by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
February 18, 2003
DEAN QUITS RACE, BUT HIS CAMPAIGN CONTINUES
BRADENTON, Fla., Feb. 18, 2004 -- America can still look forward to hearing more from former Vt. Gov. Howard Dean, but it won't be as a presidential candidate - and reportedly may be as the long-sought liberal talk show host who can take on Clear Channel conservative powerhouse Rush Limbaugh.
Dean did not endorse any of the remaining candidates, and will not turn his orghanization of hundreds of thousands of activists over to the party - just yet.
The vanquished early frontrunner, Dean won a disappointing 18 percent of the vote In Wisconsin. Only Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who won 3 percent of the vote, and the Rev. Al Sharpton, with 2 percent, got less.
Both men are likely to remain in the race, even if future debates are less likely to include them.
But for Dean, who energized the campaign much as billionaire Ross Perot, Sen. Eugene McCarthy, Patrick Buchanan and Sen. John McCain had done in earlier years, the end came after he contested a total of 18 grueling primaries and won none of them.
Dean quit the race in a speech to supporters in Burlington, Vt., early this afternoon.
"I am not longer actively pursuing the presidency," he told the crowd of about 500 cheering activists, most of whom were assembled on just three hours' notice. He made good on earlier vows by his supporters to continue trying to influence the race.
"We are not going away. We are staying together, unified, all of us." Dean for America, his organization, will be "converted into a new grassroots organizatiion," that aims "to take back America," he said.
Dean also sought to reassure the Democratic Party that its rejection of his candidacy will not propel him into a new phase of the race.
"Let me be clear: I will not run aa an Independent or third party candidate... I will support the nominee of our party. I will do everything I can to beat George W. Bush," he said. The nominee, he added, will be expected to meet the "high standards" his campaign set.