NBC’s Tim Russert talked with Terry McAuliffe of the Clinton campaign about seating Florida and Michigan delegates at the Democratic Convention.
In his book, “What a Party!”, McAuliffe wrote, “I got a call on February 1, 2003, from Carl [Levin]… [who] told me they were going to hold the Michigan primary before New Hampshire’s which would have lead chaos… ‘If you do that, I will take away fifty percent of your delegates,’ I told them. They thought I was bluffing. But it was my responsibility as chairman to take action for the good of the party, and taking away half of their delegates was well within my authority.”
McAuiffe continued, writing, “‘Carl, take it to the bank,” I said. ‘They will not get a credential. The closest they’ll get to Boston will be watching it on television. I will not let you break this entire nominating process for one state. The rules are the rules.’”
RUSSERT: So now, Chairman Dean is saying, the rules are the rules. Michigan broke them, they’re not going to be seated. Maybe they’ll get half. Would you accept that?
MCAULIFFE: First of all, that’s now out in paperback, I want you to know. But second I would say, the rule is 50%. That’s the point I would like to make. I had the right, the party to take away 50%, the party took away 100% of the delegates. The rule is 50%. Had they only taken away 50% like the Republican party did, tim, you and I would not be having this conversation today.
RUSSERT: So you would accept that as a compromise? half the Michigan and half the –
MCAULIFFE: Certainly. But in farrenness, the rules and bylaws committee will meet to make that decision. They took away 100%. You can’t deny that over 1 million people showed up in Florida and Michigan. They voted. They were certified by the county and the state. These people voted. We have to win these two states in the general election. It’s important, Michigan and Florida.
RUSSERT: But you’d take half?
MCAULIFFE: Well, I’m going to let the rules and bylaws — it’s up to them to make that decision. But the rule is 50%. Had they done 50%, tim, you and I wouldn’t be having this conversation today. They took away 100%.
This video is from NBC’s Meet the Press, broadcast May 11, 2008.