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Facebookers Back Howard Dean for HHS Secretary

By Ed O'Keefe

In the wake of Thomas A. Daschle's decision to withdraw his name from consideration for secretary of health and human services, some Democrats said they were at a loss for whom President Obama might nominate next.

Will the latest online efforts in support of Howard Dean help him get a job with the Obama administration? (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty)

Perhaps those Democrats should check with the thousands of Facebook members who want physician and former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean to serve as the next HHS secretary.

"Appoint Howard Dean to HHS!" has attracted more than 4,000 members in its first 36 hours and "Howard Dean for HHS Secretary" counts more than 1,600 groupies.

"When Daschle withdrew his nomination I wanted to help make sure Howard Dean was considered for the position," said Rob Hatch-Miller, creator of the "Howard Dean for HHS Secretary" group.

"Dean was a family practitioner for 10 years, and as governor of Vermont he was instrumental in passing legislation that expanded health care for children and the elderly and mandated equal coverage of mental health and substance abuse treatment."

"Appoint" group founder Ilya Sheyman noted that Dean expanded health care coverage 99 percent of the state's children. "That's the kind of results oriented leadership President Obama has been looking for in his cabinet."

The two group leaders have asked members to call the White House switchboard and the office of Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) to voice their support. (Baucus chairs the Senate Finance Committee, which in addition to the Health, Education and Labor panel, will have to approve the eventual HHS nominee.)

"No decision has been made yet," said Assistant White House Press Secretary Reid Cherlin. "President Obama has made it clear that reforming our broken health care system is a top priority and he's moving swiftly to nominate a partner in carrying out that mission. The President thinks highly of Governor Dean's service and he's heartened to see that so many Americans are taking part in our national dialogue."

"The President should ultimately make his own decisions," said Hatch-Miller. "We just want to make sure the President knows that Dean has the support of the grassroots of the Democratic Party, including myself and many others who dedicated our time and money to the Obama campaign."

Dean's personal Facebook page has also been flooded with comments supporting his potential nomination.

"Dr. Dean...paging Dr. Dean!!!" reads one wall post.

UPDATE Feb. 9 11:00 a.m. ET: The group founders launched Sunday night to complement their Facebook-based efforts. Notice that the site's graphics mirror the look of Dean's 2000 presidential campaign.

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 6, 2009; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Overheard  
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Next: Eye Opener: Feb. 9, 2009


We are going to get taken no matter who they pick. All these Washington insiders with vested interests in keeping the system of exploiting the sick for everything they can in tack.

The big problem is the system, both medical and polital. We just need to end the US government as we know it and start over.

Posted by: morenews1 | February 6, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

What would Dr. Dean say about the use of radiation weaponry on civilians across the USA?

EYES ONLY, TO: President Obama; VP Biden; R. Emanuel; D. Blair; J. Brennan; J. Jones; E. Holder; J. Napolitano; R. Gates; L. Panetta; T. Geithner; R. Mueller; H. Reid; N. Pelosi; D. Feinstein; S. Reyes

RE: A Torturous Domestic (Black) Ops Question for Team Obama




Posted by: scrivener50 | February 6, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Dean is the obvious choice. After Daschle's troubles, Obama needs to pick someone with an impeccable record. Dean's accomplishments as governor in the field of health insurance reform speak for themselves. Dean has also proven himself to be a tireless advocate for causes he gets behind. Obama will need a strong and articulate messenger to shepherd to healthcare insurance reforms through congress. Gov./Chairman/Dr. Dean will get the job done.

Posted by: Gymshoes | February 6, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I am tired of Obama and his Gang looking at all other directions other than Dean. I do not understand the inherent "hate" towards Dean. They are proving to be same as the "egomaniacs" of Bush administration. I support Gov.Dean 100% but I do not expect him to be the Choice of this group of neo-blue-dogs, appeasing the Republicans has been the name of the game in town of DC, lets get over it. Obama is like LeBron great promise great choice but no deliverance, atleast LeBron seems to be taking Cleveland to promised land, I highly doubt that Obama will do that to Health Care at least this Year, with this mindless attitude.

Posted by: srikanth_ | February 6, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

The ONLY way to fix the health care system is to overhaul it completely. The insurance companies, physicians, and health care consumers will each have to give something up in the process in order to expand coverage and lower costs. Being a physician, no WAY will Howard Dean ask the physicians to give up something. No way. This is the reason he is a bad choice. His vested interest group are the doctors and AMA. I don't have an answer as to who would be best.

