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Decision Day: Superdelegate Convention; Michigan Puts Forth Their Case

Aired May 31, 2008 - 13:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THOMAS HYNES, ILL., OBAMA SUPERDELEGATE: Not going to vote, they are likely not to vote, or you are going to vote for Hillary Clinton. So I think that there are votes that Hillary Clinton received in the Michigan primary that went there because the only opponent was uncommitted.
So I think that -- I think that there is a fourth factor here that ought to be looked at to see what this, these results really mean. When you have a situation where all of the numbers are not counted, it seems that the numbers in and of themselves are something that we ought to be relying on to make a decision.

I think that you have done a good job in trying to bring in other factors to come up with a conclusion, but you are put into a very difficult situation. But I think the limit of the conversation and the analysis to simply these election returns fails miserably on the grounds of even being close to accuracy. Thanks.

MARK BREWER, MICHIGAN DEM. PARTY CHMN: The only thing I'd like to add in response to that is that it also occurred to me as a member of the committee is that we have used exit polls in this committee to establish affirmative action goals, and we thought that was fine and so if we can use them in that fashion, why can not we use them in this extraordinary situation to help fashion a unique remedy to the problems that we encounter in Michigan. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you Mr. Brewer for a very clear and thorough presentation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let me add my thanks as well, Chairman Brewer, and we are now ready for the next speaker to take the podium, and that individual of course is Senator Carl Levin, the great senator from the state of Michigan who I must say, Senator Levin is someone who has been passionate about this process from the very beginning, and we refer to him oftentimes as the father, the grandfather of the presidential commission on timing, itself, because he is certainly the individual who has been the most spirited in keeping the issue of representation and timing before this committee. So welcome. Welcome, senator. We welcome your remarks.

SEN. CARL LEVIN, MICHIGAN: Thank you so much for those comments to both the co-chairs Herman Roosevelt, and members of the rules and bylaws committee, thank you so much for the opportunity to help represent Michigan's case. I am accompanied by other members of the what we call the working group of four. This is a group of four that we were appointed by the governor to try to try to figure out the solution to the issue which you are already grappling with and the four are Caroline Cheeks Kilpatrick who is a congresswoman as you all know is sitting behind me and Debbie Dingle the Democratic National committeewoman from Michigan and Ron Gettlefinger who is represented here today by Darian Sivin (ph), and Ron Gettlefinger is the president of the UAW and myself.

I also want to say that part of the working group of two in my family, my wife, Barbara, is also here today. Our party's nominating system is flawed is illustrated by the sequence of events that brought us to this point. But before recounting those events let me get to the bottom line. The Democratic Party needs unity in the middle of this contentious battle between two strong candidates. The people want us to strive for unity and they want us to achieve it. The Michigan Democratic Party has achieved unity.

We are asking you to preserve it. The Michigan Democratic Party's executive committee which includes large numbers of Clinton and Obama supporters who overwhelmingly recommended the proposal before you. To do two things, first to seat all of our delegates with full voting rights, that is where there is an a, an agreement overwhelmingly not just in the Michigan Democratic Party, but I believe you are going to hear from the two candidates' representatives and representatives of Senators Clinton and Obama that they support, they support full seating of Michigan's delegates with full voting rights.

Now that is something which is critically been missing which is unity between our candidates on critical issues. The Michigan Democratic Party has overwhelmingly supported that position and the two candidates' representatives, I believe you will hear directly, support that position.

Now, where is there disagreement? The Michigan Democratic Party has reached a compromise proposal on the allocation of those 120 delegates, and as you have all pointed out, it is imperfect. There is no scientific way to have reached the conclusion that we reached, but there is a fair way, a reasonable way and a way based on the evidence for instance that Mark Brewer just laid out for you. It is a path forward which has produced unity in Michigan. We are asking you, do not override that unity.

What you will hear are two other paths. A path of Senator Obama which is to divide the 60 -- the 128 votes, we believe, he will argue, 64-64, because the primary was flawed. You will hear from Senator Clinton's representative, we believe, that the delegates, 128, should be divided 73 to 55. Representing the vote apportioning all of the 73 to Clinton because her name was on the ballot, and assuming as Senator Clinton does that all of the other delegates

(NO AUDIO)

So, we fought to open up the process. In 2004, Michigan said, we are going to hold a primary or caucus the same day as New Hampshire, and we know the rules don't allow it, and we know why they don't allow it and what New Hampshire's power has been. We understand that. But we will take our case to the convention. That is what we said in 2004. Many of you know this firsthand. The chairman of the party, Terry McAuliffe said, don't do that. Please. We will appoint a commission and many of you were on it, and our distinguished co-chair was co- chair of that commission.

