Democrats Battle For Superdelegates

face the nation bob schieffer howard wolfson

It was big politics news over the past week: A significant number of African-American officials, members of Congress, party officials, a lot of these people who are super delegates, who have been supporting Hillary Clinton … are now struggling with that choice. Some of them may switch and vote for Barack Obama at the Democratic convention.

This week's CBS's Face The Nation, examined the thought process about the superdeligates from inside the Clinton and Obama campaigns. Host Bob Schieffer spoke with David Axelrod, the chief strategist for the Obama campaign and Howard Wolfson, communications director of the Clinton campaign.

"Our supporters, our superdelegates are staying with us," Wolfson said. "We're not worried about that."

Shouldn't it be a concern when the result of all of the primary elections across the country could come down to a decision decided by superdelegates?

"Well, look, this is a difficult decision for many in our party. We have two very strong candidates with real appeal. We think that our support is very strong. Our supporters, our super delegates are staying with us. We're not worried about that," Wolfson said. "None of the candidates, neither of the candidates will get to the number needed to secure the nomination, 2,025, without the support of super delegates."

Schieffer asked Axelrod about the funding behind Obama's campaign, should it be in for the long haul to November. But Axelrod said it is premature to discuss public financing for general election before nomination is decided.

"Bob, we're not backing away. What Sen. Obama said is, once the nomination is secured, we will sit down with Sen. McCain as the nominee, and we will talk this through," Axelrod said. "Let's get through the primary season, sit down. We obviously want … nobody's been stronger on campaign finance reform than Barack Obama."

Schieffer also brought two superdelegates onto the show: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Clinton surrogate, and Richmond, Va., Mayor L. Douglas Wilder. He's supporting Obama. Why?

"…it's a mistake for Bill Clinton to believe that there has been given to him this mantle of authority to be able to speak for and to and to be dismissive of African-Americans. And I think he made a big mistake, and I think he hurt Hillary in the process," Wilder said.

Villaraigosa disagreed, citing that Clinton "understands that we need to unite America" as a reason he supports her.

"I think that Hillary Clinton does that as well. I think she understands that we need to unite America, not just Democrats, Republicans and independents, black and white; every sector of the country," he said.

Read the full Face the Nation transcript here.