Skip to main content /POLITICS

Howard Dean: The Bruce Babbitt of Campaign 2004

Vermont Gov. Howard Dean
Vermont Gov. Howard Dean  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- He's the Bruce Babbitt of campaign 2004 - a politician whose campaign is based almost entirely on ideas rather than endorsements, organization, or money.

And that has made Vermont Gov. Howard Dean something of a media darling.

CNN's Judy Woodruff say Dean's recent appearance on NBC's Meet the Press -- a crucible for aspiring candidates -- was well received, in contrast to a hesitant showing by another "media darling," Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina.

Like Edwards, Dean has enjoyed media coverage out of proportion to a poor standing in the 2004 matchups, Woodruff says. A 'New Republic' cover story acknowledges that no one knows who he is -- then likens him to John McCain.

Woodruff also says she's hearing that the president may be planning to name Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to be the head of this new homeland security department and move Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz up to run the Pentagon.

Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge
Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge  

Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge -- generally viewed as the leading candidate to run the new agency -- told Woodruff he hadn't heard the rumor but that "any configuration that the president thinks is in the best interests of the national security and homeland secure is the way we ought to go."

A Playboy centerfold and baseball stars on Capitol Hill? It's a guy thing, says CNN's Bill Schneider.

Hot dog, you say. Well, that's exactly why they were there.

On one side of the House office building -- hot dogs. And baseball stars. And lots of guys, Schneider reports.

"For underpaid and overworked congressional staffers, it's a free lunch," Schneider says. "For members of Congress, it's another chance to campaign."

The hot dog lunch is sponsored by the American Meat Institute to promote meat.

Just across the way, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), sponsored a competing event.

"To compete with hot dogs -- veggie dogs," says Schneider. "And to compete with baseball stars -- a Playboy centerfold. Miss July, to be precise. You see, you need a gimmick to get these guys' attention. And to get the press to show up."




Back to the top