Clinton Campaign Offers No Insight On Plans Post-DNC Meeting

(CBS)
From CBS News' Fernando Suarez:

NEW YORK -- The Clinton campaign today held an hour-long conference call that offered no insight into the campaign's thoughts moving forward should tomorrow's meeting of the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee rule against fully seating the Florida and Michigan delegates at the national convention.

Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson sternly reminded reporters on the call that despite their best efforts to glean a bit of strategic information from the campaign as it looks past the committee's meeting, that they would not discuss it.

"You and others can ask this question in many different ways, but the answer is going to be the same: We are hopeful and expectant that the committee in its wisdom is going to do the right thing," Wolfson said, almost scolding a reporter on the call.

"It would be premature to discuss it now and we're not going to do it. You know, people can ask it again the same question and they - respectfully - they are going to get the same answer."

Some in the traveling press listening to the call on the bus en route to the airport were frustrated by the lack of answers. The key question on everyone's mind is: what will the Clinton campaign do if the Rules and Bylaws Committee decides not to fully seat the delegates of Florida and Michigan? Would Clinton take the fight to the convention? Harold Ickes, one of Clinton's senior aides who is also on the Rules and Bylaws Committee, insisted, "We think it is not useful to cross streams before we come to them." The problem is, the stream is only a few feet away and many covering the campaign find it unlikely that no plan has been put in place.

The purpose of the call was to hammer away to reporters one simple issue: that the results of both Florida and Michigan should count. One Clinton supporter and member of the Rules and Bylaws Committee, Tina Flournoy, said the "preferences expressed by those voters, in that primary, should be used to allocate the delegates to the candidate." Flournoy added they expect that "the full delegation of both states be seated."

At one other point on the call another reported attempted to get the campaign to play out a scenario where the committee did not seat all the delegates or count all the votes, to which Ickes responded, "I don't want to be repetitious but what we said about outcomes still stands after 10 minutes."

Also on the call, Wolfson spoke about recent controversial, racially charged comments made by Rev. Michael Pfleger, a Catholic priest with ties to Barack Obama, and the now famous Trinity United Church of Christ of Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Pfleger recently told the parishioners of the church, "We must be honest enough to expose white entitlement and supremacy wherever it raises his head."

"Reverend Moss, when Hillary was crying, and people said it was put on, I really don't believe it was put on. I really believe that she just always thought 'This is mine. I'm Bill's wife. I'm white. And this is mine. I just got to get up and step into the plate.' And then out of nowhere came, hey, I'm Barack Obama. And she said, 'Oh damn, where did you come from? I'm white I'm entitled. There's a black man stealing my show.'"

Wolfson called the comments "reprehensible" and said "We were disappointed last night when I was first asked about it last night and we remain disappointed that Senator Obama didn't specifically reject Father Pleger's despicable comments about Senator Clinton and we assume that he will do so and think that he should because when Senator Clinton supporters see those comments they are understandably angered by them and it's important, I think, that in the spirit of unity that we are all trying to create, for Senator Obama and his campaign to condemn them specifically."

"When you have language like that, when you have Senator Clinton attacked in the way that she was it's imperative for Senator Obama and campaign to specifically condemn those attacks and that language which was reprehensible."