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Rosenberg Seeks To Lead Democrats

Rosenberg Seeks To Lead DemocratsTuftsgraduate Simon Rosenberg, a political strategist with a centristvision of the Democratic Party, is eyeing the chairmanship ofthe Democratic National Committee.Medford/Somerville,Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [01.28.05] In the wake of their defeat in the presidential electionand loss of seats in Congress, Democrats are weighing whom toappoint as the new chair of the DemocraticNational Committee. Tufts graduate and political strategistSimon Rosenberg (A’85) is considered one of the top candidates.

"Theworld has changed," Rosenberg told Business Week."We need a new strategy to take on modern conservatives."

Rosenbergfounded the New Democrat Network(NDN) political action committee in 1996. The NDN has functionedas a fund-raising apparatus for the party, as well as a strategicconsultant and media campaign developer. This past election, forinstance, the NDN spent $6 million targeting Hispanic voters in10 states with the Democratic Party’s message.

That campaignshowcases Rosenberg’s belief that the party’s tacticsneed to evolve to fit with the times.

“Whatwe need is a modern strategy. That is what we need out of thechair,” he told NBC News.

A key componentof that strategy is taking advantage of the Internet – muchlike Howard Dean did in the early goings of his presidential run– to organize people, disseminate information and raisemoney.

"TheInternet has enabled us to have a more intimate, direct relationshipwith people than ever before," Rosenberg told the AssociatedPress. "I want those people to be partners, not justdonors. I don't want the DNC to be just a building - I want itto be a community of millions of people."

By revampingtheir communications and extending their reach, Rosenberg contends,the Democrats can expand their base.

“Werely too much on turnout, not enough on persuasion,” hetold New York magazine. “The GOP still acts likethey’re in the minority—they pour huge amounts ofresources into persuading people to come to their side. We haveto build a modern communications apparatus that emulates theirs.”

Indeed, Rosenbergbelieves many lessons can be learned by observing how Republicansmobilize their party members.

“Myjob is to take on Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman every day,”he said on CNN’s Inside Politics. “They knowhow to run a party.”

Rosenberghas an ambitious agenda he intends to pursue if named chairman.At a recent California rally, the Tufts graduate pledged to "endthe monopoly of Iowa and New Hampshire [in the political primaries],"the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Rosenberginstead wants all 50 states to be equal players in the party.“My vision of this is to build a national partnership betweenthe DNC and the state parties to build functioning, effective,state parties in all 50 states that are fighting and winning everyday -- not just the three months before the election,” hesaid in a January press conference.

Controversialissues such as abortion will also be a big factor as Democratspick their new leader in a time of increased concerns about familyvalues.

“Beingpro-choice is not only a majority position in the party, it'sa majority position in the country,” Rosenberg told TheNew York Times. “I don't think we have to run awayfrom choice as a party, but I do think we have to explain ourposition that we want to make abortion safe, legal and rare.”

Prior to foundingNDN, he worked for the presidential campaigns of Michael Dukakisand Bill Clinton, as well as at the Democratic National Committeeand the Democratic Leadership Council.

Rosenberg’sbackers include former Democratic National Committee Chair JoeAndrew, Howard Dean’s former presidential campaign managerJoe Trippi and Bill Clinton’s former press secretary MikeMcCurry.

Other individualsconsidered top candidates for the chairmanship include Dean, formerDenver mayor Wellington Webb, former Texas Rep. Martin Frost,former Indiana Rep. Tim Roemer, Democratic strategist Donnie Fowlerand former Ohio Democratic chair David Leland.

“[Rosenberg]is somebody I think that’s going to make a big difference,pull the party together and actually is very savvy about the Internetgrassroots and I think has proven himself,” Trippi saidon MSNBC’s Hardball, in announcing his supportfor Rosenberg instead of his former boss.

By buildingon the party solidarity forged by electoral defeat, Rosenberghopes to advance his cause and change the way Democrats do business.

“TheDemocrats are getting along right now in ways that I don't thinkany of us can remember,” he told Inside Politics.“We [are] united around the idea that we have to do a betterjob in making our case and steering the country in a differentdirection than George Bush is taking it right now.”




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