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Howard Dean Absent From Obama/DNC Affair

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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.

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