Dean redoubles effort in uphill battle for nomination

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(Host) After two disappointing defeats, presidential candidate Howard Dean now faces the difficult challenge of a waging a multi-state campaign in states where his message may be perceived as too liberal for many Democratic voters.

VPR’s John Dillon takes a look at Dean’s hard road ahead.

(Howard Dean, speaking Tuesday night) “We are going to win the nomination. We are going to win it.”

(Dillon) Neither Howard Dean nor his cheering supporters saw defeat in their vote totals in New Hampshire. Dean told the enthusiastic, foot-stomping crowd in Manchester that his second-place win in the New Hampshire primary put his campaign back on track.

But to win the nomination, Dean has to begin to finish first, not second. Dean supporter Andy Stern, the president of the Services Employees International Union, says his union will continue to work hard for Dean in the weeks ahead. Stern says organized labor will be especially helpful in Michigan and Washington, states that hold their primaries on February 7. But Stern also outlined the hard reality of Dean’s quest to win the nomination.

(Stern) “I think he has to one, hope and ensure that Kerry doesn’t win five or six of the next set of states, because someone who wins that many states at this early next stage in the process is going to have a momentum that’s hard to beat. And two, Howard Dean clearly has to start winning some states. You can’t come in second all the time. Close only counts in horseshoes. And this is a political election where clearly winning counts.”

(Dillon) Dean said Tuesday he’ll take his campaign to nine cities in states that hold primaries February 3. One of those states is South Carolina. And Dean may face a double liability in the south compared to some other Democrats.

Andrew Moore is a professor of history at St. Anselm College near Manchester. Moore, who studies the presidency, just moved to New Hampshire from Tennessee. He says Dean’s anti-war stance and his support of Vermont’s civil unions law could both hurt him in the south.

(Moore) “I don’t think his anger over the war will play well in the south. Southerners tend to give their commander in chief the benefit of the doubt.”

(Dillon) Moore acknowledges that Dean still has plenty of money to wage a multi-state campaign. Dean also has inspired and energized thousands of young voters.

Windsor County Democratic Senator Peter Welch says he hopes this youth-based political movement does not fade away.

(Welch) “One of the things in life that all of us have to learn, kids too, is that you have to carry on despite disappointment. I know that Howard Dean will carry on. So the kind of message he’s going to be giving to those kids who have worked so hard in his campaign is that you do it because it’s the right thing to do, not because you’re guaranteed victory or you fear defeat.”

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon in Manchester, New Hampshire.

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