WASHINGTON--Obama communications chief Robert Gibbs on Sunday rounds.....he says there are no more stories about Trinity and Obama around.....
OBAMA COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR ROBERT GIBBS
AND CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN TERRY MCAULIFFE
ON ABC NEWS “THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS,” SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2008
Robert Gibbs on Sen. Obama’s decision to leave Trinity church now: “George, this was a deeply personal decision that took some time to come to. …he made a decision that he thought was best for his family, best for his church. He understands that he's still a strong Christian.”
McAuliffe when asked if the Clinton campaign will fight the decision by the Rules and Bylaws Committee and take it to the Credentials Committee: “Well, we -- clearly we're going to keep our options open.”
Gibbs when asked if they have the votes in the credentials committee to beat a challenge by the Clinton Campaign: “I think that's a decision that the Clinton campaign will make on their own. … And I think sometime this week, we'll probably have a nominee for the Democratic Party, and we can get about talking about the need to bring change to this country.”
Gibbs when asked if Obama will have the votes he needs to claim the nomination Tuesday night: “I don't know the answer to that yet. As soon as we know, we'll certainly let others know it. If not Tuesday, I think it will be fairly soon.”
McAuliffe when asked if Sen. Clinton will get out of the race if Sen. Obama hits the 2118 delegates this week: “We'll see where we are when we finish up Tuesday. Then superdelegates will begin to move. But we're going to make our argument right up until someone has that number, and I believe today, as much as I've ever believed, Hillary Clinton will be the nominee of this party.”
In two Sunday exclusives, Obama Communications Director Robert Gibbs and Clinton Campaign Chairman Terry McAuliffe joined George Stephanopoulos to discuss the outcome of the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting yesterday and their expectations for the Democratic race as it winds down this week.
A rush transcript of the interview, which aired this morning, Sunday, June 1, 2008, on ABC News “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” is below. All excerpts must be attributed to ABC News “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”
The program also featured an interview with DNC Chairman Howard Dean and DNC Co-Chairman, Rules and Bylaws Committee, James Roosevelt. On our roundtable, Vanity Fair’s Todd Purdum, The New York Times, David Brooks, ABC News’ Donna Brazile and George Will joined Mr. Stephanopoulos to debate the week’s politics.
Visit the “This Week” website to read more about the show at: www.abcnews.com/thisweek
Katherine O’Hearn is the executive producer of “This Week” and George Stephanopoulos is the anchor. The program airs Sundays on the ABC Television Network (check local listings).
ABC'S "THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS"
JUNE 1, 2008
SPEAKERS: GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST
ROBERT GIBBS, OBAMA CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
TERRY MCAULIFFE, CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN
HOWARD DEAN, DNC CHAIRMAN
JAMES ROOSEVELT, DNC
STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning and welcome to this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Let us unify! Let us move on!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: The Democrats penalize Michigan and Florida.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Hijacking four (ph) delegates is not a good way to
start down the path of party unity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Obama quits his controversial church.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, D-ILL.: This is not a decision I come to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: And the final primaries. Today in Puerto Rico,
Montana and South Dakota on Tuesday.
Does Barack Obama make history this week? Will Hillary Clinton
accept the verdict or fight on? What will it take to unite the
Democrats? Questions this morning for our headliners -- Terry
McAuliffe from the Clinton campaign, Robert Gibbs for Obama, Howard
Dean and James Roosevelt from the DNC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: (inaudible) right.
UNKNOWN: We are puzzled and surprised.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: The Scott McClellan firestorm. That and the
rest of the week's politics on our roundtable, with George Will, Donna
Brazile, David Brooks of the New York Times, and Todd Purdum from
And, as always, the Sunday Funnies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: The Clintons. Simple people, who want only one thing:
To leave peacefully in a country they themselves run.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Hello again. In a frenetic final weekend,
Democrats are closing down the most contentious primary fight in a
generation. Voting now in Puerto Rico, where Hillary Clinton expects
a win. But her hopes took a big hit here in Washington yesterday,
when the DNC refused to seat the Florida and Michigan delegations at
full strength. That decision drew fire from the Clinton campaign and
its supporters, who marched on the meeting.
