Archive for Sunday, June 1, 2008

Michigan, Florida delegates to get half-votes

Clinton camp not happy with decision; Obama now needs 66 to secure nomination

June 1, 2008


— Democratic Party officials agreed Saturday to seat Michigan and Florida delegates with half-votes, ruling on a long-running dispute that has threatened the party's chances in November and maintaining Barack Obama's front-runner status as he moves closer to the nomination.

The decision was a blow to Hillary Rodham Clinton as she was on the verge of watching Obama make history as the first black Democratic presidential nominee. It prompted an irate reaction from boisterous Clinton supporters in the audience and her chief delegate counter, Harold Ickes.

Ickes angrily informed the party's Rules Committee that Clinton had instructed him to reserve her right to appeal the matter to the Democrats' credentials committee, which could potentially drag the matter to the party's convention in August.

"There's been a lot of talk about party unity - let's all come together, and put our arms around each other," said Ickes, who is also a member of the Rules Committee that approved the deal. "I submit to you ladies and gentlemen, hijacking four delegates ... is not a good way to start down the path of party unity."

The resolution increased the number of delegates needed to clinch the nomination to 2,118, leaving Obama 66 delegates short but still within striking distance after the three final primaries are held in the next three days.

The deal was reached after committee members met privately for more than three hours, trying to hammer out a deal, and announced in a raucous hearing that reflected deep divisions within the party.

"How can you call yourselves Democrats if you don't count the vote?" one man in the audience shouted before being escorted out by security. "This is not the Democratic Party!"

The sticking point was Michigan, where Obama's name was not on the ballot.

Clinton's camp insisted Obama shouldn't get any pledged delegates in Michigan since he chose not to put his name on the ballot, and she should get 73 pledged delegates with 55 uncommitted. Obama's team insisted the only fair solution was to split the pledged delegates in half between the two campaigns, with 64 each.

The committee agreed on a compromise offered by the Michigan Democratic Party that would split the difference, allowing Clinton to take 69 delegates and Obama 59. Each delegate would get half a vote at the convention in Denver this summer, according to the deal.

The deal passed 19-8. Thirteen members of the committee supported Clinton, so she wasn't even able to keep her supporters together.

The committee also unanimously agreed to seat the Florida delegation based on the outcome of the January primary, with 105 pledged delegates for Clinton and 67 for Obama, but with each delegate getting half a vote as a penalty.

Proponents of full seating continuously interrupted the committee members as they explained their support of the compromise, then supporters of the deal shouted back.

"Shut up!" one woman shouted at another.

"You shut up!" the second woman shouted back.

Jim Roosevelt, co-chair of the committee, tried repeatedly to gavel it to order. "You are dishonoring your candidate when you disrupt the speakers," he scolded.

Obama picked up a total of 32 delegates in Michigan, including superdelegates who have already committed, and 36 in Florida. Clinton picked up 38 in Michigan, including superdelegates, and 56.5 in Florida.

Obama's total increased to 2,052, and Clinton had 1,877.5.

A proposal favored by Clinton that would have fully seated the Florida delegation fully in accordance with the January primary went down with 12 votes in support and 15 against.

Tina Flournoy, who led Clinton's efforts to seat both states' delegations with full voting power, said she was disappointed by the outcome but knew the Clinton position had "no chance" of passing the committee.

"I understand the rules. ... I can tell you one thing that has driven these rules was being a party of inclusion," Flournoy said. "I wish my colleagues will vote differently."

Alice Huffman, a Clinton supporter on the committee, explained that the compromise giving delegates half votes was the next best thing to full seating.

"We will leave here more united than we came," she said.

Some audience members heckled her in response. "Lipstick on a pig!" one shouted.

"We just blew the election!" a woman in the audience shouted. The crowd was divided between cheering Obama supporters and booing Clinton supporters.

"This isn't unity! Count all the votes!" another audience member yelled.


