Friday, December 20, 2002
Middlebury grad to run Dean's presidential bid http://rutlandherald.nybor.com/Search/Categories/Article/56510
Ridder said from Denver that he would move to Burlington by the first of the year to direct Dean’s presidential effort.
Ridder, 49, who is married and has children ages 20, 18, and 16, was a member of Middlebury College’s class of 1976, although he said he didn’t get his diploma for a year because his interest in presidential campaigns took him away from school too much to get his degree on time. Ridder said he had a passing acquaintance from school with another prominent Middlebury College graduate who’s involved in politics: Vermont Gov.-elect James Douglas.
Ridder currently is the president and co-founder of Ridder/Braden, a Denver-based political consulting firm. He volunteered on presidential campaigns in 1968 and 1972, but got his real start in 1984 and again in 1988 when he worked for Gary Hart’s campaign. He also was a senior consultant to Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign and Bill Bradley’s 2000 effort.
Ridder said he was eager to get involved in presidential politics again and he is enthusiastic about Dean’s chances even though he’s little known and comes from a small state. “When I look at Howard Dean and what he is speaking — health care, fiscal responsibility — and the direction he wants to take the country, it’s extremely invigorating and exciting,” he said.
“The issue here is how much people can hear his message,” Ridder said. “I have traveled with Governor Dean to two, three, four states over the last month. I was always struck by when he speaks — in, perhaps E.F. Hutton terms — people listen. I’ve spent a great deal of time with political candidates. Few have that wonderful ability to touch people and respond and Howard Dean clearly is one of those.”
Dean said he is close to hiring a finance director that Ridder helped him find. He’s also interviewing someone to direct his Iowa campaign and he’ll soon also be assembling staffs in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Ridder said he expected to have a total of 50 people in those three states and Vermont by January of next year.
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Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.