DNC - Howard Dean and Jim Roosevelt Discuss Rules and Bylaws Committee Meeting on ABC's This Week

Washington, DC-- Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee Co-Chair Jim Roosevelt discussed the Rules and Bylaws Committee's decision to seat the Florida and Michigan delegations yesterday and Democratic Party unity this morning on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Below are excerpts from Dean and Roosevelt's appearance:

On the Rules and Bylaws Committee's Decision to Seat Delegations from Florida and Michigan:

Dean: "Well, first, let me thank Jim and former Secretary Alexis Herman who is the other co-chair of the rules committee. They did an incredible job and so did the rules committee. The fact is, that we actually did what Michigan and Florida asked us to do. Michigan, this, the plan that we adopted, that the rules committee adopted yesterday was the Michigan plan. And there were some penalties, of course. And the Florida people actually agreed to the penalties. So we basically did what Florida and Michigan asked."

Roosevelt: "George, you got to remember that, first of all, this was not a legal event that took place there…The rules that set the dates for the primary have the force of law according to the U.S. Supreme Court, so this was, no, not a legal event that occurred there…What we had to do as a rules committee was come up with something that was the best reflection that we could find of how the voters really intended to vote and that's what we did…The Michigan supporters of both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama came to us together with the Democratic Party leadership and the governor from Michigan and convinced us that this was a fair reflection of how people intended to vote there."

On Democratic Party Unity:

Dean: "But this is an extraordinary day for the Democratic Party. We have basically come together. The final votes on these issues were not along partisan lines, that is, not all the Clinton people didn't vote one way and all the Obama people didn't vote another way. The way, the Florida was unanimous it was 27-nothing. The Michigan vote was 19 to 8. So this was, I think this is the beginning of the coming together of this party…This is really, this is actually the second step. The first step was about three weeks ago, we had a finance agreement where the Clinton people and the Obama people negotiated directly after we began as intermediaries to come to an agreement to raise money for the eventual nominee through the DNC. Now we have an even bigger agreement, we settled Florida and Michigan by and large with the agreement of local Clinton and Obama people in both states and with a significant vote from members of both sides, the Clinton and the Obama people."

Roosevelt: "It was our duty as a rules committee to honor the rules so that we don't have chaos next time. We did that last night. What any candidate does at the end of the whole process to unify the party is his or her decision… I think it is up to the candidate to do what they think is the most unifying thing."

On The Campaign:

Dean: "There has been an enormous amount of sexism in this campaign on the part of the media including the mainstream media, we'll leave present company excepted because I think that's true. But there have been major networks that have featured numerous outrageous comments if the words were reversed and they were about race, the people would have been fired. So that's a big issue."

On the Democratic Candidates:

Dean: "These are two incredibly, I think wonderful people. And I really do believe that on a personal level. But they're terrific people…I think if Senator Obama is the nominee, he has to reach out. If Senator Clinton is the nominee, she has to reach out. They both have to work together. And they know that, they know that. These are two real professional folks that have been around for a long time, and I think they value their country more than they value their party and that's the most important thing."