Transcript: Terry McAuliffe, Joe Andrew on 'FNS'

Written by Chris Wallace / Published May 05, 2008 / Fox News Sunday

The following is a partial transcript of the May 4, 2008, edition of "FOX News Sunday With Chris Wallace":

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: We continue our discussion of the Democratic race now with two former party chairs on opposite sides of the fight.

Terry McAuliffe, who's chairman of the Clinton campaign, joins us from Kentucky; and from Indiana, superdelegate Joe Andrew, who a couple of days ago switched from Clinton to Obama.

Well, gentlemen, first I'd like to get your reaction to what you just heard Howard Dean say, that Republicans making an issue of Reverend Wright is race baiting and using hate.

Mr. McAuliffe, you buy that?

TERRY MCAULIFFE, CHAIRMAN OF THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN: Well, listen. I think there's no place in it for these Republicans to be running these ads with Reverend Wright in it.

I think on the Democratic side, they want to hear about the issues of job creation, health care, how we're going to get our troops out of Iraq fast and safe. And I think that message is what people are concerned about.

I'm here in Kentucky. We have West Virginia, Indiana, North Carolina coming up. It's all about jobs. It's about gas prices. So the folks I'm talking to are not focused on that at all. They're focused on kitchen table issues.

And that's why Hillary Clinton has continued to move ahead and have the momentum.

WALLACE: Mr. Andrew, when I interviewed Senator Obama last week, he said he thought it was a legitimate political issue. Do you think that it's race baiting to mention Reverend Wright?

JOE ANDREW, DEMOCRATIC SUPERDELEGATE: Hey, look. I think Howard Dean is not only doing a great job, but he's exactly right on this issue as well. What has been so moving, I think, for people across Indiana — as you said, I'm down in Evansville right now where the excitement is just unbelievably electric — is how Senator Obama has reacted to these criticisms that have come from Jeremiah Wright.

That reaction — the way he's denounced them, the way he stood up and said exactly what he's all about — I think has brought a lot of people over to his cause. He's been tested here, and he's obviously done very well in that test.

I think that's why there's so much energy both in the south of Indiana where I am and in the north where I was yesterday.

WALLACE: Well, let me, gentlemen, examine this from a different perspective. We see, as I mentioned with Governor Dean, Republicans now running ads trying to link local candidates to Obama and to Reverend Wright.

It didn't work yesterday in Louisiana, where a Democrat who was the target of some of those ads won a special election for Congress.

But, Mr. McAuliffe, when you see this pattern, is Obama, either because of Reverend Wright or other reasons — is he now becoming a drag on other Democrats down ticket?

MCAULIFFE: Absolutely not. We have had — I've said this for a while now. We have two spectacular candidates running for the Democratic nomination. This race is essentially even.

When you count all the votes, Hillary has gotten more votes in the popular vote. More people have voted for Hillary than any candidate ever in the history of the Democratic side. I feel very comfortable about where we are going forward in the remaining contests that we have.

As you know, we have very important two states coming up, Indiana, North Carolina. I know that the Obama campaign has said that they would win Indiana by seven points. They were 20 points up in North Carolina. All the most recent polls show it very, very tight.

Folks really are focused on the economic issues. Who is it that's going to deal with the job creation issue? Who is going to deal with the debt foreclosures and the mortgage crisis that we have in this country? Hillary Clinton.

If you look at the polling data on the issue of jobs and economy, strong ahead of everybody else. Who has the best chance of beating John McCain? She now beats Senator McCain 50-41.

WALLACE: Well, I want to — let me pick up on that, Mr. McAuliffe, because I think you both agree that perhaps the single biggest issue for the superdelegates who haven't declared is which candidate is going to run a stronger race against John McCain this fall and has a better chance of bringing the White House back to Democrats.

Let's take a look at some numbers. In Ohio, the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls shows Clinton beating McCain by almost six points, while McCain leads Obama by more than three. In Florida, Clinton now leads McCain by two points, almost two points, while McCain beats Obama by nine.

Mr. Andrew, if you look at those numbers, isn't Clinton right now the stronger Democrat to go up against McCain?

ANDREW: Look, the fact is that the polls have been up and down. They will be up and down, Chris, a dozen times between now and the general election.

Where there's been competition, Barack Obama's gotten more votes. He's won more states. He has more delegates. The reason Republicans are going after him is because they sense that he's close to being the presumptive nominee here, because the math is so tough for Hillary Clinton.

That's why there's energy, that's why there's excitement around the campaign here in Indiana and all over North Carolina, because people feel how close this is. And people across...

WALLACE: But how do you — let me bring Mr. McAuliffe in.

How do you argue with those polls that at least at this point show in two very important states, Florida and Ohio, Clinton beats McCain and McCain beats Obama, Mr. McAuliffe?

MCAULIFFE: Chris, I think you hit it right on the head. When we finish this up on June 3rd, at that point the superdelegates have got to make the decision who is it that can best beat John McCain, because this is what this is about, winning the election on November 4th.

Hillary in the last week has moved ahead in every single poll against John McCain. Senator Obama has either tied or, even on FOX, is behind Senator McCain. Hillary is ahead on every poll.

More importantly, she now has a huge lead with independents in the general election. I think that's very important. The demographics for us are all turning our way. If we win Florida, we win Ohio, we win the White House.

Hillary has won Michigan, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania. She's won those states by 10 points, and I think that's very important, added to Texas, California, New York, New Jersey, Michigan.

WALLACE: Let me bring — Mr. Andrew, how do you respond specifically to that issue?

