January 8th, 2009
02:55 PM ET
6 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. Objective thinking

    That Obama transition aide needs to respond to the other Democrat sources who say Dean would have canceled.

    January 8, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. JS007

    I'd like to see more reporting into the reasons for Dean's exclusion. I find that Obama rarely does things without a good reason.

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

    HEARSAY. Name 'em or don't print it. For all we know you'r ejust fabricating this nonsense.

    January 8, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. Abayomi

    Exactly. Obama is bending over backward to the retrograde vote. Lay on MacDuff

    January 8, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. Matt

    hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay hearsay

    January 8, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  6. John from Pennsylvania

    The people of america owe Howard Dean nothing. Obama is not even president yet and we have his corrupt home state governor selling his senate seat (and the Burris circus that has ensued), his selection for commerce secretary drop his name from consideration because of corruption charges, and the possibility of years of trillion dollar plus deficits. Sounds like Change, Change, Change is turning into Same, Same, Same. In the words of Howard Dean "Aaaahhhh!"

    January 8, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  7. SueWKline

    By all means, let's step all over the guy that got us here. If Dean had not taken a firm stand on the election process, vis a vis Michigan and Florida, Senator Clinton would have easily won the nomination. I for one am very sorry she did not win, but I believe Howard Dean is being treated like dirt. Why not put him in Richardson's place? You would think that at the very least he would have b een named Surgeon General.

    January 8, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  8. CA Indie for Obama

    shouldn't have been handled that way. Dean was very important to Obama's victory.

    January 8, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  9. Diing

    Neither President Elect nor governor Dean has ever said anything, but the media is trying to cause conflict between them. What a shame!. Every week or two since the election, there is an article about why President Elect …Howard Dean. Can the media be responsible enough to give these individuals a clean break!!!. So tired of manufactured controversies!

    January 8, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  10. Rick

    Dean the Scream can probably shout his greetings from Pago Pago and they'll be heard.

    January 8, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  11. shaq

    they should keep dean that is not right

    January 8, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  12. John in Ohio

    This is an insignificant media created controversy. Dean and Obama are great friends, and it was Dean's 50 state strategy that put the Democrats in solid control of Congress and the White House.

    January 8, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  13. Noel

    Maybe Dean, after knowning he would be replaced and that he wasn't invited to the event, was feeling a sense of sadness and depression. And that he just wanted to get out of the DNC and take a break.

    January 8, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  14. Ommy

    Send Dean back to Vermont!

    January 8, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  15. Soccer Nana

    It is time for the "crabs-in-the-bucket" to be boiled and served on a platter. Kids-on-the-playground behavior should not be displayed by "supposedly" professional people. Pitiful.

    January 8, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  16. Deaniac

    Obama was one of the original "Dean dozen", endorced by Gov Dean's Democracy for America. That was when Obama was running for his senate seat that became the the springboard to the presidency.

    Not to take credit from Obama for being a great candidate, but I'm curious what happenned to cause this rift.

    January 8, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  17. 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 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  18. Joman

    As a Vermonter who voted for Howard Dean as governor several times, came to know him personally on early AM flights from Burlington to Chicago as he regularly headed out to Iowa ala Jimmy Carter, was thrilled to see him be the first candidate to leverage the Internet and openly challenge the war in Iraq and Bush dictatorship, watched with dismay as the Democratic establishment and media drove his candidacy into the ground, cheered when he was made head of the DNC, remained steadfast in my support of his 50 state strategy as others questioned it, and cheered when he was vindicated by the across the board 2008 election results – don't understand two things:

    1 – Why is Dean even being replaced? There has been no reasoning presented?
    2 – Why wouldn't they make an effort to include him somehow – even if it were by televised jumbo-tron?

    He should be applauded for his continued dedication to his mission and formally recognized by the Deomcratic Party for his larger-than-life and largely selfless contribution in rescuing our country from the hands of the seemingly entrenched Republican machine.

    January 8, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. Linda

    Same ol same ol from the Empty One.

    ...he uses and then tosses them under the bus. If he has a grudge, he backs up over you a couple times....huh Richardson? lol

    You have to always have somethig the Empty O needs or wants to stay in a good place. He used Dean up, made him his lap dog and then refused him any place in his cabinet after Dean basically handed O the Dem nomination.

    But....what has Dean done for him SINCE the election? SEEEEE?

    January 8, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. Mr B. Bromley

    Dean didn't like Obama and now he's getting payback. Obama, coming from that nasty muslim crowd in Chicago who strongarms for what they want, doesn't want Dean to be part of the democratic scene any more. Dean might criticize him (we wouldn't want that now would we?).

    January 8, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  21. Libs be dopes

    Maybe Al Franken will stand in for comic relief since Dean will not be there.

    January 8, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  22. Joe M

    Look no further than "Rahmbo" for this slight. This Vermonter voted for Obama and realized that he has every right to have the DNC chair of his choice. However, Dean's 2004 campaign, 50 state strategy and financial acument made possible the 2006 results and a lot of 2008. Go get'em Howard and thanks!

    January 8, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  23. Diane Smith

    In reference to Senator Reid's comment, he does not work for Obama
    I believe he is wrong. On any job you have a boss and the president is not only the boss but the Comander and Chief. Anyone who has any type of position beneath him, he is their boss. He's not equal with him side by side working with him. Obama is his boss and therefore he works for him.
    His comment shows a disrespect towards Obama.

    January 8, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  24. Teresa

    Dean can speak for himself. If Dean wants to participate then he can take the initiative and handle it with direct conversation and get this resolved if in fact there is an issue.

    January 8, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  25. Sabrina

    Gene in Pa. You are so right, use them to get what you want and then through them under the bus. Obama style.

    January 8, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
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