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. B not for Obama

    Florida should stand as is. Neither campaigned there and he lost. Michigan should have a new vote paid for by the DNC because they are the one's who screwed this thing up. I also feel that the Super delegates should pull all there endorsements for either candidate until they can resolve this issue and then endorse the strongest candidate. They should at least endorse the winner of there state. These super delegates should be looking at how there state voted and follow there lead. If they would rather take this away from there voters , then the voters of there state should vote for there candidate in other ways. Either by writing there name on the ballot , ( which would be a wasted vote ) or switch parties and show them how it feels to be ignored and vote for the Republican candidate ( John McCain ). I and my family will do the latter and switch parties for this election and many more if they can't fix this party. NOBAMA Go Hillary or give my family John McCain

    May 31, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  2. Charles in Prince George VA

    Well if Hillary can get the rules changed in her advantage and count the votes she thinks are in her advantage then Obama should start yelling for affirmative action for white house jobs not just privet sector jobs that way we won't have to count anyone's vote, and he will still win! Why not if its good enough for all the other job positions in the country way not the white house?

    May 31, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  3. andrew s. rostolder

    hillary is a liar, and a panderer, just like bubba........ she has nothing to lose by causeing decent in the ranks, it is what the clinton's do best. both agreed to the rules. things went south for hillbilly, soooooooooooooooooooooooo, change the rules. bake some cookies hill.

    May 31, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  4. GirlTexas

    Here we go again, another canidate trying hard to cheat their way into the white house. Her and Bill will do anything to be back in. ITS SAD.

    May 31, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  5. Valerie - St. Louis, MO

    These Clinton supporters want her to win because she will be the first female president and for no other reason. She can't say or do anything wrong in their eyes. Not her sniper fire lie, her pedophile pastor or her campaign fraud investigation will deter them. Oh I forgot the media is not covering her pedophile pastor or the campaign fraud investigation because this is Clinton News Network (CNN). I dare you to print this!

    May 31, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  6. Laylah B

    Call me a cynic, but I doubt this will end today. I feel that the Clintons will continue to manipulate the system and use their loyal supporters to get the Democratic nomination. At the Convention, all delegates from Florida will be seated proportionally, on a 1-1 basis. As far as the the "Putin-esque" vote in Michigan, where the Clintons were the only ones shown by name, the Clintons will get all of those votes and "uncommited" will count as zero.

    Many of the superdelegates will move to the Clintons, for one of several reasons. A lot of angry Democrats will stay home or vote Republican. The Clintons will win the nomination and the Democrats will lose the election. The Democratic Party will be badly damaged, and McBush will start moving his furniture into the White House on January 20th.

    May 31, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  7. Lenny

    I doubt CNN will even post this since I am pro Clinton, but here goes. I don't care about the DNC and their agenda. The voters are being punished and they were not the ones to change the date. If this nonsense were resolved correctly from the get go, Hillary would have won Florida handily, and thus gained momentum. momentum is the crucial point. It is momentum that helped Obama , and momentum would have helped Hillary. But it is too late now for momentum. The voters are being penalized for the acts of others. Why is the DNC so hellbent at sending a pathetic liberal left wing nut to the general election when he doesn't have a chance on hell of winning. The republican machine will chew him up. They have gone after Hillary for ten years and she is still standing. Obama will be taken down. I, along with many many other Democrats will hold my nose and vote for McCain over Obama, because Obama is a pathetic radical racist. CNN has also contributed by offering their bias for Obama. I don't get this whole phenomenon with Obama. He has no credentials or substance. Anyway, if you guys want him so bad, and you may get him, be prepared for four more years of Republican rule. At least McCain is a patriot who served his country. I can vote for him.

    May 31, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  8. Pato

    This is in fact a case of changing the goal post in favor of a player.
    If all this could be happening within the democrats in USA, why is America coming in to talk to poor underdeveloped countries like Boma, Zimbabwe, Kenya etc. If the Clintons use their incumbency to change the rule, twist other Americans arms to get and retain power then we should leave for Christ sake Mugabe of Zimbabwe alone.

    The Iron Lady of US, thank God you're not from Africa or Asia, you could have made the poor Bill that you're dragging on the mud a life president since you were just fronting him while in control.

    Poor Bill, we understand what you're going through but God will see you through this mess I a short time

    May 31, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |






    May 31, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  10. Geez

    GO Hillary !!! Hillary in 08 !!!

