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TNDP Chair Debate Transcript

1/3/10
Participating Candidates
Chip Forrester
Wade Munday
Matt Kuhn

Co-Moderators
Betsy T. Phillips
Becky Ruppe

Production Director
Romel McMurry
Tennessee College Democrats

Production Assistant/Time Keeper


Bob Cowan, Chair
Roane County Democratic Party

Executive Director
Brad Parish, Committeeman
12th District

Betsy Phillips: I'm here in Davidson County up in Whites Creek and I write for the Nashville
Scene and for my own blog, Tiny Cat Pants, and I'm glad to be here. Each of the candidates
have been given the ground rules and I believe they are available on the blog website so I
won't go over them again except to say that the candidates have drawn and they will be going
in a randomized order but they will be going according to the straw that they drew. So, if you
are trying to figure out who is doing what when...like I said the full rules are available on the
website.

Becky Ruppe: At this time we'd like to ask each candidate to give a two minute introduction
starting with candidate #1, you have 2 minutes each to do so.

Chip Forrester: Thank you Becky. I'm Chip Forrester, Chairman of the Tennessee
Democratic Party, its great to be here and thank you Betsy for moderating and participating in
this, its good to be with these candidates for chair. Before I begin my remarks I just want to
make two statements. One, I'm a little hoarse, I'm under the weather with one of these apps
called a cold that you get, and I also want to say that I just participated in an historic moment
in Tennessee. I just got back from Clarksville where Kim McMillan was just sworn in as the
Mayor of the 5th largest city. You know she ran for Governor and won that race in Clarksville,
its great to see her become the Mayor of the 5th largest city and I think Clarksville will continue
to grow.

I'm looking forward to tonight to discuss the issues that are important to us as we move
forward in 2011. Its great to have the candidates here, um, and I'm looking forward to their
ideas. I'm going to turn it over to the next candidate, I'm glad to be here.

Becky: Candidate #2.

Wade Munday: I just want to say thanks to all individuals watching tonight and for
participating in the discussion – an important discussion with large implications. Sometimes it
might get mundane talking about small aspects of a large organization. Sometimes it gets
broad and sweeping when we are talking about a “Democratic Message” and what it means
around the state. But, I really just want to talk in these brief two minutes that I have...our
organization is already a strong organization, built not on the number of voters that came out,
but on the number of people across this state. Whether or not they came out to vote, even if
they stayed home, they are still members of the Democratic Party, they are still people that
we speak for, they are still people we represent. This isn't about our organization and its
survival as a non-profit entity, this is about the survival of Tennesseans who are going to pay
their bills, Tennesseans who are going up against large corporations and a Republican
agenda...[beeps]...the suffering they experience every day. So I hope we talk about some of
the minutia, but I also hope we talk about the larger implications and what this means for
people all across this state.

Becky: Thank you, candidate #3.

Matt Kuhn: Thank you, I'm Matt Kuhn, I'd like to thank Becky and Betsy for being here tonight
and Brad's leadership for putting this out. We are here and it is after the holidays and I
apologize to any of the Executive Committee members that I've [inaudible] over the last 50
days...its definitely difficult over Christmas and New Year's, but we are here as a family, and in
the spirit of family, that's how I would like to proceed and I know its how we will proceed over
the next hour and coming days and after this election for Chairman, because the TNDP is a
family. What we had was a family squabble and we are here tonight to talk about how we
make a decision, and make that decision to move forward as a family. More than anything, I
want us to be together. I want every aspect of our family: donors, activists, Executive
committee members, County Chairs, and [children of the candidates for chairman?] that are
watching at home...everybody that is a part of this family, to be involved, and more than
anything, all of us, I imagine, its about how we resolve our family squabble and get through
the family squabble. Make the decision to move on, thank you.

Betsy: Up first, we are going to have the speed round. We've asked the candidates to limit
their responses to one word, some of these may call for more, but or [beeps]...so, the first
question, will just be answered in order 1, 2 and 3. Starting with you Chip, what will be your
number one priority as Chair?

Chip: Message Development.


Wade: Winning Elections.
Matt: Fund-raising.

Becky: This question has five different parts to it, and I just wanted you to give me a number
on a scale of 1 to 10, one being the lowest. And the first one is 1, 2 and 3. First one is
candidate recruitment. How would you rate the party's current situation in regards to
candidate recruitment on a scale of 1 to 10.
Chip: 7
Wade: 5
Matt: 2

Becky: Membership building we'll go 2, 3 and back to 1.

Wade: 3
Matt: 5
Chip: 6

Becky: The next one is fund-raising, and we'll start with #3, come back to 1 and then 2.

Matt: 1
Chip: 8
Wade: 2

Becky: The next one is communications, 1, 3 and then 2.

Chip: [Beep]
Matt: 6
Wade: 2

Becky: On winning elections, we'll start with number 2, go to 1 and then to 3.

Wade: 0
Matt: 3
Chip: 5

Betsy: The next questions are in the order of 2, 3, and 1. Your strongest leadership traits.

Wade: Organization
Matt: Consensus building
Chip: Bringing diversity

Becky: Question number four is what do you consider to be your biggest weakness, we'll
start with #3, come back to 2 and go to 1.

Matt: Inability to shut-up


Wade: Over-confidence
Chip: Delegating

Betsy: Now we'll be moving on to the questions. These are non debate questions everyone
will have a minute to answer the questions. The timekeeper will be keeping time so please
pay attention to the yellow and red.

The first question will be answered in order of 2, 3, and 1. So, starting with you Wade. The
Democratic party been seen as the party of the everyman or everywoman. How can you
relate the Chair to our everyman/woman constituent?
Wade: Well I've lived in both urban and rural experiences throughout my lifetime. I've been
in Tennessee my entire life, so I know what its like to grow up and work here. And I know
what its like to delegate responsibility among an Executive Board. Harry Truman said
“Statesmen are more expendable than soldiers.” My father was a marine, and throughout his
entire life, he lived his life with a lot of dignity (he's still alive), but I always thought he would
be the best politician, the best statesman, because he put his head down and he worked.
That's been the life that I've wanted to exemplify and that's what I hope to do as Chair and
throughout the duration of my life.

Matt: Well, its difficult to [inaudible] how someone is an “everyman” and I think what is more
important is how you can empathize and certainly understand how the everyman works. And
in my career I have done everything from been a janitor to manage campaigns to being a
county commissioner to having been a county party chair. Probably one of my best everyman
attributes is the ability to communicate and effectively sit down with business leaders. I've
spent three years selling one company called Lenny's Sub Shop. I don't know if y'all know but
the largest export from Memphis is actually the Philly Cheese Steak and that's from Lenny's
Sub Shop. And that made me go around the country in 22 states and talk to businessmen
about their hopes and dream and how they want to be able to do it. And so that's how I relate
to the everyman.