That commission had hearings and debates for a year. It was heated. We studied, and I was a member of the commission as was Debbie Dingle, and we studied the history, the precedents, and we came up with a recommendation which created history. It was a very minor change, but very major in terms of the direction of this party to open up this system so that other states besides Iowa and New Hampshire could go early. It was a historic and significant recommendation to the Democratic National Committee and what was that recommendation?

The recommendation was that the first caucus be in Iowa, and the first primary be held in New Hampshire. But here's the key words, that there be an additional first tier -- excuse me, additional one or two first tier caucuses between the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire. New Hampshire hated it. They voted no. They were the only one on our commission that voted no. They wanted to be the not just the first primary, they wanted to maintain their privileged status of being right after Iowa. They had been able to maintain that over the decades, and some of us deeply object to it. We don't believe we are a party of privilege.

No state should have that perpetual privilege that Iowa and New Hampshire claim. So what did this commission do? They said insert one or two caucuses between Iowa and New Hampshire. And what did Michigan do? We accepted it. We praised it. And then we applied, and then there were going to be four early primaries or caucuses, and our co-chair has gone over it that was part of it, too. We said fine. We applied to be one of the four. We didn't succeed. What did we do? We said we accept that. Got it? We accept that.

We are not one of the four prewindow states. Providing New Hampshire accepts it. New Hampshire didn't accept it. Their secretary of state unilaterally announced they were going to jump ahead of the rules. And we tried over and over again to get the answer from the Democratic National Committee; will you enforce the new rule against New Hampshire? We couldn't even get an answer to that question. We could not get an answer as to whether or not a rule so significant that finally, finally a state at least one, would have an opportunity to go that early with all of the huge impact that going early has, and the commission recognized that impact.

The commission's findings were that -- let me get my right page here. Oh, take my time. Thank you. I think I am running out of time. But the commission concluded that there are serious -- and this is the -- remember, that this commission was appointed by a national convention in 2004 by the way. You can't get higher than a national convention.

The convention decided to appoint this commission, and here is what the commission found, serious concerns that Iowa and New Hampshire are not fully reflective of the Democratic electorate or the national electorates generally and therefore do not place Democratic candidates before a representative range of voters in the critical early weeks of the process.

And you were right, the commission was right, and then they made that decision. New Hampshire was going to go third. New Hampshire's secretary of state who has the power to unilaterally pick a date made a public announcement, no they are not. We go through, and we have a chronology here like yours, press conference August 9th, 2007, New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner stated he will jump his state forward to the number two position before Nevada and before the date specified for New Hampshire.

So, there we are. Back at square one if this committee would give the rule, would give New Hampshire a waiver, so they could do exactly what they have been doing for decades. They asked you for a waiver. We said, hey, wait a minute, you have to give New Hampshire a waiver after all of this?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: A Democratic Senator from Michigan making a passionate appeal to the rules committee to reinstate the pledged delegates, 128 pledged delegates in Michigan. He says he would like them reinstated according to this division 69 for Clinton and 59 for Obama. He says that we are about to hear from the Clinton representative that the Clinton people want a 73-55 split in favor of Hillary Clinton and the Obama campaign will make the case 64-64 to equally divide the 128 pledge delegates from Michigan, but he says don't give them half a vote.

They have to have 100 percent voting rights at the Denver convention. We will continue to watch this. You can go to CNNpolitics.com to see the hearing continue uninterrupted. Much more of our coverage coming up from the CNN ELECTION CENTER. Michigan at the forefront of this debate right now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: You just heard Senator Carl Levin of Michigan make a passionate appeal to the Rules Committee to seat the Michigan delegates at the Denver Convention with full voting rights. The Q and A of Senator Levin has just started in. Let's listen in to what the questions are.

BEN JOHNSON, DC, CLINTON SUPERDELEGATE: Out of all of the appeals to us, no one has mentioned the fact that we were trying to add a constituency that had been left out. It wasn't a state like Michigan, it was the people in Michigan, the people in other cities all across this nation who had to sit back and let two states that are almost all white make the main decisions in early primaries. And we decided that we would include the Hispanics in the west, and labor in the west and Native Americans in the west, and Asians and we would go south and include African-Americans in South Carolina.

