Tim Kaine: Dems Must Rally Base but Appeal to Moderates

Gov. Tim Kaine, ES, 01.07.10

President Obama travels to the University of Wisconsin in Madison today, where he will try to galvanize the young people who supported him in 2008 to return to the polls this November. In places like Wisconsin, the Democratic Party faces the double challenge of re-energizing their base as well as appealing to independents who are currently leaning right, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine said on the CBS "Early Show" today.

"The key for us in the midterms is having Democrats turn out to the polls," Kaine said this morning. "We have strong registration advantages in many states, including Wisconsin. And there is nobody who can better energize Democratic voters than President Obama."

CBS "Early Show" anchor Maggie Rodriguez pointed out that while Democrats may have a registration advantage, the chair of the Wisconsin Republican Party claims independent voters are breaking two-to-one in favor of Republicans.

"You have to address the issues that Republicans care about," Kaine said. "So, for example, the deficit is one. And the White House has got a nonpartisan deficit commission going, with Republicans proposing strategies like the tax cut strategy that would double the deficit."

Kaine maintained, however, that the "real issue" of significance at the college rallies the Obama administration is holding this week is making Democratic voters "aware of the importance of these elections." College students should also be aware, Kaine said, of the steps Democrats have taken to help them, such as passing student loan reform legislation, credit card reform legislation and extending health care options for young people.

The DNC chair acknowledged that Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, who is running in a tough race for re-election in Wisconsin, will not be at the rally with Mr. Obama today.

"Candidates make their own decisions about these things," he said.

Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.