It's deja vu all over again. I feel as though I have read this somewhere before. The transcript below picks up about halfway through the interview with Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
April 27: Howard Dean, David Broder, John Dickerson, Gwen Ifill, Andrea Mitchell, Richard Wolffe - Meet the Press, online at MSNBC - MSNBC.com
'Meet the Press' transcript for April 27, 2008
MR. RUSSERT: ...Michigan and Florida. There is a report--reports that the Democratic National Committee is having a meeting on May 31st...
DR. DEAN: Right.
MR. RUSSERT: ...which may in fact say to Michigan and Florida, "Well, you broke the rules, you moved your primary dates up without permission, but we're going to give you half delegates, half your elected count, half your superdelegate count come, come convention time." Is that true?
DR. DEAN: Well, I don't know about the--what the Rules Committee's going to do. I have no idea what they're going to do. But here's the deal. First, you got to respect the voters. The voters of Michigan and Florida were not the people that screwed this all up, it was politicians. Secondly, you have to respect the candidates. They went in on a set of rules that everybody voted for, including Michigan and Florida, before they changed their mind, but--and so you can't really change the rules and alter the course of the race. And thirdly, you got to respect the 48 states that did respect the rules.
Here's why the rules are important. For the--this year, for the first time, we balanced the early primaries with ethnic and geographic diversity. We included a state from the South and a state from the West, because we think we can win there now. And we included states with significant numbers of minority groups who the Democrats can't win without, and those folks ought to be allowed to say early on who they think should be the president. Now along comes two states which steps on the process. You've got to deal with that in a fair way. So I don't know what the solution's going to be. The Rules Committee's going to start to work on that now as they prepare for the meeting at the end of May. But nobody will be satisfied with the outcome because nobody's going to get everything they want. What we strive is to be fair to the voters, fair to both campaigns, and fair to the other 48 states.
MR. RUSSERT: Former Governor Jim Blanchard of Michigan, who's a Clinton supporter, said the Democratic National Committee has handled the situation badly. "They have put their rules ahead of common sense, of electing a Democratic president, of voters in two major states. ... They're treating the rules like they're the U.S. Constitution or the Ten Commandments. They've lost their way."
DR. DEAN: Well, they were one of the two states out of the 50 that violated the rules. I'd kind of expect that from them.
MR. RUSSERT: But Michigan and Florida are swing states.
DR. DEAN: They're both very important states. That doesn't mean they're any more important than anybody else.
MR. RUSSERT: In fact, there were some meetings of delegates in Michigan, various conventions where Hillary Clinton is now lining up delegates, and, according to Congressman Blanchard, "We want to pick people who'll be loyal to Hillary, who would commit to her through multiple ballots." So Governor Blanchard of Michigan, former governor, is planning for, in effect, a multiple ballot convention.
DR. DEAN: Sure. I mean, I--look, everybody has a right to plan anything they want. My plan, as the chair of the DNC, is to try to get this resolved before we get to the convention. Because if you go into the convention divided, it's pretty likely you'll come out of the convention divided.
MR. RUSSERT: Without Michigan and Florida counting, as of now, people are saying, "Howard Dean should have handled this differently. He should have interceded and fixed this problem and not allowed us to come to a point where these two states feel dissed and it could hurt us in November."
DR. DEAN: Well, I mean, that--it wasn't my decision to make these changes. Florida and Michigan both voted for a set of rules, then they tried to push ahead of everybody else, and that makes it more difficult for everybody. We want to resolve this. This is not the voters' fault in Florida and Michigan. But the fact of the matter is that you have to--you cannot change the rules towards the end of the game just to advantage or disadvantage of a particular candidate. You can't do that.
MR. RUSSERT: But you decided not to seat the delegations, not count the primaries.
DR. DEAN: That's correct. Because they stepped on the minority groups and the small states in the South and the West that needed that time to have their primaries and have their early input.
Look, it's, it's--this is like having a, a line full of people waiting for something. If two of them jump the line and go to the front, it's not going to be long before you're going to have a riot. Don't forget, at the time these sanctions were passed by the Rules Committee, New Hampshire and Iowa were threatening to move into 2007. You've got to keep order, and that's part of my job is to keep order. It's understandable that the folks you call out because they think they're more important than everybody else are going to be upset about that. We did keep order, we do have an orderly process. I'll defend the process.
MR. RUSSERT: Will Michigan and Florida be seated?
DR. DEAN: Yes.
MR. RUSSERT: In some way, shape or form.
DR. DEAN: In some way. I'm determined to make that happen. I can't--again, I can't, I can't speak for what the rules committee will do. They're 30 very independent-minded people. I can't speak for what the credentials committee at the convention will do. I believe Michigan and Florida should be seated in some way because it was their--their voters did not cause this problem. This was caused by a political problem, not the voters' problem.
MR. RUSSERT: Seated and their delegates will vote for the presidential nominee?
DR. DEAN: I, that's what I hope will happen.
msnbc.com Video Player
Here's the video. The transcript from above comes in exactly at the 15:00 mark.
So through the whole interview, Dean says, "Rules rules rules" and then at the end he says "Yes" to the question, "Will Michigan and Florida be seated?" Then he waffles a bit and says, "... that's what I hope will happen."
As in.."I have "HOPE" that something will "CHANGE" in the "FUTURE". That's staying on point.