    May 31, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  11. Dan

    Split them 50/50 and move on for hell sakes.

    May 31, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  12. 2j

    It is lugubrous to see how controversial messiah Clinton is managing to imagine that she would be the nominee!If Obama was in her position,i believe he wouldn't even get a breather.He would have been bundled out,and no one would ever raise an eye brow.But the truth is;it is too late to halt Obama now.Just too late.Whoever emerges as the democratic nominee,will be the next American president.

    May 31, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  13. RB

    This ain't rocket science folks! The rules at the beginning of the game was FL and MI "would not count for anything". The nation has voted. Now, HRC wants to change the rules to say that FL and MI count. No way, my dear.

    There are only two options:
    1) enforce the rules and DO NOT seat the delegates
    2) seat the delegates but DO NOT allow them to impact the nominee in anyway whatsoever (50/50 split on delegates and popular vote)

    Anything else equals a split party and a loss in November!

    May 31, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  14. John D

    Hillary won both states and should be given the delegates due to her.

    May 31, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  15. Steve from California

    The Democratic Party needs to take a long, hard look at itself, especially the party leadership. It may be time to clean house.

    May 31, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  16. Donatus. O.

    The fact that Clinton signed a pledge in support ot the cancellation of the florida and michigan votes ealier on , and now trying to reverse it to her own advantage potrays her as something of a political chamellion that should be distanced and closely watched.

    The integrity of the democratic party , its rules and that of its officials is at stake. The world is watching!!

    May 31, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  17. beverly

    hope hillary sticks by her word, when she has to bow out, that she works hard for obama to win the election for the top honor of our great country

    May 31, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  18. harry

    it is a Shame to hillary .she is being desparate. lets wait and see

    May 31, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  19. Publicus

    There undoubtedly will be a solution that provides for seating of delegates from Michigan and Florida; however, Sen. Clinton and her supporters should understand that there must be a penalty for ignoring the previous agreement accepted by both candidates. Rules cannot be changed as the primary season draws to a close merely because they no longer are favorable to the circumstances of your candidate.

    May 31, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  20. Valeriy Simonian

    If DNC Comittee would follow the rules then the problem could solved easy: both candidates signed agriment about Michigan and Florida. Comittee have to follow decision made before by party and this agriment. But Clinton now changed the mind. Party bosses have to say her: This is over rules!
    Instead of this they with Committee members taking sides. This mess happen because part of this group like yo push ahead Clinton. They were ignoring own obligation to play by rules. What is their real interest? Such a shame!

    May 31, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  21. David from Granville, OHIO

    Just let the spoilt lady have her way now! It will not affect the outcome. If Clinton wants to follow old style soviet "election" processes – and claim victory when she was the only one on the ballot, so denying Obama a single delegate from Michigan, her non democratic hypocrisy will be exposed. The super delegates will flock to Obama and end this farce.

    May 31, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  22. Hillary supporter

    The "blatantly racist" comments spouted by Howard Dean at the top of his speech were mostly against whites by AA and their supporters! Americans will not be fooled by Dean and his "unity" ravings.He should have stepped in long ago and stood up for Clinton because of the extreme bias of left wing media and democrats.

    May 31, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  23. Gail Holcomb

    I am furious about this closed session, after it was announced the meeting would be open and televised.

    I am also furious that ANY meaning is being drawn from the MI and FL primaries. Hillary didn't win either one. No one thought those primaries would count. It isn't a question of counting the votes cast because more important are the votes that would have been cast if the citizens had thought their votes would eventually be counted.

    This is a travesty. I've been voting Democratic for 40 years, and I am fed up.

    May 31, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  24. Marilyn E. Harvey

    Obama's people said "he followed the rules" yet he did have ads in Florida. They are supposedly excusable because they were "national buy", but I don't buy that–TV shows and commercials have been removed from limited markets in the past because they were offensive to certain communities. His campaign made no effort to exercise that option, nor did they simply remove the ads nationally for a brief time. It was hardly an innocent move.

    As for removing his name from the MI ballot, that was not required in the rules nor in the pledge the candidates signed. It was done at the last minute and certainly appears to be a political rather than a noble move.

    May 31, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  25. AnnaLisa

    This is a mess. You have to follow the rules or everyone will be casting a vote after New Years.

    May 31, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
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