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

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

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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. Hillary the Idiot

    She truly is delusional!

    May 31, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  2. Debby-Florida

    A Rule is a Rule...i do support Clinton But People this is the fault of the Officals that let the early vote in FL....Lets get them out of office...

    May 31, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  3. Todd

    It'll be nice when we can finally put this behind us. And to annyone thinking about voting for McSame come Nov because their candidate wasn't nominated, remember the supreme court both gave women the right to choose and appointed Jr prez. With three justices likely to retire in the next term our next president will have a lasting effect either good or bad...

    May 31, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  4. Hillary; go away!

    Her madness must not go unpunished! Whatever is she thinking?!

    May 31, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  5. Paula from Canada

    Obama should NOt be left out of the mix..he played by the rules..I cannot even believe this is taking place!! Clinton signed the pledge before the voting. The rules apply to everyone..of course Mrs. THANG was winning then wasn't she. Unfair, unbelievable .The DNC should NOT allow elections to be set up in states who don't follow the rules.. Obama's name wasn't even on the ballot.. oh yeah that is fair.. what a mess and what a joke!

    May 31, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. Frances

    This process should be a no brainer. Fl and MI broke the rules. So they should be penalized for doing so. I thought it was funny to read an article on yesterday where Hillary attorneys are saying that Barack should not get any delegates from Michigan because THAT"S WHAT THE RULES SAY ABOUT UNCOMMITTED VOTES.

    Hey Hillary attorney, why do you want to ABIDE BY THE RULES OF MICHIGAN AND NOT ABIDE BY THE RULES THAT THE DNC SET FORTH FOR FI AND MI????

    Hillary and her backers make this world sick. They want to change the rules when the rules, as is, don't benefit them and keep the rules that do benefit them.

    I hope the DNC is smarter than that and will go according to the rules like we all do.

    May 31, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  7. Joe - Wilmington, DE

    Discussion of what? The geniuses in charge of the Michigan and Florida primaries knew and understood the rules and the sanctions, broke the rules and was subjected to the sanctions.

    Hello!

    May 31, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  8. Crush Rush

    Florida has become the laughing stock of the world.From chads,corrupt election officials,the home of Rush Limbaugh .etc.The schoool system must be horrific when the average voter doesnt seem smarter than a 5th grader.

    May 31, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  9. NO OBAMA

    I don't know what it's going to take for you people to understand that obama does not have the best interest of this country at heart. I have never seen one person create so much hate between people in such a short period of time as obama has. This fool is too dangerous to even think about running this country.
    If Hillary Clinton does not win the nominee then I will gladly give my vote to John McCain. He is far, far better than obama.

    May 31, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  10. travis

    i love that all the photos of the "protestors" are just of those three sorry looking guys who look like the still live in their mom's basement.

    like... all three of clinton's supporters came out to protest.

    May 31, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  11. rene'

    come on you guys get this show on the road so that we (all true supporters of the democratic party) can rally around our nominee and get ready for McCain.

    I think it's unfair to allow Hillary to decide for you which way you're going to vote on this thing. She did not play by the rules so why allow her trickery to make up your mind for you. when a person commits a crime he has to pay for it by serving prison time...those are the rules. If a child acts out in school, his toys or recess priviledges are taken away...those are the rules. If florida or michigan move up the dates of their primaries per the dnc their delegates will lose their seats...those are the rules. both hilllary and barack knew of the rules and agreed to them by signing an agreement just as all did. why is it that she's the only person who doesn't understand or won't acknowledge she signed this agreement?

    May 31, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  12. Tran

    What a dilemma! On one side you have the DNC, who constructed rules and regulations, agreed by all states, which was followed by 48 of the 50 states. Then, on the other side, you have disgruntled citizens who feel disadvantaged if their votes do not count, yet they blame the DNC for upholding a rule that was broken by their state.

    I would support penalizing Florida and Michigan because they are the only 2 states that did not follow the guidelines. What is the point of having rules if nothing happens if they are broken? How fair is that to the people and states who respect the rule? The problem with this is swarms of people will blame the DNC for neglecting their votes, pro-Obama, anti-woman, etc...when they really should be directing that frustration to their state's representatives for pushing the primary date forward.

    If Florida and Michigan do not get punished, how fair is it to the Obama campaign, who followed the rules and even took off his name off the ballot in Michigan? It would be like saying "Thanks for following our rules, but even though 2 of the 50 states did not listen, but we won't penalize them."

    May 31, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  13. Allen

    I was way more interested in this a few months ago. The process is just dragging on way too long to suit me. Make a decision that's fair to both parties and move on already.

    It was obvious to everyone with any sense who the noninee would be for the democrats months ago. Lets wrap this up so the party can move on to bigger and better things, mainly winning in november.

    May 31, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  14. fred

    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.

    ============================

    LMAO we all know that Obama likes to create the rules...don't forget how he maniplated his race in Chicago!!!

    Obama will never be elected in the General Election!!!

    Goodbye Obama and Hello President McCain!!

    Run Independent Hillary!!!

