Question: Have you endorsed a candidate?
George Mitchell: I haven’t made any public comment on it, and I’m not gonna start on this show.
Question: Do you have a timeline to decide?
George Mitchell: Well, everybody has a timeline of the time that you have to come to vote, but I think that it’s likely to be decided before then, and I probably will decide, along with most others. I think it’s Howard Dean who suggested the end of June, if I’m not mistaken.
Question: Do you feel bound to follow the will of the people in the State of New York? On what will you base your decision?
George Mitchell: It’s very interesting. I’m from Maine-- I represented Maine in the Senate, but I’m now a resident of New York. Primarily, when I left the Senate, I remarried, I had young children, my children go to school here, so you sort of-- that’s where you end up as a voting, tax-paying citizen. When Obama won the main caucuses, I got a bunch of letters and calls from people because they and I thought I’d be, again, a superdelegate from Maine. I’d been a superdelegate from Maine since I left the Senate. And they said, “Well, Obama won in Maine, so you should vote for Obama.” Then, Clinton won in New York, and I got a few calls from Clinton people saying, “Well, you live in New York, you ought to vote for Clinton because she won New York.” And then the Democratic National Committee announced yes, in fact, I would be a superdelegate from New York, so then I started getting calls from my Obama friends, making a completely different argument. And both sides’ arguments have shifted over time. If you say, “Should I vote in accordance with the majority in the state?” That’s New York, then I would vote for Clinton. Should I vote for the majority in my Congressional District? Should I vote for who wins the popular vote nationwide? Should that popular vote include or exclude Florida? Which is likely to be a determining factor in who wins. I think each of these has an argument in and of itself. I guess my feeling is I feel much like I did in the Senate when I had to advise and consent on Presidential nominations. The Constitution doesn’t define what you do, so I think I should use my best judgment, taking into account and giving great weight to the way others have voted, and there are, as I’ve just mentioned, numerous iterations of that. You can look at one of several factors, including the number of delegates they have won through the elective process. But in the end, making a judgment which my conscience and judgment tells me is the person who will best serve the nation and, as a Democrat, who will be most likely to be elected.
Question: What would you advise Clinton/Obama on Florida/Michigan?
George Mitchell: If I did, I wouldn’t tell you because that would, of course, defeat the purpose of any mediation, and I don’t, so I’m not keeping any secrets from you, and I don’t think it’s likely to happen. I think it’s all gonna work out before then. Now, you’re not a reporter in the strictest sense, but you know, the press has an interest in controversy. Keeping it going, and devising scenarios that suggest a conflict right down to the last minute of the last hour of the last roll call at the Convention and maybe beyond. But I think reality is to the contrary. I think it is likely to be resolved not too long after the last primary or caucus. That’s not very far away. We’ve waited this long, we can wait another month.