Dean students plan drive as primary nears

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Marquette's chapter of Students for Dean plans to increase its activities as the Wisconsin primary draws near, according to Ryan Alexander, the group's president.

Alexander detailed the group's plans for spreading the word about former Vermont governor Howard Dean at a meeting Monday, attended by about 10 of the nearly 200 members of the group. The meeting was the kickoff of the group's latest push to increase student awareness of Dean.

Among the group's plans, Alexander said, was the placing of red signs reading "Stop Bush" and green signs reading "Go Dean" around campus.

The group also discussed going as a group to the Marquette-TCU game Feb. 3. Since the game would be televised, Alexander said that the group should bring Dean campaign signs to the game and hold them up for the cameras.

Also, the group discussed plans to hand out campaign brochures around bars and restaurants Sunday, before and during the Super Bowl.

Members of the group said they were not discouraged by Dean's poor showing in the Iowa caucuses.

"The results were surprising, but crazy things happen in caucuses," Alexander said.

Freshman Cathleen Garcia, a member of Students for Dean, said that perhaps Dean's poor performance was due to backlash from the media, but also said "if he wasn't credible, he wouldn't be gaining in the polls."

Alexander said the media had treated Dean too harshly for his concession speech given the night of the Iowa caucuses, in which a shouting Dean had encouraged his supporters.

"I'm not worried about the concession speech," Alexander said. "He had to get louder as the crowd, which was cheering loudly, got louder."

Jane Wierzbicki, a junior and member of Students for Dean, agreed.

"I thought (Dean's concession speech) was great," Wierzbicki said. "He has a really energetic base of support, and they were excited about the speech."

But Garcia said it was possible that Dean "may have lost a little bit of credibility."

With the New Hampshire Democratic primary scheduled for today, the members admitted to being concerned, but confident in Dean.

"He'll get second place, at least, if he doesn't win," Alexander said. "In New Hampshire, (the people) know who he is, and they'll ignore the media."

The members of the group said they were proud of their work in Students for Dean.

"His message has spread extraordinarily well here," Alexander said. "We were established as a group in September, and we are adding 10 new members a week."

Alexander said with their work, they were doing their best to defeat media perceptions of Dean.

"Republicans are saying that he's not electable," Alexander said. "They're picking who they think is the hardest to beat and then saying that you don't want him. But the establishment has every right to fear Dean."

He said Dean was different from other Democrats, making him more appealing.

Garcia cited table displays and posters at the meeting as a sign that Dean's message was spreading well.

"We've been pretty consistent," Garcia said.

Wierzbicki agreed.

"Students for Dean has definitely been in the consciousness of the Marquette community," she said. "We have had one of the most popular political campaigns here, and what we've been able to accomplish is great."

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