CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Howard Dean's (search) campaign-shy wife made her speaking debut on the presidential campaign trail just in time to show support for him in the Iowa caucuses.
Judy Dean was a surprise guest at two campaign events Sunday, the eve of voting in Iowa (search). Her visit was planned at the last minute, lasted about six hours and included her first speech in the yearlong campaign — five sentences repeated at the start of rallies in Davenport and Cedar Rapids.
"For those who may be wondering, my name is Judy Dean," she began. "I wanted to come here today and to say thank you to the people of Iowa for being so kind and gracious to my husband, Howard Dean."
A physician who has avoided the political trail, Judy Dean gave her husband a chance to soften his image as a candidate of outrage railing against Washington insiders.
Dean hugged, kissed and thanked her as supporters cheered for the woman they would like to be first lady.
"I'm very grateful for my wonderful wife trekking halfway across the country to do this today," he said in Cedar Rapids.
Dean, a former Vermont governor, is in a tight battle for victory in Monday's presidential caucuses with Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt.
Judy Dean, known professionally as Judith Steinberg (search), prefers to stay out of politics. She told the crowd that she hasn't been able to come to Iowa as much as she'd like because she has a son in high school, a daughter in college and patients who depend on her daily.
Dean ended Sunday night the same way he planned to spend the final hours Monday before the evening caucuses — on a college campus. More than 1,000 people packed a ballroom at the University of Iowa to hear actress Janeane Garofalo (search) and singer Joan Jett along with Dean, who said it's time to see if his Internet-based campaign can result in victory.
"This is it," he said in a voice hoarse from rally supporters all day. "Tomorrow, 6:00. We need your help."
Dean's final Iowa rally was planned for Monday afternoon at the Iowa State University union.