Obama told reporters gathered at the Rock the Vote awards dinner at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., that Dean needs to tone down his rhetoric. Dean said on Monday that the Republican Party was "pretty much a white, Christian party."
"As somebody who is a Christian myself, I don't like it when people use religion to divide, whether that is Republican or Democrat," Obama said. "I think in terms of his role as party spokesman, [Dean] probably needs to be a little more careful and I suspect that is a message he is going to be getting from a number of us," Obama explained.
"We are at a time in our country's history that inclusive language is better than exclusive language," he added.
Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, also attending the Rock the Vote event, empathized with Dean.
"I was [DNC] chairman for four years -- it's a tough job -- he's doing a great job," McAuliffe told Cybercast News Service.
"I gave one piece of advice [to Dean]. I said 'Howard, you are about to become a human fire hydrant,'" McAuliffe said, referring to a conversation he had with Dean before he became DNC chairman.
Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona seemed pleased that Dean had made the latest in a series of controversial statements.
"Howard Dean is the gift that keeps on giving," McCain told Cybercast News Service outside the Rock the Vote event.
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