January 8th, 2009
05:17 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama formally announces Kaine as DNC chair

President-elect Obama announced Thursday that he's chosen his friend and supporter Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine to run the DNC.

President-elect Obama announced Thursday that he's chosen his friend and supporter Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine to run the DNC.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama formally announced Thursday that Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, one of the president-elect’s closest allies who was once on the short list to become his running mate, will run the Democratic National Committee.

Watch: Obama announces Kaine as new head of DNC

Appearing with Kaine at DNC headquarters in Washington, Obama said the party must build on his campaign’s success by reaching out to Americans in every state and recruiting new candidates that share his governing philosophy.

“We must build a movement for change that can endure beyond a single election,” Obama said.

The man for that job, he said, is Kaine. Obama called the Virginia governor a progressive problem-solver who also understands that “politics is tough.”

He praised Kaine’s legislative record in the commonwealth, particularly his plans to expand early education access and fix Virginia’s clogged roadways, even though the governor has been forced to scale back those initiatives because of budget constraints.

Obama said Kaine - who will serve as governor and chairman simultaneously until his term in Richmond expires in January 2010 - is the right man “to remake the Democratic party to better meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

Kaine listed three goals, beginning with a promise to be “a passionate and positive promoter” of Obama’s agenda and to “carry a proud banner for a proud party.”

He said he was “most excited” to develop new ways to engage voters, much like the Obama campaign did throughout the 2008 presidential race.

“The story of this campaign was less about the inspiration and more about the organization,” Kaine said.

Despite the noticeable absence of current DNC chair Howard Dean, who was traveling to American Samoa, both men praised Dean as a “visionary” because of his implementation of the so-called “50-state strategy” that funneled party resources to traditionally Republican regions of the country. Kaine said he has “huge shoes to fill.”

Although the announcement was billed a “press conference,” the pair did not take any questions from reporters.

After the event, the DNC announced that the veteran political organizer Jennifer O'Malley Dillon, who worked for John Edwards in 2008, will be the party’s executive director.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • DNC • Tim Kaine
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Cynthia

    What happened...were there no other candidates for the job???? Or is it those that payed to play are the benefactors?????????

    January 8, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  2. Texas Teacher

    Can hardly wait for Jan. 20th! 🙂

    Finally a leader who knows how to be a leader... and plans to look out for his base.... the very ones who paid for his campaign... We, the People! All of us... whether you voted for him or not.

    Suck it up, Repubs... you lost! Now get with the program or get trampled and left behind in the stampede! 🙂

    January 8, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  3. Chris in Va.

    Tim Kaine is as worthless as teats on a bull, he was worthless as a Richmond city councilman, worthless as Richmond mayor and worthless as a governor, the guy has accomplished NOTHING while in any office!!!!

    I certainly expect no more from him now.

    January 8, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  4. FM

    I hope Howard Dean's Fifty-state strategy is rewarded in one way or another. Obama has to recognize that it's Dean who came up with the idea of internet fundraising. I hope President-elect finds him something else to do.

    January 8, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  5. Texas Teacher

    Alex of NY.... Barack Obama taught constitutional law for ten years... he knows that constitution inside and out! Better check your history books... your ignorance is showing! 😦

    January 8, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  6. Texas Teacher

    John, what a leader he is indeed! He has inherited a living hell from the Bush/Cheney administrations! And you are crying doom and gloom? Really? I mean seriously... are you losing your mind, man?

    January 8, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  7. Gallimimus

    To Alex of NY, your a dirt bag!

    Get some help!

    January 8, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  8. Sean

    As a Virginian, I'm very disappointed in Gov. Kaine and what he's done with Virginia since Mark Warner left the office. I think this is a very foolish move on Obama's part. The only good thing is that it gets him away from us! It can't come quick enough. Let Kaine mess up the DNC now like he's done the Commonwealth.

    January 8, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  9. Chris in Va.

    Sean, as stated I couldn't agree more. If he runs the DNC and the 2012 election campaign like he has in previous offices we'd better get used to saying President Palin. You've heard of "Sleepless in Seattle" this guy is "Clueless in Virginia". Anyone who thinks this is a good choice is sadly mis-informed, and I'm a DEM!

    January 8, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  10. Larry

    The Democratic party is a "NOVA"(a bright star,that's already burned out)

    January 8, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  11. Ted

    Go Tim Kaine! He's not VP, but this is still good!

    January 8, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  12. eewww

    They look like they were getting ready to kiss each other.

    I guess they must be really close.

    January 8, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  13. The right guy ..Till 2016

    Alex of NY,
    get a life scumbag

    January 8, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
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