Extended Interview: Presidential Candidate Howard Dean
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HOWARD DEAN: In lots of ways, and I wish we were smart enough to figure this out, but they found us. We get our message out through the Internet. We raise a lot of money through the Internet, of course, but mostly motivate people. We organize rallies. We can deliver messages to all kinds of different people.
It’s a way of putting the community back together again that was taken away by television, where people sat passively at home being entertained by people who spoke at them, but not with them. We can speak with people.
We listen to people, too. We are very sensitive to the e-mails, and once in a while we have these things called “blogs,” “Web blogs,” and people write in all of the time. There’s conversations, and sometimes I get on.
I read what’s going on, and I sometimes reply. It’s a way of keeping not just the candidate, but the whole organization, in touch with almost 100,000 people.
If you had told me five months ago that we would raise $7.5 million in the third — the second quarter, I would have thought there was something the matter with you.
This is — the Web community found us. What is shows is there’s an enormous hunger in this country for somebody who will stand up for what they believe in, particularly among the Democrats. The Democrats that I’ve talked to are almost as angry with the Democratic Party in Washington as they are with the Republicans because they just feel like the Democrats have forgotten about them. They’re so afraid of the right wing talk show hosts and the president’s big numbers that they’ve forgotten to stand up for Democratic principles.
One thing I found out as governor, if you stand up for what you believe in, people will respect you for it, and that’s what we have to do to beat George Bush.
It makes a pretty big difference in my campaign. It’s made all of the difference. I wouldn’t be where I am without the Internet, and it’s the community that found us.
We’re not so smart that we figured out how to do all of this. Folks found us because they were desperate for a message, and the message was stand up for what you believe.
We can win by being real Democrats. We don’t have to be pale copies of the Republicans in order to win.