Iowa governor and Democratic presidential hopeful Tom Vilsack stepped down as chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council yesterday, clearing the way for former Tennessee congressman Harold Ford to take over. Radar first reported the move was in the works Wednesday.
Announcing his resignation, Vilsack was careful to position it as a natural consequence of his decision to run for president in 2008. "As a candidate for president, I am responsible for articulating my views about the future of our country and the importance of having the courage to create change in America," he said in a statement. "Harold Ford has earned his reputation as a persuasive advocate for the Democratic Party and will do a great job as chairman of the DLC."
But while Vilsack's statement cited "the precedent established by former DLC Chair Bill Clinton," who resigned in advance of his 1992 White House bid, a Washington source says there was an additional factor in his departure: the widening rift between Vilsack and DLC's permanent leadership over what to do about the crisis in Iraq.