Picking Up Where Brown Left Off

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One was a snazzy dresser, a major African-American force who thrived on the Washington

social circuit. The other is a buttoneddownwhite Vermonter, an excitable but nerdymed school kind of guy. But there's somethingabout the similarities between the late Democratic NationalCommittee Chairman Ron Brown and current DNCboss, Howard Dean, that has folks talking--even Dean. "Mymodel is Ron Brown," he says flatly. Don't laugh. Sure,their personalities and styles are radically different, butparty insiders and friends of both say Dean has attackedhis job of reforming the party just as Brown did--withsimilarly winning results. Some examples: Both entered the job as outsiders

under fire from moderates who worried that they weretoo liberal. Both surprised the establishment by raisingtons of money. Both took a shattered party and built a nationalorganization geared to winning a presidential election."He was incredibly inclusive, and he was an outsider,of course," Dean says," so I identify with him thatway." And both focused on the key Democratic demographic--blacks. Brown brought African-Americans tothe table. Dean, who's studied Tracey Brown's bio of herdad, wants more: putting more blacks on the ballot. "It'sgoing to be about opportunities and a place on the ticket,"says Dean. "Ron Brown was really the beginning of that."