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UPDATE: Howard Dean dropped out of the race on February 18, 2004.

Name: Howard Dean
Birth date: November 17, 1948
Education: Bachelor's degree, Yale University, 1971; medical degree, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1978
Career: Internal medicine resident at Medical Center Hospital in Vermont, 1978-1982; internal medicine practice with his wife in Shelburne, 1982-1991
Elected office: Vermont state representative, 1983-1986; Vermont lieutenant governor, 1986-91; Vermont governor, 1991-2003
Family: Wife, Judith Steinberg; two children
Quote: "At every turn when there has been an imbalance of power, the truth questioned, or our beliefs and values distorted, the change required to restore our nation has always come from the bottom up from our people."
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The up and down candidacy of Howard Dean

(CNN) -- Raised in exclusive New York enclaves in a Rockefeller Republican household, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean would seem at first glance an unlikely candidate to take up the mantle of the Democratic Party's faithful.

Indeed, Dean's background is somewhat similar to President Bush's. Both men attended Yale University in the late 1960s, and they come from wealthy families with roots in the Northeast.

Yet Dean, the first Democrat to announce his bid for the presidency, attracted many party activists' attention with his feisty and straight-talking denunciations of the Bush administration, strong opposition to the Iraq war and grass-roots use of the Internet to raise funds.

During the week of August 11, 2003, he made the covers of both TIME and Newsweek magazines -- months before the first Democratic primaries. By early January 2004, Dean had emerged as the clear national front-runner, with endorsements from major labor unions and former Vice President Al Gore.

But the former governor's campaign stumbled in the 2004 election season's first binding contest, in Iowa, where he placed a disappointing third. He never regained his footing, losing each of the subsequent 17 primaries and caucuses before ending his presidential bid on February 18. He did win his home state primary on March 2 after he stopped campaigning.

Park Avenue and the Hamptons

The son of a stockbroker and art appraiser, Howard Brush Dean III was born November 17, 1948. He split his childhood between his family's residences on Park Avenue on New York's Upper East Side and in the Hamptons, a favorite stomping ground for New York's elite on southeastern Long Island.

Dean graduated from Yale in 1971, eventually taking a job (like his father, grandfather and great-grandfather) on Wall Street. But after a few years, he made a career turnaround and enrolled at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

At medical school, Dean met his future wife, Judith Steinberg, a classmate from Long Island. Steinberg eventually followed Dean north to the University of Vermont, where he completed a three-year medical residency.

During this time, Dean made his first foray into politics as a volunteer in President Jimmy Carter's 1980 re-election campaign.

After marrying in 1981, Dean and Steinberg (she kept her maiden name professionally) set up an internal medicine practice together in Shelburne, Vermont, a town south of the state's largest city, Burlington. They have two children, Anne, who attends Yale, and Paul, a high school senior.

But even while treating patients, Dean dabbled in politics, first by fighting for a bike path along Lake Champlain and then winning a seat in Vermont's House of Representatives in 1982. Within a few years, he had become assistant minority leader.

In 1986, Dean was elected Vermont's lieutenant governor, still a part-time political job.

In the governor's seat

Dean maintained this dual life as doctor and state official until 1991, when the sudden death of Gov. Richard Snelling, a Republican, propelled him to the top job in Vermont. (The lieutenant governor and governor are elected separately in Vermont, and they can be from different parties.)

Focusing full time on politics, Dean faced a $64 million deficit -- a number that gains significance from the state's small size --- just over 600,000 people.

During Dean's nearly 12-year tenure, the deficit turned into a surplus, and taxes were slashed. He instituted a program guaranteeing health-care coverage to virtually all children under 18, saw the child abuse rate cut in half and championed environmental causes, according to the nonpartisan political group Democracy in Action.

He gained national attention for backing and eventually signing the nation's first civil union law granting marriage-style benefits to gay and lesbian couples. In face of the controversy surrounding the law, voters narrowly re-elected Dean in 2000, his fifth of five two-year terms.

Off to an early start

On September 5, 2001, Dean announced he would step down at the conclusion of his term. The following May he announced plans to seek the Democratic presidential nomination, beating other potential candidates to the punch by more than six months.

The only Democratic contender besides the Rev. Al Sharpton and retired general Wesley Clark without Washington experience, Dean touted his outsider status. (Four of the last five presidents were governors before they moved to the White House.)

He spent much of 2002 canvassing the nation. The former Vermont governor stood out with his vocal opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Bush tax cuts and the spiraling federal budget deficit.

Initially considered a long shot in a crowded field, Dean had become one of the Democrat's top contenders by summer 2003.

He raised $7.6 million between April and June (including $3.5 million in eight days), the best for the quarter among the nine Democratic candidates. In June, he also handily won an Internet straw poll run by liberal advocacy group, besting his closest competitor (U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio) nearly 2-to-1 in an unscientific pairing that drew just over 300,000 Web-savvy voters.

Dean dismissed criticism from some Democrats that he may be too liberal to be elected president. "I am in the center," Dean said on CNN's "Larry King Live" in August 2003.

He said the only way to beat Bush is to confront him head-on with the issues.

"What the American people are going to see, should I get the nomination, is a Democrat who is not afraid to be a Democrat again," Dean said.

Fall from front-runner status

As his poll standing soared, the ex-governor scored several endorsements -- including from several major labor unions, Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin and former Sen. Bill Bradley, Gore's main Democratic competitor in the 2000 primaries.

Dean received extensive media coverage in late 2003 and into the new year, and was widely touted as the Democratic front-runner.

But as more voters tuned into the race -- many of them focusing on a candidate's ability to defeat President Bush, or "electability," in the general election -- Dean's standing fell. He finished a disappointing third in the January 19 Iowa caucuses, the first binding contest in the election cycle, and gave his "I Have a Scream" concession speech which TV networks ran endlessly.

He never recovered. After losing handily to Sen. John Kerry in New Hampshire, Dean replaced his campaign manager Joe Trippi with Roy Neel, Gore's chief of staff when he was senator and vice president.

The final blow came February 16, when campaign chairman Steve Grossman left after publicly saying he'd support Kerry if the ex-Vermont governor did not win Wisconsin's primary.

While racking up more than 200 delegates, Dean never won a primary or caucus in January and February. He pulled the plug on his once seemingly unstoppable presidential campaign on February 18, 2004, telling supporters in Burlington, Vermont, that he was "no longer actively pursuing the presidency."

A few weeks later, on March 2, his home state gave him his first and only primary victory.

In his February 18 speech, Dean vowed to continue his "campaign for change," saying he would fight to defeat President Bush in November and try to reshape and reinvigorate the Democratic Party.

"We are not going away," he said.

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