Update: Much thanks to Greg Tinti, who has provided the transcript:
Q: Why won’t you make TV appearances with RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman? We’ve tried to book you a number of times on various NBC programs and been told by your staff that you won’t make appearances with him. Why?
DEAN: The reason I don’t do that is because the spectacle of the debate overwhelms the desire to get message out and talk about policy and serious issues. You know, a lot of what happens on television is what I call infotainment. And I don’t think that’s a particularly good thing. Interviews like this give us a particularly good chance to talk about our message. Debates with Ken simply inflame things and it looks um, gladiatorial contest. I’m interested in getting the message out not gladiatorial conferences, er, contests for the sake of entertainment.
He makes the mistake of implying that he’s not entertaining on his own. We know that’s not true, don’t we?
Seriously, this is a copout. One of the best ways to ‘get the message out’ is to counter it one on one in a debate with the opposition. Dean knows that, which makes his refusal to appear on the same program as Ken Mehlman all the more puzzling. Perhaps he simply can’t debate Mehlman out of fear that he’ll have his clock cleaned? Hmmm …