|Joe Trippi has been ousted as Howard Dean's marketing manager.
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Mr. Trippi's skill and vision in the use of innovative digital communications systems and strategies, as well as in mobilizing political support, is widely credited with catapulting Mr. Dean's longshot presidential ambitions into what appeared to be front-runner status going into Iowa.
Lesser position offered
In a statement Wednesday night, Mr. Dean credited Mr. Trippi with making an enormous contribution and "revolutionizing the way in which people are brought into the democratic process," but said Roy Neel will replace him. Wire service reports said Mr. Trippi had been offered a lesser campaign position, but chose to leave instead.
Whether Mr. Trippi's ad agency, Trippi McMahon & Squire, Alexandria, Va., will retain the Dean campaign's advertising account is not known. The ad agency had not returned phone calls for comment by press time.
Former Gore aide
Mr. Neel, a onetime aide to former Vice President Al Gore, once headed the U.S. Telecom Association.
"Roy brings enormous experience both in management and national politics. He will be an invaluable resource to our campaign," Mr. Dean's statement said.
A former aide to Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass, Mr. Trippi, 43, is veteran of numerous campaigns, including Mr. Dean's past gubernatorial efforts in Vermont.
Corporate Web sites
Mr. Trippi ran Vice President Walter Mondale's Iowa campaign in 1984 and was deputy campaign manager for U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt's 1988 presidential campaign before switching to advertising, media consulting and creating Web sites and related digital marketing communications sytems for corporate clients.
While Mr. Trippi was successful in moving Mr. Dean to the front ranks of Democrats in the primaries, Mr. Dean's campaign has stumbled as media coverage intensified in recent weeks. Widely touted organizational efforts proved inadequate to win Iowa and New Hampshire, where Mr. Dean once led substantially in local polls.