June 5th, 2008
01:30 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama keeps Dean

Barack Obama and Howard Dean.

Barack Obama and Howard Dean.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama is moving to take leadership of the Democratic Party, installing one of hit top field lieutenants at the Democratic National Committee, along with a sweeping new ban on special interest money.

The campaign announced that Howard Dean would remain head of the DNC, addressing speculation that he might be replaced with a candidate chosen by Obama himself.

Dean’s ambitious effort to build party infrastructure in all 50 states had been met with mixed reviews – criticized by Democrats nervous over the DNC’s dire financial straits, praised by activists determined to compete with Republicans in every area of the country.

"Sen. Obama appreciates the hard work that Chairman Dean has done to grow our party at the grass-roots level and looks forward to working with him as the chairman of the Democratic Party as we go forward," said Obama spokesman Bill Burton.

Dean’s philosophy fits well with Obama’s strategy; massive wins in traditionally red states factored heavily in the Illinois senator’s successful nominating battle, and he won the backing of many Democrats in GOP strongholds who believe his presence on the ballot may prove decisive in down-ticket races this November.

In a new appointment, Obama senior adviser Paul Tewes will immediately begin to coordinate the campaign’s activities at party headquarters. Tewes led the Obama campaign to victory in Iowa before being dispatched to other primary season battlefields like Ohio.

The campaign also said Thursday that the DNC, following Obama’s own policy, will no longer accept donations from political action committees or their members, or federal lobbyists, although donations that have already been accepted will not be returned.

"We will not take a dime from Washington lobbyists or special interest PACs. We're going to change how Washington works," Obama said Thursday.

Obama and presumptive Republican nominee John McCain have tangled over the issue of lobbyist influence, and each campaign has accused the other of hiring individuals with ties to lobbying firms.

The DNC – whose Republican counterpart has roughly 10 times as much cash on hand, according to their most recent campaign finance reports - is counting on the Obama fundraising juggernaut to help refill its coffers.

The campaign and the DNC already have a joint fundraising agreement in place. Last month, the party had just $4.1 million cash on hand.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (265 Responses)
  1. chad

    good move!

    June 5, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  2. William, from Cali

    The "real leadership" starts in Jan. 2009; "from day one!"...............Good Luck! Democrats.......................................................

    June 5, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. steveda - poconos, PA

    Andrew – I wouldn't want the Clintons to bail me out. If they offered a lifeline you could bet there was something in it for them.

    June 5, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  4. Bill PA

    Obama is keeping garbage.....will the real Obama please stand,
    please stand. Dean is a liberal dope just like Obama, vote for Hillary as a write in, she got robbed.

    June 5, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  5. evelyn


    June 5, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. Mike

    That is it Obama. Take control of your party o yours and Americas beliefs
    OBAMA '08 '12

    June 5, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  7. No Way

    Obama owes the corrupt Dean and the party his nomination.

    Obama had no merits and no qualifications, so Dean made sure that his competition was bashed and trashed right out of the race.

    Dean installed Obama.

    we want fair elections and unbiased leaders.

    June 5, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  8. Jack

    Obama accepted nearly $100 million from Lobbyist and PACs ( through a convenient loop-hole) and now wants to close it behind him. Nice. Howard Dean has been a cancer on the institutional part of the Democratic Party....what happened to change? This party is going down the tubes.

    June 5, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  9. pat

    i guess DEAN IS GOING TO BE VP, nice going dean, you failed as a nomanee so this is the best you can do, you are a poor excuse for a member an party organizer. YOU DESSERATED THE ONLY PERSON WHO IS BEST FOR THIS PARTY. now i will really support macain an leave the party you were not fair.

    June 5, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. Alice

    Howard Dean is one brilliant democrat. He would definitely be a huge support for Barak Obama. God Bless America, and the brilliance of the Obama voters, and Obama supporters. At long last the United States of America can be really UNITED Yeah~Hah! This Irish lady is very very happy. !!

    June 5, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  11. demwit

    This bumbling, fumbling party can't even vote in a nominee democratically! How can they possibly run a country that way?

