Christine Pelosi, daughter of the Speaker and (more notably at the moment) a superdelegate, warns of a massive disillusionment of voters should Democratic Party officials back a presidential nominee that didn't win the pledged delegate vote.
"Many of us are elected by the grassroots of the party," she said, "And I cannot imagine going home in November to those people and try to phone bank for someone who did not capture the [pledged delegate] vote... We were all galvanized by what happened to Al Gore in Florida."
Pelosi, who has been a DNC member since 1996 and recently authored the book "Campaign Boot Camp," acknowledged being petitioned heavily from campaign surrogates but declined to say whom she would support. She did, however, list different attributes upon which her superdelegate vote will be based: "Who is building a base of volunteers, who is bringing the party together - the best indicators of future performance."
In her interview with the Huffington Post, she spoke freely and at length about some of the challenges facing the 796 superdelegates as the presidential nomination seemingly falls into their laps. What, for instance, should the party do about the primary elections in Michigan and Florida, which did not, according to DNC rules, carry any delegates, but which the victorious Hillary Clinton campaign is hoping to have counted?
"Of course they should be involved. I can't imagine a scenario personally where they are not. The question is how?" said Pelosi. She then playfully suggested a novel idea: splitting the state's delegates 50/50 to Obama and Clinton. It would, she argued, allow for representation from each state while not changing the dynamics of the race in one candidate's favor. Of course, she added, "Ideally we sit back and let the process do its will and by the time you get to June it won't matter."
In a separate interview Friday with Bloomberg TV, Christine's mother, Nancy Pelosi, went a step further, arguing that the Florida and Michigan primaries shouldn't decide the party's nomination. "I don't think that any states that operated outside the rules of the party can be dispositive of who the nominee is,'' Pelosi told Al Hunt. She also addressed the power wielded by the super-delegates, dismissing concerns that they vote against the will of the majority of Democratic voters.
"It's not just following the returns; it's also having a respect for what has been said by the people,'' she said. It would be "a problem for the party if the verdict would be something different than the public has decided."
Reflecting her mother's remarks, Christine Pelosi also sought to debunk the perception that super delegates were just cigar smoking -- "my mother won't allow that" -- backroom dealing, political bigwigs willing to trade their votes at the Democratic National Convention for patronage.
"We are paying attention," she said, "What we are supposed to do is enhance the process not step on it."
As evidence, the Speaker's daughter riffed on a variety of political and campaign topics. Pelosi showed little patience for the most recent line of attack by the Clinton campaign, which has accused Obama of ducking debates in Wisconsin.
"It is always sort of a stunt when you call for a debate," she said. "If they really wanted a debate you know, Howard [Wolfson] has David [Axelrod]'s phone number. They could arrange this if they really wanted to... This silly fight over a debate or a snub or this or that is really dumb."
But her most critical words were saved for the Republican side of the political aisle.
"John McCain is George Bush's third term," she said of the GOP frontrunner, "and I just don't believe the American people want to elect George Bush for a third term."
As for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's decision to stay in the race against the most unlikely of odds: "Can't Fox give him a talk show or something?"
Mostly, however, Pelosi offered a cautiously optimistic outlook for the Democrats in 2008. There is a historic nature to the election, she posited, a chance to bring and secure a new generation of voters in the political process. And absent a major screw-up, Democrats could ride that wave to long-term victories.
"I think that if we can capture and hold the enthusiasm of the 20 million Americans who have come out to vote so far," Pelosi said, "and the millions more who will by the time our nomination process if over, if we can keep those people organized and energized we will win."
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