Dean Outlines Presidential Campaign Strategy

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(Host) Governor Howard Dean says he plans to spend a lot of time in the next six months organizing his presidential campaign. Dean says he is clearly aiming his message at independent voters all across the country.

(Kinzel) Governor Howard Dean’s possible bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 is moving into a higher gear. Over the course of the next two months, at least a half dozen events have been scheduled to raise money for Dean’s new political action committee, “Dean for America.” The first fund raiser will take place this weekend on Fire Island, New York.

Dean says the money will help him put a political organization in place and the governor says his decision to run for president will not be influenced by what other potential candidates decide to do, including former Vice President Al Gore:

(Dean) “Nothing any other candidate does is a factor in my decision. I think this country needs to balance the budget. I think this country needs health insurance for every American. I think we need to invest in small children all the things that we’ve done in Vermont very successfully, that ought to happen in the country.”

(Kinzel) If there’s a model campaign that Dean is trying to emulate it’s clearly the candidacy of Republican Senator John McCain in the 2000 election:

(Dean) “My candidacy is designed to appeal to independents. There’s an enormous number of independents that are going to vote in the New Hampshire primary. We’ve already got some McCain people in upstate New York working for us. There’s not any question that I’m going to deliberately appeal to McCain people. Most of the people that supported John McCain were a lot more liberal than John McCain is. They supported him because he was outspoken.”

(Kinzel) Dean says he’s approaching this campaign effort one step at a time because the enormity of the overall task can be overwhelming:

(Dean) “This is going to evolve slowly on one hand. You know it’s practically like the election is next week because there is so much to do. On the other hand, we’re really a long way out. You just have to do this stuff one day at a time. The task is enormous, the logistics are absolutely staggering. So if you try to look at them and get them all done at once it’s a non-starter. You just got to do it piece by piece and every time you hit a crisis you’ve got to get through the crisis.”

(Kinzel) Dean says he hopes to hire a number of staff people in the next few weeks.

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

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