cato_the_elder 10 years ago

I watched nearly all of these proceedings yesterday on CNN. The Clinton backers are deadly serious. One of the co-chairs was James Roosevelt, Jr., FDR's grandson, a distinguished gentleman who immediately reminded me of the type of person who could have been in charge of the Party 40 years ago before its leadership became dominated by the radical left. Many of the Clinton supporters betrayed their immaturity by constantly shouting down those who were speaking against anything with which they disagreed, including Mr. Roosevelt (just as occurs all too often on college campuses when speakers are shouted down by people who profess to consider the First Amendment sacrosanct, but in reality it's only as long as they agree with what's being said). Harold Ickes, in a somewhat disjointed and moderately profane rant, made it quite clear that Senator Clinton had instructed him to inform the Committee that she and her supporters would be taking up objections to the DNC's procedures, and the ultimate result reached, when the Convention begins in Denver. The irony is palpable - after the de rigeur mantra in 2000 that "all the votes should be counted," we now have one faction of the Dems wanting to count all the votes in a primary in which one of the major candidates understandably didn't participate because Michigan Democrats had brazenly refused to follow the rules laid down by the DNC, with the other faction correctly pointing out that "if you don't abide by the rules, you can't count all the votes" (hanging chads and cherry-picking counties for recounts, anyone?). While Republicans are following all of this with great enjoyment, their exhilaration has to rank second to that of the cable news networks, which are going to milk the meltdown for all it's worth.

jmadison 10 years ago

Sen. Obama is one smart politician. He was able to gain a goodly percentage of delegates in a state where he didn't even campaign. I'm glad that party bosses don't have much power in the selection of the Presidential candidate.

labmonkey 10 years ago

Wow the Democrats know how to blow an election. That's good for the country as we will have President McCain.

Flap Doodle 10 years ago

""Shut up!" one woman shouted at another."You shut up!" the second woman shouted back."I can't wait for the convention. Wacky hi-jinks galore.

gccs14r 10 years ago

The way primaries are conducted in this country is ridiculous. There should be a nationwide primary 90 days before the general election, with a single ballot containing all the names, regardless of party affiliation. The top two from the primary would then move on to the general election in November. They would have 90 days to campaign and debate. There would be no convention, no delegates, and no nonsense.

Sigmund 10 years ago

Floridian's must be in shock. After Gore v. Bush, hanging and pregnant chad, and having the democratic party itself tell them their votes only count half of everyone else's must be a shock.

average 10 years ago

Can't say the Democrats "invented" the half-vote thing, since that's exactly what the Republicans did to Michigan and Florida. Of course, now that McCain is comfortably in the lead, they might reinstate those states as full-votes.According to the rules of the season, by signed pledges of all candidates, they would "not campaign or participate" in states that violated the rules.Richardson, Biden, Edwards, and Obama interpreted "will not participate" to mean "not appear on the ballot if it's possible to not appear". Not a stretch, in my opinion.Since no one participated (or was supposed to participate) in those primaries, there should have been ZERO delegates from those states. This was the rule the candidates and the voters understood when the vote happened.To spot a 30-delegate advantage on two states that neither participated in is an injustice to Obama. Period.Yet, it's the Clinton people desperately upset.

notajayhawk 10 years ago

snap_pop_no_crackle (Anonymous) says: "I can't wait for the convention. Wacky hi-jinks galore."Sadly, that makes for 'good' publicity and media attention. Remember the final season of the West Wing, when they couldn't get the networks to cover more than a couple of hours of the convention, until all the drama started? The president's chief of staff made a comment something like 'Who knew if we set our heads on fire people would watch.'*****First of all, any compromise is an absolute joke and an atrocity. You either count the votes or you don't. But if you're going to reverse your earlier decision to not seat the delegates based on the ideal that everyone's vote should count, then their votes should count, not how the party officials decided to count those votes.Second, this is the true Hillary we're seeing. You can bet the farm that were the positions reversed, she and her supporters would have been screaming just as loudly and adamently that the delegations should not be seated because they broke the rules. But this is what Hillary is: a lying, cheating, power hungry shrew - and a heroine of the Democratic party.

notajayhawk 10 years ago

classclown (Anonymous) says: "Hillary should give the Democratic Party the finger and run as an independent."What worked for Joe Lieberman in Connecticut wouldn't really work nationwide for Hillary. Lieberman, who'd been holding his Senate seat for quite a while, is extremely popular in Connecticut, not just with Democrats, but with Republicans and Independents (Connecticut's largest voting block), too. And Hillary - well - isn't.Love to see it, though - I can't think of anything else that would guarantee a McCain win more than Hillary running as an Indie.

maxcrabb 10 years ago

Everyone calling the election allready makes me sick.Just let the damn thing playout, go vote, and then see what happens.Why do I even read this #*$# anymore?

