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. glenn

    the elites of the democratic party .dean reid and peoloski.have given another election to the republicans.
    We need reform in the democratic party .what kind of horses petunia would even put in rules not seating delagetes Obama took his name of the mich. ballot .why?afraid he would lose badly ?
    Why not eliminate the long drawn out election process .have no more than two primary eletions one east and one west of the mississippi
    river then over with it .The election process in this country is a disgrace .only people enjoying this system is the people runnin them.
    and gettin rich from them .LET'S CHANGE THE SYSTEM PLEASE!!!!!!!

    May 31, 2008 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  2. Walt

    The DNC should penalise Sen. Clinton for not sticking to the Rules by campaigning in Michigan and Florida. Sen. Obama stuck to the Rules and should get merit for that. Rules are Rules. You cant`t stop the Game at 11.55 to change the existing Rules just because you are loosing. Really hard to figure out what is going on in Clinton`s mind. Hope the Party does not suffer too much from all this Politicking. It`s now time for Superdelegates to weigh in! The Focus should be on winning back the White House!!!!!!!!

    May 31, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  3. malachi

    In all fairness, hold the primaries for those states again with full participation by both candidates. It will take a little time and cost the party some money. But, in the end, all will be represented fairly. Obama will not be penalized for playing by the rules. Clinton will not be given an unfair advantage for having NOT played by the rules.

    May 31, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  4. Jim

    Time to end this farce. Hillary will not be the chosen candidate, regardless of whatever bizarre machination she and her people devise.


    Ms. Clinton:
    Stop the mindless campaigning to no good end, stop wasting our time and your donor's money and accept your defeat gracefully.

    May 31, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  5. Donna FL

    He we go again Floridians. Remember what happened in 2000 which is why we are here now. Why should a few people get to decide who will be our nominee? Why do any of us vote? Last I checked it was my right to vote, which I did, And if people did not vote that was there choice at the time. But my vote should count. Back in 2000 it was the Rebublicans that did not want our votes to count now it is our own party that seeks to disinfranchise us. What is next? The people of Florida and Michigan should be up in arms over this because this is just a snap shot of what can happen in November. Rules are just guidlines that we all try to follow but no one asked me if I wanted to push up the day to vote I was just told that it was so why should I be punished for it? This is why there is no way I will vote Democrate this time around because this stuff is rigged.

    May 31, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  6. mike

    It's a no brainer. Hillary Clinton has absolutely turned this process into a circus, objecting to the rules that she had initially agreed to when she knows her candidacy depends on it. The best solution is in Florida award 50% and seat them as voted. In Michigan award 50% of the delegates and split them 50/50 with the candidates. There is no way on earth Clinton can realistically expect to have all the delgeates and popular vote from Michigan when Obama wasn't on the ballot.

    The politics the Powered hungry Clintons will scoop to in order to steal this nomination from the first potential black president is absolutely appalling. To think that so many people sit back and support this circus is quite concerning.

    Mike From Canada

    May 31, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  7. john

    these clinton supporters are follow her blindly . Where's she when they decided that MI./FL. delegates are not going to sit? Why don't she fight for them at the time? She start fighting for them when she got herself into political problem and these people are buying her aguiment. So sad! many stupid people in america

    May 31, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  8. Silverslipper

    Hillary Clinton is using every trick in the book to steal this nomination. She agreed to the punishment for Michigan & Florida but hedged her bets by leaving her name on the ballot. Now she wants the delegates seated. Her word is worthless. Is this the kind of President we want. More of the same?

    May 31, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  9. Ricahrd CANADA

    Florida and Michigan should not count they break the rule live with it.No matter what Barak will win TODAY.BILLARY go away you lost the game in Feb.

    May 31, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  10. Ricky Galileo

    Sound the ALARM!

    Clearly the DNC needs to bring in the country's top hostage negotiators!

    The Klinton Kult holds the entire Democratic Party hostage in a Davidian-like trance.

    Rumors abound that Bubba Klinton constantly tugs and strokes his thick and tangled beard that is framed by his white and wilding hair.

    Are Lacky Davis, Harold Yuc-kes, James Card-sharp and George Stuffingitalot really threatening to carve HC on their foreheads ?

    And is Hellary and her Hellcats actually preparing tubs of Kool-Aid to share with their followers' families and children?

    The Party must intervene before the Ghost of Reverend Jones once again rears its ugly head.

    Bring in the hostage negotiators...NOW!

    May 31, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  11. Tab

    I hope they think about the general election and who can best lead this country (Hillary Rodham Clinton). I also hope the supporters outside don't get into fights. I think everyone is so emotional about the candidates and I can see the Obama supporters trying to strong- arm the proceedings like they did in the caucus states.


    May 31, 2008 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  12. Missy

    I believe the FL and MI voters are protesting too late. The clamor should have come prior to the primaries, in reaction to the national DNC's response to their states wanting to hold elections too early. It seems as if they are trying to set up a 'have their cake and eat it, too" scenario. If being seated were such a strong priority, they should have mobilized before the primaries and pushed to abide by the clear guidelines governing the election process.

    What would the incentive be next time for states to abide by the national election rules if the delegates were seated this time, after having been given a clear "no?"

