Now this is pretty damn terrible. Barack Obama is set to host a press conference with incoming Democratic National Committee Chair Tim Kaine on Thu
January 8, 2009

Now this is pretty damn terrible.

Barack Obama is set to host a press conference with incoming Democratic National Committee Chair Tim Kaine on Thursday in what will ostensibly mark the beginning of a new era for the party and the committee.

Noticeably absent from the affair will be the individual who symbolized the old regime.

Former Gov. Howard Dean is not on the list of attendees for the event, a noticeable nonattendance for someone largely credited with revitalizing the Democratic Party ranks and contributing - whether politically or through his 50-State Strategy - to major electoral gains.

It is unclear whether Dean's absence reflects a snub or a scheduling conflict. An Obama transition official said it was their understanding that Dean was traveling. But a source with knowledge of the proceedings said that Dean was not asked to attend and suggested that he would have changed prior plans.

Either way, he's not attending tomorrow's presser when the DNC torch is unofficially passed to Kaine. The Virginia Governor officially takes over the post on January 21.

Howard Dean led the charge on the 50-state strategy that paved the way for Obama to take the election. He was ridiculed by the Beltway weenies and Villagers over it, but he had the last laugh.

He was also the netroots' choice for DNC chair and it worked out brilliantly.

This is interesting: Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean, who was greeted with intense skepticism by the party's big-money donors at the outset of his tenure, appears on track to bring in far more cash this quarter from those top fundraisers than many expected.

I don't know who is at fault here, but this is not cool.

My friend Steve Benen writes:

For what it's worth, I don't think Obama is deliberately snubbing [Dean]. From what I hear, the two get along very well, and Obama has said more than once that Dean's 50-state strategy laid the groundwork for his own bottom-up presidential campaign. For that matter, I can't think of a reason why Tim Kaine would harbor any animosity towards Dean.

So, what explains today's Dean-less event? I'm at a loss.

Can you help us out?

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