- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 13, 2014

Vice President Joseph R. Biden, check. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, check. But noticeably absent from the guest list of the annual meeting of the Democracy Alliance, a progressive-minded group that funds similarly liberal causes, was former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The meeting isn’t explicitly designed to drum up support for the next presidential contender for the Democratic Party — but past gatherings have indeed included debates and discussions about the emerging field of presidential hopefuls, Politico reported.

The fact that Mrs. Clinton wasn’t invited to the gathering is raising eyebrows among some of her supporters — who also recall the Democracy Alliance’s perceived jump to then-candidate Barack Obama’s bandwagon in 2008, and abandonment of the former first lady, with a similarly sour taste, Politico reported.

On top of that, the Democracy Alliance’s former executive director, Kelly Craighead — a loyalist of the Clinton family — is no longer with the group. She was replaced by Gara LaMarche, who’s not as cozy with the Clintons, after group members raised concerns that the Democracy Alliance was trending too Democratic and not enough progressive, Politico reported.

Mr. LaMarche, however, said his group wasn’t “playing favorites” and that reading too much into Mrs. Clinton’s absence would be folly and little more than drummed-up media speculations. Politico said.

“None of this has to do with presidential politics, and none of the people you asked about [Warren, Biden] are declared presidential candidates,” he told a Politico reporter. “Once we have an actual contest, if we do have one, the DA will have to thread carefully through it, since we are scrupulously neutral, and people like you are always looking for signs.”

He also said “we invited Sen. Warren because, as Secretary Clinton herself has said, she is a leading progressive voice on the economy and she is kicking off an economics discussion,” Politico reported.

At the same time, some in attendance called it “very surprising” that Mrs. Clinton wasn’t invited.

Ms. Warren — a rock star among progressives, who see her as the solution to Mrs. Clinton’s perceived too-conservative approach to Wall Street and on U.S. military missions — was due to speak on Thursday on “An Economy That Works For All — A Progressive Plan and the Path to Making It Happen.”

Neither Mrs. Clinton nor Ms. Warren have announced candidacies for the White House in 2016. But a super PAC called Ready for Warren has been formed to convince her to run.

And as one Democracy Alliance meeting attendee, Guy Saperstein, a San Francisco lawyer, said in an email to Politico: “I think there would be a stampede away from Hillary if Elizabeth Warren became a serious candidate with a serious campaign infrastructure and polling match-ups of Hillary v. Republicans continued to show her weakness.”

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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