It's Not All in the Family for Some DNC Rules Committee Members

Don and Carole Fowler are married but one supports Clinton and the other supports Obama.

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Don: You go first. Carol: I think we are going to grant some delegates to Michigan and Florida, I don't know the number. Fifty percent seems to be the number that everybody uses—whether it's 50 percent of the vote or 50 percent of the delegates, that seems to be the number everybody uses. But I think we're going to do something. I just don't know quite what that is. And I think that the people of Michigan and Florida are not going to be particularly happy with what we do.

Don: One of the real difficulties is even when you say 50 percent cut and we divide that 50 percent according to the results of the primary, there are two or three different ways of how to apply that 50 percent cut. And this is important. You can do it one way and Senator Clinton has a 19 [delegate] lead [from those two primaries], I believe, and you do it another way and she only has a six [delegate] lead.

And while I clearly favor one way of doing it, I would grant that the other way is arguable. It's very tricky. And then you have the question of the so-called superdelegates. Do you bar them entirely or give them full votes? There are 26 from Florida and 29 from Michigan. Michigan has more because it has more Democratic members of the United States Congress.

But even if Clinton gets the better amount of delegates, can she overtake Obama?

Carol: Certainly not based on anything we do on Saturday. Don: It's possible, but Carol is absolutely right, not with what we do on Saturday. I don't buy this 50 percent rule that Carol supports. The Clinton people want 100 percent restoration, and I think that has great validity. If Clinton got 100 percent restoration, Clinton would have a net of 38 votes, she would pick up 38 as opposed to 19 votes or 6 votes. You've got a lot of things to discuss there.

Is there a shot that Clinton could still get the nomination?

Don: I don't think it's impossible. The probability has diminished over the last several weeks. You can paint a pattern that could happen that she could get the nomination, but it's pretty slim. Carol: I think it's pretty far-fetched. The things that would have to happen for it to happen, I just don't think it's likely at all.

Don, you would like to see Clinton at least get a chunk of these delegates from Michigan and Florida. Do you think that is better for the party?

Don: I think a peaceful settlement is the best solution for the party. I have my own notion of what the best solution would be, but I'm not sure anybody agrees with me. You would split it 50-50. You would restore the full delegation in both states and just give each delegate a half vote. And you would give the uncommitted to Obama in Michigan, and I think politically that's very viable. You'd have to skirt some rules there, but if you have the political will you can do that. I think that solution would please more people than any other one. Carol: That's probably right, except I think my solution for Michigan—which probably wouldn't fly—I still think it would be the fairest way because their election was patently unfair for not just the candidates but for the voters. They didn't have a full slate. I think I would make Michigan go back and re-elect all their delegates—all uncommitted.

Because there are only 30 members of the Rules and Bylaws Committee, how many letters and calls have you gotten from people on the issue of seating Michigan and Florida?

Carol: Hundreds and thousands of them. Some want us to vote one way, and some want us to vote the other. I wish I had time, I don't read them all, I hardly read any of them, I don't have time to read them, but I wish I had time to answer every one of them and remind them that the Rules and Bylaws Committee did not do this, their own political leadership did. Don: I have received well over 1,000. Some of them are telephone calls, some of them are handwritten letters, and most of them are E-mails, but it is well over 1,000. About the first 50 I responded to every one, and I had a standard reply. I sent them to people who were urging me to do something I didn't want as well as urging me to do something I did want. But after 50, maybe 100, it became impossible.