POLITICS
09/30/2012 05:30 pm ET | Updated Dec 11, 2014

Howard Dean To Obama: 'Avoid Being Irritable' During Debates (VIDEO)

Eight years removed from his own presidential run, Howard Dean revealed on Sunday what he thinks will matter in Wednesday's 2012 presidential debate.

As part of ABC's "This Week" roundtable, the former Vermont governor and Democratic National Committee chair said President Barack Obama's performance will hinge less upon what he says and more on what he shows.

"The key to a debate, if you want to see how it moves the American people, is to turn off the sound, watch the mannerisms," Dean said. "It's not what they say. I mean, there may be a zinger and that could change things, but -- it's not what they say. It is their mannerisms. It's how they come across."

He added that with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney likely to be in an aggressive mode, Obama "has to avoid being irritable."

After a disappointing third-place finish in the 2004 Iowa Caucuses, Dean will forever be remembered for his Jan. 19 appearance in the Hawkeye State. In an attempt to rally supporters, he delivered a boisterous talk about all the states his campaign was headed to -- an address that proved to be ripe media fodder as the "Dean Scream" / "I Have A Scream" speech.

Debates aside, Dean is confident that Obama will be re-elected. Three weeks ago, the 2004 Democratic presidential hopeful told CBS News that he was "not that worried" about the president securing a second term.

WATCH Dean's 2004 speech:


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