|DNC Winter Meeting
|Feb. 25, 2011--Members of the
Democratic National Committee, gathered at the Marriott Wardman Park
for the party's winter meeting, are looking beyond the drubbing the
party received in the November mid-term elections and setting out to
build a winning platform for the re-election of President Obama in
2012. Much of the activity on the first two days of the meeting
occurred in various constituency and regional caucuses, where members
heard from Chairman Tim Kaine and assorted guests of interest.
In his remarks in the caucuses, Kaine acknowledged Democrats lost among Independents and "got out-messaged" in 2010. "We lost a lot of those folks (Independents) in '10, but we can win them back," he said. To that end the DNC is working to put together draft constituency outreach plans by the end of March; these will then be circulated and by May the party should have 18-month outreach plans for its constituency groups outlining events, activities, policies, people and priorities to focus on through to November 2012. To avoid duplication, the DNC will share these with the re-elect campaign, which should be up and running in Chicago in early April.
There was considerable discussion about the selection of Charlotte, NC to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention, announced at the beginnning of the month; the decision did not sit well with many labor and LGBT members. However, Kaine stated that, "Charlotte sent the best message that we're playing offense, not defense." North Carolina is the state that Obama won by the narrowest margin in 2008. Kaine said that "demographic changes are moving the state in our direction" and that the choice of Charlotte means "going into traditionally tougher turf, and that creates opportunities." "I realize we've got some missionary work to do with labor because of the choice," Kaine said. "Bottom line, I'm always going to play offense."
Kaine himself was the subject of conversation, as he is considering whether to make a run for the U.S. Senate after Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) announced he would not seek re-election. Whether Kaine decides to stay or go, there are changes afoot at the DNC. Executive director Jennifer O'Malley Dillon is moving over to the re-elect campaign, and succeeding her is Patrick Gaspard, who is leaving his position as political director at the White House.