SPEAK LOUDLY AND CARRY A SMALL SCHTICK….The LA Times has a profile of Howard Dean this morning that focuses on Dean’s centrism:

“A lot of us laugh and say, ‘Howard, we hardly knew you,’ ” said Elizabeth Ready, the state auditor and a liberal Democrat. Added Bob Sherman, a Democratic lobbyist, “The Howard Dean I see running for president is a lot different than the Howard Dean who … governed Vermont. He was a moderate.”

….Indeed, as he seeks the White House, Dean makes no secret of his more conservative side. He boasts of repeatedly balancing Vermont’s budget, even though state law allows deficit spending. He touts his friendly relations with the National Rifle Assn., saying gun control is an issue best left to each state. He expresses mistrust of the left and right, describing himself as a centrist. “I have always been very skeptical of ideologues,” he said.

I have a feeling we’re going to see a lot more of this as Dean tries to get the message out that just because he’s anti-war doesn’t make him a lefty radical. Luckily, there’s plenty of time left to do this.