DNC Winter Meeting   ...1 of 6 >
Feb. 24-26, 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 organization for the re-election of President Barack Obama in 2012. 

In his speech to the general session on Saturday, Chairman Tim Kaine said November 2 "was a tough night; it was a very tough night."  After reviewing areas where Democrats had fallen short, notably among independents, Kaine did point to a couple of bright spots highlighting success among African American voters and the fact that "all the late breakers (races not called on Election Night) switched our way."  Nonetheless, Kaine said, "You can't sugar coat it."  He quoted William Faulkner, "The may have kilt us, but they ain't whooped us."  Kaine hailed the achievements of the lame duck session.  He repeated the "we're winning the future" theme of President Obama's State of the Union Address, and said "what the other party is doing is they're the party of the past."  Kaine defended the Affordable Care Act, tagged ObamaCare by critics, stating, "I'm glad Obama cares."  Also during the general session members heard from DC Mayor Vincent Gray, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.

Much of the activity on the first two days of this meeting occurred in various constituency and regional caucuses, where members heard from Kaine and assorted guests of interest.  A highlight for many members was the visit to the White House on Friday. Throughout the meeting 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, but Kaine emphasized the need to play offense.  The situation in Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker (R) is attempting to eliminate collective bargaining rights for many public sector workers, was also on many people's minds.

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 will be 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.