BURLINGTON, Vt. – Democrat Howard Dean (search), struggling to regain his footing in the presidential race, said Wednesday he would not scale back his campaign following a second-place finish in the New Hampshire primary, even if some senior advisers disagreed.
"We're going to try everywhere," he told The Associated Press. "We've got a hard -- we've got a strategy and a good organization to win everywhere and we're going to try to get as many delegates as we can everywhere."
Dean acknowledged disagreement on his staff about how the one-time front-runner should proceed as they approach next Tuesday's seven primaries and caucuses, with 269 Democratic National Convention delegates at stake.
Several aides want him to concentrate his attention on one or two of the seven states holding primaries and caucuses next Tuesday, New Mexico and Arizona deemed the most promising. Under this plan, Dean would make minimal effort in the other five states, and save his resources for contests in Michigan, Washington and Wisconsin later in the month.
These aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity, say Dean is frustrated with his staff and insisting that he can compete in all the upcoming primaries and caucuses, even though rival John Kerry's (search) campaign is gathering momentum and money in the wake of his double-barreled victories in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.
The aides said Dean is considering staff changes, but he dismissed any suggestion that those who disagree with him would be forced out.
"Absolutely not. I haven't asked anyone to leave the campaign," he said.
Time is critical, particularly with only six days remaining until next week's delegate-rich round of contests in Missouri, South Carolina, Delaware, North Dakota, New Mexico, Arizona and Oklahoma.
Dean said he would continue with plans to travel to Missouri and South Carolina, despite any advice he may be getting.
"There's a lot of other ideas on the campaign, but that's what we're going to do," Dean said as he entered a round of satellite interviews with news organizations in states with upcoming primaries.
Dean has yet to purchase television advertising time in any of the seven states. His major rivals, Kerry, Sens. John Edwards (search) and Joe Lieberman (search) and retired Gen. Wesley Clark (search), are all either airing commercials or have bought time to begin doing so.
Additionally, Dean's decision to spend the day in Burlington, Vt., with his campaign aides prevented him from traveling to any of the Feb. 3 states, at the same time his rivals plunged into a round of post-New Hampshire campaigning.
In the NBC interview, Dean dismissed concerns about his ability to defeat President Bush in the general election. He contended he would bring new voters to the fall election and questioned whether Democrats could win the White House without expanding the electorate.
"People know that we're going to stand up for them. This really is a campaign to stand up for ordinary Americans," he said Wednesday. "We got some momentum back in the campaign, but it's going to take a long time to get back the momentum we had as front-runner status."
Just two weeks ago, Dean held a double-digit advantage in polls of New Hampshire voters, but his lead evaporated in the wake of his poor Iowa showing and a speech that worried some voters and was mocked by many.
Dean accepted his second-place finish in New Hampshire with restraint Tuesday night, careful to avoid any of the theatrics that accompanied the screaming, arm-waving speech in Iowa.
After a distant third-place finish in Iowa, Dean had bounded onto the stage, stripped off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves. On Tuesday night, he stayed behind a podium, his tie knotted tight and his jacket neatly in place.
"Stand with us until the very end, which is January 20, 2005," Dean told campaign workers and supporters. "We are going to win the nomination."
Dean, a former governor of neighboring Vermont, said he couldn't overcome the Iowa loss or the relentless criticism he had received as the one-time front-runner in time to win New Hampshire.
An exit poll conducted for Fox News, The Associated Press and other media outlets by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International showed Dean was very strong among New Hampshire voters who consider themselves very liberal, were opposed to the war, were angry at Bush, and who thought the most important candidate quality was standing up for what they believe in. He lagged behind Kerry among voters who most wanted a candidate who could beat Bush and a candidate who had the most experience.
One-third of voters said they do not think Dean has the temperament to be president.
While Kerry had a 3-to-1 lead among those who decided in the last week, Dean and Kerry were about even among those who decided in the last three days, suggesting Dean was able to stop his slide.