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February 18, 2011 at 11:22 PM

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DNC chairman Kaine courts Seattle donors

Posted by Jim Brunner

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine made a swing through Seattle Friday to chat up big Democratic donors.

In an interview, Kaine declined to identify the donors - or say whether they included Cynthia Stroum, the local Democratic bigwig who recently resigned under a cloud as ambassador to Luxembourg.

Kaine said he was "meeting with people who are going to be helpful" as President Obama gears up for his reelection bid in 2012. He said the meetings included a couple one on one talks and a 30-person event at a private home.

He said the discussions were no so much about money, but about "lessons learned from the midterms."

And what was that lesson for Democrats, according to Kaine?

It wasn't an enthusiasm gap among Democrats, he said, but a major shift among independents that flipped control of the U.S. House to Republicans.

That's why President Obama has made a jog to the middle on issues that should attract those independents, while still maintaining his partisan base.

"Independents are exactly like Democrats in a number of areas," Kaine said.

He cited issues like repeal of the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy: "independents were right with us on that." he said.

Meanwhile, Kaine predicted voters will be turned off by some recent Republican stands, like Friday's decision by the GOP majority in the U.S. House to zero out funding for Planned Parenthood.

Independents and Democrats both should "really wonder why a Republican House majority who said they're going to be concerned about jobs will try to fight social wars." Kaine said.

And what about the signature Republican pledge to repeal the health-care law?

Kaine predicted in early 2010 the law would actually help Democrats in the midterms.

It didn't work out so well for his party, but Kaine said support for the law is only growing as its more popular provisions kick in - like tax credits for small businesses to help them buy health insurance.

"Every month it gets better. I wish we were (in 2010) where we are today," he said.

It's not clear whether Kaine will remain as head of the DNC for the 2012 campaign.

The former Virginia governor is now being courted to run for the U.S. Senate. He was scheduled to take a red eye back to Virginia Friday, where he's expected to huddle with supporters before making his decision.

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Contributors

Jim Brunner
Covers politics.

Keith Ervin
Covers the Eastside.

Andrew Garber
Covers politics and state government from Olympia.

Emily Heffter
Covers local government.

Mike Lindblom
Covers transportation.

Kyung Song
Covers politics and regional issues from Washington, D.C.

Lynn Thompson
Covers Seattle City Hall.

Bob Young
Covers King County and urban affairs.