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Vermont Governor Howard Dean
Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean announces his candidacy for President in front of a crowd in Burlington, Vermont. (Photo Courtesy Dean for America Campaign)
Howard Dean

(Howard Dean dropped out of the race in February.)

Age: 54
State: Vermont
Current Job: physician and politician
Family: wife, Dr. Judith Steinberg; two children

Strengths: Virtually unknown outside of Vermont before this election, he used the Internet to generate both buzz and money for his campaign. Plus, he’s made himself extremely accessible to the press, so he’s gotten a lot of coverage. Now that the word is out about him, he’s a favorite of many liberal activists. He is outspoken and speaks his mind, especially about not liking Bush’s policies—some see this as a strength, while others see it as a weakness.

Weaknesses: He could lose centrist Democratic voters who are more middle of the road on certain policy issues. Religious groups could also unite against him because they think he is too liberal. In addition, he favors enforcing current federal gun laws. He thinks states should decide what, if any, additional gun-safety laws they want. Many Democrats, who often support strict gun laws, think this position is too lenient. He also supports welfare reform, which is often a Republican position.

Best Issues: He wants to repeal the Bush tax cuts. He wants to use those funds to extend health coverage to every uninsured child and young adult up to age 25. He also supports civil rights. A major civil rights issue that he supports is affirmative action.

 “[The Bush administration] has created a crisis for American workers and brought financial disaster to more and more American families,” says Dean. “They are the victims of an unfair, misguided economic policy. Never has a President talked so much about jobs while doing so much to destroy them.”