Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Obama to unveil DNC chair, speak on economy Thursday - CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry

Two Democratic officials say President-elect Barack Obama will go to DNC headquarters on Capitol Hill Thursday to pass the leadership torch of the party to incoming chairman Tim Kaine, the current governor of Virginia.

Kaine, an early backer of Obama’s presidential campaign who was also on the vice presidential short list, recently agreed to take the helm of the DNC on a part-time basis until his term as governor expires in a year.

Kaine succeeds Howard Dean, who long planned to step down at the end of the election cycle, after a fairly successful run as chairman of the party. Dean’s “50-state Strategy” of trying to compete in Republican states that Democrats had previously given up on was initially laughed off by some in his party, but the plan was at least partially vindicated in November when Obama carried swing states like Virginia in the presidential race.

Before his visit to the DNC, Obama will deliver what aides are billing as a major economic speech at George Mason University in Virginia. But Democratic officials are cautioning the president-elect will still be somewhat circumspect about the details of the $775 billion economic recovery plan his staff is putting together.

 President-elect Obama is set to give a speech Thursday.

President-elect Obama is set to give a speech Thursday.

“He will look at the problem, how we got there and lay out how to fix it,” said one Democratic official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to publicly discuss the speech. “But I would not expect a lot of details.”

Democratic officials contend they are holding back on specifics out of deference to Congress, with one official saying the transition team does not want to “dictate to the Congress” on the plan. But holding back on details could also enable the transition team to delay efforts by critics to start shooting down controversial pieces of the program.

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