WASHINGTON – “It’s all about delegates,” former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean told reporters in Seattle on Wednesday after unofficially winning only five delegates of the 269 at stake Tuesday.
Dean had as much trouble with television Tuesday as he did with the primary results. He was listening through an earpiece to the on-air chatter of a bunch of pundits on Fox News as he waited his turn to be called on by host Greta Van Susteren. Dean waved at his earpiece as if it were a bee.
“Jesus, now I know why I don’t have cable,” he said. “It’s all blather. I don’t mind being at the end, but I just can’t stand listening to all this stuff.” At the time, results were sketchy from the seven states voting, but the talk went on anyway. “They just fill the air,” Dean said, shaking his head. “It’s verbal diarrhea.”
Why did Sen. John Edwards come so close to victory in Oklahoma? It may be the last-minute addition of former Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer to his campaign. “If it helps, it helps. Hell, it may hurt,” said Switzer, who also coached the University of Oklahoma Sooners. Switzer endorsed Edwards over the weekend through “auto-call” phone messages to the voters.
At the same time, the North Carolina senator’s numbers began climbing. Keith Gaddie, a political science professor at the University of Oklahoma, thinks Switzer’s fourth-quarter entry into the campaign helped Edwards. “Barry Switzer is still God up here,” Gaddie said.
Top challengers in the Democratic presidential contest raced back onto the campaign trail Wednesday after Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts pulled off victories in five of seven states Tuesday. Kerry, who promised, “We will beat George W. Bush,” left the speeches to his opponents, taking the day off to rest at his home in Boston.
Coming off his victory Tuesday in South Carolina, Edwards seemed eager to cast the race as a two-man contest between Kerry and himself. “It looks like it’s narrowed down to two or maybe three candidates,” Edwards said Wednesday in Memphis. “It’s clear that if it’s two, it’s myself and Senator Kerry.” Edwards ended the day by recording the Top Ten list for the “Late Show with David Letterman” in New York.
Powered by his victory Tuesday in Oklahoma, retired Gen. Wesley Clark roared into Tennessee for a long day of stumping. He’s a tireless campaigner, one who can nap at the drop of a hat and wake up refreshed. Clark joked to exhausted reporters that he likes watching them go through Ranger School.
(Knight Ridder correspondents Tom Fitzgerald, Dana Hull, Tim Funk and Jack Douglas Jr. contributed to this report.) (c) 2004, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.