Outgoing Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean’s absence from Thursday’s press conference announcing Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine as his successor reflects the Obama team’s lack of respect for Dean.
That’s the view of Dean loyalists, who note that despite the chairman’s successes in recent election cycles, he has become virtually invisible since Election Day.
Dean, a physician by training, was passed over for the Cabinet post he hoped for, Secretary of Health and Human Services. The position went instead to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.
And Dean is apparently not in line for another post in the Obama administration, according to Politico.com.
“If he had been asked to go to [the press conference], he would have been there,” Jim Dean, the chairman’s brother, told Politico.
Another Dean ally declared: “The snub was no accident.”
Howard Dean was in American Samoa on DNC business on the day of the press conference, but the ally said: “I guarantee you he would have rescheduled his trip if asked to attend.”
At least one source close to Dean pointed to Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief of staff, as the reason behind the snub.
Emanuel served as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and battled frequently with Dean over party strategy during the 2006 election cycle.
But a friend of Emanuel told Politico that Rahm was not working behind the scenes to thwart Dean.
“Rahm never stabs you in the back,” the friend said. “He stabs you in front.”
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