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McAuliffe elected DNC chairman

DNC
Maynard Jackson, left, and Terry McAuliffe on Saturday  

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Maynard Jackson drops out of race

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson on Saturday dropped out of the race to become chairman of the Democratic National Committee, clearing the way for Democratic fund-raiser and Clinton friend Terry McAuliffe to assume the post.

McAuliffe, who had locked up the majority of the party's voting members, later was elected DNC chairman on a voice vote.

"We are unified, energized, ready to go put the Democratic agenda out there," he told CNN after the vote.

That agenda includes a high priority on winning back the Senate and House in 2002, he said.

McAuliffe said as chairman he intends not only to raise money, but to "raise issues, questions, expectations."

He promised to visit all 50 state parties to "fire the base up."

Earlier, after a series of meetings, Jackson agreed to a deal whereby he would withdraw from the race and accept instead two positions within the DNC: National Development chair and chair of the Voters Rights Institute.

The position is considered to be an important one because the DNC plans to spend time addressing the recent problems with the presidential election in Florida. The secondary post also will provide Jackson a platform to pursue his talent for organizing the party's grass-roots efforts.

"I look forward to working closely with the DNC under Terry's tenure," Jackson said in a joint statement with McAuliffe. "I look forward to continuing the focus I began in my campaign on rebuilding state parties, election reform and ensuring that no voter and no state is left behind."

McAuliffe said that Jackson, in his new role, will use his skills as an organizer and advocate to "help us move forward on the single most critical issue facing all voters -- ensuring that every vote is counted."

Party members said the agreement would promote unity.

"The bottom line is we realized what we wanted to do is elect Democrats in the years ahead," said Carroll G. Robinson, a member of the Houston, Texas, city council. The party will get "two for the price of one -- two national leaders of stature."

Jackson addresses 'colored people' remark

Also Saturday, Jackson said use of the phrase "colored people" by McAuliffe was a simple mistake. The alleged remark came to light Friday when DNC delegate Alvin Holmes complained that McAuliffe said -- in a reference to racial profiling -- that he didn't believe "colored people" should be arbitrarily stopped by police. Holmes called on McAuliffe to withdraw his candidacy.

When asked later whether he had used the phrase, McAuliffe said: "The phrase is people of color."

"It's not worthy of an apology," Jackson said Saturday. "Listen -- we've got to stop being too picky about this stuff. There is an understanding, by the way, that phrase has a history to it and is not comfortable, but there was no intent here, no animus whatsoever. I encourage everybody to forget it."

"This is a situation, in my opinion, where Terry is accustomed to saying African-American. His script writers wrote in 'people of color.' He's trying to go from memory and got confused and said "colored people," but so did I, later on in my comments," Jackson said.

Holmes told CNN that when McAuliffe addressed the Congressional Black Caucus on Friday afternoon, he told members that if he said colored people before, he apologizes, and explained that he meant to say people of color.

Holmes said some members of the caucus shouted "No you didn't!" at the Democratic fund-raiser.

The Alabama representative said he is asking McAuliffe to step aside unless he apologizes to all the delegates of the committee in Washington.



RELATED STORIES:
DNC delegate calls for McAuliffe's withdrawal over 'colored' remark
February 2, 2001
Clinton tells DNC to remain optimistic about 2000
September 24, 1999
Interview: DNC co-chair urges party toward new political thinking
June 1, 1999

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Democratic National Committee

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