Video: Schumer & Durbin debate on Meet the Press

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, an Obama supporter, and New York Senator Chuck Schumer, a Clinton supporter, both appeared on Meet the Press this morning, February 17, 2008, to debate about their respective candidates.

Here is their entire discussion hosted on YouTube in 2 parts:

Here’s a report on the debate from The Swamp:

Sens Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), two Capital Hill roommates and frequent political allies pulled in opposite directions by the presidential campaigns of home-state candidates, tussled on NBC’s Meet the Press this morning over how unelected “superdelegates” should vote on a Democratic presidential nominee if neither candidate clinches the nomination in the primaries.

Each followed the positions of their respective candidates, Durbin, who is a national co-chairman of Barack Obama’s campaign, argued that the superdelegates should look to the will of the people as expressed in party primaries and caucuses while Schumer, a Hillary Clinton supporter, said the answer was less clear.

Schumer was asked by moderator Tim Russert whether Obama should get the nomination if, as is the case at the moment, the Illinois senator has won the most states, the most elected delegates and the most popular voters.

“You need to know lots of details. Did he win the other states 60-40 or did he win them 50.1-to 49.9. Is the popular vote overwhelming or is it not?” Schumer responded. “This is a closely fought contest. It is going to twist and turn many times. I think making a set rule now…doesn’t make sense.”

The New York senator predicted that, if neither candidate wins the 2,025 delegates need for the nomination by the end of the primary season on June 7, the two candidates will negotiate with Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and other party leaders.

“Each candidate will have to have buy into that strategy to determine who wins,” Schumer said.

The split over the role of superdelegates within the Democratic Party is fascinating to watch. It seems to be breaking along candidate lines. Clinton supporters, who may be fearing they’ll need them, seem to be satisfied with the superdelagate setup. Obama supporters are getting increasingly critical of the idea of superdelegates possibly deciding the nominee.