Thursday, May 22, 2008

Clinton Conference Call on Michigan and Florida - Some reporters attempt to trounce on Clinton campaign

Harold Ickes: Challenges have filed by MI and FL seeking to seat the delegates. Clinton campaign has interceded on their behalf. All delegates should be seated. All 55 "uncommitted" delegates from Michigan should be seated as such. Views of MI and FL should be respected and reflected. No change between the delegate strengths should be manifest. They should be seated in time to have weight in selecting the nomiee.

Wolfson on Quinnipiac polling: Sen. Clinton beats McCain in FL, Ohio and PN, while Obama loses in FL and Ohio. Clinton has Higher favorables than Obama in FL. It's the map, stupid.

David Corn asks Ickes about his role, saying bloggers are calling him a "flip flopper." Ickes explanation isn't going to satisfy many. No one should have agreed to this, but they did, so he's basically changing his mind. There's no other way to see it.

Slate magazine reporter: What about the popular vote total?

Wolfson: It's a fact Obama's team urged an "uncommitted" vote in MI. Why MI ought to be seated because 600,000 people voted, they matter and the should be counted. There was involvement by Obama in pushing "uncommitted," that's a fact.

USA Today: What about veep selection by Obama

Wolfson: "I'm not sure I have a reaction to it. ... It is clearly premature in that he's not the nominee." He could have begun his process even last year as far as we know.

Reporter: Where was Clinton's dedication to voter's rights last fall?

Wolfson: Because of DNC rules, we didn't expect the turn out to be so huge. "Enormous interest on the part of voters" was very impressive. They were told their votes wouldn't count, but they came out in droves. We thought they wouldn't be events at all. The turn out inspired us to honor the votes. You can argue about the motivation of everyone on this issue. At the end of the day it's not about anyone but the voters. It's a bedrock of our democracy that when people cast votes they should be counted. Let's focus on the people that cast their votes. They didn't make the decision. They came out and voted in good faith, in overwhelming numbers. This is a bedrock principle of our democracy.

Reporter: You're saying turn out changed your position. If only 250,000 people came out would their votes not counted?

Wolfson: If 5,000 came out there would have been less of a case, but I don't know the magic number. However, the turn out was huge. Both sides have now taken a side that the status quo is untenable. Both now believe you cannot ignore the votes. Now we're argue whether they should be half ignored or fully ignored. "The Rubicon has been crossed by the Obama campaign." Now do we honor them half or full.

Miami Herald Reporter: Florida appeal is only asking for half; MI is asking for a formula, so are you putting in your own formula?

Ickes: We've intervened to be able to speak at the committee. Each challenge has it's own oddities. We do not agree with the delegate allocation MI is suggesting. Nor do we agree with FL in the alternative of half votes each. The other alternative is to seat them with full votes each. We'll be making our case on May 31st, though we may file something before that.

Reporter: Who will make the case?

Ickes: Still being discussed.

Alternet: How far will you go if you don't get what you want? You've said Obama has crossed the Rubicon, so when do you guys compromise?

Ickes: It is our expectation that the Rules committee will seat the full vote. On process, the call provides that any challenge not resolved will be transferred to the Credentials committee at the convention.

LA Times: If Clinton gets what she wants out of MI and FL, picking up 111 delegates (best case), she's still behind by 180 delegates. What's the path to the nomination since she'd still be behind.

Wolfson: Good question. That's why I spoke to the polls. Our case has to be made on who is the best candidate against John McCain, and the best president. We will continue to say. Look at the data. We're ahead in the key swing states, we've won key swing states. Look at the map. How do you get to 270 electoral votes? Clinton has a clearer and easier map to get to that number than Obama. It doesn't mean he can't be president, but our map is more compelling. We do better and have done better in key swing states. We run much stronger with rural voters against Sen. McCain, which has been born out in this process. Look at Ohio. We did well where Bush ran up numbers against John Kerry. Rural voters are the reason we're doing so much better than Obama. Look at congressional districts. In 20 '06 congressional districts, Clinton has won 16. That's the case we're going to have to make. We have to argue that Clinton is ahead in the popular vote, ahead in key swing states, runs better in rural areas, with all this adding up that she's the stronger candidate. ... ..

Ickes: Clinton can still make her case to "automatic" delegates. 2026 is seen as the number by the press. That's not true. Obama says there should be some resolution with MI & FL. Right now there is not number, because they haven't been settled. 2210 is the high market, but nothing has been set.

Slate: Bedrock democracy principles are being addressed. Why then is it a bad idea to suggest that Obama's nomination isn't counterfeit if you don't get what you want? Vice presidential talks formal or informal?

Wolfson: No talks on veep issue; "no discussions about Sen. Clinton being the v.p." ... "I would not use the word you used. This is not about tainting the nomination of Obama." That's not what we're thinking at all. We continue to be optimistic and hopeful. I would not characterize it the way you did. --Funny exchange between Howard and Dickerson of Slate on who was who. Howard said he wasn't Ickes then said he sometimes thinks Dickerson is David Corn. After Dickerson got his answer he said, "thanks Ralph." ... ..

WashPost: What kind of precedent do you want this to set?

Ickes: Votes should be counted. We sent a message with "malice of forethought," and it was received. There is more than one thing to think about. MI and FL wanted campaigns to come in. It didn't happen. These states wanted to share in the glory. They didn't. Now it's about settling this. The message was received. ...

Reporter: You used to say "uncommitted" delegates were one thing, now they're another.

Wolfson: "Uncommitted" MI delegates would likely go to Obama.

Ickes: General view is they may well be for Obama, but there should be no assumption by the Rules committee that should force the delegates to Obama. They may want to remain "uncommitted." No assumptions.

Wolfson: "Uncommitted" would likely get a lot of attention from both campaigns... Final answer was in response to BigTentDem asking if it's not important to the Dem Party as well to seat FL & MI, which Wolfson said it's always been the case, because Dems can't win in November without those states or by sending a message that all votes don't count.

Ickes: No candidate for president can ignore the states of FL and MI. --end of call--
[sic] per Taylor Marsh reporting on conference phone call
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