WASHINGTON – Forrest Gump remarked in the eponymously named 1994 movie that "life is like a box of chocolates — you never know what you're gonna get." Former Democratic frontrunner Howard Dean (search) might say the same.
Dean's presidential campaign spent at least $6,779 last year at Lake Champlain Chocolates (search), a premium truffle maker in Dean's home state of Vermont, on thank-you gifts for hosts of major fund-raising events. The Burlington-based chocolatier's specialties include the "Chocolates of Vermont," a box with a different bonbon for each season.
Dean outpaced his Democratic rivals in 2003, raising a record $41 million and spent nearly $32 million. But so far this year, the White House hopeful has faltered in the primary race, winning none of the nine states that have voted.
Campaign finance reports for 2003 show the chocolate purchases were part of at least $281,000 in spending described by the campaign as "paraphernalia." Other spending in that category included $2,772 at Kentucky's Louisville Slugger Museum and $691 at the Cabot Creamery, a stop on the Vermont Cheese Trail.