All this as Barack Obama moved to containment damage caused by
the fiery preachers at Trinity United Church. In South Dakota last
night, Obama announced that he had resigned his membership at Trinity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Every time something is said in the church by anyone
associated with Trinity, including guest pastors, the remarks will be
imputed to me, even if they totally conflict with my long-held views,
statements and principles.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: We'll get a handle on all these moving parts
this morning and hear from all sides, beginning with Barack Obama's
close aide and communications director, Robert Gibbs. He's in South
Dakota with the candidate. Good morning, Robert.
GIBBS: Good morning, George. How are you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm well, thank you.
In Philadelphia, just in April, Senator Obama said of Reverend
Wright, "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black
community." Now, he's cut all ties to Reverend Wright and left his
church. Was it a mistake to wait this long?
GIBBS: No, George, I think obviously what Barack Obama made in
the past few days is a deeply personal, not a political decision. And
as you heard the reasoning, he made that decision for two reasons.
One, that even guest speakers that were at Trinity, their views were
ascribed to him, even though he didn't hold those views. And
secondly, the members of Trinity couldn't do what members of a church
do, and that is sit in quiet reflection and worship God. They were
subject to a media circus that continues even today.
So I think he made a deeply personal decision that he thought was
best for his family, best for the church. He'll look for a new church
home, George, but his Christian faith remains strong.
STEPHANOPOULOS: As you know, there is a lot of talk swimming
around Democratic campaign circles that Senator Obama had to get out
because there's going to be more stories coming to light that perhaps
he was in the church during some other controversial sermons, and in
fact some in the Clinton campaign have been waiting around for just
that kind of a story to break. Did that factor into this at all?
GIBBS: No, again, George, this was a deeply personal decision
that took some time to come to. He talked with his family. He talked
with his wife, Michelle. He talked with people at the church. And
again, he made a decision that he thought was best for his family,
best for his church. He understands that he's still a strong
Christian. That his faith endures, and he'll look for a new church
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's turn to the decision yesterday by the
Rules and Bylaws Committee of the DNC. Both Florida and Michigan seem
to be coming out of this, the delegations, believing that their
delegations are eventually going to be seated at full strength at the
convention. In fact, the Michigan leaders said they are confident the
full delegation with full voting rights will be seated. Has Senator
Obama assured them that they will be seated, with full voting rights?
And if so, doesn't that really undercut the authority of the Rules and
GIBBS: Well, look, George, I think any nominee may make some
decisions at some point regarding those delegations, but what I think
you saw yesterday was what our campaign had wanted for a long time,
and that is for the delegations from Florida and Michigan not only to
participate in the nominating convention in Denver, but also to have a
strong voice in who that nominee's going to be.
I also think you saw the party take a giant step forward in
becoming unified for the fall campaign. Now, when the nominee goes to
Michigan or Florida, he can -- he or she can talk about the issues
that are important to those voters, whether it's $4 gas or whether
we're bogged down in a war in Iraq. And I think talk to voters about
issues that are truly of concern to them, and we can start talking
about winning Florida and Michigan for the November campaign.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It does sound like Senator Obama is going to
seat the delegations at full strength eventually. But also, you said
the party was moving towards being unified. The Clinton campaign said
yesterday that Senator Clinton's going to reserve the right to
challenge this decision at the Credentials Committee. Are you
confident, do you have the votes in the Credentials Committee to
GIBBS: Well, look, George, again, I think that's a decision that
the Clinton campaign will make on their own. But I do think that this
week -- and Senator Obama is focused on the remaining three contests.
The voters going to the polls as we talk in Puerto Rico. I sit in
South Dakota, where Senator Obama is today, and voters will go to the
polls in both South Dakota and Montana, these remaining three
contests, and pick the nominee of this party.
And I think sometime this week, we'll probably have a nominee for
the Democratic Party, and we can get about talking about the need to
bring change to this country. Millions of new voters have come out in
support of Senator Clinton and Senator Obama. Democrats,
independents, and Republicans, because they want to see a change in
the direction of this country. And I think they're going to get that
change in November because we can't afford four more years of George
Bush's policies with John McCain.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You talk about those millions of new voters.
One claim the Clinton campaign is going to be making, especially after
that decision yesterday, is now that Michigan and Florida are seated,
they're going to be able to say, according to their calculations, they
won more popular votes. In fact, here's a new ad that will be playing
in South Dakota tomorrow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: 17 million Americans have voted for Hillary Clinton,
more than for any primary candidate in history. Some say there isn't
a single reason for Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee.
They're right. There are over 17 million of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: The other argument they make is that the last
Democratic nominee to get the nomination without the most popular
votes was George McGovern in 1972. You saw what happened to him.
