Bill Clinton Will Headline Democrats' JJ Dinner
Former President Bill Clinton will headline the state Democratic Party's annual Jefferson-Jackson Day fundraising dinner next month, party leaders told supporters in an email today.
The dinner, which the GOP criticizes because it takes place during the legislative session when elected officials are barred from raising money, will occur Feb. 7 at the Richmond Convention Center.
In 2007, President Obama was the featured speaker. Before that event, Obama picked up an endorsement from Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D). Last year, the dinner took place days before Virginia's presidential primary. Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was also a Democratic candidate for president, both spoke at the dinner.
This year's event will likely be dominated by politicking by the three Democratic candidates for governor, Brian Moran, Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (Bath) and Terry McAuliffe.
Although he has not yet endorsed him, Bill Clinton and McAuliffe are close friends. Democratic officials say Clinton has been asked that he not speak about the governor's race, but his appearence could help McAuliffe ease any remaining tension between Clinton and Obama supporters related to last year's primary. McAuliffe had been the national chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign, and some Obama supporters have been slow in warming up to him.
State Democratic officials tried to keep Clinton's appearance a closely held secret until today. Two weeks ago, party officials denied in an interview that Clinton was among the possible speakers at this year's dinner.
January 25, 2009; 1:27 PM ET
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