January 8th, 2009
02:55 PM ET
5 years ago

Dean to be absent from Obama's DNC visit

President-elect Obama has selected Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, pictured here with Obama on the campaign trail in August, to head the DNC.
President-elect Obama has selected Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, pictured here with Obama on the campaign trail in August, to head the DNC.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - When President-elect Barack Obama heads to the Democratic National Committee today to formally unveil the new party chair there will be a notable absence, which is prompting some rare Democratic grumblings during these high times for the party.

Current Chairman Howard Dean left this morning for Pago Pago, American Samoa to attend the inauguration of that territory’s governor and a weekend fundraiser to raise money for the party there. Dean has so far visited all 50 states, and all territories except American Samoa.

Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, who was on the shortlist to be Obama’s vice president, will succeed Dean and formally take over the DNC post at the party’s winter meeting on January 21st.

An Obama transition aide said the only reason Dean is not going be at the Obama-Kaine event is that it conflicted with Dean’s travel plans. But multiple sources, including party activists, say Dean was not invited and would have cancelled his trip if asked. When told he was not included, Dean is said to have taken the news in stride and continued with his travel plans.

Dean’s absence at today’s event has raised eyebrows among some supporters, including state party chairmen, who credit Dean with originating and implementing the grassroots, 50-state strategy that Obama utilized so successfully and that helped Democrats take back control of Congress.

“It baffles me,” said one supporter. Another added it was “odd” the way Dean has been treated during the transition process. The supporters contacted by CNN requested anonymity citing the desire not to cause disappointment during a generally jubilant time for Democrats nationally. They however expressed frustration over the fact that Dean, a doctor and a former governor, has not been mentioned for a post in the new Democratic administration, a perk given to past successful chairmen.

“At minimum, sure it’s a slight” said one supporter of Dean’s exclusion at the joint Kaine and Obama event. This supporter said Dean’s inclusion would have sent a positive message to the state party chairs who have worked closely with Dean, and the DNC staff who worked under him.

While the DNC and the Obama camp worked together during the general election, the campaign independently executed and managed a fierce state-by-state field operation and did not rely as heavily on the party apparatus as past presidential campaigns have.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • DNC • Howard Dean
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. Roy

    Amazing how one YELL (i.e. Dean)...can ruin a guy's whole political career! From Washington to Pago Pago.......sounds like Carol Mosley Braun.

    January 8, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. Griff

    Me too!!!

    January 8, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  3. 1473 Days Until the NEW President

    Ahhh, the sweet smell of hypocracy in the morning!

    January 8, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  4. Gene in PA

    Politics, Chicago style!

    January 8, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  5. Brian

    Hey, I voted for Obama and I support him, but they can't leave Dean out of this. He's great.

    January 8, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  6. tired of corporate politics

    Ministry of Information (1984): Kaine has always been here. Dean never existed.

    January 8, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  7. Kristy

    As a supporter of both Howard Dean and president-elect Obama, I'm curious about why Dean seems to be getting the shaft. I had the honor of meeting Governor Dean shortly after he lost the primary election in 2004 and he is a remarkable man who has helped the Democratic Party tremendously. I can't help wondering if it has something to do with the contentious 2007 primary and maybe where Dean's loyalties fell. I hope not.

    January 8, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  8. Annie the Democrat

    Hmm....

    The whole Dean situation makes you think something happened between him and the Obama team.

    Otherwise, why is he being left out of Obamas cabinet.

    January 8, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  9. Proud American

    Lies all Lies. Please let's stick to substance, I'm starting to think that Idiot republicans are writing these articles.

    January 8, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  10. russell

    Under Dean, the Democratic party reestablished itself and won alot of seats. He has received no credit or gratitude. He should have been named surgeon general.

    January 8, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. FIREWALKER

    YELLOW JOURNALISM IS WHAT GOT O-BUMMER INTO OFFICE.

