May 31st, 2008
07:17 AM ET
10 years ago

Democrats' late night session falls short on MI, FL delegations

Protesters voice their concerns outside the DNC headquarters on Capitol Hill in April.

Protesters voice their concerns outside the DNC headquarters on Capitol Hill in April.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Bleary-eyed Democrats failed to reach consensus early Saturday morning on a plan to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations - setting up a potentially explosive hearing later in the day between supporters of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on how to address this politically sensitive situation.

Members of the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws panel convened for more than five hours behind closed doors Friday evening. The meeting ended at 1:30 a.m. ET Saturday - eight hours before the committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the matter.

Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton disagree over how best to address the situation of Michigan and Florida, which were penalized for holding their primaries early. The DNC sanctioned Michigan and Florida by excluding them from representation when the party nominates a candidate at the August convention.

"It was a full discussion," said Harold Ickes, a DNC Rules member from the District of Columbia who supports Clinton. "I think there was some agreement on some issues and still some disagreements on others."

The Democratic presidential hopefuls have both said they want the Florida and Michigan delegates to attend the convention, but Clinton's campaign is calling for the results of the primaries to be honored and the delegates awarded based on the results. This approach would help her chip away at Obama's lead in pledged delegates because handily won both states and would be awarded a greater share of the delegates.

Obama's campaign disagrees, saying that this is not reasonable because he followed the rules, took his name off of the Michigan ballot, and did not campaign in either state.

"Right now what we have to do is to figure our way through all of this and I believe we will," said Allan Katz, a DNC Rules member from Florida who supports Obama. "And I believe we will come up with something tomorrow. There will probably be a little sort of tussling but we are Democrats." Right now, with no Michigan or Florida delegates included, Obama leads Clinton by 202 delegates. He needs 42 more to clinch the nomination.

A potential compromise plan would be to have each state be penalized 50 percent of its delegate representation, but allow every delegate to attend the convention with a half vote.

The Rules committee will address two main issues at its hearing Saturday morning: how many delegates each state is allowed and how those delegates will be allocated between the two candidates.

"How do you recognize the people who didn't vote and how do you recognize the people that did vote and how do we at the same time maintain the integrity of the process," said Martha Fuller Clark, a DNC Rules member from New Hampshire and Obama supporter. "And there are no easy answers."

James Roosevelt, Jr., the DNC Rules committee co-chair from Massachusetts, described the meeting as "spirited because people on this committee have a strong feeling about the rules and about the importance of them." But he added, "It was not unpleasant or heated."

Roosevelt also predicted that a resolution will be reached, but said there would be dissenting votes.

"I can't predict that it will be unanimous," he said. "I do think that it will be unifying for the party."

Filed under: DNC • Florida • Michigan
soundoff (387 Responses)
  1. brad

    If there was anything the Bush / McCain supporters and its policy could dream for to continue this route of misguided US government. This is it. This messed up MI FL fiasco. Clinton is deserving the blame for inciting it. State government is to blame for creating it.

    May 31, 2008 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  2. rachel

    Where is the announcement of hillary's new superdelegate Eileen Macoll

    May 31, 2008 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  3. Abina

    The DNC and all the people saying they're democrate shoudl really be carefull. Many of Obama sup. always voted for the party in all kind of issues. A big frustation for them mean the end of hope for that party.

    May 31, 2008 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  4. woody crawford whitfield

    all vote's should counted as alway's

    May 31, 2008 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  5. Ilene MI

    Re-VOTE!! Hillary would not win in Michigan and SHE knows it!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 31, 2008 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  6. Watermann

    The behaviour of Senator Clinton reminds me of my divorce since despite my way to follow the rules (laws) she continued to blackmail my lawyer and me. This experience has opened my eyes and disillusioned me for the rest of my life. Do women not realize when it`s over and when to stop the "war"? Besides that, in real life no man would chose a women who treated him the way Senator Clinton did (and is still doing) with Senator Obama would accept her as future partner ( VP spot) This is only possible in politics. I feel however, reading hundreds of comments, that many people feel the way I do.

    May 31, 2008 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  7. Austrian

    WHo does she think she is with previledge to change the DMC rules`?

    May 31, 2008 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  8. Dee, St. Louis

    Where the hell is Al Sharpton? Hillary is trying to steal the nominee by not giving Obama one vote. I think not. NOT THIS TIME!!!

    May 31, 2008 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  9. DrFill

    A full delegation ain't happening.
    They're lucky they get to show up at all!
    Give Clinton a 55/45 win, if it will shut her trap.
    Make no difference anymore.
    This game is over

    May 31, 2008 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  10. Gail

    That's right Martha. How do you recognize the people who didn't vote because they believed their vote would not count? What does Mrs. Clinton have to say about that. I suppose she would say that the only votes that matter or the votes that are for her. Why else would she not want to give Mr. Obama the "uncommitted" votes or any delegates? How can she say she wants everybody to have a voice.

    May 31, 2008 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  11. El Máximo Gutierrez

    WE LOVE YOU OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!

    OBAMA '08 & '12

    Si Se PuEdE jEs We CaN sI sE pUeDe JeS wE cAN!!!!!!!!!!

    May 31, 2008 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  12. Dealt

    Why should the reesults be "honoured" when both Michigan and Florida broke the rules? The arguments Hillary is putting forward are incredibly dishonest. It's quite obvious she's only so deeply involved with their "plight" because she's behind on all counts.

