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PAC faults Democratic leader

WASHINGTON -- Liberal powerhouse MoveOn has a message for the ''professional election losers" who run the Democratic Party: ''We bought it, we own it, we're going to take it back."

A scathing e-mail from the head of MoveOn's political action committee to the group's supporters yesterday targets outgoing Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe as a tool of corporate donors who alienated both traditional and progressive Democrats.

''For years, the party has been led by elite Washington insiders who are closer to corporate lobbyists than they are to the Democratic base," said the e-mail from MoveOn PAC's Eli Pariser. ''But we can't afford four more years of leadership by a consulting class of professional election losers."

Under McAuliffe's leadership, the message said, the party coddled the same corporate donors that fund Republicans to bring in money at the expense of vision and integrity.

''In the last year, grass-roots contributors like us gave more than $300 million to the Kerry campaign and the DNC, and proved that the party doesn't need corporate cash to be competitive," the message continued. ''Now it's our party: we bought it, we own it, and we're going to take it back."

Pariser urged MoveOn supporters to help support a DNC chair with a bold vision to represent Democrats outside Washington. Democrats will vote at their February meeting in Washington on a successor to McAuliffe.

DNC spokesman Jano Cabrera declined to engage in a tit-for-tat with MoveOn, but praised McAuliffe's efforts.

''Call me crazy, but I think the fact that for the first time in party history we outraised the Republicans, and did so primarily through grass-roots fund-raising is something to be proud of," Cabrera said.

Among those vying for the party chairmanship is former Vermont governor Howard Dean, an early darling of MoveOn's cybernetwork of activists when he ran for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Meanwhile, Hispanic lawmakers wrote to party leaders that the Democratic Party has neglected Hispanic voters for a decade and risks severe election losses unless it changes course.

''It is time for the leadership of the Democratic Party to face the facts. . . . Republicans have been committed, methodical and are clearly winning the battle for the Hispanic voters," said the letter by the leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

''If Democrats do not undertake a major paradigm shift in how they deal with [the] Latino vote, the future of the party is in serious jeopardy," the lawmakers said. ''If the recent trends hold, several current Democratic strongholds will soon become swing states."

The letter was going to members of the Democratic National Committee's executive committee, which was beginning meetings today in Orlando.

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