Dean was recalling the 1994 government shutdown engineered by then-Speaker Newt Gingrich that was politically disastrous for Republicans and boosted President Clinton's re-election prospects.
Dean is now arguably a de facto head of his party's left wing, and has often squared off with the White House and congressional Democratic over their willingness offer concessions to the Republican Party on legislative matters, particularly the public option that was dropped from the health care reform law.
But since the 2010 elections, Dean has called on progressives to rally around the President. Dean backed Obama's selection of Bill Daley for White House chief of staff -- a move that chafed many on the left -- and promised to back the president's reelection campaign.
Congressional leaders on both the Republican and Democratic sides as well as the White House have maintained publicly that they do not want to see the government shut down, even as a deadline for shutdown looms with no solution in sight.