John Daley reporting Believe it or not, the presidential campaign season is here again.
The surest sign? A visit to Utah from one of the many Democrats barnstorming the country, looking to unseat President Bush.
Howard Dean, a doctor and former Vermont governor, came to town to offer his prescription for what ails the nation.
Is this man our next president? For most Utahns--the question might be--who is this man? Howard Dean is the former five-term governor of Vermont and he's a rare breed--an unapologetic Democrat.
Howard Dean (D) Presidential Candidate: "THIS IS ALL ABOUT BRINGING PEOPLE BACK INTO THE PROCESS THAT HAVE GIVEN UP ON POLITICS BECAUSE OF THE RIGHTWARD DRIFT OF THIS COUNTRY. I HAVE THREE GOALS: I WANT TO BRING MY PARTY BACK TO THE CENTER, BECAUSE IT IS TOO FAR TO THE RIGHT. I WANT TO BRING THIS COUNTRY BACK TO THE CENTER, BECAUSE IT IS TOO FAR TO THE RIGHT AND I INTEND TO WIN THE WHITE HOUSE SO THAT WE CAN HAVE A BALANCED BUDGET. WE CAN HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE. AND WE CAN HAVE A FOREIGN POLICY WHICH DOESN'T MAKE US JUST THE MOST FEARED NATION ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE MOST RESPECTED."
Dean has already moved from dark horse--to one of the Democratic frontrunners. He's done it with a no-nonsense style--and by staking out tough positions.
...against the war in Iraq...
...against the President's huge tax cut...
Howard Dean (D) Presidential Candidate: "THIS PRESIDENT IS PANDERING TO THE VOTERS. THIS IS NOT LEADERSHIP TO GIVE BIG FAT TAX CUTS THAT UNBALANCE THE BUDGET AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE. BECAUSE ULTIMATELY PEOPLE'S PROPERTY TAXES GO UP TO PAY FOR THAT."
...and for reducing our reliance on Mid-East oil.
Howard Dean (D) Presidential Candidate:"WE'RE FIFTY YEARS BEHIND WHAT WE OUGHT TO BE DOING IN TERMS OF RENEWABLE ENERGY. YOU KNOW WHY THIS PRESIDENT IS NOT DOING A GOOD JOB DEFENDING US AGAINST TERRORIST. BECAUSE HE HAS NO OIL POLICY OTHER THAN: 'LET'S DRILL IN THE NATIONAL PARKS.'"
Dean came to Utah to rally support--and raise money at a 250-dollar per plate fundraiser. But his run IS a longshot: he must beat eight other Democrats...
...and a President with high approval ratings--and likely the largest financial war chest in history.
Howard Dean (D) Presidential Candidate:"DO YOU THINK THAT GEORGE BUSH IS BEATABLE NEXT YEAR? I DO. I THINK WE'RE NOT SAFER THAT WE WERE WHEN HE BECAME PRESIDENT. I THINK THAT WE HAVE A HUGE PROBLEM WITH HEALTH INSURANCE THAT HE'S NOT ADDRESSING, WE HAVE A HUGE PROBLEM WITH JOBS THAT HE'S NOT ADDRESSING."
The reception from party faithful was warm...perhaps not surprising--for the man who says--proudly--he's from the democratic wing of the Democratic Party.