He isn't the only candidate to turn their performance in Iowa into new campaign money. Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards (search), who finished one-two in that state's precinct caucuses, each took in tens of thousands of dollars over their Web sites within hours of the voting.
Kerry, of Massachusetts, challenged donors to help him raise $365,000 over the Internet on Tuesday and met the goal by day's end. Edwards, of North Carolina, raised at least $250,000 online by Tuesday evening.
Dean's new money, most of it raised on the Internet, may help him recover in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, but also could be used to buy advertising and boost his candidacy in later states while he focuses attention here.
Overall, Dean has raised more than $41 million in the race, more than any other Democratic candidate.
Dean aides say on Thursday he will call for lowering the limit of individual campaign contributions from $2,000 to $250, part of a new focus on policy ideas aimed at rescuing his battered candidacy. The plan will be announced hours before a candidate debate in the hotly contested Democratic primary.
Dean is trying to recoup his loss in Iowa with a win in New Hampshire, although tracking polls show he's losing ground to his rivals. The former Vermont governor has been trying to paint his foes as Washington insiders beholden to special interests.
Dean, who opted out of the public financing system for the race, said special interests have bought both parties and that Washington lawmakers look after big donors instead of ordinary people. The average donation to Dean's campaign is less than $100.
His argument is an echo of campaign finance maven John McCain, the Republican senator who stunned George W. Bush by winning the New Hampshire primary in 2000 before bowing out of the presidential race.
"One of the reasons they don't stand up for what's right is because they're always looking at who contributed money to their campaign and figuring out whether they're going to be angry or not," he said during a speech at his New Hampshire campaign headquarters. "So if we want people to stand up for what's right, we have to have real campaign finance reform."
Dean said for every $100 that someone donates to a presidential campaign, the government should match it with $500 and give the donor a $100 tax credit. He said the government should double spending limits in the primary elections and increase the incentive for candidates to stay within the public financing system.
If a candidate decides to break federal spending limits and opt out of the system, other candidates in the race should get additional funding, he said. Dean also wants a public education program to get more taxpayers to check off the funding option on their tax forms and raise the amount from $3 to $5.
In bypassing the public financing system, Dean said it was the only way he could compete with President Bush. Kerry followed suit. The remaining Democratic candidates are abiding by spending limits.
Dean also said he wants to get rid of the Federal Election Commission that oversees campaign financing because it's toothless and serves the parties instead of the public. He wants to require broadcasters to devote a few hours of airtime to public affairs every week near an election.