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Dean's opening remarks

From NBC's Mark Murray
DNC chairman Howard Dean began today's proceedings by saying that the Democrats are going to nominate either the first woman or the first African American as their presidential nominee. And one of them will be the next president of the United States. He also mentioned the 35 million who have participated in the Democratic primaries and also the Dems' special election wins in Louisiana and Michigan. "We are ready to win, and the American people are ready for change. And we will have that change."

He also said the Democrats will be united in the fall, and mentioned what Al Gore had told him after the former Vermont governor's failed White House bid in 2004. Gore told Dean -- who was disappointed from his loss -- "This is not about you. This is about your country."

"This is about restoring American's greatness," DeanĀ told the audience. "That is what this is about."

And he said a goal today was to respect the voters of Florida and Michigan. "They did not cause this problem," he said.