Dean won’t stay on as DNC chairman

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(Host) One part of the transition around the new president-elect is a change at the Democratic National Committee.

Howard Dean, who’s been head of the party since 2005, will be moving on.

The news leaked out today on political blogs and was confirmed by Dean during a visit to Vermont.

VPR’s Ross Sneyd has more.

(Sneyd) Dean says he made the decision not to seek a second term some time ago.

He says he wants to follow tradition and give President-elect Obama the opportunity to choose his own party chief.

(Dean) "The job is very different under an incumbent Democratic president than it is when you don’t have the White House. I think the president gets an opportunity to run the DNC as he sees fit. I’m a different kind of a chair than what he needs, I think.”

(Sneyd) That doesn’t mean Dean doesn’t want some kind of job.

Dean won’t say whether he’s talked to Obama about a job for himself, but he says he’s dusting off his own resume.

(Dean) "I’m not going to answer the question specifically about that. I am going to be in touch with them about transitioning the DNC. But I’m not going to get into my discussions, if there are any, with the transition team.”

(Sneyd) Dean is a medical doctor who expanded access to health care, especially for children, while he was Vermont governor.

Dean says he ran the national party the same way Obama ran his campaign – by organizing the grassroots and campaigning in all 50 states, not just in areas where Democrats are traditionally strong.

(Dean) "It makes sense to try to make sure that the DNC continues on that path in all 50 states. He also expanded the playing field by nine states. We won nine states that George Bush did last time and that John McCain did not. That’s the direction that we want to continue going in.”

(Sneyd) Dean won’t offer any names for a candidate to succeed him as party chairman. He says he’ll leave that up to the new president.

For VPR News, I’m Ross Sneyd.


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