BET Founder on Pelosi's Comments

This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," March 27, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: 20 top Clinton donors are now people House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. They are suggesting that they, well, didn't really much like the fact that she said the superdelegates should back the candidate with the most delegates. That would be Barack Obama. But Pelosi is not backing down.

Her office issuing this statement: "The speaker believes it would do great harm to the Democratic Party if superdelegates are perceived to overturn the will of the voters."

Joining me now, one of the ticked-off Clinton supporters, billionaire businessman Robert Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television.

Click here to watch the interview with BET founder Robert Johnson

Robert, just as I have you here — it is always good having. But has released a statement saying this is pretty outrageous, your move and those of these big supporters of Hillary Clinton, that they are threatening to stop supporting Democrats in Congress because Nancy Pelosi said that the people, not the superdelegates, should decide the presidential nomination.

What do you say?

ROBERT JOHNSON, FOUNDER, BLACK ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION: Well, first of all, is wrong. All the contributors to the Democratic Party who have been contributors all their life will continue to be so. And I certainly will.

I have given over $2 million to the Democratic Party and various candidates over the years. And I will do that. But the real issue fundamental fairness in making sure that the superdelegates carry out their role.

They are not, as Nancy Pelosi would suggest, confirmation delegates. They are not robot delegates. They are superdelegates whose charter authorizes them to analyze who would be the better candidate of the two to run against a Republican candidate and win the presidency and who would be the best person to serve as president of the United States.

That's the role of the superdelegates. And nothing in their charter says they have to act the way the pledged delegates act.

CAVUTO: All right, but what if it the popular vote is such at the end of the nominating process, and Barack Obama still leads maybe by hundreds of thousands of votes, still leads in the regular delegate count? Would you still subscribe to that?

JOHNSON: Well, as I said before, the superdelegates were appointed specifically to analyze, evaluate, look at all the factors that lead up to picking the best person to be the — the Democratic Party nominee.

They have that charge. You can't take that away from them. Now, if they decide, after all of those factors, to go with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton will enthusiastically support him. If they choose to go with Hillary, obviously, that's where the superdelegates have decided.

The key question is, they are not robot delegates. They are delegates charged to select the best candidate for the party.

CAVUTO: Robert, did you talk to Nancy Pelosi yourself?

JOHNSON: No, I did not talk to Nancy before I sent the letter.

CAVUTO: All right. Well, you saw a pretty terse response, I guess, to this effort.

And the feeling is that, now, Hillary Clinton is branching out to say even pledged delegates are not necessarily pledged to the candidate they are ostensibly pledged to. What do you make of that?

JOHNSON: Well, as I said before, this is a race where individual voters make up their mind.

Some voters make up their mind on the way to the polls. Some voters make up their mind long before the polls. I think individual voters always have the right, the right of freedom of choice to make a decision that they want to make. And it's the delegates' right to select whom they want to support. If they decide to change because of factors that exist on June 3 or on July 4 that didn't exist when they pledged, I think that's clearly in the right any voter to change their mind.

CAVUTO: Even the pledged delegates could — could just swap and join to the other camp?

JOHNSON: Well, Neil, if you look at it this way, what if something happens to the candidate that you are supporting that clearly means that that candidate could not carry the party standard in the election? Would you same that the pledged delegates should always remain to a candidate that — who is absolutely incapable of leading the party because of some factor we don't know about today?

CAVUTO: All right, but I guess by that, Robert, I'm asking you — I could see something of a physical incapacity or a huge controversy that emerges. But — but, shy of that, it would be like deliberately prying pledged candidates from someone who have them.

JOHNSON: Well, nobody is saying that they're going to pry delegates.

All we're saying is — and I say what Senator Clinton is saying — that delegates always have reserved the right to decide at a moment in time who is the better candidate to be nominated for the Democratic Party.

CAVUTO: So, let me ask you, Robert, the terse response I read at the outset from Nancy Pelosi's office, she seems to be saying to you, you know, forget it.

So, you're a big money man. You have said you have given $2 million to the Democratic Party. I know Steve Rattner, another Wall — big Wall Streeter, was a co-signer to that letter as well. What are you guys going to do if that is her official person?

JOHNSON: Well, as I said before, Nancy is — is one person. She is speaker of the House. And obviously she carries some weight with some people, not all people.

But I give money to the party, not to an individual. So...


CAVUTO: Would you still give money to the party?

JOHNSON: As I said before, ever since I have been able to contribute to the Democratic Party, I have given millions of dollars to the party. I will continue to do so.

But the fact of the matter is, delegates, superdelegates, regular delegates, have to make a choice who would be the better candidate.

CAVUTO: OK, so — I am sorry to belabor the report, Robert. This was not a threat? Some people interpreted this letter as a not-so-thinly- veiled threat, that you would withdraw giving money to the party if — if it maintains this position.

JOHNSON: I have on my desk in my office now a letter from Nancy Pelosi asking me to make $100,000 — or up to a $100,000 contribution to go to the Democratic Convention and be part of all the festivities and all the politicking at the party.

Nothing that she says would keep me from making that donation, if I decide to do to. And I'm not opposed to supporting the party.

CAVUTO: Have you decided? Have you decided to do so?

JOHNSON: I have not made that decision at this time.

CAVUTO: Interesting.

OK. Robert Johnson, thank you very much.

JOHNSON: Thank you, Neil.

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