Howard and Judy Dean interview

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(Host) The nation got its first close-up look at Judy Steinberg Dean last night when she joined her husband for a nationally broadcast television interview. The interview comes at a time when Howard Dean’s campaign is struggling in the wake of a third place finish in Iowa and an embarrassing caucus night speech. VPR’s Steve Zind reports.

(Zind) The twenty-minute interview took place in a cozy room at a country inn in Norwich. It’s the first television interview Judy Dean has done. She’s only made one campaign appearance. That was last weekend in Iowa.

The couple sat hand in hand as ABC’s Diane Sawyer questioned them about their relationship, his anger and Dean’s now infamous speech.

Dean laughed as Sawyer played clips of late night talk show hosts making fun of him and admitted that his behavior Monday night was not presidential. He said he realizes the speech could badly damage his campaign.

(Dean) “It could. But there’s nothing I can do about it. I did it, I own it, and now we’ve got to get back to running for President.”

(Zind) Judy Dean said she was doing the interview because her husband had asked her – and because it was Thursday, a day she doesn’t have to see patients. Smiling frequently, she described a working mother’s life that revolves around her family, her medical practice, and simple pleasures like an annual family bike ride on her birthday.

(Steinberg) “May in Vermont – sometimes it’s a cold family bike ride and sometimes it’s not, but we usually do a family bike ride with squished cupcakes in the backpack. I like to do that.”

(Zind) Judy Dean said she couldn’t remember the last time she had seen her husband lose his temper. In twenty-three years of marriage she said there have been few arguments.

Sawyer said people are baffled by her absence on the campaign trail and wondered how Judy Dean would deal with the responsibilities and attention a First Lady receives.

(Steinberg) I think what Howard could do for the country really would override that. I mean, you have to put it all in context. I don’t really care too much what I wear and I’m sure it would be criticized and my hair and everything else. It just doesn’t bother me that much.”

(Zind) Dean said a friend had shown her a video of her husband’s Monday night speech in which she said he looked silly.

Howard Dean said his campaign will continue whether or not he wins in New Hampshire next week. And he promised a different kind of speech after Tuesday night’s primary. For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind.

(Host) The interview segments were courtesy of ABC News Primetime.

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