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Dean's blue-ribbon team

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Don't mess with Bill Page.

Page, who supervised the volunteers who staff the Democratic Party's booth at the N.C. State Fair, noticed a disproportionate number of Howard Dean supporters signing up to work at the booth. So he decided he had to step in so no candidate would have an unfair advantage.

Page, 72, a somewhat feisty North Carolina native who lives in Raleigh, said he would not let one candidate's supporters "dominate the booth."

The Dean backers sent "large numbers of people requesting slots, and really wanting to fill the entire list every day, and I said, 'You're not going to get that, and I'm going to balance with the other candidates' and I will make the decision as to when they work," Page said.

Each year, the state Democratic Party pays more than $600 to set up the booth in the Education Building for all 10 days of the fair. It featured buttons, stickers and literature about Democrats running for state and national offices. Because of this year's crowded Democratic presidential field, the booth's table bulged with material from several of the presidential candidates--especially Dean's.

Page said he wanted the booth "to go the way I want it to," and those who broke the rules were asked to leave, he said. At one point Saturday, Page discovered one candidate's material completely covering up another candidate's.

"I won't have one person shoving another candidate's material aside or covering it over as someone did today--maybe inadvertently--with some of theirs," Page said. "I don't know who did it, but if catch them I'll tell them to go home. They're not going to volunteer at this booth."

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