ANDREW: Well, first off, look, winning the Democratic primary, obviously, in all these tough states has only limited information about whether or not you'd win in the general election.

There are a half a dozen polls that have showed very different statistics, Chris, than the one that you're showing here. We've got polls all over the place.

And the reason is because, Terry and I agree, this is a close, tough race. It's close, obviously, in the primary. It's going to be, unfortunately, close in the general election because of all the dynamics here as well.

What you see in Indiana is that same enthusiasm and energy that you saw weeks ago for Barack Obama. And I think a lot of it has to do because people over and over again see Barack Obama stand up with these very principled positions, things that are not, you know, politically expedient.

The people in Indiana remember there's more than 100 Hoosiers that have died in the Iraq war, and he voted no on that war. We lived through a gas tax holiday here in Indiana and saw that the big oil companies didn't pass that on at all.

So this McCain-Clinton gas tax is perceived as pandering here in Indiana...

WALLACE: Mr. Andrew, let me ask...

ANDREW: ... where Barack Obama, having this $1,000 middle-class tax cut, is exactly what people want, and people are now positively responding to it. This is turning toward Barack Obama.

WALLACE: Mr. Andrew, let me ask you about political expedience and political tactics.

When you switched, announced your switch, this week from Clinton to Obama, you said the following in a letter you wrote, talking about the Clinton campaign, "They are the best practitioners of the old politics, so they will no doubt call me a traitor, an opportunist and a hypocrite."

Mr. Andrew, have they tried to smear you?

ANDREW: Well, the fact of the matter is that there are thousands of e-mails, thousands of telephone calls, fortunately, most of them that are positive. And there's a lot of people who like to think of themselves as surrogates for these campaigns that may well not be.

Look, I've been questioned whether I'm a Hoosier. I've been questioned whether I'm an American simply for trying to state my opinion as well.

I'm a great admirer of Hillary Clinton. I'm a great admirer of Terry McAuliffe, who I think has run a great campaign for her as well. As Terry said, this is not a question between good or bad or right and wrong. We've got two goods here, two rights.

They have differences on the issues, differences how they approach these things. And that's what we're talking about. But in the end of the day, Democrats are going to rally around a Democrat, and a Democrat is going to beat John McCain in the fall.

WALLACE: Mr. McAuliffe, Joe Andrew is just the latest member of the, quote, Clinton team to jump ship. And let me show you some of the others who have.

MCAULIFFE: Sure.

WALLACE: Members of the Clinton cabinet like Bill Richardson, Bill Daley, Norm Mineta, Federico Pena, Robert Reich, and a number of other people who worked closely with the Clintons and know them awfully well have jumped ship from Clinton to Obama, or just supported Obama from the start.

Why is it that so many people who know and have worked with the Clintons are supporting Obama?

MCAULIFFE: Now, in fairness, Chris, I could give you a list of thousands upon thousands of people who worked in the Clinton administration who are out there every single day strongly supporting Hillary Clinton.

You're never going to get 100 percent of everybody. People make their decisions for their own reasons. As you know, we picked up seven or eight superdelegates last week.

I went out with a letter the other day — we had eight former chairmen of the Democratic National Committee representing 40 years of working as chairs of the party — the entire Ron Brown's family has come out — the late Ron Brown's family all came out and endorsed Hillary strongly last week.

So you don't get everybody, but I feel very comfortable about where we are. As we look forward, I think the key point is in the polls we saw this week, independents are now breaking for Hillary Clinton.

You know what? They like her fight and they have seen her through the 16 months. They've seen people try to hold her down. Several times Senator Obama's campaign could have put Hillary down. She's right back fighting. People like it in this country when they see...

WALLACE: We've got about a minute left.

MCAULIFFE: ... someone get up, dust themselves off and fight for...

WALLACE: We've got about a minute left, gentlemen, so let me ask you for some final predictions. What are we going to see Tuesday in Indiana and North Carolina?

Mr. Andrew, you start.

ANDREW: Tough races. Barack Obama is going to win. And I think you're going to see this energy.

WALLACE: You think he's going to win both?

ANDREW: You're going to see him coming back.

WALLACE: Do you think he's going to win both, Mr. Andrew?

ANDREW: I think he's going to win both. I think he's going to win both because of this energy, this excitement and because of the fact that people realize that he's got some real plans here, not just political pandering.

WALLACE: And, Mr. McAuliffe, you get the final word.

MCAULIFFE: I feel very comfortable. We just won Pennsylvania with a 10-point lead. We are being outspent in these upcoming states two if not three to one. Every recent poll has both of these states basically too close to call.

So once again, outspent 3-1, a lot of negative advertising done against Hillary Clinton. Her message — jobs, jobs, jobs.

WALLACE: Is she going to win...

MCAULIFFE: You stand up and fight for Hillary, she will fight for you as president of the United States.

WALLACE: Real quick, is she going to win — real quick, Mr. McAuliffe, is she going to win both?

MCAULIFFE: Listen, I'm not going to predict today. I feel very comfortable where we are. You and I should talk, Chris, on election day. But you know what? People see Hillary Clinton fighting. They like it. She'll fight for you as president every single day.

WALLACE: That's a date. We'll talk on primary night.

MCAULIFFE: You bet.

WALLACE: Mr. McAuliffe...

MCAULIFFE: I'll be back.

WALLACE: ... Mr. Andrew, thank you both. Thanks to both of you for joining us today.

ANDREW: Look forward to it.

MCAULIFFE: Thank you.

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