Betsy: Great, thank you. And Chip?

Chip: Well I too am the son of a serving soldier and my father saw combat three times in his
life, I saw him go off to combat. I've lived the life of traveling around the world as the son of a
serving soldier. I also have had a diverse background in terms of political experience and um
I think the strength that I have is the diversity that I've created in the Democratic party and my
ability to reach out and one of the things I'm proud about is that diversity that we have, a
broad group of people. I was proud in 1988 as Executive Director of the Democratic party to
reach out and realize that the African-American community didn't participate in Democratic
politics at a level that it needed to. Women were not involved in the party in the way the
needed to, and I worked hard to open the doors and bring women and different groups into
the party. I think that is my strength.

Becky: Question #2, if you are selected to be the next Chair, what do you see your
relationship with the Executive Committee, what will your relationship look like? And we'll
start with #3 Matt, and then Chip and back to Wade.

Matt: Well as I've gotten to sit down with many members of the Executive Committee, I really
have this feeling that there is an untapped reservoir out there and more than anything I'd want
to get out and make sure that everybody is involved and by that I mean from a fund-raising
and candidate recruitment standpoint, one of the platforms that I've been putting forth is the
TNDP 40 under 40 [program]. In that case, the very first question that I would ask Executive
Committeemen is to find and recruit candidates in their individual districts. We have to
involve our Executive Committee in all aspects of the party.

Becky: Thank you, Chip?

Chip: When I ran 2 years ago I said that the talents of the Executive Committee were
untapped having been a member of the committee since 1988 and participating in party
politics as well as treasurer I realized that we needed to open up the party to bring Executive
Committee members in and I've done that over the last two years and I will continue. We've
given them training and we've consistently had conference calls on a monthly basis. In
addition to the county Executive Committee members we've also opened the door for county
parties to be more involved in what we are doing. That said, its an untapped resource and its
a resource we need to continue to build on, but as Chair over the last two years I think I've
done more than any chair in recent history in terms of opening up the committee and bringing
them in.

Wade: I'd say the relationship would look like one of co-dependence. I will never be as
popular as someone elected on a Democratic primary ballot in any one of the State Senate
districts and so as Chairman I'd rely on their understanding of their districts, their popularity in
their districts, and their expertise in all things political there. They also would be dependent
upon me to exercise their will with this organization that we are trying to manage and the
message that we are trying to distribute.

Becky: Thank you.

Betsy: Alright, the next question we will answer 1, 2 and 3 again. Its a little lengthy but let me
get through it all and I think you'll get the gist of it. What is your plan for the party's physical
headquarters in Tennessee and what is your position about a 95 county strategy. And if you
support this strategy, how would you implement it, and specifically talk a little bit about rural
counties. So I think basically the questioner wants to get at the idea of how do we reach
every Democrat in the state? So Chip?

Chip: I've gotta answer that in one minute? [laughs] There are really two questions here.
Well let me first address the permanent party HQ issue. I've formed a building and facilities
committee which has been meeting to look at the issue of where we need to be, what is the
best option for us moving forward. We are on a month-to-month lease here and does it make
sense to stay or does it make sense to find a space that can accommodate volunteers in a
way...I've also had a vision since 1988 that I think is very important. We need a permanent
party headquarters, a physical place, and not so much just about brick and mortar, but the
spiritual center of the Democratic party. Where the Federation of Democratic Women,
College Democrats, Young Democrats, Davidson County Democratic Party can be here. And
the other thing I wanted to do is we have in the Democratic resource center in East
Tennessee a tremendous success story and we need to replicate that across the state;
Memphis, Jackson, we have an office in Knoxville...and those are the things that I would
envision going forward.

Wade: Well it goes without question that a 95 county strategy is imperative and when you
look at the cost/benefit analysis of where your HQ is going to be, it must be in Nashville, I
think it makes the most sense. Where the building is and what the monthly rent is is
something that I think should be thoroughly weighed and I haven't done that, and I think as
Chair it would be the first priority. As far as implementing the 95 county strategy you have to
ask yourself what sort of support are you going to provide each county? Do you treat them all
equally? And I think you do need to treat them all equally whether through fund-raising
support, or giving someone a call back. I think there is a tremendous amount to be said for
running a professional office here in Nashville.
Matt: Well, first and foremost we have a permanent headquarters, its right here where we are
filming this tonight and where we are coming to you tonight as a family is 2600 sq. feet in the
Freedom Room. The party has never paid a dime for the space that we are coming to you at
right here and we can continue that if we make this the permanent party headquarters –
continue it to be the permanent party headquarters. I think its a question of fund-raising, and I
think its a question of everything is a function of how much you going to raise and you have to
start with fund-raising to make sure that this is the permanent party headquarters and that
goes exactly to the party strategy. Its not necessarily a 95 County strategy but mine is a 33
district strategy that includes each one of the counties in that district, and that's how we
organize and fund-raise and develop our candidates for the future.

Becky: The next question is the same basic question but it'll differ a little bit. Start with Matt,
go to Wade and wind up with Chip. In your opinion, why should we consider changing from
our current chair and what do you think that you will do that is different than the current chair?

Matt: A family can not put itself back together, the Democratic party can not put itself back
together, an organization can not put itself back together with failed past relationships that are
putting a strain on the organization. You have to start new, you have to start fresh. Quite
frankly I would support Wade Munday if it wasn't myself. And it has nothing to do with how
someone was a chair, it has to do with you can't do it with a newness and with a freshness
and with the baggage of the failed relationships. And so more than anything I would bring
new relationships, relationships with donors, activists, party members to the table that are
intact and good.

Wade: Well let me say that I respect your term as Chairman, Chip, and I consider you a friend
and at the very least a fellow Democrat and one that I've served along side. And I respect
that. I don't think you can lay the losses at any one person's feet, I don't think by the same
token that you can claim any one person won numbers of victories across the country or
across the state. I think this is about more than just one person, the three of us are
expendable to the TNDP, but I think that we need to unify all of the Democrats across the
state and all of the people who want to become involved in an organization that speaks out for
those who have lost hope, for those who are working against all of the powerful forces in this
state right now, and I think we should be a voice for that.

Becky: Chip, if we can redo that question for you and have you list part of the reasons why
you should remain Chair.

