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. Vole Piwo

    Democrats need to take into consideration the unjustice they have been subject in Florida during Gore/Bush elections. Senator Hilary needs to show leadership by respecting her consent to party engagement. She signed to penalize, then came back behind Obama's loyalty to campaign as sole candidate and now claims victory. Victory over whom? Would Hilary voluntarily decide to back up has she been the front runner. People, Americans are taking notes of your nasty politics. The whole world is watching. The Cinton campaign has the ball.


    May 31, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  2. Dem in CA

    It is no surprise that Clinton wants to ignore the rules, as she obviously believes rules are for the little people. And Obama is the elitists?

    Why does Clinton get a free ride from CNN? I noticed you guys even tinted your "Decision Day" photo of Obama green, so he looks like a sick space alien.

    Are you people children? Just because FOX News does stuff like that, you have to ape them?

    May 31, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  3. wisdom

    they must not count it

    May 31, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  4. Rich from Silver Spring

    I really hope they come to a decision before November....

    Seriously, for HIllary to have a believable arguement, she should have been in both states corners from the start. She wasn't there for them until it helped her. She talks of all votes counting? How about the people from both states that didn't come out to vote because they thought their vote didn't count. Also, would we even have this meeting if the states were delegate poor states, such as North Dakota, or Montana?

    I am rambling, but as I see it, one candidate followed the rules, (Obama), yet he is now painted by the other as not wanted the votes to count. If Florida and Michigan want their votes to count in the future, I suggest they vote out the Idiots in their states that caused this mess.

    Go Obama '08

    May 31, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  5. Peter

    John Edwards got 14% of the Florida vote. Will he be awarded any delegates? Remember Clinton only got 50% which means that 50% didnt want her and Edwards has endorsed Obama.

    May 31, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  6. Obama Supporter

    I'm an Obama supporter and I'm ready for this to be over. Why does Hillary want the delegates to be issued by the results when clearly it wasn't a fair game in those 2 states? One one ballot, Obama's name wasn't even an option and she feels this is ETHICAL and doesn't want to compromise at all. I'm sorry Hillary...this is really low because you know that if the tables were turned you would be furious, ESPECIALLY if your name wasn't on the ballot as Obama's wasn't in one state.

    May 31, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  7. Wayne

    I think rules are rules and we should abide by them. It is not fair to seat all the delegates, as both campaign agreed to this descision. Hillary is a cry baby. I voted for her in the NY Senate. Never again. No more clintons, they are history. If Hillary was leading in the delegate count and popular vote, she wouldn't care. She thinks she is entitled. Obama should not make her his running mate. If she ever get the nomination, I will join a protest against her and bring the party down.

    May 31, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  8. Barbara

    I fully agree that every vote should count according the ideals and principles of the democracy . However the people in those two States were told that their vote will not count for the primaries. Millions of people voted but what about those who didn't? If the results are count as is, their vote and voice will be ignored and they will be disenfranchised. They don't matter?

    More importantly, Senator Clinton did sign a pledge that she will not
    campaign in those two states. And she has publicly said on the radio about Michigan in particular : "in any case their vote will not count". I want to have a woman president but not by means of deceit and horrifying DISHONESTY. Why she agreed back THEN to disenfranchise voters?

    May 31, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  9. Big Reet

    As an American citizen and a registered Democrat I can't believe that my vote in the Florida primary can be dismissed as can my vote
    to chose a delegate to represent my choice at the convention be ignored. I am disgusted with the leadership of the DNC.

    May 31, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  10. FL Dem

    My first thoughts are , Obama HIMSELF took his name off the Michigan Ballot, that was HIS choice. COUNT the votes as they were cast or loose us in November and we WILL pick a NEW Democrat in 2012. Count us or Loose us, its up to you.

    May 31, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  11. Johnny

    "Sad and Desperate." This is fast becoming the legacy of Hillary Clinton. Win at all costs... cheat, lie, and insist on rules changes.... She needs to concede.... with dignity... if she has ANY left....

    May 31, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  12. Realistic

    Hillary is now actively trying to split the Democratic party so that at least her close friend John McCain can win if she can't.

    Clinton / Lewinsky '12

    May 31, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  13. LIsten

    So Obama followed the rules and Clinton didn't and she wants credit for cheating. If she really wanted their votes to count she would take a 50/50 split and then everybodies votes would count. Anybody with intelligence knows that she only cares about her interest. Wouldn't the people who didn't vote because her campaign people penalized them feel cheated. What about their votes?

    May 31, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  14. Mark

    I actually despise Hillary but I must say that she outsmarted Barack on this one. He was foolish to ignore Florida and Michigan and now he is paying for it Of course, she is a master flip flopper because she agreed to the penalties against Florida and Michigan last year and now she acts outraged that they are actually being penalized.

    But that's what makes her a master politician.

    Obama, did you learn something from all this?

    May 31, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  15. PSK

    Let me weigh this out: " Playing by the rules and maintaining integrity " VS "Selfish, prideful determination to get one's way no matter WHAT "..... gee, I just don't know which way to go on this one.

    May 31, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  16. skylark

    Democrats held hostage by drunken, gun packing, screeching shrew.
    No wonder her hubby preferred other women.

