Within hours — maybe even minutes — of Gupta's withdrawal, liberal bloggers threw out the possibility of Dean as the nation's top doc. After all, he acknowledged this week that he really would have liked the Health and Human Services job. And he’s a physician to boot.
The story made its way to CNN Friday, elevating the idea beyond Internet chatter.
It's a matchup that is difficult for political insiders to fathom. Dean had very open disagreements with White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel over electoral strategies when Dean headed the Democratic National Committee and Emanuel led the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Indeed, Dean associates were quick to bat the idea down, saying he has not been contacted. When the idea of surgeon general was floated a while ago, he tried to politely make it clear that he wasn't interested, according to a person close to Dean.