Debbie Wasserman Schultz may not have had the convention of her dreams, but Howard Dean, another former Democratic National Committee chair, couldn't be happier with the four days the party spent in Philly.
"I thought it was wonderful. Philadelphia is a great walking city, and I love walking," said Dean in an interview Friday during the Television Critics Association's summer meetings in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was here as part of a panel on The Contenders -- 16 for '60, a PBS documentary series premiering Sept. 13 that each week will look at two presidential candidates of the past.
In Philadelphia, "I got my 10,000 steps in and I didn't have to go to the gym," said Dean, a former governor of Vermont and onetime presidential candidate, who addressed the convention on Tuesday (and playfully re-enacted the infamous 2004 scream that some at the time thought killed his chances at a time when things like demeanor seemed to matter).
"After we realized you had to use the subway to get back and forth from [the Wells Fargo Center], everything was great. And the subway's fantastic," Dean said.
He's not so happy with Wasserman Schultz, who resigned as DNC chair -- and lost her own speaking slot -- after emails were leaked that showed committee staff had favored Hillary Clinton's candidacy over that of Bernie Sanders.
"I was shocked," said Dean, who led the DNC from 2005 to 2009. "I mean, this was a strictly neutral organization. I was so neutral as the chair, I didn't even vote for president in my own home state primary, because voting and not telling somebody [who one voted for] is not the same as not voting. Then you're not neutral anymore. We really enforced it strictly."
"The DNC has to be neutral, period. There's no ifs, ands or buts. You don't write stuff like that in emails. When I was there, it was [Barack] Obama and Clinton" running for the nomination. "I was unaware of anybody who even took sides" within the committee, though "there were people who left and went to work for Obama's campaign or Clinton's campaign," Dean said.
When I asked about Sanders' expression -- or lack of expression -- when Clinton thanked him in her acceptance speech Thursday, Dean said, "Bernie's not an emotional guy. He doesn't jump up and down [though] his speeches are animated...
"I think Bernie has been an absolutely standup in this campaign, unbelievable. I know Bernie really well. He's one of the most competitive persons I've ever met, and he hates to lose. You should see him play basketball -- I'm not sure he's still doing it, but elbows fly. For him to do what he did on Tuesday night, [in calling for Clinton's election] he's extraordinary."