Rendell: Well, how come we say who won the popular vote without Florida and Michigan in the race?
Stephanopoulos: Senator Kerry, why not take that challenge?
Kerry: Well, first of all, let me say, George, if you’re going to be campaigning in Pennsylvania, it’s good to have Ed Rendell with you. And I’m glad to be here with him, and I thank him for everything he did for me there. Better to have him with you than against you.
Secondly, let me just say that Hillary Clinton has every right in the world to continue to fight, but the important thing is to be fighting against John McCain and not to be destructive in this campaign, either campaigns. It is very important for both people to keep the eye on the real target — John McCain and the Republican disaster of the last seven and a half years. And if the campaign goes on through these next weeks, really focus on that, at a high level.
I don’t think Democrats ought to be clamoring and worried about what’s going on. I think that this will resolve itself. Thirdly, I think that the superdelegates ought to decide early. I would even say earlier than July. As a former nominee, I will tell you, this time right now is critical to us. We began four years behind George Bush, and I think every day does give John McCain an ability to organize nationally. So the sooner we resolve it, the better, but it has to be resolved, obviously, by letting voters have their say.
Now, in the next days, there are 550 delegates still at stake. There are 10 states that are going to vote. What is important to remember is that the bar keeps shifting here. You know, after Iowa, the Clinton campaign said, well, what’s really important are delegates. After Barack began winning the delegates, they say what’s really important are the primaries.
After he began winning the primaries, they said what’s really important is the popular vote. Now he’s winning the popular vote, the primaries, the total numbers of caucuses of primaries and the total number of delegates.
So, at some point, there is a moment of judgment. I don’t think it’s up to our campaign or any individual to tell Hillary Clinton or their campaign when that is. But there will be, I think, a consensus about it, and I think it’s going to occur over these next weeks.
Stephanopoulos: But just this point of — Governor Rendell is saying Michigan and Florida have to vote again. Otherwise, you are going to see a floor fight at the convention in the credentials committee.
Kerry: I don’t agree with that. I mean, that’s a posture today, but I just don’t think that’s going to happen. The reality is, that has to be resolved by the states and by the national committee. And you know, the Obama campaign has been very clear about that.
You know, delegates will be seated, George. There will be a way to work that out. The real question is, you know, who is going to reach the magic number of delegates that says, you are the nominee.
I believe that number is going to be reached well before the convention. I think it will be clear what happens well before the convention. And I would urge fellow superdelegates, they have a responsibility to the Democratic Party and to the country for the larger issues that are at stake.
This is about our leadership in the free world. It is about an economy that is crumbling around people in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. And we need to be positioned to win. The superdelegates should make their decision well before the first of July… … and then we march on to Denver….
Stephanopoulos: Senator Kerry, the Obama campaign has been pushing this issue. The campaign manager said that Senator Clinton’s not seen as trustworthy by the American people. Senator Obama himself has said that Senator Clinton has not been truthful in this campaign. Should they drop this?
Kerry: Well, George, I think, you know, sometimes in campaigns, one thing leads to another. You know, I wish that what Ed Rendell had just said were in fact being put into practice. But I recall seeing last week Senator Clinton went to, of all papers, the Pittsburgh Tribune and Richard Mellon Scaife’s paper, and came out and raised the issue of Reverend Wright.
I mean, she did that quite spontaneously. So, our hope would be, and I think this is what the Obama campaign is pressing for, is look, let’s stick to the real differences.
To me, the most important thing, and the most important thing to Pennsylvanians, it’s very interesting. I mean, Ed Rendell would agree that, you know, Bobby Casey and what is called Casey country and the long representation of the Casey family of working folks in Pennsylvania. It’s not insignificant that Bob Casey, who didn’t have to do anything, decided to get involved and came out for Barack Obama the other day, because he really believes that he has a better chance of leading the country to the place we need to go.
The reason — what I think is important for people to focus on here is what really is going to make a difference to the governing of our country. I think Barack Obama brings to the table — and you see it now in the Wall Street Journal poll numbers, where 60 percent of Americans believe Barack Obama has a better chance of uniting the country. I think Hillary Clinton’s number was less than 40. Her negatives are now higher than her positives. It is very difficult to win the presidency when that’s true.
And I think what Democrats need to focus on now is who can galvanize a grassroots movement that holds Washington accountable, a Washington that only in the last days, when the pain reaches Bear Stearns, suddenly says, oh, we’ve got to do something about mortgages or we’ve got to do something about the average person.
That’s the fundamental issue of this campaign, and I think Barack Obama is gaining this support in red states across the country, with red-state governors, because he has the ability to build this grassroots movement and hold Washington accountable….
Rendell: I think that this duo, regardless, is a history-making duo. They are both tremendous candidates. They both would make great executives, and I’d love to see that happen.
Stephanopoulos: OK, Rendell has signed on with Cuomo. Has Kerry?
Kerry: George, let me just pick up on something Ed just said, if I can. Speaking as somebody who has worked for 24 years, and my colleague Ted Kennedy who’s backing Barack Obama has worked for 40 years to get health care, let me just tell you that Hillary Clinton’s plan in the United States Senate is a non-starter, because it starts with a mandate that is unachievable in the Senate in what we need to do.
Barack Obama starts with children and works up to a system where at the back end, you may have a mandate, you will get to universal coverage. But he does it in a way that’s going to give Republicans the opportunity to be able to play at the table.
Secondly, the issue here — there are differences on the issues that are important. The judgment issue with respect to how you make America safer. Barack Obama gave, I thought, an extraordinarily important speech the other day. In all this hurlyburly, it doesn’t always get noticed, but he talked about the security gap, and how really the Republicans have pursued a policy that, while they talk about being strong, has made America weaker. That we are more exposed, that Al Qaida is stronger, Hezbollah is stronger, Hamas is stronger, Iran is stronger. That is a failed foreign policy. It is John McCain’s foreign policy.
And the fact is that Barack Obama had the right judgment about Iraq from the beginning. He has the right judgment now about how you deal with Iran. He had the right judgment about Pakistan and Afghanistan over a year ago. And very importantly, Hillary Clinton and others criticized him — let me just finish. Hillary Clinton and others criticized him for saying that you can’t attack somebody in Pakistan if you have actionable intelligence. A couple of weeks ago, we knocked out the number three Al Qaida operative, and everybody cheered, and we did exactly what Barack Obama said we ought to do, and they criticized him.
Stephanopoulos: Yes or no, would he be making the right judgmentif he asked Senator Clinton to run with him, should they run as oneticket?
Kerry: Well, that’s entirely — whatever judgment he makes will be the right judgment. That’s the privilege of the nominee, and it’s certainly one of the options available to him, and it would be terrific in a lot of people’s minds. But you have to leave the nominee that option.
So it’s apparent that this race isn’t going to end anytime soon. I personally don’t think it will end up until a floor fight on the convention (FUN!), but who knows.
seemed more like an indictment of Clinton and her campaign than a friendly warning to both Clinton and Obama.
His comment of “I don’t think Democrats ought to be clamoring and worried about what’s going on. I think that this will resolve itself.” is just naïve in my opinion. I mean, Obama and Clinton are tearing each other apart so much that McCain isn’t going to have to do any opposition research.
I really don’t see how the Democrats are going around with all this “Everything’s fine and dandy!” talk – they’re tearing the party apart! Well, keep going on with this naïve attitude up until November, and then good old McCain will have a big surprise for you.