- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Former Vermont governor and 2004 presidential candidate Howard Dean is throwing his support behind a would-be presidential campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, writing that Mrs. Clinton is “by far the most qualified person in the United States to serve as president.”

“If she runs, I will support her,” Mr. Dean wrote in Politico, praising her work ethic, ability to analyze and solve problems, and bipartisan record in the U.S. Senate.

Mr. Dean also wrote that the country needs a president who will appoint judges and justices “who will stand up for the Constitution and the law instead of catering to the dictates of those who fund the right-wing Federalist Society. I am confident that Hillary Clinton will provide that leadership.”

He goes on to write that her work serving as President Obama’s secretary of state has earned the respect of “any thinking American — including Republicans,” and he expects Mrs. Clinton to lay out her plans in the coming months to attack income inequality and rebuild the middle class.

Those last issues are ones liberal groups are trying to get the Democratic party to emphasize more in the wake of the 2014 midterm elections. The blessing of Mr. Dean, who despite his early exit from the 2004 presidential race became known for his ability to mobilize grassroots activists, could give Mrs. Clinton a bit of a boost on the left, which is calling for Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts to enter the race as an alternative to Mrs. Clinton.

In response to the piece, the group Democracy for America, which was founded by Mr. Dean and is chaired by his brother Jim, reiterated its support for a would-be Warren run.

Charles Chamberlain, executive director of the group, said the organization would ask its members Wednesday to ratify a decision to join the “Draft Warren” effort, while also saying the group’s members would support Mrs. Clinton if she becomes the Democratic nominee.

“We’ve said from the very beginning of our discussions of 2016 that one of DFA’s top priorities will be ensuring that the battle for the Democratic nomination is a contest, not a coronation,” Mr. Chamberlain said. “Our members clearly agree with that priority which is why we’re planning to work on drafting Warren into the presidential race and aren’t ready to follow the governor’s lead in making an early endorsement of Clinton.”

Mrs. Warren won a “pulse poll” of DFA members on their preferred 2016 candidates taken after the midterms with 42 percent of the vote, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont independent, at 24 percent and Mrs. Clinton at 23 percent.

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