Dean returns to NH, fuels presidential speculation
The Associated Press | September 24,2013
MANCHESTER, N.H. - Nearly a decade removed from his last presidential campaign, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean has begun trying to influence the next race for the White House.
The fiery Democrat is visiting key states on the presidential calendar and meeting with former supporters, all while reminding people that Hillary Rodham Clinton likely will face Democratic competition should she seek the presidency in 2016.
Dean says he supports a prospective Clinton bid when asked about his intentions. But he's not ruling out himself as a Clinton challenger either.
"You never say never in this business because you don't know," Dean told The Associated Press on Monday when asked about his presidential ambitions shortly before delivering a speech in Manchester. "I still have plenty of fire. What is it going to be directed at is the question."
Dean, 64, plays down his interest in the presidency, blaming speculation on what he calls a misguided news media. But his actions three years before the next presidential contest highlight the imbalance between the political parties in the evolving 2016 field. Several Republican leaders are already jockeying for position publicly and privately. But would-be Democratic candidates are essentially paralyzed as Clinton contemplates her political future.
Dean, a blunt-spoken doctor-turned-political-activist, isn't among those Democrats sitting on their hands.
He described Clinton as "a pretty solid candidate" with "a vast amount of foreign policy experience."
"I don't think anybody gets a free ride when there's an open seat," he said when asked about a Clinton presidential run. "I'm sure there will be other candidates."