GIBBS: Well, look, George, I think the leader in popular vote
today and the leader in popular votes on Tuesday is going to be Barack
Obama. But most importantly, and even as the Clinton campaign has
said on numerous occasions, that the nomination is decided by the
number of delegates that you have. And I think that the winner of the
majority of those delegates will soon be Senator Obama.
But look, George, I think there's far more that brings these two
candidates and brings the Democratic Party together than anything that
might divide it, because everybody understands the importance of this
election in November, changing the direction of this country, and
making sure that we don't have another four years of George Bush
through the administration of somebody like John McCain, who won't
take us in a different direction, won't improve our economy, won't
help get our troops out of Iraq.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Will Senator Obama have the votes he needs to
get the nomination, secure the nomination when he takes the stage in
Minnesota Tuesday night?
GIBBS: Well, George, I don't know the answer to that yet. As
soon as we know, we'll certainly let others know it. If not Tuesday,
I think it will be fairly soon. Again, we're working very hard every
day in the remaining three contests to put the delegates together that
we need to win this nomination and get about talking about the change
we need this fall.
STEPHANOPOULOS: This week?
GIBBS: We hope this week, absolutely.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Robert Gibbs, thanks very much.
For the perspective from the Clinton camp, we are now going to
turn to the chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign, Terry McAuliffe.
He's with Senator Clinton down in Puerto Rico this morning. You heard
Robert Gibbs there, Terry, good morning. He says that the popular
vote doesn't really make any difference, this is a delegate fight.
MCAULIFFE: Well, clearly it ultimately comes down to the
delegates. But I think it's very important to note that Hillary
Clinton will have received more votes than anyone ever running for
president on either side in a primary battle. Over 17 million people
have voted, George. Out of 4,200 delegates chosen by the end of this
process, I think it will be within 100 delegates. Then the issue for
the superdelegates and the argument that we will be making after
Tuesday, who is it best to take on John McCain? Every poll today
shows Hillary Clinton easily beating John McCain in the fall. She's
up 9 points in Kentucky. She wins West Virginia. She wins Arkansas.
We win those states, George, we will have a landslide victory
this fall. Today, Senator Obama doesn't win those states. Hillary
does. And this process is about electing a Democrat president
STEPHANOPOULOS: Although there are several other polls showing
Senator McCain -- I mean, Senator Obama -- doing as well against
Senator McCain in a national election as Senator Clinton is.
But even more important, you've been making that argument, now,
for several weeks, on the popular votes, on the issue of electability.
And it just isn't working.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And right now, there's only a universe of about
219 superdelegates left. To get the nomination, you have to win 200
of those, 90 percent.
Terry, you know that's just not going to happen.
MCAULIFFE: Well, George, I would disagree with the premise. I
think our argument is working.
You know, after North Carolina and Indiana, many people went on
television, many commentators, and said that the race was over. Since
that day, we, of course, have won big. We won West Virginia by 41
points. We won Kentucky by 35 points.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But he's picked up more superdelegates than you.
MCAULIFFE: As you know, we're in Puerto Rico. We are going to
win big here today.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But, even as you've been doing that, though,
Senator Obama continues to pick up more superdelegates, every day,
MCAULIFFE: Yes, but...
STEPHANOPOULOS: And this is, in the end, about delegates.
MCAULIFFE: But he hasn't gotten enough to win the nomination.
He has not gotten enough to win the nomination. You would have
assumed it would have been over. And every time they declare this
race over, we keep winning.
We're going to have a big win here today. We're going to have a
great turnout. And then we've got South Dakota and Montana. We're
hoping for some exciting news on Tuesday. And then, as I say, we need
to get ready for the general election. Who is it best to take on John
We have to win this fall. Hillary Clinton easily beats John
McCain. And for a lot of superdelegates and a lot of folks who are on
the ballot, those are important considerations.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So are you saying that Senator Clinton will not
get out of this race, will not suspend her campaign until Senator
Obama has clearly hit the number of delegates he needs to get the
nomination, 2,118, at this point?
MCAULIFFE: Absolutely. We're not going anywhere until someone
has the magic number to be the nominee of the party. I mean, I was
with Hillary here in Puerto Rico. She spent seven hours yesterday on
the back of a pickup truck, traveling around Puerto Rico, yesterday.
She's in great spirits.
