Clinton Fat Cats Hiss at Pelosi

Were a bunch of Clinton donors threatening to withhold contributions to the Democratic House campaign committee if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., doesn't change her position on superdelegates?

Not directly, no.

But a brouhaha has erupted over recent comments made by Pelosi on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos", when Pelosi, who will chair the Democratic National Convention, seemed to give a boost to the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., by saying "If the votes of the superdelegates overturn what's happened in the elections, it would be harmful to the Democratic Party."

Taking umbrage, a list of big Democratic donors who support the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., have written a letter to Pelosi (subsequently released to the press) pointing out that "Several states and millions of Democratic voters have not yet had a chance to cast their votes" and arguing "None of us should make declarative statements that diminish the importance of their voices and their votes. We are writing to say we believe your remarks on ABC News This Week on March 16th did just that.

"During your appearance, you suggested super-delegates have an obligation to support the candidate who leads in the pledged delegate count as of June 3rd , whether that lead be by 500 delegates or 2. This is an untenable position that runs counter to the party’s intent in establishing super-delegates in 1984…"

Then the donors -- Marc Aronchick, Clarence Avant, Susie Tompkins Buell, Sim Farar, Robert L. Johnson, Chris Korge, Marc and Cathy Lasry, Hassan Nemazee, Alan and Susan Patricof, JB Pritzker, Amy Rao, Lynn de Rothschild, Haim Saban, Bernard Schwartz, Stanley S. Shuman, Jay Snyder, Maureen White and Steven Rattner -- reminded Pelosi that they have given generously to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which helps fund Democratic House races.

"We have been strong supporters of the DCCC." they wrote. "We therefore urge you to clarify your position on super-delegates and reflect in your comments a more open view to the optional independent actions of each of the delegates at the National Convention in August. We appreciate your activities in support of the Democratic Party and your leadership role in the Party and hope you will be responsive to some of your major enthusiastic supporters."

Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly in a statement said, "Speaker Pelosi is confident that superdelegates will choose between Senators Clinton or Obama -- our two strong candidates -- before the convention in August. That choice will be based on many considerations, including respecting the decisions of millions of Americans who have voted in primaries and participated in caucuses. The Speaker believes it would do great harm to the Democratic Party if superdelegates are perceived to overturn the will of the voters. This has been her position throughout this primary season, regardless of who was ahead at any particular point in delegates or votes."

Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton, noting the donors' reminder to Pelosi of their largesse, said, "This letter is inappropriate and we hope the Clinton campaign will reject the insinuation contained in it. Regardless of the outcome of the nomination fight, Senator Obama will continue to urge his supporters to assist Speaker Pelosi in her efforts to maintain and build a working majority in the House of Representatives."

-- jpt

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