Dean enthusiastic about campaign’s progress

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(Host) Governor Howard Dean says his campaign for president is ahead of where he thought it would be at the end of this year. Dean also acknowledges that his campaign will be the first in recent memory where the candidate’s spouse won’t be an active participant on the campaign trail.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) Governor Howard Dean says he feels very good about the progress that his presidential campaign has made in past 12 months. Since last winter, Dean has been actively traveling to many of the early primary states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

In the past few months Dean has received a lot of favorable press from key members of the national media and a recent poll of likely Democratic voters in New Hampshire showed him in fourth place with 6% of the vote. Although he was far behind former Vice President Al Gore and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, he was ahead of House Minority leader Richard Gepthardt and Senate Majority leader Tom Daschle.

Dean told reporters at a Burlington press conference that he feels his presidential campaign is going well:

(Dean) “We’re a little ahead of where I though we’d be in terms of interest and in terms of, it’s pretty hard to take single digit numbers very seriously. The most significant good news poll for me in the last few months was the poll of DNC members, which showed that only half of them had a feeling of who I was and yet I still finished fifth in terms of preference and third in terms of preference for second choice. That was an extraordinary finding.”

(Kinzel) Dean says his campaign will be very unusual because his wife, Dr. Judith Steinberg will do very little campaigning. During Dean’s 11 years as governor, Dr. Steinberg has rarely campaigned with her husband and she’s made very few public appearances outside of the inaugural ceremonies at the Statehouse.

Dean says she will give some interviews next year as his campaign develops, but her public role will be very limited:

(Dean) “No candidate’s ever run for national office without a spouse playing a significant role. So we’re in totally uncharted waters. I think it will cut two ways: I think that there will be those that say, ‘Where’s the traditional spouse?’ and there will be those – let’s not forget the vast majority of American women work today – there will be those who will say, ‘Hallelujah! I’m tired of seeing women dragged along in the wake of some guy who wants to use her as a prop so he can get elected president of the United States.’ Believe me in my family that’s not going to happen.”

(Kinzel) Dean plans to begin a major fundraising effort in January because federal matching funds will be available at that time. Dean hopes to raise ten million dollars next year for his presidential campaign.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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