(CNSNews.com) - The Democratic Leadership Council, which describes itself as a centrist group, is holding a "national conversation" on what the party should stand for.
The meeting in Columbus, Ohio, began on Saturday and winds up Monday with a speech from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the not-yet-running-for-president candidate.
"At a time when Washington remains gripped in partisan warfare based on the Bush administration's narrow and ideologically driven agenda, it's a good time for Democrats to look beyond the Beltway and talk honestly with each other about what we should stand for," the DLC said in a press release.
"That will be the primary purpose of the DLC 2005 National Conversation," it added.
Wire reports described Sen. Clinton's speech on Monday as a high-profile event before the same group that helped propel her husband into the White House in 1992.
Organizers said more than 300 state and local elected officials from more than 40 states are attending the meeting, at which Democrats will try to "sketch out a nationally relevant policy agenda which addresses four big challenges facing our country today."
The DLC said those challenges include:
-- Creating an opportunity society to restore economic growth, upward mobility and economic security;
-- Standing up for American values and for the parents who play so important a role in protecting them;
-- Reforming our broken political system, especially in Washington.
Other speakers on Monday include Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, who is taking over chairmanship of the DLC; outgoing DLC Chairman Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.); Sen. Tom Carper, the DLC's new vice chairman; and Gov. Mark Warner (D-Va.).
The DLC said it would have a full report on its 2005 meeting next Tuesday.
"It is our hope that the discussions begun in Columbus will be an important part of the Democratic Party revival of the immediate future," the group said in a press release.
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