Howard Dean Talks DNC "Dean Scream" Revival: "I've Had a Lot of Fun With It"

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Howard Dean

The former Vermont governor and DNC chair also calls the GOP meet-up "the worst days" he's seen from any convention and compares Trump's speech to Fidel Castro.

Fresh off his appearance at the Democratic National Convention, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean paid a visit to Los Angeles on Friday afternoon — speaking in support of upcoming PBS doc series The Contenders.

Dean famously ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 and is one of 16 past presidential candidates highlighted by the The Contenders. His grassroots efforts with disenchanted liberals and pioneering use of the internet to fundraise made for a landmark campaign, though he ultimately withdrew when it became clear John Kerry would secure the nomination.

Dean's 2004 run is also remembered for the speech he delivered after a loss at the Iowa Caucus. His voice cracked during what is now commonly referred to as the "Dean Scream," and the clip quickly became the early 2000s version of viral. It was played an estimated 600-plus times by cable and broadcast news outlets in just four days. He's kept a good attitude about it. And, on Tuesday, he briefly revived it at the close of his DNC address.

"I've done it before, I've just never done it on live TV and in front of 25,000 people," Dean told The Hollywood Reporter of the self-parody. "It's fun. It's one of the most-searched speeches ever. If you Google 'Howard Dean,' it's the first three things that come up. I've had a lot of fun with it. Most people know the real story. People come up to me on the street and say, 'I don't understand that why that was such a big deal.' Especially now with [Donald] Trump saying all these things."

The "real story" Dean referred to is that the audio of the cheering crowd is absent from that video. And the fact that it wasn't what derailed his bid. "I've never felt embarrassed about that," he added. "If i had come in first during the Iowa Caucus and that collapsed my campaign, I would have been upset. But we weren't ready for primetime, and that's what killed me."

Dean, who served as chair of the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009, praised the overall tone of the convention — calling it "classic" and "really well run." He had less favorable words for the GOP event the week before.

"I thought three of the four days were the worst days I've ever seen of any convention of either party," said Dean. "They kept stepping on their story. Trump gets no message for the first three days other than 'It's chaos,' which is Trump's core message anyway. And then the last day he gives his speech and goes on for 120 minutes, Fidel Castro-style."

Dean's episode of The Contenders is set to air Tuesday, Sept. 20, on PBS. The series premieres one week earlier on Sept. 13.

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