Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean told the Huffington Post that he was misinterpreted and, subsequently misquoted when discussing his support for President Barack Obama on a morning cable show Thursday. Dean said that despite his call to defeat the health-care bill Obama is championing, he is prepared to campaign for Obama vigorously come 2012.
During a discussion about Dean's issues with the current Senate legislation on MSNBC's Morning Joe, the conversation shifted to the topic of the president.
"I am going to support President Obama when he runs for re-election," Dean said. "Not [he paused slightly] vigorously. I'm going to vote for him. I am. I am."
"'Not vigorously,'" interrupted Joe Scarborough. "Boy I can almost feel the confetti falling on my head here."
Dean, apparently not aware of the impression he had left, continued to explain why he supports Obama.
"Look Joe, let's be fair. He has done a terrific job on the environment," Dean added. "He has done a wonderful job restoring America to its proper place in the world. But this, I happen to know a lot about this. [Health care] is my life's work."
Several outlets, including the Huffington Post, reported Dean's comments in the context that he had soured on the president because of the concessions made on health care. The former DNC chair reached out to the Huffington Post to correct the record.
"I said I was going to vote for him and that I support him vigorously," Dean said. "It wasn't your fault, Joe heard me wrong. When I looked back and looked at it I can see what happened. But I said I was going to support him and I am."
The footage from the show does clearly show Dean uttering the word "not" before "vigorously." But there is enough of a pause in there to suggest that he had been trying to start a different train of thought before changing course. And Dean's reaction to Scarborough's confetti line suggests he wasn't entirely sure what the laughter was all about.