notajayhawk 10 years ago

gccs14r (Anonymous) says: "I think heroine is a stretch."I didn't mean as far as being their preference for a presidential candidate, I was thinking more along the lines of all the talk last week that she could take over Ted Kennedy's spot as a prime influence in the Senate (which they'd have to like her an awful lot for, being as she's been in the Senate for 7 years, compared to the 45 for Kennedy). If McCain wins, I think she'll try again in 2012 (possibly even if Obama wins, although the party leadership would obviously try to dissuade her). But I can see her having Harry Reid's job in the not-to-distant future. I also think they might offer her something pretty big to refrain from making the convention into a circus.******dirkleisure (Anonymous) says: "Most of the press carefully following this story have clearly stated that the 1/2 vote principle was laid out in the Democratic by-laws, and the Clinton campaign has no argument with that principle."Which would have been fine, had it not been for the fact that the candidates agreed beforehand not to campaign in those states. Obama wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan. Nothing they do is going to be representative of what the voters in those states wanted, short of holding a whole new primary.****beatrice (Anonymous) says: "But he isn't. I wonder why?"Somebody hasn't been following the polls she refers to. It is now a virtual dead heat between McCain and Obama, an improvement of several points for McCain in the past few weeks.So he has. I wonder why?

gccs14r 10 years ago

"But this is what Hillary is: a lying, cheating, power hungry shrew - and a heroine of the Democratic party."I think heroine is a stretch. What she's doing is handing the election to McCain. Considering how bad off we are economically, maybe that's a good thing. I think Bill O'Reilly would have to show McCain on video with a dead girl or a live boy for him to lose to Clinton.

TopJayhawk 10 years ago

Denver is going to burn baby burn.. All I can think of is Oliver Hardys' quote. "This is a fine mess you got us into."

beatrice 10 years ago

With all of this Democratic infighting being played out on the news the last few months you would think Senator McCain would be making a huge leap in the polls.But he isn't. I wonder why? Could it be that people aren't convinced that his choices will be that far removed from those of President George W. Bush and the other neoconservatives who have hijacked the Republican party? The Republicans need to rethink their approach and kick the Karl Rove types to the curb if they intend to win again in the next decade.Obama will be victorious in November, and it won't even be close. And most of you already know this.

TopJayhawk 10 years ago

Why is it that I don't hear Jesse J, Al S, or big Louie F talking up Obama. Is it because they would become excess baggage if he wins?

Flap Doodle 10 years ago

"Marion writes:Hillary should just withdraw and go live in a cabin in the North Woods, at which place she would pose a danger to no one."Or an undisclosed location in Wyandotte County.

dirkleisure 10 years ago

Most of the press carefully following this story have clearly stated that the 1/2 vote principle was laid out in the Democratic by-laws, and the Clinton campaign has no argument with that principle.They do object to seating a any delegates from Michigan for Obama. Of course, one must assume they also understand those delegates would not automatically be seated for Clinton.Either way, this race has been over since March and the Dems could give Clinton as many delegates as she would like from both FL and MI without changing the outcome.Not a single thing has changed in terms of the very predictable outcome of this nomination battle since the first Tuesday in March, when Clinton failed to post the victories she needed in Ohio and Texas.As for "President McCain" - when it looks "potentially" good for him on June 1, after all this nonsense, that isn't exactly a harbinger of November success. Rather than looking like a shining beacon of hope, he continues to trip over his own tongue and his own paid lobbyist campaign staff.

dirkleisure 10 years ago

McBush!McBush!McBush!Sometimes, snap, you bring it. Most of the time, you really don't.

Flap Doodle 10 years ago

Did someone mention lobbyists on campaign staffs?"The co-director of Barack Obama's presidential campaign in Puerto Rico is a Washington-based federal lobbyist for the government of Puerto Rico."

classclown 10 years ago

Hillary should give the Democratic Party the finger and run as an independent.

purplesage 10 years ago

We had better look out or she'll slip in the backdoor. Mrs. Clinton had enhanced herself in my opinion - but this stunt just shows she is as manipulative and calculating as ever. Obama is way too liberal. McCain is pretty old - and not that Republican on some issues. He's the best of the lot though. Someone's going to make history, first African-American, first female, oldest ever.

Steve Jacob 10 years ago

I think this was probally the best you they could have done. But, basically, everyone in Michigan and Florida who voted for Clinton had their voice/vote totally ignored, so why in the world would they vote for Obama? Florida is no big deal, McCain will win easy (now), but Michigan is a key state to lose.It is to the point Clinton is VP if she wants it, and Obama might not have a choice. If Omama speaks at the covention and she is not VP there will be a big protest and booing.

notajayhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Gee, just noticed das_goobermind's post, accusing me of 'lying.' When according to the website he linked to, on the day of his post, it was 46% Obama and 45.3% McCain, a bit of an improvement from the 4.4% difference on 5/14. who's lying, goober?

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