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Howard Dean To Become Regular CNBC Contributor (VIDEO)

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Former DNC Chair Howard Dean will become a regular contributor for the business news network CNBC, a source close to the former Vermont Governor confirms. Dean started his new gig on Monday morning with a guest-hosting appearance on the station.

The move comes at a time when CNBC is under intense pressure to change its format and criticism for its failures to report or foresee much of today's economic crisis. In this regard, Dean -- who worked on Wall Street after graduating college and has family ties to the financial sector, but has nevertheless been an early critic of the business practices that contributed to the current recession -- should be a refreshing presence, particularly for progressive economists.

But the decision to bring the recently departed DNC Chair on board, the source says, was finalized well before the current wave of CNBC-angst. So while grassroots groups have sprouted up in recent weeks petitioning the network to make wholesale changes, Dean's hiring can't be viewed as a direct result of public pressure.

"This was in the works long before the Jon Stewart stuff," said the source, "but it will be good for our side to have him on."

"I'm going to be neutral between Jon Stewart -- who I'm enormously fond of -- and Cramer," Dean told Politico. "I like CNBC because I can offer them a different perspective that they would find useful."

The Dean hire was announced on Monday's "Squawk Box." Watch: