Chalian Stumps the Clinton Campaign

By Jennifer Parker

Feb 18, 2008 2:45pm

On the Clinton campaign conference call yesterday, a telling (non) answer from Clinton communications staffers Howard Wolfson and Phil Singer.

When ABC News Political Director David Chalian asked them asked about the Texas contest and how they would assess victory in that complicated caucus/primary contest, the answer was tellingly confused.

The reason this is significant (beyond the Clinton campaign’s seeming unpreparedness for the Texas contest — more on that HERE) is the possibility that Clinton could win Texas overall but lose the delegate allocation in Texas.

David Chalian: On Texas and Ohio, you guys have obviously pointed to the importance of these states for quite a while, does a Texas victory only get considered a victory if you win both the primary there and the final delegate count due to the complex system there?

Howard Wolfson: Look, I think all of you will be looking at a lot of different data points to determine who wins the night. I think obviously, the delegate counts in this state is one of them, but I’m not going to presume to tell ABC News how to determine the outcome from a rhetorical standpoint. But I think we’re going to do very very well.

David Chalian: But, I’m asking would you consider it a victory if you don’t win the delegate allocation in Texas that night?

Howard Wolfson: Ummm, you know, I’d have to think about that. I don’t know the answer to that.

David Chalian: Okay, thank you.

Howard Wolfson: That is a, ah, less than unequivocal, but I don’t know, Phil, do you have a thought on that?

Phil Singer: Umm, no.

Howard Wolfson: You’ve stumped us. The last question has stumped us.

*

These are not gentlemen who are frequently stumped, I might add.

- jpt

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