Can Howard Dean Keep the Dems Together?

Bruising Clinton- Obama race tests low-key party chairman
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2008 7:18 AM CDT
Hillary Clinton acknowledges supporters after a Democratic presidential debate Sunday, Aug. 19, 2007, in Des Moines, Iowa as Barack Obama talks with Howard Dean, left.    (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
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(Newser) – Since his crash-and-burn run for president four years ago, Howard Dean has served as a decidedly low-key Democratic Party chairman, slowly building up state organizations while staying out of the limelight. Yet as the Clinton-Obama race wears on, many are wondering if Dean has the political acumen—or even the will—to rally a party in danger of fracturing.

In an interview with the New York Times, Dean insisted that his team was organizing for an eventual fight with John McCain. But Dean's hands-off approach to the Clinton-Obama battle has worried some in the party and led some to step up in his place—such as Phil Bredesen, the Tennessee governor who has proposed a superdelegate mini-convention.