The Washington Times - July 17, 2007, 01:05PM

The Obama campaign is saying they won’t make the same mistakes as Howard Dean did in 2004, but if that is true, he probably shouldn’t take an early endorsement from D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty or members of the D.C. Council — and if he does, he probably shouldn’t show up to accept it.\ \ \ The reason why?\ \ \ Around this time in 2003 \0x2014 two months’ difference, Sept. 9 instead of July 17 \0x2014 then-council member Fenty led a group of his colleagues, about seven, in welcoming Howard Dean to the city at the Phoenix Park Hotel. It is here that Mr. Fenty in his endorsement speech told the national media that Mr. Dean supported gay marriage, announcing that Mr. Dean was his champion for that reason above all others.\ \ \ Mr. Dean corrected when he took the microphone saying, “I supported and passed civil unions in Vermont, not gay marriage.” Fenty, undaunted screams out, “I don’t think it could hurt you!”\ \ \ Folks on both sides of the camera seemed embarrassed, even annoyed. Council members showed concern on their faces during an awkward pause.\ \ Then Dean proceeded, with his speech. Then, he skipped the city’s first debate on Dec. 29, didn’t bother to show up for its first-in-the-nation primary Jan. 13, and imploded on the primary trail, suffering a resounding defeat that saw him out of the race by March.\ \ The throngs of young voters and Internet donors never materialized at the polls, and the double usury of the District’s endorsement didn’t get help either party. \ \ Dean needed a black voter base to sell himself to minorities even if they aren’t in a state, have only three delegates, and are best-known by voters elsewhere in the country as the loyal base of a crack-smoking mayor. A hefty gamble.\ \ The District needed a candidate more mainstream than Al Sharpton to carry the ball on its primary issue: taxation without congressional representation — and to give its first-in-the-nation primary, chosen for the same reason, some clout. Neither worked and neither got what it wanted.\ \ \ So Mr. Obama, don’t make the same mistake Howard Dean did.\ \ \ — Brian DeBose, national political reporter, The Washington Times