Friday, January 16, 2004

More stuff reporters could learn if they would read Howard Dean's book. Today's Boston Herald has a news flash:

Howard Dean, in a revealing new magazine interview, candidly recalled suffering an anxiety attack and "hyperventilating" when he unexpectedly learned he was to become governor of Vermont in 1991.

"To suddenly get told that you have responsibility for 600,000 people - it provokes a little anxiety," Dean told People magazine.

The sudden death of then-Gov. Richard Snelling came as a bolt from the blue for Dean, who was thrust into the governorship literally overnight after having served as lieutenant governor under Snelling.

The right-wing website is extremely excited about this development. Here's the top of the "story behind the story" that it posted yesterday:

Democratic presidential front-runner Howard Dean offered more details this week on psychological counseling he underwent for anxiety attacks suffered in the 1980s - and revealed that he had a panic attack the day he took over as governor of Vermont 13 years ago.

Reacting to news of Gov. Richard Snelling's death in August 1991, Dean told People magazine, "I hyperventilated and I started hyperventilating and I thought, You better stop that or you won't be much good to anybody."

And here's an excerpt from pages 55-56 of Dean's book, Winning Back America, which has been available for a good month and a half:

The call was from Bruce Yost, one of Governor Snelling's staffers. "I'm terribly sorry to inform you the governor's passed away," Bruce said. My first split-second reaction was that he was kidding, but I knew immediately by his tone of voice he wasn't. I then started to hyperventilate, which was something I'd never done in my entire life. I told myself to breathe normally because I wouldn't be of use to anyone if I kept that up.

Here is the entire People interview with Dean and his wife, Judith Steinberg.

There are some interesting new details in here about the anxiety attacks he suffered in the 1980s, when his brother, Charles, was being held captive in Laos, and was later killed.

You should read it now, so you'll have the context when the right-wingers begin attacking Dean for being psychologically unstable or some damn thing. In fact, as you will see from the piece, it's already started.

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