What concerns me, sitting here this morning, and this afternoon is that no one is speaking to that issue. We have to have rules, because as an African-American and as one who represented an office in the White House as the one America office, we are for everybody being included. We certainly are not intending to punish any voter in the United States of America. But, by the same token, we need to have folks go and deal with the orderly process. Mark Brewer who I really admire for his knowledge, for the work that he does in the state of Michigan, but Mark voted to penalize Florida.

So, for the life of me, I hope we just move back a little bit, and I guess as a person that knows Senator Clinton and Senator Obama, I really would urge both campaigns to get their heads together, because everybody has to have a hand in this unity that we are trying to achieve in this party. Thank you very much, sir.

LEVIN: Thank you. Could I comment on that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, senator.

LEVIN: Because I fully agree with what you said, but I wanted to not only say I agree with it, I voted for it. I was on that commission which opened up this process in two ways. One, we wanted some additional states including a state to get a more diversified opening system, including African-Americans, Hispanics and we also had a hope we might get a manufacturing state in there in terms of diversity by the way, but that was our hope and we voted for it just the way you did it. The rule was adopted.

You talked about an orderly process. I agree with you. This Rules Committee adopted a rule with a sequence which was critically important to the whole debate so that it wouldn't always be Iowa and New Hampshire first with all of the power that gives them, and this committee acknowledged that in its decision.

I happen to agree with you and I voted exactly that way. That orderly process required the sequence to be changed finally. So that it was not always those two states, not particularly representative, but the same two states that would go first and second with all of the power that gives them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Alice Germond.

ALICE TRAVIS GERMOND, W. VA., UNDERCLARED SUPERDELEGATE: Thank you so much. First, I would like to thank you and thank the entire working group. I know that this could not have been an easy task to wade through numbers and concepts and come up with some sort of a proposal to put forward to us.

And I want you to know that this committee who was up very late last night talking amongst ourselves and I have a funny feeling that many of us tossed and turned during the course of those even later hours trying to come up with something that might be a unifying concept in dealing with your state and so we appreciate and I applaud and wanted to thank you for your good work.

I think that Michigan is particularly difficult, because of the simple fact that not all of the candidates' names were on the ballot. I think that we all feel that way. While it is true, and I find myself agreeing with my sometimes good friend Harold Ickes (ph) that the DNC did not ask the candidates to take their names off of the ballot, since we had said that the whole thing wasn't going to count, why would we be asking them to take their names off of the ballot, we had already said this was a non-binding event and so we wouldn't have been getting into who was on the ballot and who wasn't.

But now we find ourselves in the middle of these troubles. Our trouble occurs because we are now trying to retroactively certify, accept, give out delegates for an event that we said wasn't going to count. And we told the voters of Michigan that this event wasn't going to count, and now we are wrestling with trying to figure out a way to figure out how to count it when not all of the names were even on the ballot.

That is really tough I am not a mathematical genius enough to figure out how in the heck you play with all of those variables and come up with something that is fair, equitable, satisfactory for all of the voters of Michigan, those who did participate and quite frankly for those who believed us and didn't.

So the data from this event the data that came out from the people who voted is clearly incomplete, and it has made even more vividly so by the number of write-in votes that we know were there that are not a part of a current calculation that we all understand is on the table.

So my question is, in trying to figure out what would be fair, if you can help me out with a more detailed explanation on how you arrive at the numbers you arrived at the 69-59 or if it is halved or some other number or whatever and that is not part of my question to you, so if you could help me by focusing on how you arrived at the 69-59, I think that might help (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Ickes.

HAROLD ICKES, SENIOR ADVISER TO CLINTON CAMPAIGN: Senator Levin, there are few people I admire more in public life thank you, and one of the reasons is because of your long devotion to the law. I hear talk about unity and we have to try to find a compromise, but sometimes a compromise for one person is not necessarily a compromise to the other person.

The -- it is hard to think of and Elaine's remark alluded to it, it is hard to think of a concept other than affirmative action -- it is hard to think of a concept that is more deeply embedded in our delegate selection and nominating process than fair reflection.