Chip: Well I think there are two. Number one, I think what Matt and Wade talked about in
terms of unifying the party is critical to us going forward, and I believe I can do that. I believe
the kinds of people who have participated in the party, who have come in in the last two years
have allows us to enlarge what we've been able to do. When I ran two years ago I said that
the job of Chair was really four years. Rebuilding our organization from the grassroots up,
involving Exec Committee members in a way they had never been involved before, rebuilding
our technological infrastructure has come a long way, building the sustaining fund-raising
base that we have, that we've been working on, and that we've been very successful with.
That's a four year job and so I want to finish the work that I've started two years ago so that
this party is in the fiscal shape that it needs to be as we move forward.

Betsy: And now we'll be moving on to the debate questions, this will work in a way that the
direct responder will get two minutes to respond to the question and the other candidates will
get a minute and a half to respond to his rival's. And we've broken this into two parts,
questions about what happened in the past and questions looking towards the future so we'll
be starting with our past reflecting questions. This will start with Chip, and then Wade and
Matt will each have a chance to respond.

The question is, some people say that the TNDP has seen a steady decline for the last
decade including VP Al Gore's loss, the House, Senate and Congressional seats. What do
you think are the factors for this and how will your leadership change this direction.

Chip: I've got two minutes?

Betsy: Yes.

Chip: These are tough questions, I just want to be clear. I've said this when I announced me
re-election. It is critical that we focus on our message. That has been our failure as a party
for the last ten years. Republicans have successfully come up with a way; lower taxes,
smaller government, that appeals to the American people at the top of the ticket all the way
down with their candidates. And unless we get our message straight, which we obviously
didn't in 2010 and obviously not in 2008, we are not going to be able to move this party
forward. Regardless of the infrastructure changes we make, whatever we want to do with the
executive committee members, county parties...if our message is not consistent and clear, we
will not be successful going forward. And that's job one in my view for the TNDP and
Democrats across the State.

Wade: I think you can debate whether or not its been a steady decline or if Tennessee is just
behind the rest of the nation in ten year trend. What we need is a message, and we need
unity, and we need more money. And that all hinges upon our message that we have going
forward. I think, supported by a solid infrastructure, like I said a professional office where you
receive a call back from individuals and county parties, even candidates and committee
members. So I believe what we need going forward is a solid and coherent message that is
distributed evenly across the state.

Matt: Throughout this campaign we've discussed message and saying the right things, but
the decline in this party is just a function of the loss of our salesmen. With the retirement of
Tanner, McWherter, Phil Bredesen, Gordon, Lincoln Davis...you can go through the litany of
the salesmen we have lost. It doesn't matter what your message is if we don't have any
candidates who are saying it. The party's job one should be finding the next generation of
candidates to spread the message. The message of the Democratic party is always right.
Let's face it, we're right, they're wrong, we know that, our message works if we have the right
people to say it. We have to concentrate on finding those candidates and recruits to say that
better.

Becky: The next question will start with Wade, and then get responses from the other two. Its
a lengthy one too. Put on your analyst cap, what went wrong in the 2010 election. Also, in
retrospect, what specific strategy could we have changed in the 2010 election that would
have propelled one or more of the unsuccessful candidates to victory.

Wade: Well I'll end on the really mundane minutia of what my analysis would be, but I'd say
we need a more coherent messaging strategy and we need one that's not focused on two
years, and not even a four or ten year plan, but something that is a long term vision. Like
Matt said, we do need to raise up a generation of candidates, we need to raise up people who
have been working, knocking on doors, contacting voters, working night and day for other
candidates. Its not about us holding onto individual power. As Chairman I will be around for
two years as Chairman, and then I would work as hard as I can to make sure that the next
Chairperson, hopefully Chairwoman, would be in place to take over an effective organization
with a solid message. And I think we need to think long term about how we appeal to that
next generation of candidates, and it all begins with our message.

Matt: Sorry...

Becky: Want me to read the question again?

Matt: Yeah, read the question to make sure I get it right.

Becky: Put on your analyst hat [crosstalk]...

Matt: Yeah, yeah...I don't think it is fair, and I'm not going to and I've said this time and time
again...this is not about what we've done in the past. I'm not going to answer what went
wrong, its not about Monday morning quarterbacking, this is about who the QB for the future
should be and who is best able to bring everybody back together and I don't think we do
anybody any favors by continuing to talk about that. It is something that...we will not get better
unless we raise money, and have candidates, and be together, and I'm not going to talk about
what went wrong.

Chip: I've said this consistently since November 2nd, there are 3 things that happened in our
state and in our country. Number one, we had a mid-term election and midterm elections are
fraught with difficulties for the party in power. We also won some seats in 2006 and 2008 in
some states that we probably shouldn't have won, some Congressional seats, and those
shifted back in the tide. Number two, with the United States Supreme Court decision which
changes how money could come into our political process we saw the, um, torrent of
anonymous secret money in our state and in our country that we've never seen before, as a
matter of fact I think we've seen a major shift in how campaigns are going to be funded. The
third and last thing is that Democrats at the top of the ticket, as well as in Tennessee, our
message has not been consistent and strong. We've had a diffuse message, voters haven't
been able to relate to it, and until we get that clear and understand what we stand for and be
able to succinctly convey that...I've also said that our candidates are our trumpets. It doesn't
matter what kind of message we have if our candidates can't consistently deliver that across
the state and across the country. So those things combine to create the perfect storm that
we've experience this November 2nd.

Betsy: This question, Matt you'll be first and then Wade and Chip will be able to respond. Its
been said that some of our candidates actually separated their campaigns from the party in
the 2010 elections, you know in other words downplayed the fact that they were Democrats.
Why did this phenomenon happen and what can you do to combat that.

Matt: Well, first of all, you have to have a candidate who knows their message and has
control of their own message. If you are realistic and you are honest about yourself and you
are honest about the campaign you are running, the campaign is for that particular office, that
particular set of constituents, if its a rural area or suburban area or urban area. In particular
what I think you are referring to is, we had a case where we had our rural Congressional
Democrats who may have been running from Nancy Pelosi. Let me tell you why that was
difficult and why that happened...we had a deluge of special interest money that absolutely
buried our candidates. And because we did not raise money in Tennessee, and because we
did not encourage pro-business Democrats to put a like organization together that could
combat that, we are going to continue to lose on the airwaves. It doesn't matter how many
people knock on a door, and say “vote for my candidate,” when they are watching the TV and
our candidate is not on there. Its a function of money and you will not run...you can't combat a
message if you don't have any money. We have to find a way to combat that outside interest
group money that will continue to pollute Tennessee.

Chip: Its interesting to me that the candidates who worked with our party structure and used
the grassroots structure that we've built over the last two years...the success or the near
success that they did have. And those candidates who did not use the party and who moved
away from it, didn't have that success. I think one of our failures has been an inability to
convey to our candidates just how powerful the party organization at the county level can be
and what we can do at the grassroots level. State parties worked hand-in-glove with the
House Democratic Caucus and there are some seats that were saved that wouldn't have
been without that relationship.

Wade: I think what Matt said was right, a candidate who carries their message confidently is
one that will stay with the party, regardless of how much outside money influences a
campaign. And I think as a party organization the way we should be managed is that, from
cradle to the grave, we are with a candidate once they come out of the Democratic primary.
We are with them every step of the way, regardless of how much money they have raised,
regardless of whether or not we have targeted them, it is a show of strength and unity when a
candidate calls on this organization and says, “I want to know what I need to do” and we need
to be responsive to all of them. A 95 county strategy is part of a robust system and a robust
organization that is largely volunteer led and not based on money.

Becky: The next question we'll start with Chip, and then we'll go to Matt and Wade. Future
question, who should be the leader of the coordinated campaign, specifically in your opinion,
which person or group. In addition, what are your thoughts on negative advertisements
coming from the coordinated campaign?

Chip: Well the coordinated campaign is the political mechanism which we use each election
cycle to bring partners to the table, which brings financial resources as well as candidate
resources to the table. I'd be hesitant to want to even speculate now for 2012 who would be
the coordinated campaign chair or how that would work. There is a long way to go between
now and then. I do think that it has been an ongoing problem that some of the partners who
have participated in the coordinated campaign have had negative messaging that I think has
been detrimental to our candidates. I think certainly going forward as Chair I will be much
more influential and have a much stronger role in terms of that kind of [inaudible] the last time.
The party has traditionally not exerted itself in the way that it needs to in the coordinated
campaign and certainly going forward it will. One other final point that I'd like to make is that I
think people, because of the outcome in 2010, everybody is open to how could we do this
differently and how can we do it better, and in the past I think some egos got in the way that I
don't think will be there moving forward and I think we'll have a different structure in 2012.

Matt: A huge problem, and a squabble within our family two years ago, led to the highest
elected leader of our state, the Governor, Phil Bredesen, not being the de facto leader of the
coordinated campaign. I think that hurt us, I think that hurt us a lot, and I think that took us
two years to try and even get to a resolution. And I don't think just because we lost the
Governor's mansion that means that problem is no longer there. I think we still have to
find...the real danger of that question, and the negative part of that question, is that we don't
have leaders any more, we have to find them, and we need to work with the Executive
Committee members who are working all across this state together to find new leaders.
We've got two Congressional seats in Jim Cooper and Steve Cohen that maybe they could be
de facto leaders, but they are in their own areas. So we have some real soul searching and I
think the de facto leader of the coordinated campaign is going to have to be the Executive
Director of the Democratic party because of the losses that we've sustained.

Wade: Like my colleagues here, I don't think I'd name a person or group right now, but I do
think there should be a calculus involved where the person who organizes the coordinated
campaign is a fund-raising professional, a political professional, and an all around
professional in every aspect of the word. I think someone we can rely on and be confident in.
I think also the negative advertisements coming from the coordinated campaign shouldn't be
ad hominem attacks. I do think that we as democrats are truth seekers. I think that we speak
to the truth that is in the world and I think that we have enough to go on with that. The
damaging policies of the Republican candidate, by the babbling from Right-wing talk show
hosts in Tennessee and around our nation, is enough for us to rely on in negative
advertisements. So, whether you call it negative advertising or telling the truth, I think it is
important, I think it should come from 3rd party organizations, but I don't think it should be
blistering ad hominem attacks on one individual.

Betsy: This next question, Wade you'll answer it, and then Chip and Matt will respond. How
do we achieve unity as a party? Specifically unity between the parties various factions;
liberals, progressives, blue dogs, swing voters, and then the caucuses, candidates, and
donors and how will you balance these competing interests and combat divisiveness.

Wade: We'll I'll go ahead and quote what everybody else is quoting right now, “I'm not a
member of an organized party, I am a member of the Democratic Party.” And I think that is
something that we can all respect and appreciate is that we bring various different initiatives,
but generally speaking those initiatives are for working individuals, for people who might be
considered the underdog in the fight we have on our hands. So, I would work together with
everyone, acknowledging that we are now a minority party and we need to be the voice of the
voiceless, in the state of Tennessee. I think unity follows a coherent message, a strong
operation, and a competent leader.

Chip: I think the fundamental challenge is communication. We've got to be able to create
lines of communication between the various groups that are sort of stakeholders in our
process. I'd like to think that I ran two years ago certainly without the support of a number of
key stakeholders in the process, but through that 2 year process I've brought people together,
through Jackson Day, and had VP Al Gore, we had Bill Clinton keynote our dinner, Harold
Ford Jr., Governor Bredesen...all of the key leaders of the Democratic party participated in
our Jackson Day, and that was about as much unity as we can have. And then we had
Jackson Day this year. It is critical that we put these stakeholders, and this is sort of job one
in terms of message development, put these stakeholders in a room and we begin the
process of talking about how we are going to come out together.

Matt: Well I have twin daughters, Kennedy and Chandler, and a 9 year old son Sawyer. They
don't get along very often and so a lot of times there are lots of squabbles and families do
that, families have problems and they get through them. More than anything its about
honesty, communicating, and talking to each family member. Making sure that each family
member knows what the other family member is doing. Making sure that the relationship with
the Senate is the same as it is with the House. Make sure that you are treating all elements
of the party fairly. There are a lot of times where the Chairman of the party and the party
Executive Committee is called on to be the referee of our various numbers of our Democratic
family. And it is about addressing those differences honestly. We know very well that there
are rural areas that we have blue dogs running that West End Nashville thinks that blue dogs
are running from their message, running from the President, running from Obama, running
from Nancy Pelosi. Well, we are all Democrats, we are all in this together, and it takes all of
us. If we are ever going to win a statewide election, guess what, West End Liberal Democrats
need Blue Dogs, they need Lincoln Davis, they need the John Tanners, they need to be
together. So, unless we can figure out how to come together, we are going to keep losing.

Becky: Next question we will start with Matt, go to Wade and then Chip. In addition to jobs,
what in your opinion are the other top issues facing the state. And in addition to that, what are
some other smaller and often forgotten Democrat issues that will help real people in
Tennessee?

Matt: First and foremost the issues in TN are about managing government. I worked for John
Tanner in 1994 when the Republicans with their contract with America swept into office. They
made some of the most sweeping changes and mistakes, that same thing is going to happen
right now. What I really wish we would've been doing these last 50 days, instead of running as
a party and a chairman, is talking about the great managed state that we have. Talking about
how TN is the lowest taxed state in the country. Republicans are saying that is all they are
doing, but we've already done that, Phil Bredesen has already done that. We need to be
getting those wins out there, and preparing for the Republican issues that are going to come.
They are going to close parks, they are going to balance the budget on the backs of people
whose health care coverage...so more than anything, its about governance that is going to
come from a Republican led Governors who is going to kind of shadow it in a moderate...as a
moderate, but right-wing Republicans will break through and say things on a daily basis that
we as a party have to be the voice of the people and have to get our message out.

Wade: I agree with Matt, I think the issue at hand is governance, in addition to jobs, I think
what we need to constantly berate Republicans on is “how will you take care of our natural
environment?” Some smaller issues I would say is “how will you protect those in Tennessee
without health care?” “What will you do to the mental health department in Tennessee?” We
have a 29 billion dollar budget. So those are a few issues that I'm interested in and I think the
Democrats all across the state care about. What will you do with jobs in rural areas that affect
rural homelessness. And I think there are a plethora of issues that we can talk about. And
speak to them passionately, and informed, and that is what we need to do going forward.

Chip: I think there is a more interesting sort of challenge in front of us. Um, I'm not certain all
Democrats in the state have really embraced and understand, is that we are now the minority
party, and there is a place in our process of governance for a minority party. The Republicans
control the reigns of government and I think its up to us now to be clear about pointing out
where they failed Tennesseans and where they failed working people. It will be our
opportunity now to show that black and white difference between the choices that they make
in terms of governing our state versus what we would do as Democrats. I think that at the
national level with control of the US House in Republican hands. And I think that is an
important part of our work going forward, is what are we as the minority party...how do we
convey that message to working Tennesseans the difference so that as we show that contrast
we position ourselves for successes in 2012, 14, and 16 and we can begin this road back out
of where we are today.

Betsy: This next question, we will start with Chip, and then go to Wade and Matt. Steve
Scarborough wrote on his blog that Democrats have a muddled message right now that is
essentially Republican-lite, their main slogan being, “we don't suck as bad as those other
guys”. Describe your communication message/strategy for the party.

Chip: Great question, and I've been talking about it all night. This is our fundamental job and
what we have to do going forward. If re-elected chair I will convene a statewide meeting,
bringing all the stakeholders together in a very similar way that we did in Monteagle 2 years
ago. We have to bring everybody who has ideas and thoughts about our message, put them
in a room together, and begin the process of talking about it. There is a way to do that, I don't
even thing the State Party Chair leads that process, um, there needs to be sort of other
participants. From that, we'll come out of it over a period of time with meetings understanding
what our message is, but it doesn't do any good to know what the message is going to be
unless you train people. And that is what Republicans have been so successful at, from the
top of the ticket all the way down to school board, they have trained their trumpets, as I call
them, to enunciate that message. We've got to have a clean, clear, concise way of doing it
and all across our state our candidates, our office holders and all of us as Democrats need to
be able to talk about that message.

Wade: So the message going forward I believe is that, not just as Democrats, but as
Tennesseans, a majority of Tennesseans currently are the underdogs in this fight in the
present economy that we have that was birthed out of Republican lead administration for 8
years. And I think the suffering that we experience all across the state is not only something
that I think we can empathize with but something we identify with. We are all the underdogs
in this fight. So our message should be to those individuals, whether they are rural or urban,
we are in your corner in the fight and we will take Republicans head on in the policies that
effect your life. Whether its woman's issues, minority issues, immigration issues, we will be
there with you in the fight, because no one deserves to be singled out by powerful corporate
interests the way that they have been targeted in this state. The strategy going forward is one
that we can devise that coherent message and the disseminate it to a future generation of
leaders. Because it is not about the party chair being the spokesperson for only two years,
how is the party spokesperson going to hand down that message to a future generation of
leaders?

Matt: With all do respect, we can not go back to where we made the last message, the same
way, and think we are going to get to a better conclusion to what happened in November.
What I would propose is that the communications strategy should be something that should
be ongoing and all the time. I've been talking to executive committee members about the
Tennessee Truth Project. TTP is our communication strategy which categorizes, captures,
and then gets out all of the nit-witted and dumb things that the Republicans are going to do.
They've already done it. We are talking jobs? Lets talk about Jason Mumpower and a
$161,000 being a secretary. How does that happen? Why aren't we talking about that? Why
aren't we hitting the Republican party for the things that they are already doing. And that
should be something that we are doing, ongoing, we don't have to go to Monteagle to do that
as a communications strategy and what we need to be doing is getting that out. The TTP will
categorize everything that is said in the House, and make sure that we build our opposition
research book as we go forward. Then, as we get the candidates that we will recruit, we give
them the book and they go after the Republicans for the dumb things that they are going to
do. And I think its that easy.

Becky: The next question we've already talked about for the last few minutes so we might
cut it down and let you get to some additional comments, but we'll start with Wade, then Matt
and Chip. What is the road-map to regain a majority, and what is our current role as a minority
party? So we've already kind of dealt with the second end, but what is the road-map to regain
a majority in your opinion?

Wade: Well I think the road-map really starts with enjoying our time as the minority party.
Because we can't think of it in terms of 2 year election cycles. I think we need to be
aggressive in each election cycle, I think we need to have a robust operation that is effective
in all 95 counties, 33 State Senate Districts, but I think we really need to find our voice as a
minority party and revel in that. I think we need to be a strong voice for those people who
need us the most right now. And I think continuing on, in our role as the majority party, we
need to take every election one at a time. Every candidate needs to be dealt with in a
professional manner, given the tools they need to succeed in fund-raising, in messaging, and
in staff operations. So I think we take it one step at a time.

Matt: I've been thinking about this for a long time. And, in talking with the Executive
Committee members, we do need a ten year plan. I have a ten year plan, and no one can
come say, “Oh, I have a ten year plan where we are going to get back to the Speaker,” but it
is in cycles, and the first one is five individual playbooks that go with each cycle, and each
individual executive committee will write playbooks and get them, and makes them what they
are. The first one, 2012, building the bench. This is the TNDP 40 under 40, where we go out,
we find and celebrate our 40 young leaders who build the bench. And the whole mission and
the whole plan of 2012 is about expanding our repertoire, our bench of candidates, because
its those candidates that will make all the difference. Going forward, 2014, towards a more
Democratic Senate, we have an open Senate seat unless Lamar runs again and we need to
have somebody in place, ready to do that. 2016, you may think I'm a little crazy, but 6 years
is an absolute eternity in politics. We have national leaders in Tennessee who are always
involved, 2016 is going to be a Presidential year, and we have Phil Bredesen, we have Harold
Ford Jr., we have Bill Purcell, we have A.C. Wharton, we have Karl Dean...all of those could
be major players on the national stage. 2018, hey its been 8 years, its the 8 year itch, and in
2020, I know my time is done, but we are back to Speaker if we've done all that which all rests
on building our bench.

Chip: This all really began in 2007, really late 2006, when we Barack Obama put together the
sort of new playbook in Democratic politics and his campaign for the US Presidency. There
were tools and techniques and things that he brought into the political process that we had
never seen before. We'd never seen them in Tennessee, we'd never seen them nationally.
Barack Obama demonstrated that by enlarging the electorate, by changing the face of the
electorate, he could turn conventional wisdom on its ear. In 2008, he did that. When I was
elected in 2009, I talked about bringing those tools and those techniques into the Democratic
party. We are halfway there, we need to continue to build that infrastructure at the TNDP, that
grassroots infrastructure that the Executive Committee members and county chairs have
participated in. Training across the state, our SOS training, no matter how good our
candidates are, no matter how good the times are, if our infrastructure is not in place, and
techniques are there to win elections, we are not going to be successful. I started it two years
ago, I want to continue it for two more, and leave an infrastructure in place that will allow
candidates to ride that to victories in the future.

Betsy: This we'll start with Matt, and then Chip and Wade. How will you recruit the next round
of candidates, specifically discuss the timing of recruiting of candidates and how you ensure
the recruits are supported.

Matt: Absolutely, Tennessee 40 under 40. The crux of my plan, the crux of the playbook of
2012 is building the bench. It starts with the EC members and it starts with each individual EC
district finding their rising start, and they do that by having rising starts get at the same page,
kind of like we are doing right now. In Shelby county we do a lot of straw polls, a lot of people
do a lot of straw polls, but it trains your candidates. Each individual Senate district will have a
40 under 40 fundraiser before Jackson Day to find who that up and coming candidate is. Its
not for the Chairman or any other organization to really say who it is. Each individual EC
member in their district finds that next candidate. We can do this, and that gets us 33, well
we need 7 more, well you have the College Dems to add one, you have the Young Dems to
add one, you have the House and Senate caucus that adds one, and you have the American
Federation of Women adds one and maybe we'll let the Chairman add one. So that's where
you get the 40 candidates. And it doesn't stop there. In the fall meetings when the EC gets
together, we have a 40 under 40 banquet in which we invite the Karl Deans, we invite
someone, we fund-raise around it before the EC meeting to celebrate those 40 candidates. It
doesn't stop there, then those 40 candidates in the spring of every even year are invited to
what I call Spring Training, and our spring training meeting would be when all the candidates
get together, the 40 under 40 get together, and come together to find out what the playbook
and the plan is going to be for the election.

Chip: Candidate recruitment is one of the most important things that the state party does but
it has to be done in partnership with the House Caucus, the Senate Caucus, and looking
across the state for the leaders and working with the leaders in the districts. One of the things
that has been interesting to talk a little bit about, Wade had said its important that we reach
out and support all our candidates...and Wade I have to tell you that I don't think I agree with
that, and Matt I'm not sure where you stand on it, because resources are limited. So what we
have to do is recruit our candidates in areas where we have the best opportunities to win
races, support our bench where we can, given the limited resources that parties have there is
not every race that...once we've recruited the candidates we've got to groom them, we've got
to train them, and then we have to stand behind them. Which we did in 2010.

Wade: Well obviously I'm going to disagree with you, but I think that what we do need to do is
provide a level of support for all of our candidates across the State. As Chairman, from day
one, I would be camping out all across TN dispatching my staff to do the same thing, where
we go to Allardt, where we go to Cordova, where we go to Memphis and Knoxville and
everywhere in between. Where we sit down with Senate Caucus members, sitting House
members. We sit down with EC members, we gather intelligence, we talk about who are
some rising stars, who are some people who are established in the community, who do you
think would be effective in a certain race, and where can we place them? I think if we start
our recruitment early on, we can have individuals that we don't have to worry necessarily
about what level of support we are giving to just our targeted races, but we can confidently
support a candidate in a marginal race, not with money, but with a call back, with whatever
resources we can provide to them, it is possible to run a 95 county party, and it is possible for
us to be a tool that they use in their campaign.

Becky: Next question, we'll start with Chip and then go to Matt and Wade. How can we better
include the young, the seasoned, men, women, families, long term supporters, minorities,
plus people in rural communities and newcomers to the party?

Chip: Well I think I started that two years ago, opening our lines of communication, and
bringing people into the party has been a key ingredient of the last two years. Opening the
party up for EC members, involving the Young Democrats, College Democrats, Federation of
Democratic Women, Sonya Fox participates every Tuesday in the statewide conference call
with all our officers as well as the other members of the committee. That's key, in addition to
that, using our EC members to reach out to the constituent groups across the state, which
we've done. Giving them to tools to be able to communicate opening up vote builder to be
able to have our county parties identify Democratic supporters in their region which had never
been done before when I was elected two years ago. That is the way we build and open up
or party.

Matt: Well I know you are all are going to get sick of hearing me say 40 under 40, but that is
exactly how you open up the party for people to participate in it. If you ask the EC members
to go to the Democratic leaders already in their respective districts, they are talking to the
county chairs, the county chairs are then a part of the process of finding who are next leaders
are, more than anything just getting together. Families always need time, whether its a family
vacation or whether its time at the holidays, where its helping your child with their homework,
more than anything they have to be together and they have to have time to be together. I
don't think we get together enough as Democrats and I think that when you talk to EC
members, one thing I hear is they would like to get together more, and you can't get together
unless you have a reason. 40 under 40 is the reason that we can come together as a party
and get together and can involve new people in the strategy of the party because its an
opportunity for them to participate...they just want to be asked.

Wade: Well I've quoted Roy Rogers, and I've quoted Harry Truman, and now let me quote
The Boss, and I'm quoting from memory, “When you chase your dream you make it happen.”
My dream for the Democratic party would be that we have an ambitious goal to recruit
candidates across the state, and to recruit interest groups from across the state so that we
have a robust organization when election time comes around, so we are not on the defensive
or on our heels when the message comes from the Republican party. So that we have
confident individuals in place who are leading their own organizations and I would commend
Chip on the work he has done to bring in a diverse group of individuals but I think that by
doing that there have been others who have been excluded and I think that happened in 2008
and I think its gone forward. I think that we do need to build bridges across both the old guard
within the Democratic party and the new up-and-coming generation. And I think that the
dream that we have, and its one that is entirely inclusive and its in the best interests of our
party, not just for ten years, or for two years, but for the long term future.

Betsy: This we'll start with Wade and then go to Chip and Matt. How will you run the party to
make it successful, what will your measures of success be, and how will fund-raising work
under your administration to support the party and the candidates?

Wade: Well in those questions, how do you make the party successful and how do you make
your fund-raising most successful to your party? I think to have fund-raising be successful
you have to show those investors that you've been efficient with the money that they've given
to you. I've ran an organization at Childrens' Hospital in Boston that managed donors dollars
and we were efficient with that money. And we grew our operation in the year that I was
there. And so the first thing that I would do is be accountable to those donors, let them know
that the money is being spent in the proper areas. And when it comes to fund-raising, I have
a proven track record of raising money both in the Democratic party and in the non-profit
world, and I would have an ambitious agenda that would continue raising money without a
sitting Governor, without a congressional majority, a House majority, or a Senate majority, by
having innovative fund-raising events, by being on the phone constantly, in the car, in the
office, raising money. I think you have to have a robust plan and an ambitious goal.

Chip: Well I think if the past is any measure of what the future is going to be like, I've had a
good successful fund-raising operation. I'm proud to say that Chairman Gray Sasser had
been looked at as a model of success for fund-raising in this state. We raised just under a
million dollars in 2009 and posted over a million and 250,000 in 2010. So if the past is an
indicator of a financial success going forward I think we've got good news going forward. And
I think that is critical. One of the things that has concerned me, having been treasurer, and
having been on the EC, is that we reinvented the fund-raising wheel every two years. And its
critical that we create a sustaining fund-raising base so that each successive chair can stand
on the shoulders of what has been done. We've got about half-way there in that process
here, and its a job that I'd like to complete. Money is the mother's milk of politics, its not a
wonderful thing to have to do, but it is a firm commitment that the Chair has to make. And I'd
like to also say that the investors, the donors who have participated, have been pleased with
the investments that we've made, the technology investment, upgrading the technical aspects
of what we have here. The field operations and the TNDP participated in this election cycle at
a GOTV effort unlike they had ever done before, and I'm proud that that helped save some
seats that we might have otherwise lost.

Matt: Well I think its unfortunate that we can compare previous chairmen and talk about what
they did or not did, but if you are going to say that, the first month that Gray Sasser was in
office he raised $200,000 the first month after our family squabble that we had 2 years ago,
we raised in excess of $30,000, there is a major difference, and its because of the
relationships...if you go with a scorched earth policy, and take care of our squabble, and do
anything that has to be done to make sure that the...I'm not certain if the party's goals are
actually realized or helped by that. So, in fund-raising, you can't do it without asking, you
have to have a plan, you have to have a plan that includes everybody, all the EC members, all
the donors, who would help me? John Tanner is going to help me, Clark Jones is gonna help
me, Doug Horne is gonna help me. Top donors to the party and top people who care about
this party will certainly help me do this, and that is what I want to bring, and its about those
relationships and having them have a reason to give and 40 under 40 is that reason.

Becky: This question will start with Matt and go to Wade and end with Chip and we've talked
about it a little bit but under your administration, how will we be better able to call for help,
meaning if I'm in Morgan County and maybe I'm available to help somebody campaign in
Memphis, but I don't know that they need my help, how can we connect people in the state to
know that there is a place that you can be used? To normal folks, not those of us that are
involved every day, but the normal Democrat that gets up and goes to work every day?

Matt: Well, its about being active. I in 2008 was a commentator, I've been a commentator for
many political fights and offices in Memphis, and its about getting out and making sure that
every single nook and cranny in Tennessee knows what the Democratic message is. And its
about spending time in various places in Tennessee, not just Nashville, but every area in
between and from Johnson City to Memphis its about actually physically going there and
working with an EC members, getting that message out, and participating in events such as
40 under 40 that would be in each individual senate district that is getting the message out
about what our candidates are doing. If you have a goal of creating candidates across the
state, that becomes your network. If you can have a goal that would get 40 new candidates,
40 candidates that are taking their message of having their own campaign organization put
together, that becomes the organization and that becomes how we talk to each other, and
that's how I'd do it.

Wade: I think how we reach voters and the every day Democrat is starting with our insiders,
our committee members, our county chairs, our county EC members, and when I was
Communications Director I had a weekly email, the Munday Message, kind of silly but it was
consistent. Everyday, every Wednesday that it went out, I wanted to send it out by 5 o'clock. I
know Chairman Forrester has done a great service to the EC by having conference calls
regularly, and I think we do need to connect with our EC members more often so that they
can get to voters. They will carry much more weight than the Chair would ever carry in their
districts. They were elected on a Democratic primary ballot, we should be confident in their
abilities to inspire and lead in their communities, so we need to put the resources in their
hands and we need to inspire and lead them as well.

Chip: One of the interesting things about the question is that there are some tools and
techniques that we've been using the last couple of years that have been very effective. One
of the things I'm proud about is vote builder, we kind of opened up vote builder, we have
trained activists, hundreds of activists across the state. And a fascinating thing happened in
the Special election, voters, Democratic participants in Sevier County, made calls into the 62nd
House district to help motivate Democratic voters. Through these tools and techniques, we
can open up the state to activists to be able to call races, being able to shift the resources.
And if we do that successfully, which we've started with Vote Builder, county parties, training
our EC members on how to use this particular tool, we could actually expand our base. Its an
amazing thing when people, particularly in rural areas, begin using vote builder to reach out to
identify Democrats and bringing them in and in Judy Barker's race in West TN, there were all
sorts of new people who came into the process because they had been asked and
communicated through vote builder. And that is a tool and technique we'll continue to use
effectively.
Betsy: Now we are on to the questions for each other and just to remind you all of the rules,
the questioner will get half a minute for the question, the answerer will get a minute and a half
to answer the question and then the questioner will get one minute for response. We'll start
with Matt, you will ask a question of Chip.

Matt: Chairman, we all have been going through this process, questioning, and wondering
and obviously we all want to make the party a better place and my question for you is
should...Wade or myself be successful in unifying the party, what do you foresee a proper
Chairman emeritus role to be and what would yours be?

Chip: Well that's a good question, well number one I would fully support the agenda and the
activities of the new Chair. No matter who is Chair, the idea of a unifying our party, that is the
most important thing moving forward. I would provide all of the sort of experience and
background...one of the great gifts I've had as Chair has been former Chairs who have
supported what I have done and access to them is invaluable. That would be something that
both of you would certainly get my support in. That would be critical for the success. We
want the party to be successful, I want the party to be successful and I want to make that
happen.

Matt: Well, and, umm...in asking a follow up question, in helping the fund-raising aspect of it,
who would you ask to help, and who would be your people that would come to bare and help
you with that?

Chip: I'm not sure I understand that in terms of fund-raising...

Matt: Well, the question is you can call on Gray Sasser, or Bob Tuke, or other people to help,
and not just Chairmen...who else would you call to help? And what would your...how would
you help do that?

Chip: Well I'd certainly work with the new chair, with the fund-raising plan that was put
together. One of the great things of the past few years is that the Chairs have worked
strongly with me, making fund-raising calls, and I would do the same with the new Chair.

Betsy: Now we have Wade, you'll ask a question of Matt:

Wade: So Matt, we have a special election in Senate District 18, Robertson and Sumner
County, its in the very near future. What is your plan in that election?

Matt: Well, we also have a special election in Shelby County for a House race. And more than
anything its getting them money and getting the resources to make sure that they are
competitive. And when I was elected Chairman of the Shelby County party, they very first
episode I had, was a special election with Ophelia Ford, and the State Party didn't have a
whole lot of money to kick in to help in that election, on election day, in Memphis, when we
were getting beat in early voting, I was able to go and we had $1000, it was just the County
Party money, and it was all the money we had, and I had just been elected 6 weeks prior to
that election, and we were faced with a situation where we had to go get people, we had to go
pay people, on the street, to get people into the polls or we would've lost that seat. That was
Ophelia Ford / Terry Rowland fight. And its about understanding what resources the
candidates need and doing whatever you have to do to get them the resources and money to
do it. I've done it as a County Party Chair and that is what I would do as the State Party
Chair.

Wade: I think that is great and certainly if I were party chair I would be asking for your
expertise in the Memphis area, and I'd hope you'd rely on my expertise in the Sumner county
area because we do have these battles to go through. I think one of the things that we need
to focus on in a resource poor environment as the Democrats might be facing in the future is
how we rely, not only on the people involved in the family squabble, but how we can rely on
those who may not have even spoken up, and I think that is how we train up the new
generation of leaders going forward, to rely on them and put them in leadership positions in
these special election races because they can make a significant difference.

Betsy: And then Chip you will ask Wade and you'll have a chance to respond.

Chip: Well Wade my question for you is because of the importance of fund-raising, 40-50%
of the Chair's job on a daily basis or at least weekly basis is raising money, tell me a little bit
about what your thoughts are of how you expect to be able to raise the funds to sustain the
operation. We are about a million dollar a year organization and what would be your thoughts
and vision about your ability to do that.

Wade: Well in my year in Boston I worked with colleagues at MIT and Children's Hospital to
raise twice that amount and we secured the funding, we raised individual donations and
brought our operation forward. And a lot of that involved an Executive Board together that
had previously been squabbling, and what we did going forward was that we depended upon
our vast resources that we had available to us. And an organization like Children's Hospital
Boston and MIT certainly has that credibility but they also have egos to deal with. In
Tennessee we have the strength in our numbers. Whether or not they came out to vote is
another issue to be debated, but the people are out there, people are willing to make small
dollar donations, which I had been successful at doing in the organization previously, and
there are large donors who want to see a confident individual leading their party forward. And
I think I can provide that confidence in individuals and I can create and organization that is
ambitious in those goals.

Chip: One of the factors in fund-raising and one of the components of success is having
relationships. And tell me a little bit about how you would sort of use your relationships to be
able to raise the kind of money to sustain the State Party.

Wade: Throughout Graduate School and Undergrad I was involved in the operations of the
TNDP, I've built relationships not only with vendors but with donors, with elected officials, Kim
McMillan and others throughout the state. And so I have those established relationships and I
don't take a scorched Earth approach to anything, especially in this situation I respect your
service and I would rely on you going forward and in the future because you clearly have had
success in the fund-raising. But I think its not just you, and its not just me, but its the
coalitions that we build.

Betsy: Thank you.

Becky: At this time lets a break for a second and we are going to start with Wade and go to
Chip and then Matt and we are going to give you one and a half minutes each to say anything
you want to say about anything in your closing statements. So lets start with Wade.

Wade: Well there are a lot of things that we talk about sort of as a cliché going through this
we need a message of a party, and we need unity, and we need fund-raising, I think that
money follows the message, and I think unity follows the message, unity also follows the
money, just in the way this works. But I think that our message going forward needs to be
one built out of the passion for the subject. I am a Democrat. I have a story and a narrative
that crafts why I'm a Democrat. And its based on the principle that if you see suffering, you
alleviate it. If you see injustice, you correct it. That is in my heart as a Democrat and I believe
that is in the heart of every Democrat in Tennessee. Like I said, they may not have come out
to vote in 2010, but by God as Chairman, that will be my message going forward, and that will
be something that Democrats across Tennessee can base their vote upon. They are voting
for those who are suffering in Tennessee, suffering with bills they can't pay, health care they
can't afford.

Chip: Well I want to thank the members of the EC tonight and the county chairs and
Democrats across the state who are participating in this forum and in this debate. This is an
important moment for us in Tennessee Democratic politics. Its an opportunity for us to decide
what our future will look like. When I ran two years ago I said that we must build our party
from the ground up. It was important to do the grassroots work that we saw so successfully
implemented in Barack Obama's campaign to the US Presidency. We've gotten about half
way there, we've built a sustaining fund-raising base that gets us half way there. We've built
the infrastructure that's gotten us about half way there, but we have to finish the job. No
matter how good our message, no matter how good our candidates, if the infrastructure that
we are building here is not completed, we will not be able to have candidates stand on the
shoulders of the party, with the success that we need moving forward. These young men
have been great candidates, they've been traveling the state talking to you, and I want to
pledge that whatever the outcome, and hopefully its my re-election, I want to involve them in
where we go going forward. These kinds of ideas, this kind of energy, its critical for the
success of the party. I want to thank Becky and Betsy for participating and Brad for your hard
work putting this together. Its a pleasure being here tonight, thank you.

Matt: Kennedy and Chandler, its time for you to go to bed. I know you are watching, but its
past your bedtime. I want to thank everybody that has tuned in to however if you are just on
the phone, I want to thank you for being on the phone as well, if you are not having access to
watch this on TV or on the computer. But I want to thank this Democratic party for going
through this Democratic process. I've called it a family squabble, and I think we are going to
be able to get through this family squabble. I think we will make a decision, its a pretty easy
decision. I think that we either move forward, or stay where we are. And to me its really that
easy of a question. I as everybody else up here am asking for your vote, but I'm asking you
to be together. I'm asking you to be part of the Democratic family to find candidates to raise
money to be a part of the answer, to be a part of the solution, so that our family squabble
does not give us the result that we had in November, thank you.

Becky: Well that is the close of our event here tonight, I personally thank the candidates for
being here. I'm sure you probably had other things you probably needed to be doing, but I
thank you. I thank the audience. Whichever way we go, I hope we are going to be winners in
the upcoming elections. Democrats all across are thankful for the things you've said tonight,
so thank you very much.
Transcription by Sean Braisted, blogger at Nashville21.com and TNYD Political Director.