When DNC chairman Howard Dean was excluded from Obama's press conference announcing Gov. Tim Kaine (VA) as Dean's successor, many feared that Obama's new team would dismantle the 50-state strategy.
Turns out the slap was probably just a clash-of-personalities thing with Dean. Seems that Kaine intends to continue along the party-building path while updating the strategy to new conditions. Kaine just released a 27-minute video answering people's questions about what lies ahead. Here's a rush transcript with Kaine's notable quotes about the 50-state strategy:
“The 50-state strategy is really important going forward…President-Elect Obama and me, we very much are believers -- the results that the DNC has achieved under the strategy speak for themselves. Now, exactly what is the “new” version of the 50-state strategy: You never should just do what you did yesterday. You’ve got to analyze everything and figure out what’s the right way to do it for today and tomorrow. And what we need to do is sit down and analyze everything in the campaign and everything about the 50-state strategy to determine what is exactly the best thing to do in Texas, and in Idaho, and in other states, to keep pushing forward, so that we can be successful as Democrats. And I think it’s fair to say that the right strategy for Texas might be a different strategy than for Georgia. What we’ve done in Virginia gives me some ideas, but I’m not going to say that should apply equally to every other state. But we’re past the point where we’re going to write any state off or any region of the country. The 50-state strategy has been a success, and we’re going to continue it in new and exciting ways going forward.”
“Yes, the 50-state strategy –- investing in each state and each community –- we’ll continue it. We may do it in different ways, obviously, everything you do, you ought be asking yourself, can I do it better? And the answer should always be yes! We could always be better tomorrow than we were today. Chairman Dean’s strategy was successful –- the results speak for themselves –- and we’re going to make sure that as a party we continue to play strong in every state and in every community.”
In other breaking news from Marc Ambinder, another tidbit to suggest that new administration will enjoy a very close working relationship with the DNC after all. Obama's choice for DNC Executive Director, Jennifer O'Malley Dillon -- who will be basically running the DNC in 2009 while Kaine finishes out his term in VA -- will presumably get along well with the new deputy director of the White House Office of Political Affairs, husband Patrick Dillon. (Congrats and good luck to the Dillons.)
UPDATE, 1/18: Obama announces the merging of his campaign organization with the DNC. "Organizing for America" (aka "Obama 2.0") will be housed within the DNC but will presumably operate independently to some extent (how much is not yet clear). At first glance, this would seem to be a novel arrangement -- no Democratic president going back to JFK has tried to leverage his independent base of support for the benefit of his party and its regular operations. Yet how, specifically, these two entities will work together remains to be seen. Will OFA help with the party-building activities mentioned above? Or will the regular party apparatus be subordinated to OFA, overshadowed by its campaigns to build support for the president's legislative priorities? Time will tell.