CNN.com – Can anyone catch Dean? – Nov. 17, 2003

CNN.com – Can anyone catch Dean? – Nov. 17, 2003If the onetime long shot looked like a front runner before last week, the political pundits were declaring him all but unstoppable after Wednesday’s joint endorsement by Stern’s union and the 1.4 million-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

As recently as six months ago, the betting was not if but when Dean would flame out. But the former Vermont Governor has roared ahead by defying three early assumptions about the race. When the leading candidates believed it would be political suicide to oppose George Bush on national security, Dean unambiguously inveighed against the Iraq invasion and caught the Democratic Party’s antiwar wave.

While the others were dialing for $2,000 checks and lining up big-name political consultants, Dean seized on the Internet’s potential to raise money and organize grass-roots support. (He had been running for more than a year before he hired a pollster.)

And as consequential as anything else, he focused his energy outside the political establishment at a time when the top contenders � nearly all of them creatures of the Beltway � believed that big donors, party kingmakers and powerful interest groups were the best assets to have in an overcrowded field.


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