The first presidential debate has sparked another debate about who won and who lost. However, the most memorable part of the event took place on Twitter when former Vermont Governor and presidential candidate Howard Dean offered the following observation on Twitter. “Notice Trump sniffing all the time. Coke user?”

Dean, who is famous for the scream he gave that sank his 2004 presidential prospects, was no doubt reacting with frustration over the fun Republicans have been having about Hillary Clinton’s health problems.

He was following the old strategy once suggested by a story often told about Lyndon Johnson who is alleged to have spread the rumor that a political rival had engaged in carnal knowledge with farm animals, not because he believed he did but because he wanted to hear him deny it.

Of course, it goes almost without saying that just because someone has the sniffles does not mean he is snorting coke, just as just because someone screams in public does not necessarily mean that he is insane.

However, LBJ’s old strategy has every potential of backfiring in the modern age of instant media analysis. Dean’s accusation has every potential for overshadowing the story of the debate, which most pundits believe Hillary Clinton won on po

NBC News reports that Team Trump has so far not reacted to the social media gibe. However, the campaign could make much of the accusation, suggesting a plot by Team Hillary to smear Trump and demanding that Clinton repudiate it.

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Donald Trump

Then the onus would be on Clinton to deny that he campaign prepped Howard Dean with the coke charge.

Very likely Dean was just indulging in his usual habit of speaking (or in this case tweeting) before thinking of the sort that sank his presidential prospects and had made him occasionally interesting to cover ever since. Like a lot of Democratic politicians who have lost presidential races, Dean is a little bit of a has been.

He had a small but fanatical following when he ran a dozen years ago. Now few people even remember Dean, except when he garners attention to himself as he did on social media during the debate.  

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