Perhaps the biggest story of the presidential primary season last year was Howard Dean's path from former governor of Vermont to Democractic front-runner — followed by his spectacular burnout. Along the way, Dean discovered that many Americans felt the same way he did about the direction of the country. He also transformed the nature of political campaigning through his use of the Internet and his network of individual supporters who gave money and time to his campaign. Now, in his new book, “You Have the Power: How to Take Back Our Country and Restore Democracy in America,” Dean offers his view of how Americans can seize control of the political process once again. He was invited on the “Today” show to discuss the book. Read an excerpt below:
Chapter 1: From Anger to Hope
"I WANT MY COUNTRY BACK!"
The words just rose from my gut. And when they hit the room on that sunny March day in 2003, everything seemed to stop. The California Democrats, who only minutes earlier had been milling around, talking among themselves, and half listening as presidential candidate after candidate had made a play for their attention, paused. Everyone seemed to take a deep breath. And then the whole convention just exploded.
"WE WANT OUR COUNTRY BACK!"
"I don't want to be divided anymore," I said.
"I don't want to listen to the fundamentalist preachers anymore.
"I want America to look like America."
People were weeping quietly. Some were openly sobbing. Others were screaming or standing on their chairs and stamping their feet.
Outside in the corridors, people were spontaneously writing checks and throwing them at my staff. They lined up, they mobbed us as we tried to make our way through the lobby. Some came away crying again, my aides later told me, because they'd been able to touch my suit.