Howard Dean: Don't Get Too Cocky, Even Sarah Palin Could Beat Obama With A Weak Economy

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Sounds like Howard is trying his best to warn the Obama administration that they have to actually do something about the economy if they want a second term. Since he's been nothing but supportive of the president, I hope this sinks into the minds of Obama's campaign advisors, who seem to think it's simply a matter of repeating the same uplifting rhetoric that worked the first time:

Howard Dean, the former Democratic National Committee chairman who helped Democrats capture the White House in 2008, warns that Sarah Palin could defeat President Obama in 2012.

Dean says his fellow Democrats should beware of inside-the-Beltway conventional wisdom that Obama would crush Palin in a general-election contest next year.

“I think she could win,” Dean told The Hill in an interview Friday. “She wouldn’t be my first choice if I were a Republican but I think she could win." Dean warns the sluggish economy could have more of a political impact than many Washington strategists and pundits assume.

“Any time you have a contest — particularly when unemployment is as high as it is — nobody gets a walkover,” Dean said. “Whoever the Republicans nominate, including people like Sarah Palin, whom the inside-the-Beltway crowd dismisses — my view is if you get the nomination of a major party, you can win the presidency, I don’t care what people write about you inside the Beltway,” Dean said.

Dean says, however, that Palin is unlikely to win the nomination:

Dean thinks former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr. (R), who recently finished serving as the Obama administration’s ambassador to China, would be the president’s most dangerous general-election opponent in 2012, a view shared by many Democrats.

“He is an independent. He is a moderate on some social issues and has a strong record as a governor and also has international experience that I think is lacking in every other candidate,” Dean said, comparing Huntsman to the rest of the GOP field.

I agree with Dean that Huntsman is the most dangerous candidate. I don't know if Huntsman could make it with his moderate bona fides intact after a grueling primary ruled largely by the GOP's far right wing, but if he can somehow thread that needle, I think he can win. He has the most important edge of all: The Beltway media mavens like him.

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