Posted by: gotoran | February 6, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Dean is eminently qualified to run HSS – he’s an M.D., he has pushed through healthcare reform in Vermont and as the DNC Chairman, pushed through the 50 State Strategy despite the opposition of many (including your Chief of Staff).

Given the size of Obama's win in November and the number of seats the Dems picked up in both the House and Senate, Dean obviously made the right decision.

Obama has bent over backward to reach out to Republicans. Why doesn't he reach out to Howard Dean who has served this country so faithfully? Dean's campaign was the reason I became a volunteer in Obama's campaign as it was for many of my friends.

Would the Republicans favor Howard Dean as Secretary of HHS? Probably not – which to me shows that he is the right choice. Obama's pick of Daschle, who made millions by being a pseudo-lobbyist, was supported by Republicans. Why? Because he had the backing of the HMOs and Kaisers Permanentes out there – they knew Daschle would NOT push for real healthcare reform.

Let's do some real change, Mr. President - appoint Gov, Dean.

Posted by: UNLISTED | February 6, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

morenews1: Dean is not a Washington Insider

And that is why Obama didn't choose him, not because he doesn't like him, but he believes he needs someone to work from within the system that has credibility with the insiders.

Dean could be a good though risky choice if he has no other options. Dean would be a vociferous voice for change and reform. The only problem is will the corrupt corporate hacks in Washington actually work with him? Probably not.

Posted by: qwerpa | February 6, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Obama will be true to his true nature. Appoint another completely partisan hack blowhard to a cabinet post. Please, Barrack, find someone who actually cares about people before party.

Posted by: MITCHS52 | February 6, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Dean has the energy to get it done, that's for sure.

Posted by: thebobbob | February 6, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Somewhere along the way I must have missed something because I keep wondering if Dr. Howard Dean was EVER considered by Obama's team for the HHS Secretary position. It seems he left rather quickly as people were being chosen for the various positions and I'm wondering why. Was he snubbed? Or did he indicate in some way beforehand that he wasn't interested?
Just curious.... Wanda5

Posted by: wanda5 | February 6, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Dean not only transplanted a spine into the Democratic Party, he also cured America's Electile Dysfunction.

He deserves a Cabinet post.

Posted by: djteller2000 | February 7, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I recommend Marcia Angell, MD for HHS Secretary. She is a physician, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, now Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Angell is highly respected and has worked hard for ethics and scientific integrity her entire career. In 1997, Time magazine named Marcia Angell one of the 25 most influential Americans.

She wrote the book, “The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It.” A few of her articles include:

• Industry-sponsored clinical research: a broken system. JAMA 2008.
• Excess in the pharmaceutical industry. CMAJ 2004
• Editorial policies on financial disclosure.(Comment)Nat Neurosci 2003
• America's other drug problem: how the drug industry distorts medicine and politics. New Repub 2002
• Medicine: the endangered patient-centered ethic. Hastings Cent Rep 1987

Marcia Angell, MD is eminently qualified, “clean” politically, and would bring ethics and integrity to the office of HHS Secretary.

Posted by: 4progress | February 7, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

No matter who is in -- Dean would be IDEAL -- Medicare needs to be held accountable. Please read, sign, comment, and share.

Posted by: marynell | February 8, 2009 12:52 AM | Report abuse

What makes us think Obama is listening? He won't pick Dean. His instincts are skewed toward big biz, and he really listens only to those whose instincts are equally skewed. I also think he might be afraid that truly competent people might upstage him.

Posted by: freelyb | February 8, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Second the motion... Gov. Howard Dean. I guess rahm can't play nicely, though, and it probably *won't* be Dr. Dean.

Posted by: Ami_Blue1 | February 9, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Howard Dean's ideas are similar to decomposing medical waste. He stole valid votes in the Dem. primary in a baclroom deal, and his Hillary back-stabbing speaks for itself.
Delighted to see him marginalized. Maybe he can find work at an HMO, one of those where you pay $10 to see the dr. That should keep him busy.

Posted by: nancyjeanmail | February 9, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

If the Obama admin misses this opportunity to put Dean in, it will be a major blunder.
Dean is the man for the job, period.
And to nancyjealmail: Please quit lying. You only look pathetic.

Posted by: vegasgirl1 | February 9, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

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