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

Dean to be absent from Obama's DNC visit

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/08/art.bokaine0108.gi.jpg caption="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. Rob Kole

    So what have you done for me lately!

    January 8, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  2. Woody

    i think we all should withold judgement until the FACTs have been made clear.

    sounds like the purpose of this article is to stir the pot a little...

    January 8, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  3. Lo

    I hope this isn't true but at this point im just so tired of hearing all these rumors about Obama, he is not God meaning he is NOT perfect so if this is true who care ?!!!!! Lets focus on more important things ... this is not high school people. So what if the "popular kids " didnt want to hang with Dean ...get over it!!!

    January 8, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  4. Jackson

    As a Dean fan who got involved in local politics because of the Howard Dean Campaign, I can honestly say that I (and many, many of my politically-active friends) will remember this and when the worm turns and Obama or Kaine ask us to "trust them on this", well....we won't. How you treat Dr. Dean is how you treat all of his millions of followers, we won' t forget and don't bet on us being there for you if it's not in our interest. So goes the whirlwind...

    January 8, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  5. Fontana

    All speculation,who knows the truth.In case you haven't notice Obama is not the type to exclude people.Much to do about nothing.

    January 8, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  6. slamander

    Knowing that Emanuel and Dean didn't see eye-to-eye and often clashed, it's not hard to see why he's been snubbed.

    Folks, Obama can't have his hands in everything and has to rely on others to delegate some activities. And it's in this that I suspect Rahm hand a strong hand in excluding Dean.

    January 8, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  7. Mark A. Baker

    Let's see ... spending more time in a flooded Washington, D.C. surrounded by self-important political hacks and with city amenities shut down due to being overloaded by celebrating out-of-towners during a wretchedly cold winter , OR ... the sunny beaches of American Samoa kicked back with a frosty South Seas Cooler .... hmmmm, which would I choose?

    Personally I think Gov. Dean "lost" his invite just so he would have an excuse not to cancel his travel plans.

    January 8, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  8. HUM!!!

    I don't know alot about Dean .......I do remember the SCREAM!!!!

    January 8, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  9. Karen

    Why would everyone expect ALL DEMOCRATS to be exactly in line with Obama? It is good for the party to have others who do not totally agree with him. Obama cannot and should not try to please and placate everyone. He should do what is best for the party and the administration, and if he ruffles a few feathers, so be it. Accept it folks, this is what life is about. Try to please everyone and you will end up pleasing no one.

    January 8, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  10. kayla


    January 8, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  11. Independent_me

    I hope that Dean gets a place in the Obama administration. He is an incredible warrior for the party!

    January 8, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
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