    June 5, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  12. Andrew

    What amazes me as of late is the scope and breadth of Obama’s power. I mean – he had the votes to keep Michigan 50-50, but he decdied to be gracious. And when Hillary didn’t bow out of the race on Tuesday – within 24 hours, without uttering a single word about it, Obama’s camp was able to get House and Senate Democrats, ardent Hillary supporters, to have two separate conference calls asking her what in the heck she was doing. Couple hours later – she’s conceding. Hillary Clinton – one of the most powerful Democrats ever. And now I see this article, and I’m like – dang, Obama is just taking over.

    Fine with me. Tell me where to show up and what to canvas.

    Obama '08!

    p.s. Didn't it look like a wake at John McCain's Tuesday speech?

    June 5, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. Steve

    Well duh, why would he replace the man who orchestrated the whole fiasco with FL and MI. It is partially the reason he got the nomination!!

    June 5, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  14. Michael Lorton, Virginia

    It is sometimes advantageous to continue with the "status quo" until Obama's team can re-evaluate the political structure. Look before you leap....and when you leap......look at what you are leaping too. It is, in most part, not a requirement to buy a new truck, but rather evaluate the driver of the old one. Good positive start......control your destiny.

    June 5, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  15. Aaron in Arizona

    Anyone voting for McCain is really just a replublican, so just fess up to it people.

    BTW: Anyone who takes control of their party and bans lobbying money should be praised for standing up for the right thing.

    June 5, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. Thomas

    Hes keeping Dean and hes doing what dean said about funds... HOW IS THIS CHANGE??? LOL write a new headline with the word change in it and all the Obama people think hes doing someting different..

    Dean is Still the leader -no change.
    They will still not collect money from PAC or lobbyists Deans ideas – No Change..

    WHAT CHANGE in 08'?

    Write in Hillary 08' (The real vote for change in the DNC)

    June 5, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  17. Karol

    It all makes sense to me now why Dean and Pelosi work so hard to push Obama.... what is Pelosi getting???

    June 5, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. kim portland, oregon

    why are these "democrats" so he!!-bent on DESTROYING obama's chances of winning the presidency and making mccain the next president?

    hillary and her supporters will be directly responsible for killing our soldiers, millions more homes in foreclosure, big business getting BIGGER, the oil companies beating this year's RECORD-BREAKING PROFITS, the monetary and human expense of mccain's new invasion of iran, LOBBYISTS setting the agenda for america-in THEIR OWN best interests not OURS....


    snap out of it, America--mccain has pledged to continue the ugly, expensive, illegal, and anti-citizen policies of the neocons. dont let them control our lives any longer, we americans are waaaayyy toooo good for these people and FAR MORE intelligent than they give us credit for, SO LET'S SHOW THEM THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    TRUE republicans and democrats need to unite to ensure obama becomes our next president. and after that, if i were a republican i would start fighting like he!! to take back my party from the neocons--republicans, your party has been hijacked and bent over...

    June 5, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. ms.sims

    I think with Obama over him Dean will find a way to vastly improve his system into something in "better working condition"

    June 5, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. s.boat


    June 5, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  21. Buckeye Girl 4 Obama

    Good move to keep Dean leading the DNC, Barack Obama!!! Just don't let him laugh out loud, & you should be OK! Now, if you could shake those BAD APPLES out of the Democrat tree...8)

    June 5, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  22. Seth

    Um, Dean already had this job. Obama didn't give it to him.

    Someone said this is a bad idea? You must be a Republican if you think this is a bad idea.

    Obama is the Manchurian candidate? You must not be familiar with that book/movie considering the Manchurian Candidate was a veteran who had been captured and brainwashed. Sounds much more like McCain than Obama. Thanks for the reference.

    We are going to lose the centrist Democratic vote? Please tell me on what issues is Obama so far to the left? I'll be waiting...

    June 5, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  23. steveda - poconos, PA

    Lynette .. just to educate you ... the Presidential nominee is the de facto head of the party. Had Hillary won she would haev decided on the appointments. thats part of the job as nominee – being chief politician of the party.

    thats also why he can instruct the Democratic party to no longer accept donations from lobbyists or pacs.

    June 5, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  24. AL

    I know now why Dean never say anything.

    June 5, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  25. Clinton Supporter

    Of course he's keeping Dean. Everyone loves a lap dog.

    June 5, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
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