Democratic National Party Chairman Howard Dean (search) says there may be some changes in the 2008 presidential primary calendar, but nothing radical.

"There will be a little surgery, not major surgery," said Dean, a doctor, former Vermont governor and presidential hopeful in 2004.

For decades, the Iowa caucuses have been the first nominating contest, followed closely by New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary.

A commission was appointed to study the nominating process amid arguments that Iowa and New Hampshire lack the diversity to represent the country's interests and that no two states should have such influence on the presidential nomination. Defenders of their special status argue that candidates must meet their party's supporters and other voters face-to-face for the most personal politicking of the campaign.

The commission is to give its recommendation to Dean by the end of the year.

Dean told the Concord Monitor on Monday that he was reluctant to share his opinions because the commission is still debating what to do.

"At this point, my position is pretty delicate," Dean said. "If I come out in the newspaper (with my opinion), it may not end up helping New Hampshire's position."

A commission member, former ambassador Terry Shumaker, said the panel has not begun deliberating or taken any votes. Most of its discussions have focused on how more states are moving up their contests to be closer to those held by Iowa and New Hampshire.