Key Democrat backs Dean for party leadership post

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Howard Dean has won the backing of a powerful Democrat in his bid to head the national party. Harold Ickes says he is supporting the former Vermont governor to be chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Ickes is a leading Democratic activist and a former aid to President Clinton. He now heads Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s political action committee. Ickes says the endorsement is his alone and he does not speak for the Clintons on the DNC race.

Democrats are scheduled to pick their chairman on February 12. Dean says he has the backing of 50 DNC members out of the more than 215 he’ll need to win.

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