Tuesday, November 18, 2008

On the Phone With Gov. Howard Dean

Right now, on his birthday and mine, DNC Chair, Gov. Howard Dean is doing a conference call for bloggers, and he's spending the majority of the time taking questions. I asked him about the DNC efforts with regard to Jim Martin's race in Georgia. He said that all of the Obama campaign offices are re-opening or remaining open, and that the DNC is investing significant money in the race, along with the DSCC. Gov. Dean praised Jim Martin, saying that he is a great person and a great candidate who anyone supportive of Barack Obama should be pleased to vote for. Dean correctly noted that this runoff election is all about turn out and stressed the importance of grassroots efforts, especially knocking on doors, to get those all important voters to the polls.

There were also questions from bloggers in West Virginia and Louisiana about how those of us in 'red' states could work to improve chances for Democrats. Again, Dean pointed to both the national trends, the gains made in those states this cycle and said that his eye was on Texas as a prime target for Democrats over the next two election cycles. (Just so we're clear, I'm making it my personal mission to make Georgia a prime DNC target, and we'll talk more about that later.)
In response to a direct question, Dean essentially said that he could not explain why President-elect Obama's overall performance was better than Gore and Kerry, yet in some areas of Appalachia and the "inland South" Obama did not preform as well as they did. Of course, the question essentially raised the issue of to what degree race was a factor in some areas of the country.

I really appreciated the fact that Gov. Dean did this call today, drawing in the bloggers in a substantive way. Thanks, and Happy Birthday, Gov. Dean!

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