I will not take the time to go through the history of that. It was borne of the arbitrary systems that were used in the backrooms prior to and leading into the 1968 convention and the chaos that was, and as Elaine said, we are sitting here in large measure because of that. I understand the need for party unity and the push for party unity, but I also understand, senator, that fair reflection in my view is analogous to our processes, analogous to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. It is that fundamental.

And now what we have a group of candidates that voluntarily withdrew themselves from the ballot, and we have a proposal enormous violence to our rules and in two ways. Fair reflection or uncommitted status stands in the same shoes and is given the same protections and the same rights as a named presidential candidate. It has been for decades.

So the proposal that is set forth by the party would take those 55 delegate slots and convert them to one candidate by Mark Brewer's admission -- I don't know what exit polls he was looking at -- I think that the one thing we can agree on this year is how notoriously, how notoriously off Mark virtually every exit poll has been, but putting that modest consideration aside, according to Mark when I took notes, exit polls showed 75 percent for Obama and the rest for John Edwards and some uncommitted.

So one is to take those delegates and convert them to Obama. That does enormous violence, senator. And I would point out in that regard that delegates that are put into those slots are fair game for any candidate who wants to go to persuade them to join his or her ship. The second thing is that the party is asking to just take four delegates from Hillary Clinton. Just take them. And give them to Barack Obama. Well, you cite exit polls, and I find it stunning that given the importance of fair reflection, hell, why not take ten of them? Take 20 of them? Just keep on going.

So, I am right where you are on the full delegation, and I am right where you are on the full delegation and I am right where you are on full votes, right behind you. But, senator, I really plead when you think about fair reflection and what it means to the history of this party, for this state Democratic committee to come to this group, in my view, senator, as a matter of law in order to help with harmony and unity.

I did not raise a parliamentary issue at the outset when this was introduced, because I do not think that this committee has the jurisdiction -- does not have the jurisdiction, senator, to even entertain this challenge that has been drafted. But I wanted to hear Mr. Brewer and I most especially wanted to hear you, so I didn't raise that. We wanted to have a harmonious proceeding here. Well, we are out of time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Speaking of harmony, we need to move on in the interest of time. So --

ICKES: I just wanted to ask you one other question, you mentioned --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Ickes, we really are out of time. Make it brief, please.

ICKES: You mention in passing I think a few moments ago about going to credentials committee, could you expand on that?

LEVIN: Let me first try to remember your first, second and third questions though. So, how do you have a -- you are calling for a fair reflection of a flawed primary. What we are trying to do is to keep a party together so that we can win a critical state in November.

And let me tell you, the precedent that we set seems to me is a good precedent if circumstances like this ever exist again. Where you have this kind of a primary, where you have got two candidates still standing one of whom was on the ballot and one of whom wasn't. It is an unusual circumstance.

So, we take everything into consideration. I mean, you cannot say that a ballot where you have got one candidate named and the other candidate not on the ballot should be reflected. That is not -- it seems to us appropriate and so we look -- what we -- what we have done, it seems to me is what all of you would want us to do which is get Obama supporters, Clinton supporters on the executive committee and say, folks and talk to the campaigns.

Here is the situation we are in. We try to fix it, and we couldn't get the legislature to fix it, OK. We all know why we got here and we were here as a reform grouping, and we are proud of that by the way.

We are proud that we tried to reform this presidential system so that other states besides these two states have a chance to go early. That is what we have been fighting for. OK. So we are -- we won't back away from that, and we hope that you wouldn't either. Now the question is how you have a fair reflection of a flawed primary. That is the question. We faced it. We faced it.

We tried to get another primary, couldn't get it. You will face it. You will hear from two representatives in a minute if I will ever keep quiet and you will hear from two representatives in a minute who will argue their positions and one of them is going to be Harold's position 73-50 -- 55 uncommitted.

That is a primary that not in any way should be counted even though 600,000 people showed up. So we tried to take a position which recognizes that there is some validity to both arguments, and there is validity to both arguments, and that is what we tried to do to unify our party. Don't disunify us. Keep us unified. Our candidate --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator, thank you very, very much. Thank you Senator Levin very much.

ICKES: Madame Chair, I asked a second question.

LEVIN: I missed it.

ICKES: You made some passing reference Senator I think about credentials committee and I was just asking you to expand on that.

