Howard Dean revived the speech that famously sunk his presidential campaign 12 years ago.
Speaking at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Tuesday, the former Vermont governor and party chairman assured the crowd that “this race is going to be won on the ground,” before rattling off a list of swing states Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is vying for.
“And it’s going to be won in Colorado, and Iowa, and North Carolina, and Michigan, and Florida, and Pennsylvania,” Dean said, his volume crescendoing as the audience cheered.
“And then we’re going to the White House!” he said, smiling and triumphantly pumping his hands in the air.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) July 27, 2016
The self-deprecating line hearkened back to the legendary speech Dean gave as a candidate in the 2004 Democratic primary. Coming off a disappointing third-place finish in the Iowa caucus, Dean enthusiastically addressed a crowd of supporters in an unorthodox concession speech.
At one point, shouting over the crowd, Dean listed the upcoming states whose contests he vowed to win. As he finished, he let out a high-pitched “Yeah!,” which he later attributed to his voice cracking from hoarseness.
The scream was replayed endlessly on news broadcasts and lampooned on countless late-night comedy shows, and became an internet sensation in the pre-YouTube era.
Dean’s already dipping poll numbers took another hit, and a month later, he suspended his campaign. John Kerry would go on to win the nomination that year.
This time around, Dean refrained from caterwauling, but comments he made to Esquire earlier this year suggest it’s not the first time he’s busted out the speech itself.
“There’s not a lot I regret about it. I’ve had a lot of fun with it. I got to be friends with Dave Chappelle. I still use the speech once in a while. I get up and all of a sudden I slip into the speech. I don’t do it in front of kids anymore, because they don’t have any idea what it’s about. But I do it front of people that are at least 25, 30 years old and it’s a lot of fun.”
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