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Dean: 'I have all kinds of warts'

Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean and his wife Judy on
Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean and his wife Judy on "ABC's Primetime Thursday."

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(CNN) -- Three days after the scream "heard 'round the world," Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean was still trying to explain his frenzied speech following his third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses.

"I was having a great time," he told ABC's Diane Sawyer on Primetime Thursday. "I am not a perfect person, believe me, I have all kinds of warts. I wear cheap suits sometimes, I say things that I probably ought not to say, but I lead with my heart, and that's what I was doing right there, leading with my heart."

Dean said he was trying to raise the spirits of more than 3,000 disappointed volunteers who had worked so hard for his campaign in Iowa.

When asked if the wild-eyed, fist-pumping speech could hurt his chances to emerge as the Democrat's choice as their candidate for president, the former Vermont governor admitted it could.

"But there's nothing I can do about it. I did it. I own it. And now we have to get back to running for president."

"Was it over the top? Sure, it was over the top. Do I do things that are a little nutty? Sure, I do things that are a little nutty. But the truth is, I was having a great time."

"I'm not apologetic because I was giving everything to people who gave everything to me."

The Monday speech lost Dean the endorsement of Alvaro Cifuentes, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee's Hispanic caucus.

"I have been struggling for the past 48 hours with the performance I saw on TV. I instinctively turned it off after the first few minutes. I respectfully withdraw my present endorsement to Dean's candidacy," Cifuentes wrote in e-mail to the Dean campaign.

The ABC interview also included Dean's wife, Judy, in her first nationally televised appearance. Judy Dean, a doctor who rarely campaigns with her husband, didn't see her husband's Iowa speech until Wednesday night.

"I thought it looked kind of silly," she said of her husband's performance, laughing with him. "I mean, maybe he did a little too much, but that's what he wanted to do. He did it."

Judy Dean said she hasn't been a prominent presence on the campaign trail because she has a busy private medical practice in Vermont and does not want to leave the couple's son home alone. The Deans also have a daughter, who is in college.

"I think if I can help him (Howard), I will. And that doesn't mean he's going to disrupt my life, disrupt my patients, my son, but if he calls on a Saturday, and I'm not on call that weekend, I'll be out there Sunday," she told Sawyer.

"It's my own practice, and my patients are my patients, and they really depend on me, and I really love it."

Judy Dean said if her husband does reach the White House, she would hope to continue practicing medicine in some way.

"I don't know whether it could be a private practice, I don't know whether I could see patients regularly, but I want to somehow continue to do medicine," she said. "We'll figure that out when I get there."

She also said she could bear the unrelenting scrutiny that goes along with being first lady, knowing the good her husband could do for the country.

"I don't really care too much what I wear, and I'm sure it would be criticized and my hair and everything else, and it just doesn't bother me that much."

Mrs. Dean appeared with her husband in Iowa right before Monday's caucuses, and Sawyer noted the timing of this interview, days ahead of the New Hampshire primary.

Dean denied using his wife and children as props on the campaign trail.

"Do you feel like a prop, dear?" he asked Judy, laughing.

"No," she responded.

"But I do think people have to understand Judy, because understanding Judy has something to do with understanding me," the candidate said.

"One of the things we share is the family always comes first, and to have her out on the trail, and have our son at home by himself is just unthinkable," he added.

The couple said they are trying their best to balance Dean's campaign with their family life.

Judy Dean also denied charges that her husband has a temper.

"He just doesn't get that angry. I mean, he doesn't. You know, he just, he's very kind, very considerate, and... it just doesn't happen," she said.


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