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Dean Makes Rounds in Southland

The top Democratic fund-raiser squeezes several stops in around a 'Tonight Show' appearance on a red-letter day for him.

October 01, 2003|Hugo Martin | Times Staff Writer

Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean set a fast pace as he wrapped up a Southern California campaign swing Tuesday, meeting with middle-class voters in Riverside, talking with African American community leaders in South Los Angeles and trading quips with Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show."

As was the case when he arrived Monday, raising money also was very much on Dean's agenda. After he left the "Tonight Show" set, he was the star attraction at a fund-raiser with wealthy entertainment figures in an exclusive West Los Angeles neighborhood. Dean's campaign would not disclose the host for the event.

Tuesday night, he announced at a rally attended by about 500 supporters at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles that his campaign had received almost $15 million in contributions since July 1. That amount was expected to far surpass the donations to any of his nine Democratic opponents during the year's third quarter.

Dean had kicked off his final dash for cash at the home of a supporter in the Mid-Wilshire district Monday night. During the event, Dean linked up with more than 3,446 phone callers at similar gatherings across the country.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday October 03, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 53 words Type of Material: Correction
Dean campaign -- An article in Section A on Wednesday about the presidential campaign of Howard Dean misidentified the hometown of two people quoted. Assemblyman John Longville was identified as a Democrat from Riverside. He lives in San Bernardino. Mandy Evans, who attended a Dean rally, is from Palm Springs, not San Bernardino.

That would make it the world's largest conference call, surpassing the 3,310 fans that linked up with a British pop group in 2000, as recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Dean crammed in so many events during his California trip that he had some of his supporters panting for a break.

"My God, I can't believe the pace he is on," said Assemblyman John Longville (D-Riverside), a Dean supporter who followed the campaign for most of the day Tuesday.

The former Vermont governor began Tuesday at a $500-a-plate breakfast fund-raiser in Riverside. Afterward, he hosted a rally for supporters, where he launched several attacks at President Bush for the war in Iraq.

He then sped to Orange County to speak to a Democratic club in Costa Mesa before driving back to South Los Angeles for a question-and-answer session on urban policy with about 75 religious leaders, community activists and elected officials.

From there, Dean headed for the makeup chair to prepare for his appearance with Leno, where he shared the stage with actress Catherine Zeta Jones and musician Lyle Lovett.

Dean's official schedule ended at Union Station, where he stood somewhat bleary-eyed before a giant tote board to announce his fund-raising total.

Throughout the visit, the crowds were small but enthusiastic.

Dean repeatedly stressed that he planned to win the White House with the support of voters who had previously been turned off by past campaigns.

That was the case with Mandy Evans, a self-help book writer from San Bernardino who attended the Riverside rally. "I never dreamed I would find a political candidate who I thought was honorable," she said before the rally.

At the meeting in South Los Angeles, Dean was grilled by African American community leaders about such issues as urban decay, AIDS and inner-city unemployment.

"The state of black America is terrible," one neighborhood activist told Dean.

Dean told the gathering that, if elected, he would increase spending on schools, roads and social programs. He blamed Bush for failing to balance the budget and forcing the federal government to take on the added financial burden of the war in Iraq.

"We have a 400-year-old legacy of Jim Crow and slavery, and that is not going to be overcome because we all have good intentions," Dean said.

He called for a national dialogue on racial issues, saying whites too often can be indifferent to the plight of minorities.

At the NBC studios, Dean was the butt of several jokes. During his opening monologue, Leno told the audience: "For those of you not familiar with Howard Dean, join the club." He then joked that the name Howard Dean is probably going to remind some voters of smoked sausage.

But Dean got the last laugh at the end of his visit when he capped off the trip at Union Station, where he celebrated reaching his fund-raising goal.

"This is a great way to end the quarter," Dean told an enthusiastic crowd.

Dean was introduced by actor Martin Sheen, who described Dean as "the man of the future." Movie director Rob Reiner also shared the stage with Dean, describing himself as one of the first celebrities to endorse the former governor.

"He's not going to lie to you," Reiner said of Dean. "We have had enough liars; we don't need any more."

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