Saturday January 12, 2013

MONTPELIER -- Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor and unsuccessful 2004 presidential candidate, said Thursday he is not ruling out another run for the White House in 2016, but doesn’t expect to be a candidate.

"As they say, the second time around you have to see a psychiatrist first," quipped Dean. "The first time you don’t know what you’re getting into."

Dean went on to say, "I think probably not, but we’ll see."

Dean made the comments during a visit to the Vermont Statehouse for Thursday’s inauguration of fellow Democrat Peter Shumlin to a second term as the state’s chief executive.

Dean held the job from August of 1991, when he was elevated from lieutenant governor on the death of Gov. Richard Snelling, through 2002, when he left to launch his bid for president.

Dean had a reputation as a fiscal conservative as governor but signed Vermont’s 2000 civil unions law, the first state law in the country giving marriage-like rights and benefits to same-sex couples.

As a presidential candidate, he was a vocal critic of the Iraq war and a supporter of overhauling the nation’s health care system and became popular especially with liberals after describing himself as representing "the Democratic wing of the Democratic party."

His campaign also became known for its use of the Internet and grassroots fundraising, holding "meet-ups" of supporters around the country.

Dean’s 2004 campaign fizzled after an Iowa concession speech that many commentators described as ending with a scream.

He later went on to serve as the Democratic Party’s national chairman.