Why does the Democratic Party have superdelegates? Dan Moreman Jr. SHREVEPORT, LA.
The initial purpose was to encourage officeholders to come to the convention, which they did not do in 1980 when there was a battle between President [Jimmy] Carter and Senator [Ted] Kennedy over the nomination. We've had them for 25 years for that reason.
Would you support an effort to create a single nationwide primary day? Amy Wardlow COLUMBUS, OHIO
Absolutely not. I think we do need to condense the schedule, but I also think that if you have them on a single day, it's like having a national election. We learn a lot about these candidates as they go through all these states.
Many people have criticized your hands-off approach as DNC chairman. Is that fair? Marc Elliott Levy, WASHINGTON
I took a hands-off approach because I don't think it's up to the chairman of the Democratic National Committee to pick the President. That's up to the voters.
Do you see any situation whereby the delegates from Michigan and Florida are not seated? C.J. Gremke, BUFFALO, N.Y.
There'll be three principles that the Rules Committee looks at: 1) fairness to the voters; 2) fairness to the campaigns, who started off under a set of rules believing that Michigan and Florida would not be seated; 3) fairness to the 48 states who did the right thing and stayed with the process. I do believe that Michigan and Florida will be seated in some way.
Do you favor the elimination of the Electoral College? Wayne Martell, VICTORIA, B.C.
Yes. It's unrepresentative of where the American people are. It was fine for the days of the Pony Express, but it's not necessary to avoid a popular vote on Presidents now.
As a former physician, what are your thoughts on the Democratic candidates' health-care plans vs. a single-payer system? Megan Prouty CARROLLTON, TEXAS
I think while someday we may end up with a single-payer system, it's clear that we're not going to do it all at once, so I think both candidates' health-care plans are a big step forward. Certainly compared to Senator [John] McCain, who represents a big step backward.
Can you articulate what happened with your "Dean Scream" speech in 2004? Elizabeth Cahimba LANSING, MICH.
I think it was mostly a cable-television stunt that had nothing to do with what really went on in the room.
People disapprove of the job Congress is doing. Does that mean the gains made in the 2006 election will be lost in 2008? Randy Arnold CHATTANOOGA, TENN.
No. The public clearly agrees with Democrats on the major issues of the economy, the war and health care, and I think they feel very frustrated that the Republicans are preventing any of the reforms that the public wanted in 2006 from going into effect.
The long primary process has tired both Obama and Clinton supporters. What are some steps you plan on taking to defuse the bitterness between these two camps? Minjae Lee, HAWORTH, N.J.
We're already working very hard to do that. In fact, both the Obama campaign and the Clinton campaign signed an agreement to ask their donors to raise money for the dnc, which is really a commitment by both candidates to support the one that wins. That's really important.
Is it time for a safety candidate like Al Gore, to ensure that the Democrats take this election that is ours to lose? Steve Garmire EDMONDS, WASH.
I think we're going to win no matter who gets nominated.
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