    TRUE JOURNALISM DIED IN 2008

    I HAVE NO RESPECT FOR THE PAPERS OR JOURNLIST ANYMORE THEY HAVE ON A WHOLE PROVIDED NOTHING BUT BIAS REPORTING.

    YOU GOT YOUR MAN IN OFFICE NOW LETS SEE WHAT HE CAN DO.

    January 8, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  12. Y-BONE

    SARA PALIN
    PLEASE SHUT UP AND TEND TO ALASKA WHILE YOU STILL CAN-- JOHN MCCAIN MUST BE SENILE

    January 8, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  13. Franky

    "An Obama transition aide said the only reason Dean is not going be at the Obama-Kaine event is that it conflicted with Dean’s travel plans. But multiple sources, including party activists, say Dean was not invited and would have cancelled his trip if asked. When told he was not included, Dean is said to have taken the news in stride and continued with his travel plans."

    Who are the Dems now?? The Jets?? All of a sudden if he doesn't wanna hang out or be their best friend, they'll get all crazy? I'm sure they are a lot of people in Congress or let alone in this country that wanna be involve and get on the action. Watch out Dems, when he gets sworn in, I'm gonna be more bogus than my boy George Halas...you better be ready.

    January 8, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  14. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    so what's the deal? Is there a rift between Obama and Dean? I was surprised that high-profile people like Howard Dean and Russ Feingold didn't get cabinet positions....

    January 8, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  15. Jane

    Another example of the high-handed, arrogant attitude of Obama and his team. Just watch for things to come from the big-talker.

    January 8, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  16. Caleb T

    I wouldn't show up either.

    January 8, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  17. Debby, NJ

    I like Tim Kaine :)

    January 8, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. Michael from Cambridge

    Considering how much the party and now the people of America owe Howard Dean for implementing the 50-State Strategy, this is a huge slap in the face.

    January 8, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  19. Matt in VA

    So Bush is dissed for not allowing the Obamas the use of Blair house but the Dems can ignore the DNC chair who oversaw their regime change.

    As someone who lives in the state of Virginia, how can Kaine work part time as the new DNC chair and then also do his job to reduce the budget deficits in his home state? Trust me, he is NOT that talented.

    January 8, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  20. AG

    That too bad. I think Howard Dean deserves a lot of credit for his DNC leadership and fifty state strategy. The results of his strategy and Obama's message couldn't have been any better. I also hope Obama finds another way to make sure Mr. Dean gets the recognition his deserves.

    January 8, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  21. Luke Brown

    It's not a slap in the face ... though no one should discount the contributions made by Howard Dean to the Democrats success in November. The campaign technology alone made a huge difference.

    January 8, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  22. no-spin in dc

    This is a major slap in the face. Howard Dean is the reason we had good people in ALL FIFTY STATES. Obama's new chief of staff didn't think it was a good idea. It seems Obama is only rewarding the people who were against him in the beginning. I mean, nothing for Sen. McCaskill? A token job for Gov. Kaine. You see what happened to Mrs. Clinton vs. Mr. Kerry right?

    January 8, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  23. earle,florida

    Mr. Dean was/is a great DNC Chairman that raised enormous amounts of money for the party,and for those that might have forgotten,it was"His Trailblazing Pioneering Techique of Using the Internet as a Fund Raiser",which Sen.J.Kerry ( master of the Flip-Flop do-wop) used,along with the entire "Fold"of mindless politicians. He was fully aware of (awkward invite/but please don't show) not being asked for his argumentive nature towards the Clinton's, and Mr. Axelrod, ( Pres.Clinton's past campaign manager/advisor) now currently running the show for PE Obama (his "go-to-main-man" advisor) which only goes to show? "What have you done for me lately"! PS. PE.Obama has saddled himself with "nothing but ",Clinton baggage that lost it's bouyancy/luster many years ago?

    January 8, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  24. Proud American

    REpbuicans r stoopid.

    January 8, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  25. Mari

    What slap in the face??? Please!

    I see the far-right-nuts are out today. What is Faux News offline?

    January 8, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
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