Howard Dean’s Iowa Scream Revisited

Howard Dean hasn’t said or tweeted much recently since announcing his candidacy for the DNC job, but this Esquire article from earlier in the year just came to my attention, which is well worth the read: an oral history of Howard Dean’s infamous speech and scream after the 2004 Iowa caucuses.

Full disclosure: I was working at CNN during Howard Dean’s presidential run, and one of my assignments at the time was working with then-CNN producer Kate Albright-Hanna, who is interviewed in the Esquire story. Every few days, she would send a package to her office at the Washington bureau (where she and I both worked) with raw tapes that she had filmed while traveling with the Dean campaign. I would have to log the material so she could review it and could start putting together a script for what would become the CNN Presents documentary “True Believers: Life Inside the Dean Campaign.” I think the final count was something like more than 150 tapes of raw footage that was shot for this project. (According to Kate’s producer’s notebook, it was more than 400 hours of footage shot over a course of six months.) I didn’t log them all, but as I recall I easily did close to 40 or 50 tapes by myself. As I recall, the final cut of the documentary was a very fast turnaround which had to be written, edited and approved for air between the New Hampshire primary on January 27 and Super Tuesday, which was on March 2.

Until I researched and wrote my own book years later, this was the biggest project I’d ever worked on in terms of length and quantity of source material. It was an exhausting and exhilarating experience for me very early on in my career, getting to see a presidential campaign from a perspective that was that close and that unvarnished. It wasn’t fun logging all those tapes, but the experience definitely helped to validate my career choice.

Author: David de Sola

Editor/Publisher Political Wilderness

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