We're now leaving tonight to go on to South Dakota. This race
goes on until someone meets the magic number to be the nominee of the
Democratic Party. Let's let everybody vote. Then the superdelegates
have to make their mind up who they want to pick, who they want to be
the standard-bearer in the fall.
We have two great candidates. But to say that Hillary Clinton
has gotten more votes than anyone ever running for president in a
primary is a very important statement. And she wins women. She wins
blue collar. She wins the Latino vote.
You look at the votes that Hillary Clinton -- the coalition that
she has put together. She has brought more people into the Democratic
Party than any primary opponent ever.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And to turn that around, if Senator Obama does
hit that magic number, this week, of 2,118, will Senator Clinton get
out of the race?
MCAULIFFE: Well, I reject the premise. I'm the chairman of her
campaign. As I say, I've been down here with Hillary. We think we're
going to be the nominee. We think we're going to get that number.
We'll see where we are when we finish up Tuesday. Then
superdelegates will begin to move. But we're going to make our
argument right up until someone has that number, and I believe today,
as much as I've ever believed, Hillary Clinton will be the nominee of
this party. That's the same for Hillary Clinton. She feels the same
STEPHANOPOULOS: But after the numbers hit, the campaign is over?
MCAULIFFE: But I think we'll have it. I think we'll be the
nominee. So you should be asking Robert Gibbs, will he get out when
Hillary Clinton hits the snub.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I already missed that opportunity. I'm
not sure I needed to ask him that question.
But let me ask you about what Harold Ickes said yesterday. He
said that Senator Clinton reserves her right to take this challenge to
the DNC decision yesterday all the way to the credentials committee.
On what grounds will she actually make that challenge?
MCAULIFFE: Well, one thing we are happy, that they did recognize
the voters in Florida and Michigan. This is something we've been
saying a long time.
Seared in our memory, of course, is what happened in 2000 in
Florida. We've got to make sure that every vote is counted. And that
was Hillary's guiding principle.
We were happy with the results in Florida. All the delegates
will be seated. We're happy that they're seating the delegates in
Michigan. But literally, as you know, the DNC rules -- they did not
apply the rules yesterday.
What they did is they took all the uncommitted and they actually
ran on the ballot as uncommitted, and they have to go to the
convention as uncommitted -- they gave all of those to Senator Obama,
and then they took four votes that Hillary Clinton had won, four
delegates, and they also gave those to Senator Obama.
I have never, in the history -- and I've been involved with this
party for 30 years, and I was the last chairman of this great party --
I have never seen a party take away votes from someone who earned
And that has been our complaint coming out of yesterday. It is
not fair to take votes that Hillary got -- people voted for Hillary
Clinton -- and, all of a sudden, the Rules and Bylaws says, well, you
know what, we're going to take those away and we're going to give them
to Senator Obama.
It wasn't fair. It is not grounded in principle, and this is not
the Democratic Party that I know. If you earned the votes, you should
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you're going to fight it no matter what?
This is going to the credentials committee?
MCAULIFFE: I wouldn't say...
STEPHANOPOULOS: What will the decision turn on?
MCAULIFFE: Well, we -- clearly we're going to keep our options
MCAULIFFE: As I say, I was down here with Hillary. I had dinner
with her late last night. Our discussions have been about Puerto
Rico, South Dakota and Montana. When we finish up Tuesday night and
everybody has voted, then I think we will look at the options going
forward. But today, we're still fighting hard to be the nominee. We
want a big win here today in Puerto Rico. It will help us
dramatically with the popular vote. We will pick up delegates. And I
think we will do very well on Tuesday in South Dakota and Montana.
And once that's done, George, then, you know, we go forward here with
STEPHANOPOULOS: But just to be clear, you are going to reassess
Tuesday night after the votes come in in Montana and South Dakota?
MCAULIFFE: Sure, we've got to see -- and our argument is going
to be very -- we're going to work the superdelegates, obviously, very
hard, which we've been doing all -- both sides have been doing that.
We're going to do it very hard beginning Wednesday, trying to make the
argument. Clearly, two great candidates. Hillary has gotten more
popular vote. It is very close in the delegates, less 100 out of
But we as Democrats have got to realize we have to win the White
House. Hillary Clinton easily wins Florida, easily wins Ohio, easily
wins Arkansas. Polls have us leading in Nevada, in Missouri, West
Virginia, Kentucky. In fact, the poll out two days in North Carolina,
a state that we lost in the primary, today Hillary Clinton wins North
It will be a huge sweep for the Democrats with Hillary Clinton at
the top of the ticket.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Terry McAuliffe, you are a tireless advocate.
