It doesn't take the Reagan question of "Are you better off today, than four-years ago" for the Doctor to answer that ...
Then: Roasted, somewhat unfairly, for the now-infamous sceam
Now: Toasted, as a wise leader, of the Democratic Party
MSNBC Transcript of Iowa Caucus Coverage
OLBERMANN: We’re joined now by one of the contestants in the Iowa caucuses of four years ago, Howard Dean, who of course is now chairman of the Democratic Party.
Thank you for your time tonight, sir.
HOWARD DEAN, CHAIRMAN, DNC: Thanks for having me on.
OLBERMANN: All right.
Let’s just pick up Chris’ point right there. Is this indeed a rejection of the professionals in Iowa in both parties?
DEAN: You know, I think basically what you have is three Democrats, all of whom got over 30 percent, which is extraordinary. I mean, I think Senator Obama deserves all of the congratulations for winning this one, but the big news from the point of view of the chairman of the party, who is obviously not involved with a particular candidate, is that our turnout was enormous.
We doubled the Republican turnout, I think we’re going to find out at the end of the day, and that’s because so many Independents decided they would vote in the Democratic primary. You’re going to see that all over the country, and that is not good news for the Republicans.
OLBERMANN: Doubled. Joe Trippi said this was a rejection of Hillary Clinton, and of course he may wind up having his candidate, John Edwards, tied with Hillary Clinton for perhaps a distant second. Every time we look at that board it seems like the percentage change is 1 percent more in favor of Senator Obama.
Is that the sort of thing that you want to see in the early stages? Is this—is this any indicator about how Democrats feel about their second choice or whether or not the person they originally went into much as the Iowa caucus represents something of the mindset that the second choice of an individual supporter, an individual Democrat, is just as good as their first choice in their own minds?
DEAN: I think what you’re seeing is a pretty close race with three really strong candidates. Senator Obama won this round and now we’re going on to New Hampshire. We’re going to go on to Nevada and South Carolina.
Each one of these states is very different. All of these candidates have worked very hard in these states. This is how you choose the nominee.
At the end of the day, this is an important day not just because Senator Obama won the Iowa caucuses, but because finally the voters are having their say. And it’s not just pollsters and pundits that are droning on about this kind of stuff.
This is real voters. This is democracy. And again, from the point of view of the chairman of the Democratic Party, the big news here tonight is the turnout. What a turnout. I think this is really a repudiation of George Bush, is what I think it is.
OLBERMANN: As we’ve been pointing out, certainly that’s the case, but it may also be the case in the Republican Party that it’s a repudiation of George Bush.
I’d love your perspective. Has there ever been a blanker contrast between the first victory, however utterly indecisive or ultimately indecisive either of those first victories may be, have there ever been greater contrasts than Barack Obama than Mike Huckabee?
DEAN: Well, I think, you know, if you look at all of our candidates, they’re very different than the Republicans. There’s not much difference among the Republicans, there’s not much difference among the Democrats.
We believe we shouldn’t be in Iraq. All the Republicans think we should.
We believe that we ought to have health insurance for children. All the Republicans think it’s great that President Bush vetoed the bill.
All the Republicans think it was a great idea to pardon Scooter Libby. We think we ought to end the Republican culture of corruption.
These are really big differences. And there are many, many more.
You have got gasoline going above $3 a gallon, oil is at $100 a barrel now.
The Republicans couldn’t manage Katrina. They got us into Iraq but not telling us the truth, all of which their candidates are supporting. And now they can’t manage the economy.
I think tonight is a pretty bad—pretty bad piece of news for the Republican Party.
OLBERMANN: Howard Dean, chairman of the DNC, smiling at the turnstiles tonight in Des Moines and throughout Iowa.
DEAN: It’s true.
OLBERMANN: Great. Thanks for your time, sir.
DEAN: Thank you.