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Kaine Formally Appointed to Head DNC

President-elect Barack Obama looks on as Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine speaks at the Democratic National Committee, where Obama announced Kaine as the new DNC chairman. (Charles Dharapak/Associated Press)

By Chris Cillizza
President-elect Barack Obama formalized his appointment of Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine as the head of the Democratic National Committee today, installing a loyalist in the key political job.

"Tim and I share a philosophy," said Obama. "It is a pragmatic, progressive philosophy."

Kaine outlined three tasks he would seek to accomplish as head of the DNC: promote Obama's agenda, carry the "banner" of the party and work to expand on the civic engagement begun during Obama's campaign.

Both Obama and Kaine emphasized in their remarks a desire to find solutions to problems regardless of party affiliation -- an unusual declaration given that the Virginia governor was being named as the chief political surrogate for the incoming president. "We are the party of problem solvers and unifiers," said Kaine.

Although the event was billed by the campaign as a press conference, the two men did not take any questions.

Kaine and Obama have had a long relationship dating back to 2005 when the just-elected senator from Illinois campaigned for Kaine's gubernatorial candidacy in the Commonwealth. Kaine was the first major elected official to endorse Obama's candidacy and was one of three finalists for the vice presidency.

Kaine, who is term limited out as governor in early 2010, was not initially interested in the DNC chair's job but was courted repeatedly by Obama and his top political lieutenants, who wanted to ensure that the president-elect's political operation was kept in the hands of those closest to him.

Kaine's appointment is sure to stoke talk about a next step on the national stage for Kaine -- perhaps within Obama's Cabinet later in his first term or as a national candidate in his own right in 2016.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 8, 2009; 4:05 PM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party  
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Kman23 writes
"Is there any chance Obama replaces Biden after one term with Kaine."

Sure there's a chance. In 2000, a lot of people thought Bush would replace Cheney in 2004 in order to establish an 'heir apparent' for the 2008 election.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 9, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Quick to judge and pre-occupied with the superficial like the podium sign? Commenter gbooksdc must be Republican - but that would be superficial too.... small minds come in all flavors.

Posted by: tigman_2 | January 9, 2009 6:06 AM | Report abuse

Kaine Officially Made DNC Chief!"

...meanwhile, Republicans are still pushing for Chip "magic negro" Saltsman to be the next grand wizard of the nearly defunct RNC.

Posted by: DrainYou | January 9, 2009 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Is there any chance Obama replaces Biden after one term with Kaine.

Posted by: Kman23 | January 9, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

I believe that gbooksdc is a liberal democrat ; )

Posted by: JakeD | January 8, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

"He can't be as bad as Bush, he's not as stupid as Palin, he's not out of touch like McCain, and he can't be as corrupt as the Clintons, but that's about all I can say for him."

Well, yeah. But he's got his transition offices in chicago. so it' s not an office created by the constitution. Just the working environment he's in. So, maybe you're p!ssed off for another reason. Which might be numerous, depending on whether your a conservative republican, or a liberal democrat. If you're an independent dude like me though, you'd wait and see for a while.

Posted by: lupercal | January 8, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

I never thought I'd live to see the day when the WaPo got scooped by the National Enquirer (John Edwards affair) and the Globe (Obama's birth certificate) tabloids!

Posted by: JakeD | January 8, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

"Formally Appointed" as of January 21, 2009, right? I hope some Democrat files a lawsuit challenging his appointment.

Posted by: JakeD | January 8, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Gilmore never adapted well to the work at the RNC. The national committees are especially good places for activist/ idealogues and small-state governors. I don't understand why Kaine didn't serve out his term full time, get a task force appointment, and then find something good. Funny, while Kaine is stepping into the role of DNC Chairman, Clinton's DNC Chairman is trying to become Governor of Virginia. Which man is stepping up?

Posted by: blasmaic | January 8, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse


That's progress, at least ; )

Posted by: JakeD | January 8, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

bsimon-- it's because the Republicans don't have a president. In 2004, for example, the Democrats had an election, and contenders included Martin Frost, Simon Rosenberg, and the eventual winner, Howard Dean. DNC or RNC chairs are traditionally appointed by the President if the party is in power, and elected if it is not.

Posted by: jdmaccoby | January 8, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only one bugged by the "Office of the President-Elect" logo? Because there's no such office. Not a good omen claiming he's going to abide by a Constitution he claims Bush ignored.

Also, might have been graceful to give a nod to Howard Dean, who resisted all sorts of political pressure not to cave to Hillary, which would have cost you the nomination.

As a campaign contributor, the sheen is coming off this guy more and more. He can't be as bad as Bush, he's not as stupid as Palin, he's not out of touch like McCain, and he can't be as corrupt as the Clintons, but that's about all I can say for him.

Posted by: gbooksdc | January 8, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

And just how big a part of that Agenda, is Nancy Pelosi's attempt to un-do the Dimocrat's "Contract with America"?

Power corrupts;

and absolute Power corrupts Absolutely! :-(

Posted by: SAINT---The | January 8, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Dumb question: why is Kaine appointed, while the RNC is having an election? Is that because the R's lack a President, or do the parties always select their leaders thusly?

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 8, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

and he'd better get Howard Dean's files and 50 State stragety. With 19 GOP seats up in 2010, here a chance to throw the fillibuster in the garbage where it belongs.

Posted by: NotBubba | January 8, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

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