Thanks very much for joining us from Puerto Rico this morning.
We're now going to hear from the Democratic National Committee.
I'm joined here by the chairman of the Democratic National Committee,
Howard Dean. Also, the chairman of yesterday's Rules and Bylaws
Committee meeting, James Roosevelt. Welcome to both of you. And
Governor Dean, let me begin with you and get you to respond to what
Terry McAuliffe said just there. He said this is just patently
DEAN: Well, let me thank Jim and former Secretary Alexis Herman,
who was the other co-chair of the Rules Committee. They did an
incredible job, and so did the Rules Committee.
The fact is that we actually did what Michigan and Florida asked
us to do. The plan that we adopted, the Rules Committee adopted
yesterday was the Michigan plan. And there were some penalties, of
course. And the Florida people actually agreed to the penalty. So we
basically did what Florida and Michigan asked.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Jim, it may be what Florida and Michigan asked
for, but Terry does make a good point there. You had people go to the
polls and vote for uncommitted. They didn't vote for Barack Obama.
Under what rule do you say these votes should go to Barack Obama?
ROOSEVELT: George, you've got to remember that first of all,
this was not a legal event that took place there. And secondly...
STEPHANOPOULOS: What do you mean by that?
ROOSEVELT: The rules that set the dates for the primary have the
force of law, according to the U.S. Supreme Court. So this was not a
legal event that occurred there.
Secondly, half the candidates, including Senator Obama, were not
on the ballot. What we had to do as the Rules Committee was come up
with something that was the best reflection that we could find of how
the voters really intended to vote, and that's what we did.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But how did you do that? I know one of the
things you factored in was exit polls. As someone who's consumed
these exit polls going back to the 2000 campaign, through the 2004
campaign, especially this year in the primaries, they are wildly off
base half the time.
ROOSEVELT: That was one factor. The Michigan supporters of both
Senator Clinton and Senator Obama came to us together with the
Democratic Party leadership and the governor from Michigan, and
convinced us that this was a fair reflection of how people intended to
STEPHANOPOULOS: And to those who say it's not a fair reflection,
what it really is a repeat of what Democrats criticized about 2000 --
the Supreme Court coming in, making an arbitrary decision about an
election that really can't stand up.
DEAN: The big difference in this case -- in this case, there was
only one of two candidates on the ballot, so it wasn't really an
election. And the other is that the governor of Michigan, who was a
Clinton supporter, and representatives of Senator Obama and Senator
Clinton in Michigan asked us to do this. They thought this was the
fairest way to seat the Michigan delegation.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yet they go on and say now that they want their
full delegation seated at full strength.
DEAN: Let me just say something about this. I know it's your
job to look at the conflict and the differences, but this is an
extraordinary day for the Democratic Party. We have basically come
together. The final votes on these issues were not along partisan
lines -- that is, not all the Clinton people didn't vote one way and
all the Obama people didn't vote another way.
The way that Florida -- it was unanimous. It was 27-nothing.
The Michigan vote was 19-8. So this was -- I think this is the
beginning of the coming together of this party.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Even though Harold Ickes of the Clinton campaign
-- and you just heard Terry McAuliffe repeat it -- is saying that the
Clinton campaign reserves the right to challenge this...
DEAN: Sure they do. And that is their prerogative to do that.
We don't quibble with that. But I just again want to thank the
committee, thank all the people that showed up yesterday and thank in
particular Alexis Herman and Jim Roosevelt. They did an incredible
This is really -- this is actually the second step. The first
step was about three weeks ago. We had a finance agreement, where the
Clinton people and the Obama people negotiated directly, after we
began as intermediaries, to come to an agreement to raise money for
the eventual nominee through the DNC.
Now we have an even bigger agreement. We settled Florida and
Michigan, by and large with the agreement of local Clinton and Obama
people in both states, and with a significant vote from members of
both sides, the Clinton and the Obama people.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But, Jim, it's your job to look at the rules,
and if Senator Obama comes in, as his campaign has signaled, as the
Michigan and Florida delegations certainly seem to think is going to
happen, and reinstate their full voting rights, doesn't that undercut
your authority, No. 1, and make it more likely that next time around a
state's going to jump the line again?
ROOSEVELT: It was our duty as the Rules Committee to honor the
rules so that we don't have chaos next time. We did that last night.
What any candidate does at the end of the whole process to unify the
party is his or her decision.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you have no problem with that.
