Vermont's former governor Howard Dean dispeled rumors on Thursday that he would challenge President Obama in the 2012 Democratic Primary.
The controversy started after a Wall Street Journal columnist wrote a think piece speculating what it may mean for the Obama team if the republicans win control of one or both chambers of Congress. From there things spiraled out of control in a world of viral media.
John Fund of the Wall Street Journal wrote an op-ed piece on election day. The piece questioned if republicans took control of Congress, would Obama compromise with them and would that further dissatisfy progressive democrats enough to have someone from the left run against the president in the primary?
Eric Davis is a political analyst. He said Fund goes on to hypothesize a few likely candidates for the job.
"The three people who might do that are Dennis Kucinich the congressman from Cleveland, Russ Feingold who lost his seat in Wisconsin and Howard Dean the former governor of Vermont," said Davis of Fund's article.
The day after the election another columnist, this time from the Politico website, wrote another article saying that maybe "Dean for President" was a possibility.
That article says Dean's 2004 bid still inspires many left leaning democrats and has the Obama administration wary. But Vermont's six term governor categorically denies having any plans of challenging the president in 2012.
"It's not true," said Dean during a phone interview, "There's no truth to that. Most of the reporters who have written about this know it's not true. This is basically just a Washington fabrication."
"I'm not sure I'd use those words," said Davis, "But I think what it is, is one columnist throwing out an idea as a subsidiary point in a larger column and another picking it up."
And then the rumor went viral with other news organizations picking up the story.
Just for clarification we asked Dean directly if he was going to run for president during the next Democratic Primary.
He responded, "No and I plan to support Barack Obama in 2012."
In fact, Dean says he will work toward getting the president re-elected. And while he has no plans of making a run for the oval office in 2012, he hasn't entirely ruled out ever running again.
"Not right now," said Dean, "You never know what's going to happen in politics but the answer right now is no."
Dean says he's keeping busy working on several projects. He's part time in Washington working under Madeline Albright on international democracy building. In New York City, he says he's collaborating with American Federation of Teachers on charter schools. And for the next two months he'll be assisting the governor-elect with his transition.