CBS’s Smith: ‘Terry McAuliffe, Why is Your Candidate Still In This Race?’

Still Shot of Harry Smith and Terry McAuliffe, May 8 On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith fretted over Hillary Clinton’s refusal to drop out of the presidential race and pressed Clinton campaign manager Terry McAuliffe on why she is still in the race: "Let me show you some headlines this morning. From this morning's Daily News, 'It's His Party,' with a picture of Barack Obama. From the New York Post, 'Over the Hill,' you know what they're talking about there. From The Wall Street Journal, 'Democrats Look to Life After Clinton.' Terry McAuliffe, why is your candidate still in this race?"

After that introduction, Smith went on to try to convince McAuliffe that the situation was futile:

SMITH: Can you formulate a scenario, though, in which she actually mathematically can get this nomination?

MCAULIFFE: Sure. She can move ahead in the popular vote. We're assuming we get Michigan and Florida resolved. Because there are --

SMITH: Excuse me. Everything Howard Dean has said so far as though that's all off the table. That is not going to happen. Those states took themselves out of the process.

After McAuliffe suggested that Michigan and Florida would ultimately be counted and that campaign donations were flowing into the Clinton campaign, Smith pushed hopelessness: "Enough to compensate for the $11 million that she's poured into her own campaign?"

To follow Smith’s pressure on Clinton to drop out, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed two uncommitted Democratic super-delegates and wondered what they were waiting for: "Why are you still uncommitted so late in the game?" Rodriguez went on to ask one of them, David Hardt, president of the Young Democrats of America, why he would not decide and bring the damaging nomination fight to an end for the good of the party: "But our polls show that the longer this drags on, the more divided your party becomes. You could end this now. Why wouldn't you do that and save the unity or preserve whatever unity is left in your party, David?"

Here is the full transcript of both segments:

7:11AM SEGMENT:

HARRY SMITH: As we've been reporting, Hillary Clinton faces an increasingly uphill battle for the Democratic Party's nomination. So where does she go from here? Few have better insight than Clinton's campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe, who joins us now from Washington. Smiling, Terry. Let me show you some headlines this morning. From this morning's Daily News, "It's his party," with a picture of Barack Obama. From the New York Post, "Over the Hill," you know what they're talking about there. From The Wall Street Journal, "Democrats Look to Life After Clinton." Terry McAuliffe, why is your candidate still in this race?

TERRY MCAULIFFE: Well, one reason I don't read the newspapers anymore. The good news for us is, Harry, the press pundits don't get to pick the nominee of the Democratic Party, voters do. We still have 7 million voters who can vote in the upcoming six contests. We're on to West Virginia. Hillary's in West Virginia, South Dakota and Oregon today. We have Kentucky after that. She's got, you know --

SMITH: She'll do well in Kentucky, she'll do well in West Virginia. She'll do well in Puerto Rico.

MCAULIFFE: Puerto Rico, you bet.

SMITH: Can you formulate a scenario, though, in which she actually mathematically can get this nomination?

MCAULIFFE: Sure. She can move ahead in the popular vote. We're assuming we get Michigan and Florida resolved. Because there are --

SMITH: Excuse me. Everything Howard Dean has said so far as though that's all off the table. That is not going to happen. Those states took themselves out of the process.

MCAULIFFE: I disagree with you, Harry. On May 31st, the Democratic National Committee rules and bylaws will hear the case and they will make a decision. And if I were a betting man, they're going to let Michigan, Florida -- we cannot disenfranchise two huge states. So, I think that gets resolved on the 31st of this month. And then we have Puerto Rico on the 1st, and South Dakota, Montana. Hillary Clinton's 16.9 million people have come out and voted for her. Thousands of people yesterday went to hillaryclinton.com and gave seven figures to the campaign. So we're off, we're going forward.

SMITH: Enough to compensate for the $11 million that she's poured into her own campaign?

MCAULIFFE: Well, listen, she's in this campaign. And God bless her for doing it. You know, she had her book sales. She's put her money in. I think the supporters like the idea that she's invested in this campaign. She has proven that she can win the general election against John McCain. And that's what the superdelegates have to make a decision. Who best to take on John McCain? She wins Florida, she wins Ohio, she wins Pennsylvania, she wins Michigan, you win those states, you win the general election. This is about winning this November 4th. She has proven she can get the blue collar workers. She can bring people back to the Democratic Party that have that been supporting us in the past.