LEVIN: What we are suggesting to you is that if you are unable or unwilling to reach a conclusion on the proportion issue, if you think that you have a better one than we do, that is fine, and you will adopt it. If you reach a conclusion that you can't reach a conclusion, and I presume that it would have to go to the credentials committee unless between now and then it would be resolved, and there is a number of ways it could be resolved.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you very much, senator. I appreciate your time and your leadership. We thank the other members who are here, Congresswoman Caroline Kilpatrick and Debbie Dingle (ph), thank you. We will now hear from the representative from the Obama campaign, and it is certainly my special pleasure to welcome someone I had the opportunity to work with often as labor secretary, a former Congressman David Bonior. Congressman Bonior thank you for being with us today and you will now speak on behalf of the Obama campaign.

CONGRESSMAN DAVID BONIOR: Thank you, Madam Chair.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Microphone, please.

BONIOR: A third. Thank you. Thank you for the opportunity to be here. I'm David Bonior, former congressman in Michigan and former House of Representatives majority whip and former campaign manager for the 2008 John Edwards' presidential campaign and I now support Barack Obama proudly for president of the United States.

The Obama presidential campaign supports a compromise today that will allow the DNC to preserve it's nominating process and at the same time to enable Democrats in Michigan to participate in choosing our party's nominee and allow elected delegates from Michigan to be represented at the Democratic National Convention. We understand as you have just heard that our state has had a difficult path to this meeting today. We have been interested for many years in playing an early and important role in the nominating process.

Our economy has struggled and we needed the presidential candidates to focus in on our state and on our issues. Many questions why other states should go earlier year after year with their citizens getting to play an important role in the process while other states' citizens did not have been raised before this committee and raised by Democrats in our state. When the DNC implemented an application process to select two early states to join, Iowa and New Hampshire, Michigan applied as we have talked about this morning and this afternoon, to be one of the early states.

However, the RBC selected the states of South Carolina and Nevada to join Iowa and New Hampshire with the goal of diversifying the beginnings of the nominating process to include African-Americans, Hispanics, labor and voters in the south and in the west. Adding diversity to the early nominating contest was and is a worthy goal.

And while we Michiganders wish that Michigan was selected, I think this committee should be commended for selecting Nevada and South Carolina to the early calendar. In 2007 our state party initially submitted a plan to hold our national state party fire house primary on February 9, 2008. The RBC approved this plan and there was no controversy.

In mid-2007, Florida adopted its January primary. New Hampshire had not set its primary date, and there remained uncertainty over the early primary calendar. Our state party leaders who for years have argued for reform of the nominating process, and in fact, led the effort that resulted in the addition of two new states to the prewindow period decided to adopt an early primary for Michigan and this of course was the primary that was scheduled for January 15th, 2008.

The decision of our state to select this date for our primary led you to impose penalties on our state for moving our primary prior to Super Tuesday. The chairman of the DNC asked the presidential candidates to honor the decision of the committee to disapprove the early primaries in Michigan and Florida and none of the candidates campaigned in either state.

In Michigan, state law permitted the presidential candidates to keep their names off of the ballot consistent with the determination of this committee. To disapprove the January 15 primary in our state this included Senator Edwards whose campaign I managed at the time and of course it also included Governor Richardson and Senator Biden.

Senator Clinton decided not to keep her name off of the ballot while declining to withdraw her name, she told New Hampshire public radio that the Michigan primary quote would not count. And she added that her name would stay on the ballot only so as not to offend Michigan voters for the fall election.

The Michigan primary would not count. The primary was held, and no candidates campaigned in Michigan in any way. Supporters of Barack Obama cast their votes for uncommitted. But many stayed home. Many voted for their second choice of the Democratic primary, and many voted for their favorite choice in the Republican primary and the only primary by the way they were told that would count.

And some voted for the weakest candidate in the Republican primary thinking this would help the eventual Democratic nominee and many voted for Senator Obama by write-in, but under Michigan law all write-in votes were not counted because as Mark has just mentioned to you earlier, because of the statutory requirement that permits write in votes to be counted only if the write-in candidate formally registers his or her candidacy with the election division.

The results at the time were astounding. The uncommitted precedence powered mostly by legions of Obama supporters received 40 percent of the vote. Perhaps the most telling exit polls as we have just heard found that African-American voters voted for uncommitted over Clinton by a 68 to 30 percent voter and young voters aged 18-29 voted 48 to 43 percent margin for uncommitted over Senator Clinton. But as we know, let me add this how unreliable exit polls can be in this process, and I think some of you have commented on that aspect of the formula that was put before you earlier, and that being a very difficult piece to include because of the reasons that you gave.

