I thought Senator Tom Harkin was the model this week. His staff got nervous. They wanted to close down the meeting. And Harkin said, no, these are Americans. They have every right to talk. And he just listened, and he engaged, and he conversed.
People are very, very upset. They're upset because the stimulus was passed unread. They're upset because, at 3 o'clock in the morning, Pelosi introduced a 300-page amendment for an energy tax increase and voted on it at 4 the next afternoon. They have this sense of a thing -- of a machine running over them.
And so there's -- there's a substantial number of people who are genuinely upset. The American way is let it hang out, talk to them. Members ought to go back home, hold as many town hall meetings as you have to, let people get it out of their system. And by September, we could have a genuine dialogue in this country.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And I know your allies, Governor Dean, have been -- have been saying that this is just all, you know, paid for, people recruited by lobbyists here in Washington, but you can't create -- you can't force people to go out to a town meeting. You can't manufacture that kind of anger, can you?
DEAN: Well, there actually is a lot -- there is a lot of orchestration. There's the Brian MacGuffie memo, which actually tells people to do -- do what they're doing, which is sit in the front, jump up and interrupt. You know, one -- one thing...
STEPHANOPOULOS: He's got like 23 friends on Facebook, though.
DEAN: Well, yes, but he's also -- there's a lot of other organizations, including some pretty reputable companies, who are -- formerly reputable companies that are financing all this stuff.
Look, I'm with the speaker on this. I think you want to have dialogue. I think shouting people down doesn't create dialogue, and it's not really -- not really dialogue.
But, you know, the true thing is, you know, I disagree with the speaker. You've got the spectacle of Republican congresspeople running around handing out stimulus checks which they voted against the stimulus. The stimulus has done good things.
It's cut -- CBO estimates that it's cut the reduction in the GNP by at least 1 percent -- that's a significant number -- and that the stimulus is going to do better things.
So I disagree. I don't -- I think this is a handful of angry people who've been angry for a long time. Don't forget: The Republican playbook for a long time was get people angry. They succeeded. There are still a lot of angry people. I think they're out -- vastly outnumbered by the people who really want something done about health care reform.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you disagree -- you disagree on the stimulus, but you -- and you also disagree on health care with this whole idea of whether or not to have a public health insurance option in the bill. And, Governor Dean, you've said that health reform is not worth having...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... without this. And your organization is actually running ads against Democrats who don't support the public...
DEAN: That's not -- that's not my organization.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Democrats -- you found it. You were a founder.
DEAN: I founded it. I don't run it anymore. I do some consulting work for them.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me get to the ads then, because one of the Democrats you went after was Ben Nelson.
DEAN: I did not go after him, just to correct you.