SMITH: Alright. Terry McAuliffe, thanks so much. We're going to talk to a couple of those superdelegates in just a few moments.

MCAULIFFE: Thanks Harry.

 

7:17AM SEGMENT:

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Continuing our coverage of Campaign '08. Let's take a look at the latest CBS News delegate count. Senator Obama leads Senator Clinton by 158 delegates. 217 are up for grabs in the six remaining primaries. But now look at this. 263 superdelegates have yet to declare. And two of them are joining us this morning. Meredith Wood Smith is the chairperson of the Democratic Party of Oregon. And David Hardt is the president of the Young Democrats of America. And he joins us from Irving, Texas. Good morning to you both.

MEREDITH WOOD SMITH: Good morning.

DAVID HARDT: Good morning.

RODRIGUEZ: Meredith, let me begin with you. Why are you still uncommitted so late in the game?

MEREDITH WOOD SMITH: Well, we have our Oregon primary on May 20th. And this is the first time in 40 years that the Oregon voters get a chance in selecting the Democratic nominee. And we believe the next President of the United States.

RODRIGUEZ: So will -- are you saying that you will lean where Oregon voters lean?

WOOD SMITH: I think that will be one of the major factors that I'll consider in this campaign as we proceed forward, yes.

RODRIGUEZ: David, what are you waiting for?

DAVID HARDT: Well, I'm actually sort of waiting for the same thing. There are thousands of young people that still have yet to vote in this primary in the remaining contests. And I was elected to represent the millions of young Democrats around the country. So I still want to hear their voices and have a chance to listen to what their concerns are before I make my decision.

RODRIGUEZ: But our polls show that the longer this drags on, the more divided your party becomes. You could end this now. Why wouldn't you do that and save the unity or preserve whatever unity is left in your party, David?

HARDT: Well, we only have a few contests left. There's only a few weeks left. And I believe that we should let everyone vote. I know some people disagree with that. But it's not much time left in this campaign and, you know, I don't think it's worth the extra few weeks of campaign time just to end it without giving states like Oregon a chance to have their opportunity to be a part of this historic election.

RODRIGUEZ: Meredith --

WOOD SMITH: Absolutely.

RODRIGUEZ: Senator Clinton's campaign chairman just told us that he would like you, the superdelegates, to look at who can best take on John McCain. Do you have an idea who that person is in your mind?

WOOD SMITH: No, I don't right at this time. And I am going to wait until the Oregon primary on May 20th. And I'm actually thinking I'm probably going to wait until South Dakota and Montana vote as well. We all waited. We were last in line. We got rewarded by actually probably determining the next President of the United States.

RODRIGUEZ: And David is there extra pressure because you will ultimately decide the nominee here? Is that another reason that you're being so cautious?

HARDT: I am. I am literally getting hundreds of e-mails and letters and phone calls from people around the country expressing their opinion of who they would like me as a superdelegate to support. And I'm getting a lot of pressure from the campaigns, from my own organization, and certainly from the national Democratic Party. And so I want to take the time to really weigh this, because it's a very difficult decision. We will decide who the next leader is of our nation. And I think it's just too important of a decision for us to blindly go into making the decision just because one candidate is popular or not.

RODRIGUEZ: What I find interesting, David, about you, is that as a Texas voter you voted and even caucused for Hillary Clinton, can we assume that means that she'll get your endorsement?

HARDT: Absolutely not. I was also elected to represent the Young Democrats of America. And the millions of young Democrats that have come out have overwhelmingly supported Senator Obama. That's a huge factor in my decision as well in who I'll support as a superdelegate.

RODRIGUEZ: Alright. And Meredith?

WOOD SMITH: Yes.

RODRIGUEZ: In the end, will you decide based on your personal feelings, based on who has the most popular votes or based on who has the most delegates? Because it may not necessarily be the same person who meets all those criteria.

WOOD SMITH: Yeah, there are a lot of things that I'm considering, Maggie. I am looking at the popular vote in Oregon in particular, I'm looking at the vote in my congressional district. I'm looking at the wishes of the people in the state party that elected me. And then ultimately I, like every other American and Oregonian, will make an opinion on who I think will be the best president and who I think can beat John McCain and who will be best for the Democratic Party.

RODRIGUEZ: Meredith Wood Smith, David Hardt, thank you both.

WOOD SMITH: Thank you.

HARDT: Thank you.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC