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Bob Franken: DNC chair's approach old-fashioned and high-tech


CNN National Correspondent Bob Franken has been following the power struggle at the Democratic National Committee convention in Washington, where former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson lost his challenge to lead the committee to political fund-raiser Terry McAuliffe. McAuliffe also said he accidentally used the term "colored people" during a speech at the event on Friday and meant to say "people of color."

Q: What kind of message does McAuliffe's victory send about the future of the Democratic Party?

FRANKEN: The Democratic Party is being taken over now by somebody who is very much into two things at the same time. One, (McAuliffe) believes in high-tech, money, research, all those types of things that the Republicans have really had a corner on. And secondly, he agrees that they'll have to go back and organize at the grassroots level, which is old-fashioned retail politics.

Q: Was this an old-fashioned backroom political deal? Did Jackson abandon his challenge in exchange for the two DNC chair positions he received on Saturday?

FRANKEN: It's the kind of negotiation that goes on in politics all the time. "I'll give you this if you do this." "No, that's not enough." "OK, then we'll get back to you." And then they talk some more and "we'll get back to you," and that's exactly what they did.

Q: And finally, what was the real level of concern among other delegates about the racial description "colored people" made by McAuliffe?

FRANKEN: Just about everybody accepted his explanation that he just messed up his words. It was left to Maynard Jackson to say, "this is no big deal, that this kind of thing can happen." In fact, Maynard Jackson -- who is African-American himself -- said he's made that same mistake.

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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