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Howard Dean blasts Rick Scott, Donald Trump as ‘Neanderthal nincompoops’

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Howard Dean is a pivotal figure in recent American politics.

Although his insurgent run for president in 2003-2004 died an ignominious death in Iowa, his campaign was influential in a number of ways to current politics.

As Time magazine reported two years ago, the campaign began collecting the biggest lists of offline volunteers and online donors in the field, using bloggers, software developers and volunteers creating their own groups online and offline in communities across the country.

He also was a harbinger of change inside the Democratic Party with his fierce opposition to the Iraq war.

And at the Marriott Hotel in Philadelphia Thursday morning before the Florida Democratic Delegation to the DNC, Dean gave a fiery speech that had parts of the crowd on their feet before he quickly departed the premises.

Citing the news how Rick Scott will lead a super PAC created for Donald Trump’s presidential aspirations, the former Vermont Governor said that sounded about right to him. “Donald Trump is a Neanderthal nincompoop, and so is Rick Scott,” he uttered, delighting the partisan Democrats.

“Donald Trump had made a lot of money at everybody’s expense, and so has Rick Scott,” he continued. “Rick Scott came as close to indictment of any chief executive, and that’s saying something because we all know how Republicans are skating along indictment. In fact, I’m not so sure that Trump and Manafort aren’t going to get through this campaign without being indicted.”

Dean was referencing Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, or “Trump’s brain,” as he called him, because Trump “clearly doesn’t have one of his own.”

Referring to Manafort’s overseas work with foreign leaders like former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych, Dean said not only should Trump turn over his tax returns, but so should Manafort.

He also labeled Trump a “national security danger.”

Dean then segued to a pep talk of sorts to Bernie Sanders followers, especially younger ones. He said he could relate, going back to 1968 and the despair Dean felt at the time about the country, and how he and his black roommates in college could never have imagined that there would be a black president some 40 years later.

He said that after his own presidential aspirations went down in flames in early 2004, he didn’t think he wanted to take over the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee.

Al Gore told him that it wasn’t about him, it was about the country.

I want you to remember that change does not come overnight in a democracy but you have to keep at it,” he said, his voice rising. “The challenge is to pick yourself off the floor when you’ve been knocked down and come back and never, ever give up and keep moving forward. That is how you change America!”

The Florida delegation ate it up.

And, like that, Dean was off, possibly to address another state delegation breakfast.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at

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