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Via The Hill, former DNC chairman and Vermont governor Howard Dean ripped into the Obama White House this morning on CNN and said that the Democrats' fate in the midterm elections rests on Obama's shoulders. Asked about Obama's bad poll numbers, Dean said:
I think that we are in tough times in America. We have got an unemployment rate that's over 9 percent. We have got, you know, people who are still making a zillion dollars on Wall Street while the average person thinks that they are doing great, and how come, since they were the ones that screwed up the economy, we're not -- we're where we are. There's a lot of resentment. It's a tough time.
But the key number is whether people still like the president or not, and I think they do. And I think that we are going to be in much better shape than most of the Washington pundits think we are, on the Democratic side. Because the president's out there fighting every day. This election, for better or for worse, depends on how hard the president fights between now and Election Day, and he shows every sign that he's really serious about this.
While Dean praises Obama for showing "every sign" he's going to fight and set the right tone, the former Democratic presidential hopeful seems to be laying the predicate for blaming Obama if the Democrats lose the House.
Obama himself has said that he would save the Democrats from a 1994-style wipeout. "Well, the big difference here and in ’94 was you’ve got me," Obama said, according to Democratic representative Marion Berry. But that was back in January. Dean's comments now are contrary to current spin of Obama's allies that the economy will determine the outcome of the election.
On CNN this morning, Dean went on to attack the Obama White House (but not Obama himself, Dean assures us) for being out of touch:
I think that the people around the president have really misjudged what goes on elsewhere in the country, other than Washington, D.C.
I don't think this is true of the president, but I do think his people, his political people, have got to go out and spend some time outside Washington for a while. The average Democrat is a progressive. And, you know, there are some things that are upsetting about the kind of deals that were made by the president's people on health care.
But I think this is the time to put that stuff behind us. We've got to win this election. And we're going to have -- after the election is over, we'll go back to having our policy fights, but this is about winning. You cannot get anything done unless you have a Democratic president and a Democratic Senate and a Democratic House.
Sure sounds like Dean has a bone to pick with Obama. Could it be, as the boss predicted last week, that Dean will primary Obama?