Dean Turns Down Kirkland House

Howard Dean will appear on hundreds of thousands of TV screens during his “Hardball” interview next Monday, but the Democratic presidential candidate won’t appear in Kirkland House.

Time constraints will prevent the former Vermont governor from spending more time at Harvard, leaving many student Democrats disappointed, according to Harvard College Democrats President Andy J. Frank ’05.

“We wanted to do what we could to get [Dean] here because he’s a very important candidate,” Frank said, adding that an appearance at Kirkland might have brought more Harvard students to Dean’s campaign.

“I have...talked to many students who expressed interest in Governor Dean, but did not want to commit until seeing him,” Frank said.

Dean supporters said the decision to bypass Kirkland is not a reflection of the candidate’s feelings about students.

“The governor is really thrilled to have the time next Monday to interact with students,” said Garrett M. Graff ’03, a spokesperson for the Dean campaign and a former Crimson executive. “There has never been a candidate who has...had the success in reaching out that our campaign is having among college students.”

Dean’s supporters include a large youth movement called “Generation Dean,” made up of college and high school students.

And the Dean for America website boasts that the campaign is “driven by the grassroots.”

But some student Democrats said Dean’s absence from Kirkland could be detrimental to the campaign’s goals.

“I’d say it hurts the effectiveness of their grassroots campaign,” said R. Gerard McGeary ’04, former president of the College Dems.

Dean is the only Democratic presidential candidate who has agreed to appear on “Hardball: Battle for the White House,” but has turned down the Kirkland opportunity.

Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, D-Ohio, spoke at Kirkland but refused to appear on “Hardball.”

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, D-Conn., has not confirmed an appearance on “Hardball” or at Kirkland, but still wants to participate in both events, according to the Lieberman campaign’s deputy press secretary, Adam R. Kovacevich ’99.

“We’d like to have as much time as we can with all of the candidates...in both the big venues and the smaller ones,” said Bill White, Forum director at the IOP.

McGeary said that Dean’s appearance at Kirkland would be beneficial for the Dean campaign, as well as for students.

“The other candidates who have come to Kirkland have really taken advantage of the opportunity to talk directly to students,” he said.

Many interested students will still have the chance to see Dean’s appearance on “Hardball’ at the JFK Jr. Forum.

Dean has drawn the largest numbers so far in the Institute of Politics (IOP) lottery for tickets to taping, with 1,819 people sending in requests, according to IOP spokesperson Andy Solomon.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., was the next most popular Hardball candidate, drawing 1,595 lottery entrants.

Members of the College Democrats said they hope that Dean will return to speak with students in a more intimate setting akin to the Kirkland event.

But Graff said that the Dean campaign does not yet know whether Dean will make a future campaign appearance at Harvard.