FOX News "Fox News Sunday" -Transcript
MR. HUME: I'm Brit Hume in for Chris Wallace, and this is "FOX News Sunday." It's the fight of the year in the Democratic Party. Should delegates from Michigan and Florida be counted, and for which candidate, Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama? We'll examine what's at stake with Debbie Dingell, a Democratic National Committee member from Michigan, and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz from Florida.
Also, what's the latest on America's military efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq? We'll get a progress report from Congressman Mike Pence, who's just back from the front lines.
Plus, we'll analyze the week's political developments with our Sunday Panel -- Fred Barnes, Mara Liasson, Bill Kristol, and Juan Williams. And we'll look at the big Clinton comeback On the Trail.
All right now on "Fox News Sunday".
And hello again from FOX News in Washington. In case you missed it late Saturday when you were setting your clocks ahead for Daylight Time, Senator Barack Obama won the Wyoming Democratic Caucus. He picked up seven delegates to five for Senator Clinton. So the current delegate count shows Obama up by, as you can see, 110.
The Democratic presidential nominee could be decided not in the remaining primaries, but in the outcome of the bitter fight over what to do about Michigan and Florida. Both states lost all their convention delegates when they were penalized by the Democratic National Committee for moving up their primary dates earlier this year, in violation of Party rules.
For more on this, we turn to Debbie Dingell, a DNC committee member and a superdelegate from Michigan. And from Florida, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is also a convention superdelegate. Thanks to both of you for being with us.
First, let me start with you, Congresswoman. What do you think is the fairest way to settle this question?
MS. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, I think when you're talking about fairness, we have to remember that this was started by the Republican- led legislature here that actually set the date of our primary. So the victims here in all -- in the decision by the DNC to strip us of our delegates are Democratic voters in the state of Florida. So --
MR. HUME: Can I stop you there? Just let me stop you there for a second, if I can.
MS. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Sure.
MR. HUME: In the Florida State Senate, who introduced the bill to move the primary forward?
MS. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: The bill was introduced by a Democratic member, a new Democratic member of the state senate.
MR. HUME: And in the legislature -- in the legislature, Senate and House as well, how many Democrats voted against it?
MS. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, that's an inappropriate line of questioning, Brit, because --
MR. HUME: Well, wait a minute. Inappropriate or not, could you -- could you just answer the question?
MS. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Excuse me, Brit. Can I answer your question?
MR. HUME: Yeah. How many?
MS. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I would like to answer your question without your asking me another one, if you don't mind.
The legislation that was originally sponsored was amended into an overall election package that included the major provision to ensure that we could have manual recount and a paper trail. So this was a major election package that the change of the date in our primary was included in.
So the vote total was unanimous, but that was because there's no one in the Florida legislature that was going to vote against changing our voting system so that you could have a paper trail and make sure that every vote can be counted, unlike our touch-screen voting system right now which doesn't allow for that.
So to try to hang a unanimous vote on the fact that Democrats supported that, that's misleading, because they supported it because they certainly weren't going to vote against making sure there was a paper trail in Florida.
MR. HUME: I see. Well, all right. Let's -- then what's the fair way to settle it, in your judgment?
MS. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: So that -- anything that is decided upon, Brit, has to be fair to Florida voters and make sure that Florida Democratic voters have their vote counted.
The nerves are very raw here still from the recount fiasco in 2000. We've got to make sure that whatever -- however our delegation gets seated, that it is seated reflecting votes cast by voters in Florida.
MR. HUME: So does that mean --
MS. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: There are a variety of ways to do --
MR. HUME: So would that --
MS. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: There are a variety of ways to do that. What's being talked about in terms of that variety is possibly a revote, which I think would not be the right way to go, and also a combination of weighted formulas so that you would count the election on the 29th in some way and then other factors, like the possible outcome of the rest of the primaries, and weight that as well.
There are a number of different formulas that are being talked about that would reflect the actual votes cast by the voters, but not necessarily entirely.
MR. HUME: But you would resist a revote?
MS. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I would resist a revote for a couple of major reasons. Number one, we -- the revote that's being talked about right now would be a mail-in ballot. And we have never conducted a mail-in ballot in Florida, and in an election that is this important, an experiment like that is -- this is not the time to test that.
You also -- we had 1.75 million Democratic voters cast ballots on January 29th. It was a record turnout. And the likelihood of getting that many people to mail a ballot back in is very small.
The other problem with a mail-in ballot is that you have transient populations. The poorer communities would really be disenfranchised in a scenario like that because their addresses are not consistent. And so the odds of them getting a ballot and even knowing about the election are much smaller than middle class and upper middle class populations.
So any potential scenario right now that requires a revote would be experimental, would disenfranchise people, and we've got to make sure again, at the end of the day, that whatever delegation we have seated at the convention -- which we must have one; there's no question in my mind about that -- has to reflect the popular vote of Florida Democratic voters.
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MR. HUME: What about the idea that -- I was just talking about -- with Debbie Dingell about a kind of firehouse primary in which you had a number of polling places -- it'd be reduced from the number you had before -- and also with that the possibility of mail-in ballots. How would you feel and others feel in Florida about that?
MS. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: We -- our primary is set in state law, and we don't have the -- we would have a lot of different logistical and legal problems in doing that. There are 7,000 polling places in Florida, and so, I mean, a firehouse primary that -- what they were talking about doing, they have not been talking about a firehouse primary here.
The closest I heard to that suggestion was when the DNC suggested we do a caucus that would take us from 7,000 precincts to 150 caucus sites. We have no tradition of a caucus in Florida. We've never run one. And again, we can't start experimenting with a presidential preference primary, because the outcome and the stakes are just too high.
MR. HUME: So do you see --
MS. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: We also have -- I'm sorry. But we've also had, we've already had the Republican-led legislature here put us in this situation. And leaving the decision to the legislature again on whether or not we're going to be able solve this problem is not something that makes most Democratic voters comfortable.
MR. HUME: Well, then, short of counting the primary that was held, do you see any alternatives?
MS. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I do. I think that there are ways -- ad I agree with Debbie; we are working together as a congressional delegation with our Democratic Party leadership here in Florida, with Senator Nelson, and the candidates to try to come up with a reasonable alternative that will --
MR. HUME: What would that be?
MS. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, like I said, I think we should be counting -- we should be using the results of the 29th as a factor, as well as some -- there are a variety of other factors that could be considered so that you come up with a way to constitute our delegation and then present that proposal to the DNC and ask for their blessing. But the campaigns would have to agree on that, and that's the kind of negotiating that's going on right now.
But at the end of the day, what I'm really thrilled about is that at least we are no longer having a lot of rhetoric out there that questions whether or not Florida or Michigan's delegates should be seated at all. Because this is the most important election of our lives.
We have got to make sure that we elect a Democratic president, and we are jeopardizing that if we start the general election season by sending a message to Florida and Michigan voters that their votes are not important.
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