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January 15, 2004

DEAN WOWS A CROWD

Longer than three sentences post: For 50 minutes yesterday I watched the event that is Howard Dean.

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin introduced him. Rob Reiner and Martin Sheen (looking a little harried) were there for star power.

Dean entered like a rock star. A big barn door opened up and he entered the building in his Dean mobile (the bus) and stopped it about two feet from a large crowd of supporters.

Impressive entrance (You had to be there.)

I'd heard a few of his talking points before but he kept the audience rapt. More important - for me - he kept me interested.

There was little I disagreed with him about. Maybe nothing. He was up to speed on the days events. Gephard had just said (to paraphrase) that the country didn't deserve, and a candidate couldn't run with, all that "
manufactured anger." (Scroll down. This is the complete text of Gephardt's speech.)

Dean pointed out that all the candidates had just spent the primary season saying Dean was off-the-wall, angry, and unpredictable.

He was playing to the audience five days before a primary exhorting them, exiting them and revving them up for a last push. He got them excited.

For 20-25 minutes afterward he shook hands, signed many autographs and children were stoked to shake his hands.

A bevvy of high school and college-age beauties was there too. He's got some good-looking supporters.

There was another statuesque blonde standing front and center in the audience. Stunning. She was wearing a blue beret and a black dress. No she wasn't.

Then the Gephardt "rally" came on and he had someone who talked in more detail about how the lack of universal healthcare insurance nearly doomed him and his family when his son was born with severe deformities and the little guy had to have four or five major surgeries before the age of 4. (The speaker was a bearded guy and he was not talking about Matt Gephardt).

Which is a compelling story. But it's not the kind of thing that will rally and excite the troops (who were a smaller crowd).

By the way, Dean is clearly positioning himself as a different Democrat, saying we need to "change America and change the party."

Justy in case there was any doubt that others were mischaracterizing his positions I heard it from his own mouth.

All this as on C-span, natch. Back to Three-Sentence Thursday.