Howard Dean's Campaign Under New Management

This is a partial transcript of The Big Story With John Gibson, Jan. 29, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: The Howard Dean campaign under new management. Joe Trippi (search) got Dean this far. How will his departure affect Dean's chances?

My next guest Lisa DePaulo (search) spent six months on the road with the Dean campaign writing a very well-timed profile of Trippi for "GQ" magazine, which is out shortly, if not at this precise moment. She is here to talk about Joe Trippi. The big question, Lisa, can Howard Dean survive without Joe Trippi?

LISA DEPAULO, "GQ" MAGAZINE: Well, you know, this is not just whacking another strategist. This guy was an integral part of this movement. The people who had been sending the $53 checks and buying teddy bears on the Dean Web site were as attached to Joe Trippi as they were to Howard Dean.

GIBSON: Is it fair to say that Joe Trippi invented Howard Dean?

DEPAULO: I don't think anybody doubts that he would have been anywhere near where he is today ...

GIBSON: Where he is now.

DEPAULO: Well ...

GIBSON: Where he was a few weeks ago.

DEPAULO: ... without Joe Trippi.

GIBSON: So Joe was there when there was seven, or less.

DEPAULO: Yes, there were seven. There was $157,000 in the bank. They were working out of the room on top of the Vermont Pub and Brewery. I mean, it was just like a little tiny shoestring operation.

GIBSON: Well, what happened in the end? You talked to Joe today. What happened? Why did Howard Dean say — he appears to have blamed his troubles on Joe Trippi.

DEPAULO: It is really easy to blame the person who is running the show. And I think these guys, their egos are enormous. You think anybody's replaceable. And I think a lot of times people are replaceable in that position. I don't think Joe is.

GIBSON: What was it Joe Trippi brought to the Dean campaign that helped Howard Dean? And what was it — was he — well, that helped Howard Dean. Start there.

DEPAULO: Incredible passion and understanding of how to nurture this grassroots movement...

Part of what was interesting about Joe, he was not like a regular hired gun. This guy really believed in Howard Dean and believed in the Howard Dean's cause, which may be two different things.

GIBSON: What happened to the $40 million?

DEPAULO: Well, they were spending it on ads in Texas back in July. And I think there was just a sense that it was just going to keep coming because whoever dreamed he would come in third in Iowa a month ago?

GIBSON: They did not think that was possible?

DEPAULO: I don't think so.

GIBSON: So they literally spent money in Texas in July, and then in Iowa and then in New Hampshire and they are virtually broke today?


GIBSON: Can they raise another $40 million as they have said?

DEPAULO: Part of what the — the money was coming in in large part because of Joe's nurturing this gang of believers on the Internet. And it will be interesting to see if somebody can replace him, and if the movement is going to be as passionate and excited about Howard Dean without somebody helping them.

GIBSON: If Trippi was the heart and soul of the insurgency, is Howard Dean an insurgent without Trippi? He goes to a Washington insider, a lobbyist, Roy Neel. It sounds like now he is an insider candidate.

DEPAULO: Well, that's just it. Trippi was the ultimate outsider strategist for the ultimate outside campaign. Maybe Howard Dean wants to be establishment. He has kind of moved that way.

GIBSON: What did Trippi tell you about his last hours with Howard Dean?

DEPAULO: I get the sense that he was surprised. He was basically told that somebody else was coming in above him.

GIBSON: Was he angry? Did they yell at each other?

DEPAULO: I do not know that.

GIBSON: But Howard Dean told him you can hang around, you can stay on the campaign.

DEPAULO: Right, you can stay and help me raise money on the Internet.

GIBSON: There is a great picture, I will hold it up. Maybe we have a full screen of it someplace. But this is Joe jumping in the middle of a group of campaign workers who looked like maybe they followed Phish, do you know who they are. Is that — is that Joe Trippi, a guy who jumps up in the middle of the office screaming?

DEPAULO: Let me tell you, spending time with Trippi is exhausting. The man is just nonstop energy passion, a little mania, a little crazy. It is great. It oozes out of him.

GIBSON: So he is gone. So where is this Howard Dean campaign without him? Where is it right now?

DEPAULO: Before he was gone, we had to wonder where the Howard Dean was. It is a risky thing.

GIBSON: Did Joe approve of Howard Dean's scream speech?

DEPAULO: Actually, I was there. Joe liked it.

GIBSON: Why did he like it?

DEPAULO: Because he believed in Howard. He really liked it. You kind of had to be there. If you were in the room, you saw the craziness from the crowd. And it wasn't so unusual because that was his whole stump thing. What was unusual is having it happen in the context of all of these somber concession speeches. And the whole ripping off the jacket and all of that. But Joe liked it.

GIBSON: Let me ask you, because you spent six months with this campaign. You have seen the candidate. You have seen Joe. You have seen how they work. Is it over for Howard Dean? Or is he right that he can carry on?

DEPAULO: I have no clue.

GIBSON: Anybody's guess.

DEPAULO: What do you think? C'mon.

GIBSON: That's for the end of the show. It is called "My Word."

DEPAULO: Don't you think it would be an amazing feat if he could turn it around?

GIBSON: He is way behind, yes.

DEPAULO: It is about Howard Dean. Do people like him anymore?

GIBSON: Lisa DePaulo, great "GQ" piece on Joe Trippi, the campaign manager we can say invented the Howard Dean campaign, as we know it, raised all of that money and had a wild ride. Now is back on his farm in Maryland.

Lisa as always, thank you for coming in. We appreciate it.

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