WASHINGTON (CNN) – When Jennifer O'Malley Dillon, the new executive director of the Democratic National Committee, concluded her brief remarks to a meeting of state party chairs in Washington on Wednesday, she got a clear and simple reminder of what DNC members want from the committee’s new leadership.
"Jen, you don’t really need to hear any questions," New Hampshire party chairman Raymond Buckley told her. "We have three words for you: '50-state strategy.'"
That now-famous program, implemented by outgoing chairman Howard Dean in 2005, placed paid DNC staffers in both red and blue states around the country and was premised on the philosophy that Democrats can be competitive anywhere as long as they show up, work hard and ask for votes.
But now that Dean is gone and Virginia governor Tim Kaine has been installed as President Barack Obama's pick to lead the organization, some of the party chairs who gathered at the DNC’s annual Winter Meeting this week expressed anxiety that the precious resources doled out by the committee could vanish as the new administration takes control of the party machinery.
The DNC-funded field staff positions expired on election day, and the party chairs - particularly those in states long dismissed by national Democrats - want the hiring practice renewed.
"Right now all 50 of the state chairs are on pins and needles," said Oklahoma Democratic chairman Ivan Holmes. "It's possible they could undo in one year what it's taken four years for Dean to do if they don't embrace the 50-state strategy financially, and let the chairs have input on who they hire and what their duties are."
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.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – When President-elect Barack Obama heads to the Democratic National Committee Thursday afternoon to formally announce the name of the party's new chair, there will be a notable absence.
Current Chairman Howard Dean is leaving Thursday morning for Pago Pago, American Samoa to attend the inauguration of that territory’s governor, and to help raise money for the Democratic 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 his DNC post later this month.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) - As expected, Howard Dean will hand over the reins at the Democratic National Committee when the party meets again in January.
The 2004 presidential candidate's approach - innovative Web outreach techniques and a determination to compete in areas that have not historically supported Democrats - have dove-tailed with those of President-elect Obama.
But incoming Democratic presidents are traditionally given the prerogative to select their own candidate for the post, which is then approved by party officials. The position tends to dramatically recede in importance when Democrats control the White House.
(CNN) – Carly Fiorina, a supporter of Sen. John McCain and the chair of the Republican National Committee’s Victory 2008 campaign, took aim at Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean over racially-tinged comments Dean made Friday.
“If you look at folks of color, even women, they’re more successful in the Democratic Party than they are in the white, uh, excuse me, in the Republican Party,” Dean said Friday in an appearance on NPR’s “Tell Me More” program.
Fiorina, a prominent female supporter of McCain, fired back at Dean. “It is disappointing to see Howard Dean trying to use gender and race to divide voters," Fiorina said Friday evening in a statement released by the McCain campaign. "His comments are insulting, inappropriate and have no place in this election.”
McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, is set to face off in November against Sen. Barack Obama, who is about to become the first African-American to garner the nomination of a major political party. Obama beat out Sen. Hillary Clinton in a long, hard-fought primary race that galvanized many women behind Clinton’s candidacy and many African-Americans behind Obama’s.
(CNN)—Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean is set to embark on a cross-country voter registration tour this Thursday.
The bus tour, called “Register for Change,’ will act as a mobile campaign office as the party seeks to build upon the record voter turnout during the primary season.
The tour kicks off in President Bush’s hometown of Crawford, Texas and coincides with the DNC’s 50-state strategy to hold forums across the country.
“People are really struggling,” Dean said. “They want different leadership, not more of the same failed Bush policies that John McCain will continue.”
From Texas the tour will continue on to stops in Louisiana and Mississippi where Dean will meet with local leaders and go neighborhood-to-neighborhood registering new voters and encouraging previously registered voters to unit around Barack Obama’s “strong message of change.”
The DNC says the tour will travel every part of the country, coming to a close at the party’s convention in Denver at the end of August.
Watch Dean's interview with CNN's Don Lemon.
(CNN) – Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, set forth three principles that he thinks should govern any effort to reach a compromise regarding seating the Michigan and Florida delegations to his party’s nominating convention.
First, “we want to respect the voters who went to the polls,” Dean said. “It was politicians that made a mess of this - not the voters,” he told CNN’s Don Lemon Tuesday.
“Secondly, you have got to respect these two candidates,” Dean said of Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. “You cannot change the rules at the end of the game and change the outcome.”
“Thirdly, you’ve got to respect the 48 states that followed the rules they way they were supposed to,” the former presidential candidate said.
“So there will be some sort of compromise in the Rules Committee on the 31 of May, I hope,” the DNC chair said. “But we don’t know what that compromise is going to look like right now.”
While Clinton and Obama have continued to battle for the Democratic nod, the DNC has run ads targeting Sen. John McCain, the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee, and Dean took the opportunity to take a shot or two at McCain Tuesday.
“He’s wrong on the courts. He’s wrong on Iraq. He’s wrong on the economy. He’s wrong on healthcare,” said Dean.
GRAHAM, North Carolina (CNN) – Hillary Clinton wouldn’t say Monday whether she agrees with Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean's latest comments that either she or Barack Obama should drop out of the race following the last Democratic primary on June 3.
“We’re going to go through these next contests, we’re going to see where we end up and we’ll take stock of where we are after they finish,” Clinton told reporters on the trail in North Carolina, adding that she feels the prolonged race has been good for both the party and voters.
Clinton said again that Michigan and Florida’s votes should be counted.
“We have to decide, do we wish to punish Michigan and Florida, two states that we have to win in the fall in order to win back the White House? When there are perfectly acceptable ways of resolving this?” Clinton asked. “So we’ve got to resolve Michigan and Florida and we’ll see how the process plays out.”
Watch Howard Dean on CNN Thursday.
(CNN)— An increasingly firm Howard Dean told CNN again Thursday that he needs superdelegates to say who they’re for – and “I need them to say who they’re for starting now.”
“We cannot give up two or three months of active campaigning and healing time,” the Democratic National Committee Chairman told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “We’ve got to know who our nominee is.”
After facing criticism for a mostly hands-off leadership style during much of the primary season, Dean has been steadily raising the rhetorical pressure on superdelegates. He said Thursday that roughly 65 percent of them have made their preference plain, but that more than 300 have yet to make up their minds.
The national party chair, who has remained neutral throughout the primary process, said again it’s his job to make sure both candidates feel they are treated fairly – but not to tell either of them when to end their run.
(CNN)—The Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton continue the battle for their party’s nomination Thursday, and Democratic Committee chairman Howard Dean continues his recent get-tough stance.
In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux reports on the campaign trail brawl less than a week before the next critical primary in Pennsylvania.
As the Democratic nominating process drags on on, Committee Chairman Howard Dean said Thursday, he wants a decision, and he wants it ‘now.’ You’ll see Wolf Blitzer’s interview with Dean.
Meanwhile, the pope isn’t the only important figure visiting Washington D.C. this week – Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown met with President Bush and the presidential candidates Thursday. White House correspondent Elaine Quijano reports on how the president’s meeting went, while Tom Foreman highlights what the candidates hoping to take President Bush’s place discussed with Brown.
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