    May 31, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  15. Sharon

    The solution to this problem is not easy. Our society or any society for that matter, must have rules in order to exist. When rules are violated there has to be repercussions. They can't allow some maverick groups to ignore ACCEPTED and agreed upon rules and destroy an orderly process..
    If a player on a basketball team has been declared ineligible before the season began, the coach can not suddenly put that player in the game in the 4th quarter of the final game. It's ludicrous. For the Clinton campaign to try that tactic at this stage is just as ludicrous but it also gives us a bird's eye view into the character of the candidate. This tactic will lose more supporters for her campaign than gain them.

    May 31, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  16. What if?

    "I think that people will have to ask themselves those questions, who would be the best president in terms of preparation and readiness and effectiveness, and who would be the stronger candidate. And I imagine that process will begin after the end of the last primaries," Clinton said………………………Clinton keep repeating this as if we the voters have not chosen the STRONGER candidate, HIS name is OBAMA!

    Do anyone know what type of position has been offered to Geraldine Ferraro by the Clinton camp, it has to be an position of a life time because there is no way such a person would make themselves look like she has these last few months.

    Thank God, Clinton is not our president, we would be in trouble, just think what trouble our Country would be in today, if she had agreed on a decided with another Country, and found it will not work in her favor as she thought, then changed her mind, we would have been a joke to the rest of the Country.

    May 31, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  17. Sue

    First order of business should be to fire H Dean.

    May 31, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  18. sheep

    the only way for MS. CLINTON to get the popular vote is to not count any OBAMA supporters in MICHIGAN ,,not my vote in any of the caucus states ,,that the popular vote showed the same results as the caucus,,count my vote with your very biased opinions...by the way im a white ,,54 year OBAMA women supporter also a delagate from my state

    May 31, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  19. Kristin

    The DNC Rules committee are the ones who put these laws in place. Now they are going to break them so that they can get there way and make more money. If they were to follow the laws that THEY put in place for a reason, there would be no issue. Rules and laws are in place to make things cut and dry. When Clinton questions these rules and wants to change them just so she can win the election and we listen and actually consider doing that, that is when this country falls apart and loses it's fundamentals. But I guess that's how the democratic party works...never caring about why there are certain laws in place or what the American people actually believe in. It's just in there nature to do whatever it takes for them to get more money in there pocket. What kind of example is it when you put a rule or law in place and then change it to accomodate your own needs?

    I guess it's the Democratic example.

    May 31, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  20. shaorng58

    THE DNC SHOULD DISREGARD THOSE PROTESTERS . . . IT'S JUST ANOTHER PLOY BY HILLIARY CLINTON TO MANIPULATE A LOSING CAMPAIGN! THIS IS JUST THE PRIMARY, THEY CAN STILL VOTE FOR WHOMEVER THEY WANT IN NOVEMBER! THEY BROKE THE RULES, THEY SHOULD BE REPRIMANDED. i REALIZE IT WASN'T THE VOTERS FAULT BUT THEY HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT IT WAS NOT A FAIR CONTEST BECAUSE THE OTHER CANDIDATES WERE NOT ON THE BALLOTS! HOW DO YOU THINK THE VOTERS IN THOSE STATES THAT WOULD HAVE VOTED FOR BARACK OR SOME OTHER CANDIDATE FEEL ABOUT HILLIARY TRYING TO SAY SHE SHOULD GET ALL THE DELEGATES?! MICHIGAN SHOULD BE ALLOCATED 50/50 BECAUSE BARACK WASN'T EVEN ON THE BALLOT. FLORIDA SHOULD BE DIVIDED BY THE PERCENTAGE EACH CANDIDATE GOT. . . AND BARACK WILL STILL BE AHEAD AND WILL STILL BECOME THE NOMINEE!!!!

    May 31, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  21. Dave in Florida

    Thank you Hillary for supporting a circus-like atmosphere. It really shows your maturity. Ex-Edwards supporter for Obama now.

    May 31, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  22. William

    Why follow the rules? Rules don't apply, MI and FL broke them but we've got to Count All the Votes! You've got to Cheat to Win! Why not? George Bush does it, why shouldn't the Democrats/Hillary? Another fine example for children, Cheat to Win, that's how you do it kids!

    May 31, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  23. Charles

    I don't see what's so hard to understand about this. One of the candidates did not have his name on the freaking ballot in Michigan. Where exactly is the fairness in seating Michigan as is when the candidate was even on the ballot? I can see going ahead and seating Florida. It, too, would be a slightly unfair seating but there is a case for seating it. But to claim it's democratic and fair to seat Michigan as is would be worse than not seating Michigan. That would be a plain in view example of trying to steal an election from the winner at the end. I can't believe folks are that desperate. So many of you blame Obama supporters for following him blindly. What do you call shifting your views of fair play according to the word of your candidate? This is sad. Truly sad.

    May 31, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  24. Kevin

    Go home losers. Obama o8

    May 31, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  25. Gill

    I thought Hillary agreed initially that delicates from Michigan and Florida should not be counted, and now since she is loosing; she suddenly gets more concerned about the value of vote and people of those two states. I start loosing respect for her how she is getting desperate for power. Guys stick with the rules which are set prior to the start of the game.

    May 31, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
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