Top Clinton fundraiser: Unity depends on respect for Clinton
CNN’s John Roberts talked with Mark Grossman, a top fundraiser for Hillary Clinton. Grossman is planning to participate on an event to raise donations for both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Grossman says the fundraiser is proof that party unity is possible.
Transcript via Closed Captions
ROBERTS: Hillary clinton and barack obama in the final stretch of the primary campaign now after such a hard fought battle, will the two sides be able to join forces to win the white house for the democrats? steve gross panama city, a top clinton fund-raiser and former dnc chairman. Thanks for being with us on this memorial day.
GROSSMAN: Thanks for having me.
ROBERTS: June 12, a significant meeting in boston, where yourself, top fund-raisers from both of the campaigns, some surrogates are going to get together to sit down and have a big conversation. What’s your goal from that meeting?
GROSSMAN: We’re not only going to have a conversation, we’re goalkeeper to raise some money. We’ve got myself and the head of the obama campaign in new england, former dnc finance chair, cam kerry, john kerry’s brother who is being honored and is going to raise a lot of money. It’s interesting, the sponsors of that event are a pretty good mix of obama and clinton people. While people say i’m not sure these two sides have come together, we’ve already found a formula caution we know we’re not going to win in november unless we’re unified. I’m optimistic based on those signs. Even though people want this to win fairly and with respect, people need to know there are unity efrts going on.
ROBERTS: What you’re doing june 12th, do you see this as a template for the general election?
GROSSMAN: I do. Look, we need to not only win 270 electoral votes, we need a mandate, more seats in the house and more seats in the sna. That’s going to require unity. This has been the most exciting primary campaign of my adult lifetime. 40 millimeter people will have voted. We need to find a formula. For those people who are concerned about unity, we’ve got to keep reminding people what the supreme court would look like if john mccain is making those nominations as opposed take democrat.
ROBERTS: Do you have any question at this point that barack obama is going to be the democratic nominee.
GROSSMAN: I’m not prepared to say this is over. Hillary clinton has said she wants to stay in right through the 3rd of june. She wants to make sure when the democratic national rules committee comes together this saturday that things are done in a fair way. Look, she’s won six of the last eight primaries. She will win the popular vote even without michigan by the time puerto rico is counted. She’s ahead in polling data. Again, john mccain, places like ohio, pennsylvania, missouri. So this is not over. I understand the math is daunting. All of us understand this is a very, very huge uphill battle. But this is a race that should go right to the conclusion. Every vote should count.
ROBERTS: Here is what i’m wondering. Should barack obama become the nominee, what will affect be among hillary clinton supporters and what, then, do you believe it would be incumbent on barack obama to do.
GROSSMAN: It depends a lot on the respect with which hillary clinton and her supporters are treated. That’s why this meeting in washington on saturday is so important. Florida and michigan have to be resolved. Hillary has said I want every vote counted. At the end of the day if she comes up short, that kind of fairness and respect I think is critical to bringing those tens of millions of people who love hillary and believe she would have been a great president or would be a great president. I know it’s a challenge but we’ve got to unify this party. The only way you’re going to unify this party is for those people to be treated with the kind of dignity and respect and for her to be treated that way. I think senator obama understands that, which is why his rhetoric is highly respectful to her in terms of what she’s meant to this country and race.
ROBERTS: Let me play what he said about florida and michigan.
GROSSMAN: The clinton campaign has been stirring this up for fairly transparent reasons. They weren’t stirring it up when they didn’t need the delegates, right? so I think let’s not be sort of pretend we don’t know what’s going on. From their perspective, their last slender hope.
ROBERTS: You heard what he said. Is that the type of tone you think he should be striking here?
GROSSMAN: What he said last week, his sense she has meant an enormous amount to voters, her values, the way she’s conducted this campaign. I understand. This is politics, a tough business, we understand that. Two and a half million people voted in those states. I understand he wasn’t on the ballot. Those delegates need to be seated in some way that honors those votes. Even though she may fall short, even having won the popular vote, we’re going to come together. I think you’re going to see this process end in a way that gives democrats our best chance in a long, long time. You know, she talked earlier this week about how this campaign — these campaigns have gone to june. Do you know that franklin roosevelt 1932 did not win the nomination until the fourth ballot in the convention. We’ve gone a long time into heavily contested primary processes, yet we’ve come out on top. It’s the way we wend and respect and treat one another that’s absolutely critical to how this ends in november.
ROBERTS: Steve grossman in boston. Thanks very much. We’ll be watching that meeting closely on the 12th of june.
GROSSMAN: Thanks for having me.
ROBERTS: Good to talk to you.
This video is from CNN’s American Morning, broadcast May 26, 2008.