    May 31, 2008 08:50 am at 8:50 am |


    May 31, 2008 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  14. bill pike

    Politics is smelling more like new england football and the old fashion back room deals the clintons are known for are sneaking under the doors of the "super"?? delegates. I just don't understand-the rules are the rules and clintons said the fl and mi delegates were not to be counted when this happened, but now need them to have some life so change the rules, sign NAPTA but tell the world you are against it while making millions off us poor voters, sign the agreement to go to war in Iraq but you are against it, get the races at each other for your benefit which shows your past is about you not helping the races, play the i am woman, no i am poor little beaten up women card like the race card. I AM VOTING FOR OBAMA AND I COME FROM A LONG LINE OF REPUBLICANS UNLESS BUSH/CLINTON IS RUNNING AND THEN I GUESS VOTE FOR INDEPENDENT. it is so hard explaining things like this to kids who we teach in school to obey the rules or what????

    May 31, 2008 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  15. Steve (Independent)

    Well, we will have to see how things work out.

    Frankly, if they cave into Sen. Clinton's preference, the DNC rules become absolutely meaningless and every DNC Rule becomes highly questionable.

    All I can suggest is to work out a compromise that threats both fairly and does not conflict with the DNC Rules and let's not forget that the canditates were already aware of and agreed to the votes not being counted.

    The DNC has a chance of proving themselves as objective and fair to all concerned, or ending up with egg on everyone's faces...

    In the end, it is my humble opinion that the original ruling should stand.

    May 31, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  16. Colin

    I honestly don't know what all whining is about. I just finished reading through the rules of the DNC and there is NO ambiguity.

    Paragraph 11. A. states the rules clearly in the first sentence:

    "No meetings, caucuses, conventions or primaries which constitute the first determining stage in the presidential nomination process (the date of the primary in primary states, and the date of the first tier caucus in caucus states) may be held prior to the first Tuesday in February or after the second Tuesday in June in the calendar year of the national convention."

    According to your own sources, Senator Obama followed the rules and withdrew his name from the ballot, Senator Clinton did not, and nor did she withdraw her name from the Florida ballot. Both candidates were told by the DNC that should their names remain on those ballots, their delegates would not be counted. Both delegates agreed to those rules.

    IF there was to be a "fair" fix, it would have been to hold new primaries in both states before the cutoff date of the first Tuesday of June. It's too late for that now, unfortunately for EITHER candidate, and anything the DNC would attempt to to do to fix things now at this late date would serve to exacerbate the problem.

    May 31, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  17. Marienne

    What HR has done is being referred to as "CHEATING", and so being the case, cheaters don´t and should n´t be rewarded.

    May 31, 2008 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  18. JC

    It looks like DNC cannot hold its own.
    If DNC cannot govern it's own party, it cannot govern the country.
    This election is supposed to be about the urgent issues facing the nation, not about the ridiculous power struggle between Hillary and Obama.

    If DNC cannot resolve the problem and the original rule cannot be upheld, DNC serves no purpose and should dissolve itself today.
    The country has to move on and we don't need incompetent people around to hinder the progress of our nation.

    If no solution can be reached today, dissolve DNC and both candidates run as Independents against McCain and other Independents. I have nothing to do with, but we do have to move on. This is just my 2 cents.

    May 31, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  19. Steve (Independent)

    Correction, the intended word above in my above statement should have been "treats", rather than "threats".

    May 31, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  20. rod

    Why is this happening?
    One reason, Hillary Clinton.
    "Other" was on the ballot in Michigan for Barrack...

    The Clinton campaign didn't play by the rules and are now looking like the child who never got the present he wanted for his birthday.

    May 31, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  21. Karen Johnson-Boston

    I can't believe it has gone this far with the DEM

    Its a shame, that people feel this is the 60's and they have to result to marching in front of the DNC to make a statement.
    It shows we are not united as DEMs

    Hillary needs to stop this action, it really makes her camp look bad.
    Plus it looks like she can't win on merits

    May 31, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  22. jimmy

    hrc she is not resinable in her request she said before mi & fl will
    not count now that she is lossing she want it to be counted
    and that would not happen she is fair at all.

    May 31, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  23. Shelia R Smith

    Where were all the protesters when elected officials from Fl And Mi decided to vote move primary up. I do agree that millions of people that cast there vote dd not do any thing wrong but the people THEY elected to speak for them DID!! What about the people that knew the rules obeyed the rules and did not vote if you are going to count all the votes what about theirs. I cannot believe what i am hearing from Sen Clinton's supporters to me the are saying "Please excercise your right to vote and follow the rules if you don't get the result you want then PROTEST. I am a democrat and thought that Clinton would win this hands , down fair and square. The sad thing about this IF FLA and MI wouldnot have moved their primary Sen. Hillary Clinton would BE the presumptive democratic nomimee. If the decide to take this away from Obama i will be wataching a movie on November 4, 2008

    May 31, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  24. yns

    Obama did campaign in Florida with television ads!!!!!! Just more whining from O-blah-blah-blah so he can try to get to the white house.

    May 31, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  25. LifeLongDemocrat

    There's a movement in Minnesota started by one of the party elders to write in Hillary's name in November if the delegations from FL and MI are fully seeated. Sounds good to me. She is willing to lose in Novemeber.

    I was surprised to hear on TV yesterday that women will automatically run to support Obama...they said in about 3 weeks...NOT!!!!!!

    Hillary at all costs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    If not 2008 then 2012

    May 31, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
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