I thought Dean did a great job on Meet the Press yesterday — much more relaxed than he was in June, much more in command of the issues (and willing to tell Russert when he was off-base). I still see a Dean nomination as a long-shot at this point (side note to Mike at TopDog04 — no, I’ve not lost faith. Just realistically assessing where we stand in light of recent developments. Still very committed to Dean, and I still think he’s the best Democrat to challenge President Bush in November.) but I’m quite glad to see Dean stepping up and demonstrating real leadership — something that, as the campaign focused increasingly inward in December and January, was in short supply.
Did Trippi tell you to basically let it rip before you walked out onto the stage in Iowa for the so-called I Have a Scream speech?
Sure, but I’m not going to blame Joe Trippi. One thing about this campaign stuff and Joe Trippi and all that: I do not blame him for one thing that went wrong in the campaign. The reason is, actually what drove Joe crazy, is I want to know everything, and I want everything explained to me, and I sign off on all the final decisions. I have not one piece of ill will about spending too much money. I OK’d every major strategic decision and you can put the blame at my feet for anything going wrong.
Another interesting comment Dean made on MTP yesterday, which I also liked. Russert asked Dean to explain his losses in Iowa and New Hampshire, and Dean responded that in part, it was people didn’t get to know him. That he’d spent so much time focusing on issues (and President Bush, for that matter) that he failed to present a clear picture of who he is. While there’s undoubtedly some spin involved here, I think there’s some truth to this. Dean is notoriously closed, and hasn’t willingly talked about his background, family or other non-political details. While I still don’t get the fascination with the Judy-Dean-will-she-or-won’t-she-stand-at-a-podium nonsense, I think there’s something to the perception that voters needed a more complete idea of who Dean was and is.
Whether the campaign can get that message out quickly enough remains to be seen. But I think they’re on the right track.