    May 31, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  17. tai

    O let it go already clinton, u lost, u'll never be president in this millenium, just get over it already.

    May 31, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  18. jaison Biagini

    they want to call florida fair but the numbers suggest otherwise. florida, with a little over 18 million residents, is the 4th most populated state with nearly 6 million more people than each of the 3 states below it. yet all 3 states cast more votes inn the primary than florida. also, i believe there were more things on the ballot than just president. you ever think those voters went to the polls for that reason?

    we all know michigan should not count as is considering you couldn't even vote for obama. how many voters punched clinton because they were just filling their ballot.

    but even a better reason is that these states need to be punished in some way for jumping line against party rules. they should have been punished by 50% the day they moved. then both could have campaigned and this would have never been an issue. that's what the republicans did. what's funny to me is clinton has more supporters in the commitee, if she wanted every vote counted why didn't she throw her weight around back then??

    H I P O C R A C Y!!!!!

    May 31, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  19. Democracy (Obama) '08

    In a letter addressed to the co-chairs of the rules committee, Clinton lawyer Lyn Utrecht said Friday the panel is compelled to seat both delegations from Florida and Michigan fully and not award Obama any delegates from Michigan.

    "It is a bedrock principle of our party that every vote must be counted, and thereby every elected delegate should be seated," Utrecht wrote.

    Just as long as as they voted for YOUR candidate, right?

    What could more transparently evil, calculating, opportunistic and political as this advocated "solution?"

    Katherine Harris is Hillary Clinton's role model and mentor.

    May 31, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  20. OBAMA 08

    Everyone keeps saying to count ALL the votes. Count them ALL then, redo the whole thing so that those wanting to vote for Obama can. Grow up people and count them ALL (even obama supporters) or let the RULES stand and stop whinning. She did not complain until it was for her benefit, you can look up the video on youtube. Clinton is working harder to destory the party than bringing it together. Open your eyes, Rockefeller did, Kennedy did, hell even Rupert Murdoch did..

    May 31, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  21. jm

    Obama HAS NOT WON this nomination. Why should Hillary bow out when at least half of the dem voters clearly want HER. Maybe Obama should bow out for the sake of the party. That makes as much sense.

    May 31, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  22. Charlotte

    Seat the delegates, the rules call for a 50% reduction of delegates not he elimination of all. By the way, McCain is not Bush. The Obama-bots want to tie McCain to Bush but not Obama to Pfleger or Wright? Those pedophiles in the Catholic church at least did not stand up and profess their preversion, to the cheers of the congregation. Obama has to approve of his Churches retoric or he would have left. Divine Intervention come on!!!
    Obalegerwright is not fit to be President.

    May 31, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  23. The Truth

    After the issue of MI and FL are resolved and the primary elections come to a close Barrack Obama will still be ahead in every category.

    So Americans again ask....Since Obama will (AND IS) be ahead in.....

    Delegates...Popular vote......and States won...Will the "lady" in the pants suit stop all this self serving, lying tactics and come together to unite the party around Obama?

    OBAMA '08!

    May 31, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  24. nobama

    ALL the votes should be counted. Obama and all of his silly supporters are such cry-babies, always screaming "racism" everytime anyone questions Obama as a suitable candidate for the highest position in the US. This priest incident is just another example of how Obama is NOT what he presents himself to be. There is NOTHING special about Obama. He is extremely arrogant, inexperienced, he's a racist, a hypocrite and a traitor, and oh yeah, also a sexist. I can only imagine the uproar if it would been MacCain the one to call a female reporter "sweetie" like Obama did. How can I vote for someone that ditched his Pastor/mentor/spiritual adviser/friend just to get more votes??? How can anybody trust such a hypocrite? Although I do not agree with Reverend Wright's views, I feel sorry for him for being so humilitated and discarded by Obama simply to get more votes. It is so apparent that the only reason Obama has gotten this far is because he is black . Obama has gotten almost ALL of the African-American vote. If that is not blatant racism , I don't know what is. His supporters treat him as he were their long-awaited Messiah. And his speeches? Oh please: Blah, Blah, Blah, change, blah blah, change, blah, change, blah, blah BLAH... I am so sick of the word "change"!!!!!!!! Well, Obama supporters, "change" is NOT necessarily a good thing. Obama has the huge potential to "change" this country's dire situation from bad to worse. I, along with MILLIONS of voters do not trust Obama and WILL NOT VOTE FOR HIM.

    May 31, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  25. michelle

    Hillary Clinton sickens me!!
    She is like a spoiled brat who wants her own way!!
    If anyone thinks if the scenario was switched she wouldnt cry out
    unfair , they are deluding themselves!!
    When she was ahead it didnt matter one iota and now that shes behind she wants to change the rules in the middle of the game
    It speaks volumes about her character and how power hungry she is!!
    I realize they have to be seated somehow in these states but lets hope they are fair about it!!
    Of course CNN has always been pro Hillary ...thats been quite obvious from how they have always focused on Senator Obamas negatives on every show every night!!!
    By the way I dont have a dog in this race.I am from another country
    so I can look at this with an outsiders opinion and fair perspective!!
    Sorry this is how I see it all!!

    May 31, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
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