BOSTON – Howard Dean (search), credited by many in this convention city with helping the Democrats to rediscover their Democratic roots, declared his mission accomplished Tuesday.
Dean famously introduced himself early in the presidential campaign as representing "the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party (search)," a phrase borrowed from the late Sen. Paul Wellstone that helped propel him to prominence before his swift fall.
"I may not be the nominee, but I can tell you this: For the next hundred days, I'll be doing everything I can to make sure that John Kerry and John Edwards take our country back for the people who built it," Dean said. "Because tonight, we're all here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party."
The former Vermont (search) governor came to Boston with just 201 delegates pledged to vote for him despite setting fund-raising records before the primaries and caucuses began and rolling up an impressive list of endorsements.
He released those delegates from their commitments earlier in the week and on Tuesday, from the podium where he hoped he would be accepting the presidential nomination, strongly endorsed Kerry and Edwards, his former foes in the presidential contest.
"I'm voting for John Kerry and John Edwards because I want to see America restored as the moral leader of the world," Dean said.
As Dean has made the rounds of state delegation meetings during convention week, he has basked in praise for introducing Internet and fund-raising innovations to the presidential campaign.
He has been even more highly celebrated, however, for being the first of the major presidential contenders to challenge his own party and to so frankly criticize President Bush, particularly on Iraq.