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. Amber

    They both can fall off the face of the earth for all I care.

    HILLARY 2012/2016

    January 8, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. Patrick Era.

    I am a committed President-elect Obama supporter and admirer – but his demeanor since winning the election and the way he has seemingly treated some personal and Party faithfuls (such as senator John Kerry – his benefactor, Governor Bill Richardson – his rainy day friend and saviour, Jesse Jackson, Jr.- his defender, and now Chairman Governor Howard Dean – a great Democrat and American, etc.) according to the grapevine, leaves much to be desired, and a terribly bad taste in the mouth, to say the least. ONLY TIME WILL TELL!

    THERE IS NOTHING LIKE AN "OLD FRIEND" SAYS THE WISE!!!

    January 8, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. TRYING TO B OBJECTIVE

    Is this really true? Was he really not invitited to the ceremony or is this cnn's way of causing conflict and division? I'd like to hear what happened from Howard Dean. The media many times creates problems and never bothers to tell us how, when, what, and where. Please get the facts form Mr. Dean. If this is true I am disappointed. Mr. Dean is the one who provided the plan (campaign in all states) that made it possible for the DEMS to win this election. Oh, their are some other variables that helped a great deal. This is not the way to treat this man if I knew who is responsible for the disrespect I'd send them a letter expressing my disapproval. I hope he gets some kind of position on the HEALTH CARE COMMITTEE. When he was governor at least most of the people in hiis state had HEALTH CARE and he is a MEDICAL DOCTOR. Why is he left out? Whose toes did he step on? Maybe he was too honest, told the truth to often. PLEASE SOMEONE LET ME KNOW. This is so hard to believe, is this an oversite by PE Obama or the person who did the inviting? CURIOUS, I just need more facts and information before I can believe this.

    January 8, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  4. Newport News, VA

    On Hardball with Chris Matthews last night, Mr. Dean had nothing to say about the matter. This sounds like someone trying to make up some news.

    January 8, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  5. tina

    Oh let's remember when Dean was running and everyone thought he was crazy with his Tom Cruise like hollering. He chose not to be there everyone will tell you he wanted a position in the Obama Admin and he is miffed he did not get an appointment.............

    January 8, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. jrzshor

    F.FOO

    FIRED FRIEND OF OBAMA

    January 8, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. inuk of the north

    Wow! Obama can hang with Blagojevich, Ayers, ACORN, Wright and Rezko, but draws the line at Howard Dean?

    There will be a record number of subpeonas and grand jury investigations during the Obama presidency and I guess Dean doesn't meet the criteria of Chicago-style politics.

    It's OK Howard – stay clear of this group of future parolees.

    January 8, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  8. inuk of the north

    Wow! Obama can hang with Blagojevich, Ayers, ACORN, Wright and Rezko, but draws the line at Howard Dean?

    There will be a record number of subpeonas and grand jury investigations during the Obama presidency and I guess Dean doesn't meet the criteria of Chicago-style politics.

    It's OK Howard – stay clear of this group of future parolees

    January 8, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  9. inuk of the north

    Wow! Obama can hang with Blagojevich, Ayers, ACORN, Wright and Rezko, but draws the line at Howard Dean?

    There will be a record number of subpeonas and grand jury investigations during the Obama presidency and I guess Dean doesn't meet the criteria of Chicago-style politics.

    It's OK Howard – stay clear of this group of future parolees

    January 8, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  10. Greg in VT

    The treatment of Howard Dean is the only thing that dismays me about the President-elect. Dean, a fine governor here in Vermont who also would have been a fine President, hasn't gotten nearly enough credit for his work with the DNC. The new hope that many feel for our country is owed in large measure to Mr. Dean for fighting courageously for the 50 state strategy that many in the Democractic establishment (James Carville et al.) ridiculed.

    January 8, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  11. Greg in VT

    The treatment of Howard Dean is the only thing that dismays me about the President-elect. Dean, a fine governor here in Vermont who also would have been a fine President, hasn't gotten nearly enough credit for his work with the DNC. The new hope that many feel for our country is owed in large measure to Mr. Dean for fighting courageously for the 50 state strategy that many in the Democractic establishment (James Carville et al.) ridiculed.

    January 8, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  12. Kim, Charlotte, NC

    Yawn..............

    January 8, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  13. Davis - Southlake

    It has to be a reason for Obama not to invite Dean. Just wait and see!

    January 8, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  14. Red

    Obama bent all the way back to please Clinton, made few other strange appointments and exchanged smiles and compliments with Bush and now keeps Dean away??? Not inviting him seems sad and absurd. Dean has been terrific for DNC and the party. I wonder if Rahm Emmanuel has something to do with this plan. This hardliner is a terrible choice for the chief of staff and he never liked Dean.

    January 8, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  15. Ellie

    STOP the madness. Howard Dean DID his job. It's WHAT he's suppose to do and got PAID VERY WELL to do it.

    I wished everyone would STOP with the expert advise on what should be "owed" by President-Elect Obama.

    There are NOT enough offices or positions to hire everyone and anyone. That's just the reality. Jesus..... what is WRONG with everyone. What a bunch of babies.

    Next thing you know, we'll be complaining about Obama's barber NOT getting a cabinet position. Enough already.

    EVERYONE NEEDS TO COOL OUT and STOP acting like this is YOUR LIFE!!!

    January 8, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  16. Matt

    Name the sources or this is just a fairy tale.

    January 8, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  17. boered1

    There will be a record number of subpeonas and grand jury investigations during the Obama presidency __________________________________________________

    WOW I hate to have to agree with the radical religious right but in this case I do, there WILL be MANY more investigations and supeonas (or so I hope) as President (elect) Obama will have to clear out all the old bushies and the members of congress who have forgotten what they are there to do instead of following the bush plan of keeping them in office and preventing anyone from talking about the crimes they have committed

    more change I can agree with! Haven't we all said it is time to get rid of the crooks and open up washington to inspection.. well guess what he will!!

    January 8, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  18. johnny5bears

    This does not surprise me at all. So chicago, so obama, so our nations future. God help us. Please save us from this crazied elements of the democratic party.

    January 8, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  19. clifford

    inuk of the north: You said it all my friend!!

    January 8, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  20. Amber

    What's wrong righties? Did the 50 State Strategy bullocks your day?

    January 8, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  21. GuyInVA

    I'm quite conservative and I'm no fan of Howard Dean, but before he was DNC Chairman, the Democrats were nowhere near as successful as they are now. Seems kind of strange.

    January 8, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  22. LT

    If it wasn't for Dean, and the DNC's bias, screwing Clinton over BO would not be where he is today.

    January 8, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  23. Barbara

    I'm a Howard Dean fan; the media and the Democratic pary were wrong to stop him in 2004; hope Obama finds a key role for him in his administration or this will be a big disappointment. All Democrats owe a lot to Dean for our comeback this year.

    January 8, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  24. Dems be dopes

    I'll try again...

    Maybe Al Franken can stand in for comic relief now that Howard Dean will not be there.

    January 8, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  25. DIZIZI31

    betcha lots of money Obama told Dean that he was going to be replaced. That's why he didn't make plans to be there. Really did anyone see Dean during the 2 year campaign? Not until Hillary bowed out. It's not like the date wasn't on HIS calendar. Everybody knows what is going on when and where. Why are Dean and his supporters playing ignorant! Time to be unified not divided.

    January 8, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
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