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Lanny Davis Loses His Cool On DNC Member

First Posted: 06/08/08 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 01:35 PM ET

Lanny

A brief but spittle-filled shouting match broke out in the halls of the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee hearing on Saturday between a committee member and a surrogate for Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Lanny Davis, the colorful, committed, and sometimes unrestrained Clinton supporter deliberately interrupted a small gathering of press who had come to hear Jon Ausman, a DNC member, explain the basis of his proposed Florida delegation compromise.

"I'll tell you what," Davis chimed in, "the Clinton campaign's position has been misrepresented by this wonderful love-fest, and the lady who testified for us was saying that the Obama campaign and your proposal is not generous. But it is in fact unfair. If you want to hear, now that the love-fest is over, why don't you come over and hear the counterpoint to this completely disingenuous argument."

A befuddled Ausman who had earlier proposed that Florida's 185 pledged delegates be subject to a 50 percent penalty, asked who exactly Lanny Davis was. By then, however, Davis had herded a slew of reporters around Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, another Clinton supporter, who was standing feet away and insisting that Ausman's deal was far from a "generous" token by the Obama campaign. Then, in the midst of the hastily gathered question and answer session, Ausman reemerged to defend himself.

What proceeded was a heated and, at times, unintentionally hilarious exchange, with the two standing inches apart from each other and the occasional finger pointed in the other's face.

Ausman: [My proposal] is very generous, because Obama was initially fighting for a situation where Clinton would net 6 delegates, now it's 19.


Davis: Don't say you're being generous.

Ausman: I can say we're being generous.

Davis: But you're allowed to and I'm allowed to disagree...

Ausman: But I'm the one who's on the petition...

Reporter: Ok ok, why don't we --

Ausman: Are you a representative of Clinton?

Davis: No, I'm actually just a person...

Ausman: Are you a designated representative of Clinton?

Davis: I am not a designated representative.

Ausman: Then why don't we have a designated representative speak for Clinton and you be silent?

After the fracas ended, Tubbs Jones fielded several additional questions. Arguing that the only "fair" outcome in Florida would be for the full seating of the delegation and not for those delegates to be halved, she deflected questions as to whether the Clinton campaign's proposals were, themselves, uncompromising.

"My name is Stephanie Tubbs Jones and I am the congresswoman from the great state of Ohio, and on behalf of the Clinton campaign, we don't expect that the Obama campaign could be so generous to us to give us these 19 delegates. It is in fact more generous, and more appropriate, that all the votes be counted as they were cast. And if the votes are counted as they were cast, Senator Clinton will get much more than the Obama campaign is saying will be generous."

Within minutes the congresswoman and the press had dispersed. But a heated Davis was still strolling the halls of the Marriot Hotel. Talking to a separate reporter, he acknowledged that even if Clinton were to get everything she wanted, the likelihood remained that she would still lose the nomination.

"They can give us the full 38 delegates [the net gain of counting 100 percent of the vote] and still win," he said. "So why won't they."

Asked about the exchange with Ausman, he said: "I'm f-ing angry."

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