ROOSEVELT: I think it is up to the candidate what they think is
the most unifying thing.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Dean, you said you made a step toward
unifying the party yesterday. There still seems to be a lot of work
that needs to be done. And we heard again from the Clinton campaign
this morning, but they're not necessarily saying this is all going to
end this week. It's been reported that you and Speaker Pelosi and
Senator Reid, the Democratic leader in the Senate, have agreed that
you're going to do everything in your power to end this nomination
fight this week. Is that true? How do you do it?
DEAN: It's not exactly that way, the way you just said it, but
for two or three months I have been saying, as Senator Reid and
Speaker Pelosi have been saying, that this needs to end in the month
of June. We don't want to go to the convention, have a big fight at
the convention, and lose the presidency. This country needs real
change, and either of these candidates will bring real change.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How do you make that happen?
DEAN: If superdelegates will say who they're for.
When we first started this call, I think I started this about two
months ago, we've had over 200 unpledged delegates say who they're
for. So we have less than 200 left, I think. And if those folks will
say who they're for sometime over the next couple of weeks, then we'll
know who the nominee is.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me bring up another point on unifying the
party. Geraldine Ferraro wrote an op-ed in the Boston Globe this
week, where she talked about the persistent -- what she's saying is
sexism in the party and the difficulty that Barack Obama is going to
have winning over Reagan Democrats.
Let me show -- here's a portion of what she wrote. She said that
Reagan Democrats "see Obama's playing the race card throughout the
campaign and no one calling him for it as frightening. They're not
upset with Obama because he's black. They're upset because they don't
expect to be treated fairly because they're white. It's not racism
that's driving them, it's racial resentment, and that is in force
because they don't believe he understands them and their problems."
She's talking about a deep breach. What does Senator Obama need
DEAN: Well, first of all, I'm not going to respond to senator --
I mean to Geraldine Ferraro's views on race, because I think they have
been outside the mainstream and unhelpful. But I will respond...
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you are responding to them.
DEAN: No, but I will respond to something she said about sexism.
There has been an enormous amount of sexism in this campaign on the
part of the media, including the mainstream media. We'll leave
present company excepted, because I think that's true. But there have
been major networks that have featured numerous outrageous comments
that if the words were reversed and they were about race, the people
would have been fired.
So that's a big issue. And there are a lot of women in this
country who -- there's two issues here. One is one candidate is ahead
and one is not. That happens all the time in primaries, and you get
over that. What you don't get over is deep wounds that have been
inflicted on somebody because they happen to be a woman running for
president of the United States.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Does Barack Obama get over it by choosing
Senator Clinton as a running mate?
DEAN: We don't know. But I do believe that the issue of sexism
in this country has to be addressed.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Did I see you nodding your head when I asked
ROOSEVELT: I thought it was the question you were going to ask.
That's what I was wondering. I'm saying that that is the answer, not
that that would be his choice. But it's the question that obviously
is going to come up. And I think he has to make a unifying choice if
he is the nominee, and I think whoever's the nominee will do that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You want to jump in there?
DEAN: No, I don't want to jump in there. I agree with Jim. I
think that's the nominee's choice. But I do think we need to speak
about healing in the party that goes beyond the normal kind of thing
that you have to do when your candidate...
STEPHANOPOULOS: What does each candidate need to do right now?
DEAN: Well, first of all, I actually think that the key to this
election is going to be in the hands of the person who gets 49 percent
of the delegates, not 51 percent. Having lost a race myself, I know
that it's really important not just to rally around the winner, but to
go out and campaign actively for that person.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you believe Senator Clinton will do that?
DEAN: I think she will. I think she's an extraordinary human
being. I think Senator Obama's an extraordinary human being. These
are two incredibly I think wonderful people. And I really do believe
that on a personal level. I know Senator Clinton better than I know
Senator Obama. But they're terrific people. And I believe both of
them have at heart the country and not their particular campaigns.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you think setting aside the question of
running together, do you think they'll be able to heal the personal
DEAN: I hope so. And that's going to depend on both of them. I
think if Senator Obama is the nominee, he has to reach out. If
Senator Clinton is the nominee, she has to reach out. They both have
to work together. And they know that. They know that. These are two
real professional folks that have been around for a long time. And I
think they value their country more than they value their party. And
that is the most important thing.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Gentlemen, thank you both very much.
DEAN: Thanks, George.
ROOSEVELT: Thanks, George.