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Howard Dean and the ‘Dean Scream’

Another Vermont politician energized liberals a decade before Sanders

Dean's original Iowa speech sank his prospects for the presidency. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Dean's original Iowa speech sank his prospects for the presidency. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean teased his infamous “Dean Scream” at the Democratic National Convention, this time laughing all the way to thunderous cheers.  

His guttural outburst after losing the Iowa caucus in 2004 is now the stuff of campaign lore.  

Sleeves rolled up, holding a microphone, Dean stood on stage and listed off states in the upcoming primary race before saying: “And then we’re going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House.” Then, pumping his fist, he yelled “yeah.”  

The exclamation came out part scream and part squeal. But it was a full-fledged disaster. The episode set in motion an avalanche of ridicule  that spelled the end of his insurgent campaign that had energized the liberal base much like Bernie Sanders has done this year.  

It became late-night fodder. Comedian Dave Chappelle would later parody the speech in a not safe for work sketch.
Dean would go on to become the Democratic National Committee chairman and was widely credited for Democratic victories in 2006 and 2008.
He has become a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton despite being from the same state as Sanders. 
On Tuesday night, Dean closed his speech to the convention by listing off a number of states — the audience catching on immediately where he was headed.
“This race is going to be won on the ground,” he said. “And it’s going to be won in Colorado and in Iowa and in North Carolina and in Michigan and in Florida and Pennsylvania. And then we’re going to the White House.”
He rose his arms in triumph and laughed hard. He didn’t actually scream this time, but he didn’t have to. The crowd did it for him.

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