Hillary Clinton recently appeared before supporters and at least a few delegates and answered questions about the upcoming Democratic Convention, the candidate nomination process and how she thinks it will unfold. A YouTube of her talk is being sent around by the PUMA / Just Say no Deal coalition along with a link to their over-the-top "Three Hundred Delegates" ad, which urges delegates to sign the petition to put Clinton's name into nomination at the convention, likening them to the cinematic Spartan warriors of the movie "300." (*Update below)
At the meeting with supporters, Clinton masterfully tamped down expectations and redirected them, hinting at some of the behind-the-scenes negotiation taking place. Of course not all of her supporters were ready to be as circumspect as she was being.
QUESTION: I remember when first ballots contained the names of a lot of favorite sons -- I don't remember favorite daughters -- but please consider having your name put in for nomination... no disrespect for the future president Obama, but that's what conventions are about, it's not out of disrespect, and that it is in fact a showing of unity...
CLINTON: I'm asked this question every day... What will happen at the convention in respect to my putting my name in nomination, a roll call vote, and the usual kind of process that happens at the convention --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Vice president!
CLINTON: -- Well, you know, we're trying to work that out with the Obama campaign and with the DNC. I happen to believe that we will come out stronger if people feel that their voices were heard and their views were respected.
I think that is a very big part of how we actually come out unified, because I know from just what I'm hearing that, uh, there's just -- there's incredible pent up, uh, desire --
AUDIENCE: Yes Yes --
CLINTON: -- And I think that, you know, people want to feel like OK it's a catharsis. We're here. We did it. And then everybody get behind Senator Obama. I mean that is --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Doesn't work that way!
CLINTON: -- That is what most people believe is the best way to go. No decisions have been made and so we are trying to work all this through with the DNC and the Obama campaign
I think it's fair to say that If you look at recent history I have moved more quickly and done more on behalf of my opponent than comparable candidates have and most of them didn't endorse until the convention -- you know Teddy Kennedy or Gary Hart or Jerry Brown... you know just a lot of people held out till the convention, kept their delegates, often waged platform or rules or credential fights and , you know, I've made it very clear that I'm supporting Senator Obama and we're working cooperatively on a lot of different matters. But I think that delegates can decide to do this on their own. They don't need permission. They can decide under the rules of the DNC. And so I think it would be better if we had a plan that actually we put in place and everybody knew what it was and then we executed it, because I just think that would go more smoothly. So I hope that's what we come up with, some kind of a strategy.
QUESTION: ... Since the delegate count is so close... What if you are called up for nomination and what if you do win by a narrow margin?
CLINTON: That is not going to happen, not going to happen. Look what we want to have happen is for Senator Obama to be nominated by a unified convention of Democrats, and as I have said, the best way I think -- and I could be wrong -- but the best way I think to do that is to have a strategy so that my delegates feel like they've had a role and that their legitimacy has been validated and that kind of --you know, it's as old as, you know, as Greek drama -- you know, there is a catharsis. I mean everybody comes and, you know, they wanna yell and scream and have their opportunity, and I think that's all to the good, because then, you know, everybody can go OK great. Now lets go out and win! And that's what we want people to feel. We do not want any Democrat, either in the hall or in the stadium or at home, walking away saying Well, you know, I'm just not satisfied. I'm not happy. Because, I mean, that's what I'm trying to avoid.