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Howard Dean's opening act

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean started off the meeting to reconsider Florida and Michigan's role in the nominating process with a media-bashing, party-boosting rant.

Perhaps in response to widespread criticism of Dean's lack of diplomacy and leadership in resolving the Democratic family fued, Dean lashed out at the "cynics...who are looking for conflict," and with regards to candidate Hillary Clinton, the "sexist comments -- particularly by members of the media.''

He commended the party for being ready to nominate its first African-American or female nominee and for turning out at the polls in record numbers.

And he advised the DNC rules committee to "respect" the voters of Florida and Michigan -- "They did not cause this problem'' -- and the candidates and 48 states who followed the rules.