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In politics, most of the media coverage focuses on the candidates, of course. But a big part of the political battle takes place behind the scenes. Welcome again to CNN PRESENTS. I'm Aaron Brown. It is a battle fought by political operatives and strategists and hundreds, thousands of volunteers, all locked in a mad dash to sway the hearts and minds of voters across the country. Capturing the drama of that behind-the-scenes battle is what we had in mind when we sent producer Kate Albright-Hanna and her camera into the presidential fray. Little did we know that she would witness one of the most remarkable presidential runs of modern times - the campaign of former Vermont Governor Howard Dean. Kate and her camera followed campaign manager Joe Trippi and his unlikely band of warriors, as they helped Dean surge to the brink of the nomination, only to watch it collapse in Iowa, and then in New Hampshire. From footnote to front-runner to flame-out, CNN PRESENTS "True Believers: Life Inside the Dean Campaign."
I will never send our sons and daughters to die in a foreign country without telling the American people the truth about why they're going. When are the Democrats going to stand up and be Democrats again? I'll tell you when. You see this flag? This flag doesn't belong to John Ashcroft and the right wing of the Republican Party. This flag belongs to the people of the United States of America. And we're going to take it back. That's what we're going to do. We're going to take it back.
Joe Trippi was the character of the Dean campaign.
It would really bother the Governor to be doing that.
But you get the sense that Howard Dean was quite aware of that.
Haven't I done a great job managing Trippi's campaign for president? Aren't I...
You perhaps had a couple alpha males that circled each other.
You want to jump in? Go ahead.
I don't want to interrupt anything. You're the guy who ought to be on the cover of "Time."
I represent the guy who is going to send George Bush back to Crawford, Texas. When we beat George Bush in November 2004, the way we're going to do it is by getting millions of new people to vote for the first time. If I do my job well, people will realize how much power they have to make a difference in this election. You know, if you're 21 and you're not idealistic, there's something really wrong with you.
E.J. Dionne Jr.:
The fact that he had been able to almost fly under the radar meant that an awful lot of people felt, both among his opponents and in the press, that they'd better catch up and start giving some critical scrutiny to this guy who, at that moment - people were saying, "My God. He's going to sweep to the nomination."
Are you guys looking at this? This is, like, such [expletive deleted] . It's - really, this is the most disgusting thing anybody has done in this race so far. This is more disgusting than anything Kerry's ever done. I mean, with all the crap you can hit us with above the belt, which would be legitimate, and let's have a debate, you're going to go below the belt?
Of course Governor Dean struggled on for another few weeks after New Hampshire. But the campaign never recovered. Joe Trippi returned to his farm on Maryland's eastern shore, vowing never again to run a presidential campaign. We'll see. He's launched a political blog of his own. Changeforamerica.com. It reached out to Dean Campaign supporters. And as Trippi himself pointed out, politics is a strangely addictive business.
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