    If the DNC caves in to her the Dems will certainly lose the GE. Because that will be proof they are just as prone to lobby pressure as the Republicans. Everybody has heard Clinton's arguments. Everybody has heard her comments on working-whites supporting her. She's letting Ferramo off the leash and complains of anybody slightly connected to Obama putting their foot in the mouth. She0s divise, she's inciting people not too vote (or at least not denouncing at all those who say they won't vote if the choice is Obama). She's divisive period.

    If she succeeds in stealing the nomination too many people will turn away in disgust.

    May 31, 2008 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  13. jackson from Iowa

    Dont break the rules you are teaching our children all of you.

    May 31, 2008 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  14. Obama 2008 & 2012

    Obama will win this "fight" and Billary will not be satisfied until she brings down the ENTIRE Democrat Party.

    Is she really a Republican operative ... kinds like Matt Daman's charactor in "The Departed" is really a Mob plant in the police department. I think she might be ...

    May 31, 2008 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  15. Dani

    Well I gotta tell ya, without helping them get seated, Obama shoots hismself in the foot. He won't win them in the general election....he won't win the general election anyway.

    May 31, 2008 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  16. Dems Rule

    This is the party that gives us Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Howard Dean. Is it any wonder that the Democratic controlled congress has an approval rating that is 50% lower than Bush's? The lowest rating for any congress in history.

    And these guys want us to vote for their "leader?" Please.

    McCain '08.

    May 31, 2008 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  17. Flager is RIGHT!

    The reason everyone is so mad about Fr Flager's comments is becasue HE IS CORRECT! That is EXACTLY why Billary cryed ... and why she continues this idiotic fight!

    May 31, 2008 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  18. Glad to be an Independent

    What the Clintons want is not over the top. OK. You can count the Florida primary the way the results were cast, but the big problem is Michigan. How can Hillary Clinton supporters justify disenfranchising all of the voters in Michigan that did not vote for her. The compromise is that all of the uncommitted voters should be awarded to Obama.

    According to Clinton math, she is ahead in the popular vote if you do not give him credit for a single voter in Michigan nor count any votes from the caucus states. If the object is to count all votes, then there should not be a problem with Obama getting the uncommitted votes from Michigan otherwise, no deal.

    May 31, 2008 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  19. Niyi Aborisade From UK

    Rules are meant to be obeyed. The DNC has to enforce the rules and stick to it. There should be no compromise on this matter because any form of compromise will send the wrong signal to other States who obeyed the rules. I think democracy and principle goes together. Floria and Michigan delegates are not to be seated in the convention-Simple!

    May 31, 2008 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  20. Shay

    I am hoping for the best. That everyone will do the right thing. Nobody is above the law nor the rules.. In this type of serious competition. You cannot change the rules in the middle of the game. Nor move the goal post to someone elses advantage even if they are losing are winning. Fair is fair. I would like to see Florida and Michigan seated but it must be done fairly amongst both candidates. Be awarded accordingly to who follow the competition according to the rules.

    Don't forget our future voters are watching. You mess up the trust and you lose their trust in America.

    A lot of people were not able to vote because they were told they could vote because of the date being moved. Also some people ask could they write in the vote and was told no. Some voters requested a day off from work only to be turned away. Some voters got paid for the requested day off from work and some didn't. It would not be fair to meet all of Clinton's request. After all she has said a lot of things about Florida and Michigan that it would not count anyway.

    DNC it's your call but be fair. I put my 2 cents in. Just be fair.

    May 31, 2008 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  21. Jane, NC

    I'm not sure the Fla./Mich. decision even matters, except that unless their votes are counted, they may (understandably) withhold them in November. But the superdelegates must realize that this is a virtual tie and that Sen. Clinton is far more qualified than Sen. Obama (if a woman candidate had no more experience than he does, they would not even be considered for the job). Millions of Nov. votes are at risk if the superdelegates don't vote for her.
    If they don't, Sen. Obama cannot heal the party, even if he "reaches out" to women, not after the disgraceful displays of hatred, sexism and disrespect his side has shown to Sen. Clinton and for that matter, President Bill Clinton.
    The news shows may also try to turn around after the nomination and become generous to her after months of bias in Sen. Obama's favor, but they will be too late.
    Even Sen. Clinton may not be able to do much to heal the divide, Her supporters are not "followers," as many of Sen. Obama's crowd may be. We voted for her, not with blind loyalty, but because we know that she is by far the most qualified candidate, and we agree with her on the issues. But if she is not the nominee, she may well not be able to influence our vote after that, no matter how hard she works for Obama, as she will.
    Surely Sen. McCain's staff is thinking about what they can offer us.

    May 31, 2008 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  22. warren smith

    can we all just get alone
    the rules are the rules
    end of story

    May 31, 2008 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  23. Sylvia Johnsen

    Pelosi rejects superdelegates should exercise personal judgment, and together with Reid they want to stop the race in June – moving up the Dems convention to June by word of mounth. Obama will celebrate victory in his very own "Mission Accomplished 2"-rally on Tuesday. They are all trying to change the rules, the set-up of this election. The only rule they are not willing to follow is the higher rule of democracy itself: One voter, one vote!

    May 31, 2008 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  24. Mark

    This is an easy decision...sorry, you can't be seated due to not following the rules. Now Hillary, do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth...I'm tired of her political grandstanding on this issue since she seemed fine with it back in the fall.

    May 31, 2008 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  25. NC man

    obama should reject his racial voters

    May 31, 2008 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
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