Clearly, Obama voters were struggling in this whole process to make their voices heard by voting for uncommitted despite the decision of this committee not to recognize delegates for Michigan. Though again, many Obama voters didn't vote in the Democratic primary, because they were told by their national Democratic Party and the presidential candidates that the primary in Hillary Clinton's words would not count.

We cannot ignore these facts. The Michigan primary was not in compliance with the committee's rules. Four major candidates kept their names off of the ballot out of respect for the decision of this committee to enforce its rules. They stood with this committee to prevent nominating calendar chaos -- BLITZER: David Bonior, the former congressman speaking on behalf of the Barack Obama campaign, making the case for that campaign. CNNPOLITICS.com is where you can continue to see these hearings, this testimony, these statements continue uninterrupted. We will take a quick break and will continue our coverage and we will get to the Q and A with David Bonior from the Obama campaign right after this.

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BLITZER: Former Congressman David Bonior who supports Barack Obama making the case for the Obama campaign as far as Michigan is concerned the seating of the delegates in Michigan, the Michigan delegates won't be seated unless the DNC Rules Committee changes its stance which is why they are meeting in Washington right now. I'm Wolf Blitzer at the CNN Election Center; let's go back to David Bonior's statement before this committee.

BONIOR: It will allow for a resolution that might be consistent with that in Florida. No matter whether the Michigan delegation is restored at a 50 percent level, it is clear that the resulting delegates should be split evenly between the two remaining candidates. To respect the fact that this was not a normal primary election and that it did not produce a fair reflection of the voters' preferences at the time of the election.

The names of the four major candidates, including Senator Obama, were not on the ballot and none of the candidates campaigned in the state and even Senator Clinton has signaled to the voters before the election of that primary that it would not count.

Even the Michigan state party as we have just heard through its petition to this committee takes the position that the primary election results can not be considered a valid indicator of the presidential preference of the voters as the state party has presented an arbitrary formula for allocating the delegates to the remaining candidates. As we heard in the last discussion they tried hard to come up with a formula that reflected the data that they had.

But it was a flawed primary and this committee cannot use the results of a flawed primary to assign delegates and must recognize that the only appropriate and fair way to resolve it is to split the delegates evenly between the candidates on an equal basis. Madam Chairman, as you fashion this relief, please keep in mind that the presidential candidates were also told by this committee that Michigan's noncompliance with the DNC election rules meant that the delegate's election in presidential candidate approval process for delegates was of no effort.

This directive was provided to Senator Obama in writing. The Obama campaign respected the RBC's policy and did not participate in the delegate selection process, again, to support you and your efforts to maintain an orderly nominating process. We ask the opportunity to participate in the delegates slating and approval process if you reinstate delegates for Michigan. This opportunity is required to assure the integrity of the delegate selection process in the presidential candidate's role in this process. Finally, I want to address the unpledged superdelegates for Michigan. We ask that you reinstate all of the unpledged superdelegates for Michigan and accord them the same voting strength as is provided for the pledge delegates. This would be fairer and would promote unity among Michigan Democrats and the national party.

We understand that there is frustration among the Michigan delegates over the nominating process and how it has unfolded in Michigan and elsewhere, but I believe the proposal that I have outlined today is fair under the difficult circumstances before us today and moves us toward reconciliation among Michigan Democrats and the our national Democratic Party.

We can't stand on ceremony or focus on anything other than amicable resolution for Michigan Democrats. Let us concern ourselves with party unity and moving forward. The Obama campaign wants to be a part of this unifying process. Senator Obama has been in Michigan recently in my home county of McComb with a wonderful town hall meeting and great reception into Grand Rapids with a huge rally and wonderful reception. He will be back in Michigan again on Monday. We are anxious to engage the people of the state of Michigan directly through the process that we are now find ourselves in.

I urge Michigan Democrats and our national party leadership to continue the dialogue we are seeking here today. We must work between now and the national convention to find new ways to reach out to one another in a positive way to find additional common ground as we come together and plan for a successful fall campaign. Thank you for this opportunity to speak with you this afternoon

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you very much, Congressman Bonior.