Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Dean On Running

Q: What is it that led you to run and say I can do this?

A: I thought the country was in really bad trouble. I thought the right-wingers were really hurting the country badly, huge deficits that we are never going to be able to pay back. A defense policy that is making this country weaker not stronger for all the president’s bully-boy stuff. I just think this country needs a fundamental change in direction and we really need to go back to principled American ideals that we are all in this together, a defense policy that is consistent with moral leadership in the world and a financial policy that does not run up enormous debts.

Q: But made you want to do this?

A: I went to see Gary Hart before I did this and he told me there is no such thing as a wimp that has become president of the United States because you have to go through this process. Sure, the process is very tough but you want tough people to be president of the United States. It is a learning process. You learn a lot about America. Governors have an advantage because I have already had to balance budgets — nobody has had to do that — and made tough choices and was accountable for it.

Q: What is your take on the attacks?

A: I think that the other campaigns feel like they are desperate. Let’s not forget that not a single vote has been cast. Not a single vote has been cast in a primary or a caucus yet, so polls don’t make a front-runner. The real front-runner is George Bush and the real long-shot is the American people and we need to stay focused on that.

Q: What do you think about when you go to sleep?

A: I usually wake up at 4 in the morning and think about politics for three hours. I don’t enjoy it but that is what happens. I have run eight statewide races and I know what’s coming and it is not pretty. The last few weeks and few days of a campaign are some of the most intense experiences a person can have short of being incarcerated in a prison camp someplace. It is really tough.

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