When I spoke to Dean Wednesday morning, he said he had foreseen the loss of the House but had kept his mouth shut because he “didn’t want to make headlines.” But the loss of the House is, he said, “to some extent a referendum on Obama.”

Would Dean challenge Obama in 2012? “Nobody is going to beat him [for the nomination] in 2012,” Dean said. “All that would do is weaken the president.”

But, Dean added, “if you want to reform Washington, you can’t have a staff that’s all from Washington.”

And what’s more, he said, “there has to be a fundamental change in the way business is done in Washington. We have to do that if we want independent and even some Republican support.”