Children’s Crusade: The Governor was then asked if his campaign was merely a children’s crusade a la Eugene McCarthy’s anti-war candidacy in 1968.

"This is an awakening of America. In my generation, it took young people to change presidents and change America’s foreign policy and it looks like young people are taking the lead again.

California Dreamin’: Dean was asked about the recall of Gov. Gray Davis in California and the role that celebrity plays in politics.

I think that celebrity does play a role but, in the end, knowing how to run the government matters a great deal. It’s my hope that the recall won’t succeed in California because I think it’s just another right wing attempt to undo an election, as we saw in Florida and as we’re now seeing in Texas with redistricting. Obviously, Cruz Bustamante is the best qualified candidate should Gray Davis not be returned to office.

Iraq: The Governor was asked about his anti-war stance and whether other candidates might start coming around to his position, given the increase in guerilla attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq.

“They can’t. They voted to send them.”

Alternative Press vs. The Buffalo News: Alt then asked for the Governor’s thoughts on media consolidation and control, specifically citing The Buffalo News’ editorial decision to bury coverage of The Young Democrats Convention in a story about Gov. Pataki’s leadership during the blackout entitled, “State Leaders Demand Federal Inquiry.” The question was interrupted by a reporter from the Associated Press demanding to see press credentials at the urging of the author of the piece in question, Robert McCarthy of The Buffalo News. Dean’s press people refused to yield the floor and allowed Alt to continue; “I wonder if you could speak to the effect this has on our democracy, when we get this kind of slanted coverage of such a huge event?” we asked.

“Welllll,” Dean responded with some bemusement, “I guess all I’d say is that every paper has the right to cover events in the way they want to, and that’s why there’s an alternative press and that’s why the internet exists.” “I’ll tell you an interesting story. There was a very important paper in the country that incorrectly ran a story saying that I had changed my position on the Iraq war about six months ago, or so. We were astonished that they were running it and so we called them up and they wouldn’t retract it. So, we put up a notice about what the real position was on the net and it was fine.”

“There really are alternatives now. That’s the incredible thing about the internet; it’s a medium that’s not simply a one way medium. It’s a two way medium and it’s important and it does get around the monopolies that sometimes media have. Now, I’m not very worried about press monopolies to be frank about it. What I am very worried about is radio and television.” “I think the idea that radio and TV [conglomerates] can own huge proportions of American airwaves, or rent them, is wrong. It’s been something that’s bothered me for a long time. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when the Dixie Chicks were not played on Cumulus radio stations (Ed. note: due to their criticism of George Bush) because those are our airwaves. They don’t belong to the corporations and to stifle political thought and not allow people to have the full range of political thought in their communities does stifle democracy.”

“So, y’know, as a politician, I’ve been outraged at stories like that (indicating The Buffalo News story) from time to time and I’ve learned not to do that anymore. But the way to get even, as it were, is to make sure you have a strong web presence, to make sure there are alternatives, and there are! Everywhere I go there are alternatives, even in the smallest cities and towns that represent different points of view.” By John McMahon

After Gov. Howard Dean delivered his speech to the Young Democrats of America Convention on Aug. 16th, reporters were given the opportunity to ask the candidate questions. Here are some excerpts from that press conference.

Dean in the Spotlight: The Governor was asked why none of the other candidates attended.

“I think they missed a great opportunity. These are the people that are putting us over the top. They’ve worked their hearts out for us. They started out as the nucleus, now that’s expanded dramatically out to all age groups, particularly seniors. This is the age group that’s been key to us. They started out when we had nothing.”