Howard Dean: Tea Party 'Not Playing With Full Deck'
Bulletin from the Bureau of Pot-Meet-Kettle: Howard Dean has declared that Tea Party Americans "are not playing with a full deck." This not merely from the man who made The Scream famous, but who in the very same segment today had a manic tongue-sticking-out moment [see screen grab] that might have scared pets and small children.
Dean also managed to get into a spirited fight with Michael Steele over Obama's 2012 prospects. Dean claims to see an Obama transformed, a candidate "on fire" who is on course to win. Steele soberly poured the water of the 9.1% unemployment rate on Obama's fire. Video after the jump.
Watch the video and remember why in 2004 even Democrats ran away from this guy.
HOWARD DEAN: I think Romney has a problem, though. He's by far the best-known candidate in the race, and he's at 17% in the polls. That's not so good. If he gets the nomination, and I think the odds now are very heavily that he will, he's got a big base problem. And usually that's not a problem. Republicans are very disciplined, they'll pull in behind him. Actually, even the Democrats pull in behind after a fight like this. This year you have the Tea Party. They are not playing with a full deck. I mean, they could go off the rails here. This is going to be really interesting. They might sit home, or vote for somebody else, or find a Libertarian, or Ron Paul might do something. Who knows.
Morning Joe then played a clip of President Obama on the stump in which he called out Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor by name for blocking a vote on Obama's "Jobs Bill." Obama's aggressiveness excited Dean. Dean, after dismissing Cantor's response: "it doesn't matter what Cantor said," continued.
DEAN: The President is in full campaign mode. He is on fire. Look at the guy. I haven't seen him put four weeks together like this. It's unbelievable . . . This guy's on fire. He just needs to do this for another 13 weeks, 13 months, and we are in.
MICHAEL STEELE: Let's put a little water on that fire: it's called 9.1% unemployment and it's called an economy that even the president's economic advisers are publicly stating is not doing well. The president himself has said gee, you're not better off today than you were four years ago. So there's a lot, there's a lot of water out there that's surrounding that flame.
DEAN: The Republicans are branded as obstructionists, and they do not care about ordinary people. That's what the polls show ---
STEELE: Excuse me. Howard, Howard, OK, that's not what the polls show.
DEAN: Will Barack Obama fight for the middle class? And if he does, he's going to win. And I think he's going to win this election. You heard it here on Morning Joe!
STEELE: On its face, Howard, you are flatly wrong.
DEAN: That's what the numbers show. Look, the Republicans are at 12%, Michael! 12%!!
STEELE: I don't--whatever--the numbers mean nothing. The only number that matters is what happens at the voting booth on November 10th. November of last, of 2010, tells that what you're saying is absolutely wrong. If that were the case for the last three years, then you would not be seeing the American people flatly reject the policies of this president in November of last year.
DEAN: We're seeing a different president than we've seen for the last three years.
STEELE: Oh yeah? Really?
DEAN: Yeah, really.
STEEELE: OK, we'll see about that, because the numbers don't show that.
DEAN: You know what I forgot? A dinner at Godfather's Pizza if Obama doesn't win. I'll pay. [Sticks out tongue.]
MICHAEL: You got it, baby. Bring your wallet.