Where’s Howard Dean?

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It’s a curious oversight on the part of Obamaland, and maybe more than that. Jonathan Martin notes the absence of the outgoing DNC Chairman at yesterday’s news conference announcing Tim Kaine as Dean’s replacement:

The obligatory praise did little to placate Dean loyalists, and the mention of Emanuel, who Dean famously clashed with when Democrats took back Congress in 2006, felt like a gratuitous slap to some.

But Dean likely didn’t see the event. Instead of basking in accolades from the president-elect and his own successor in person, the chairman was in American Samoa, completing his effort to visit every state and territorial Democratic party.

It’s a trip, his backers say, he would have gladly rescheduled to have been present for the Kaine announcement. It’s hardly the victory lap his allies expected—and many of them see it as the final sign of disrespect from Obama forces.

“It’s the most puzzling thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” added a longtime Democrat and friend of Dean, echoing the exasperation and befuddlement many close to him feel about his treatment since the election. “I have tried my best through [Obama advisers] Valerie Jarrett, David Axelrod and David Plouffe to ask if he ever committed some crime. I don’t get it. He’s been a good soldier.”

A third Dean ally likened the outgoing chairman to two other high-profile Democrats who would seem to have given Obamaland more heartburn in the recent past.

“If we can forgive Joe Lieberman for actively campaigning against Obama, this seems crazy to me. And Hillary Clinton did ok and lots of her people are getting plum assignments,” noted the ally. “I really think he has rehabilitated himself. He showed he can be team player. It just seems so odd and I don’t know what the reasons are.”

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