Howard Dean & John Ashcroft

Consider Howard Dean and John Ashcroft for a robust debate on the most pressing political issues of the day.

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Howard Dean headshot

Howard Dean

EXCLUSIVE
  • Chairman, Democratic National Committee (2005-2009)
  • 79th Governor of Vermont (1991-2003)
  • Founder, Democracy for America
  • MSNBC Contributor

Dean’s groundbreaking campaign for the U.S. Presidency and subsequent four years as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee provided him with both an insider's view and a reformer's commitment to the economy, foreign trade policy and international relations. His 12 years as Governor of Vermont and his Chairmanship of the National Governor's Association have given him a vast knowledge of domestic issues.

His skillful stewardship of the party as Democratic National Committee chair began in 2005 and continued through the inauguration of President Barack Obama. As Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Governor Dean made the Democratic Party competitive in every race, in every district, in every state and territory, while integrating national and state party operations and standing up for Democrats' core values.

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John  Ashcroft headshot

John Ashcroft

  • Attorney General of the United States, 2001-2005
  • United States Senator, 1995-2001
  • Governor of Missouri, 1985-1993

As Attorney General during one of the most turbulent times in American history, John Ashcroft is a uniquely positioned expert on leadership, and other issues currently facing the nation.

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Biography

Howard Dean's Biography

Howard Dean’s groundbreaking campaign for the U.S. Presidency and subsequent four years as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee have provided him with both an insider's view and a reformer's commitment to the economy, foreign trade policy and international relations. His 12 years as Governor of Vermont and his Chairmanship of the National Governor's Association have given him vast knowledge of domestic issues. His skillful stewardship of the party as Democratic National Committee chair began in 2005 and continued through the inauguration of President Barack Obama. As Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Governor Dean made the Democratic Party competitive in every race, in every district, in every state and territory, while integrating national and state party operations and standing up for Democrats' core values.

Dean currently serves as a Senior Strategic Advisor and Independent Consultant for the Government Affairs practice at Dentons where he focuses on healthcare and energy issues. He is a frequent contributor to MSNBC.

Dean also serves on the Board of the National Democratic Institute, a democracy building organization chaired by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. He has extensive experience in Southeastern Europe including in Ukraine, Moldova, and the Balkans. He has also has an extensive knowledge of Iraqi and Iranian affairs, and has spent time in China and Myanmar as a result of his NDI activities. He has been active in anti human trafficking efforts in Asia and in the United States. He lectures frequently in Europe, and is currently teaching a course on the Politics of American Foreign Policy at the Jackson Institute at Yale.

Drawing on his extensive experience in politics and healthcare, Governor Dean delivers a sharp, in-season speech to help groups and businesses plan for the future. His presentation brings the current debates into focus and offers a closer look at the impact the economy, budget deficit, healthcare, and the future of Social Security and Medicare are having on the country, and what to expect from the next four years.

Governor Dean gained national prominence as a U.S. presidential candidate in 2004, and he served as the Governor of Vermont from 1991 to 2003. During that time, he created a record that promoted equality and opportunity for his constituency employing a philosophy of fiscal responsibility advocating low taxes, reduced government spending and minimal government debt.   His successes prompted Governing magazine to proclaim him "Public Official of the Year" in 2002. His leadership roles also include turns as chairman of the National Governors' Association, the Democratic Governors' Association, and the New England Governors' Conference

He led the Democratic Party to success as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009. He is credited with pioneering an energetic 50-state strategy and the development of 21st century campaign tools that helped Democrats make historic gains in the 2006 and 2008 elections.

After achieving national prominence in his bid for the Democratic nomination for president, Governor Dean founded Democracy for America to build on the groundswell of support and the wave of new energy sweeping the Party, and continues to serve as a consultant to the organization. Since 2004, Democracy for America has been working with the grassroots to elect fiscally responsible and socially progressive candidates to all levels of government - local, state, and federal - all over the country.

John Ashcroft's Biography

As Attorney General, and the U.S. Justice Department’s CEO, Mr. Ashcroft led the world’s largest and foremost international law firm and law enforcement agency—an organization larger than most Fortune 500 companies, with over 122,000 employees. Mr. Ashcroft integrated strategic planning, budgeting and performance measures, which resulted in the DOJ earning a clean audit for the first time in its history. Today, Mr. Ashcroft serves as the Chairman of The Ashcroft Group, LLC which provides compliance advice, legal counsel and consulting services to world-leading clients, including Fortune 500 companies, multi-national corporations and corporate executives.

Mr. Ashcroft boldly led the Department of Justice through the transformational period after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He subsequently reorganized the Department to focus on its number one priority: preventing terrorism. The tough antiterrorism campaign he directed helped keep America safe throughout his tenure and resulted in the dismantling of terrorist cells across America and prevention of over 150 terrorist plots worldwide. His book, Never Again, is a fascinating and probing look at what Mr. Ashcroft believes will ultimately make America safe. He details the dangers to and within America from outside forces, and what he did to repair the serious breaches in our country's security. 

Within two months of the attacks, and with financial markets still reeling, the unprecedented corporate scandals at ENRON, WorldCom and dozens more unfolded, further destabilizing the weakened economy. John Ashcroft was called upon to restore America’s faith in the integrity of our marketplace. He marshaled the resources of the federal government to bring to justice those guilty of massive corporate fraud. At all times, he demanded that cases be brought swiftly, with appropriate serious penalties—always taking into account the best interests of the employees and shareholders whose lives were most directly affected.

From 1985 to 1993, as Governor of Missouri, Ashcroft balanced eight consecutive budgets, built a $120 million budget surplus and established a $190 million operating reserve. His management and fiscal integrity helped generate 338,000 new jobs state-wide, a triple-A bond rating from the three major Wall Street rating agencies, a per capita state and local tax burden ranked 49th in the United States and a 12 percent increase in personal income. His new education performance standards led Fortune magazine to name him as one of the nation’s top ten Education Governors. In 1991, the non-partisan National Governors Association voted him Chairman.

Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1994, he brought his management skills to Washington where he authored budget rules protecting Social Security and Medicare and helped balance the federal budget for the first time in decades. As a member of the Senate Judiciary, Foreign Relations and Commerce Committees, he helped to reform laws regulating the telecommunications, aviation, transportation, banking and information technology industries. He received awards from the Business Roundtable, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Federation of Independent Businessmen for his service in the Senate.

In 1973, Mr. Ashcroft served as Missouri Auditor, followed by two terms as Missouri Attorney General. He was raised in Springfield, Missouri, received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and his Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago.