quips Joe Trippi, Dean’s campaign manager. “We have to keep finding bigger places.”