September 6th, 2012
09:34 AM ET
7 years ago

Democrats struggle to explain Jerusalem, God omissions

(CNN) – A co-chairman of the committee charged with drafting the Democrats' official party platform said Thursday it was "unfortunate" that references to Jerusalem and God were initially omitted from this year's document, but could not explain events that led to that exclusion.

"It was an unfortunate omission," Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Cory Booker said on CNN's "Starting Point," stressing that the discrepancies between this year's platform and 2008's – which did include language referring to God and Jerusalem – did not detract from President Barack Obama's core beliefs.

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"We have a president of the United States who believes both in God, and we know that, but also believes in that plank" on Jerusalem, Booker said.

On Wednesday Democrats amended their platform to include language referring to God and denoting Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but the amendment took three voice votes before Antonio Villaraigosa, the chairman of the Democratic National Convention, was satisfied that two-thirds of the delegates had voted in the affirmative.

Observers in the convention hall were dubious as to whether the affirmative votes outweighed those in the negative, much less reached the two-thirds vote required.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said Thursday that any voice vote among 6,000 delegates was bound to have some dissent.

"To have a small amount of objection in any essentially legislative process is sort of par for the course," she said, also on CNN's "Starting Point."

But she, like Booker, could not provide a firm explanation of how language referring to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was left out of the Democratic platform in the first place.

'It was a technical omission, and nothing more than that." Wasserman Schultz said, utilizing a term she also used Wednesday night in explaining the platform discrepancies. "There was not any - through the drafting process and the platform committee process, there was never any discussion or debate or commentary over adding or subtracting it."

Booker said he took some responsibility for the document as a leader of the platform committee, but added that the process was never perfect.

"Sometimes, as bad as it might seem, there are imperfections," he said. "There are mistakes made."

Pressed further on how the language was left out, Booker specified that there was no one person who removed the language from 2008 declaring Jerusalem Israel's capital.

"I am the co-chair of the platform. I was in the mix," he said. "This is not somebody that changed the platform. It was an omission and unfortunate."

Wasserman Schultz said the language was added back into the platform "because President Obama personally believes that Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel, and felt that the platform needed to reflect his personal view as well as the language from the 2008 platform."

Sen. Charles Schumer of New York said Thursday it "has always been the position of the Democratic Party, of the Democrats overwhelmingly, that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel."

"Why it wasn't in the platform, I don't know," Schumer continued, adding that he personally brought the omission to the attention of White House staffers when it was reported on Tuesday that the language was left out.

"I didn't know," Schumer said. "I don't read, to be honest with you, the whole huge document, but I know basically what our party stands for."

soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Ed1

    The Quote of the Decade:
    "The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America 's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that, "the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."
    ~ Senator Barack H. Obama, March 2006

    September 6, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  2. Ed1

    Obama said put the statements back in and it was voted on but they didn't get two thirds so they passed it anyway what a joke no wonder the people don't trust Obama and the Democrats they just make things up and go forward.

    Three votes and they still didn't have two thirds what a shame.

    September 6, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  3. Gurgyl

    Do not worry about god business in politics. He is holy and sacred. Please do not club together.

    September 6, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  4. SLC

    I guess Obama "did not build that" platform.... More excuses, more lost votes.

    September 6, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  5. RealityBites

    Nothing about the crowd shouting NO, or the BOOING of the chairman when he ruled that it passed by 2/3svthe vote, nice spin..

    September 6, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  6. Idahoe

    Reminds me of the children from family circus..... Who did this? Not me !

    September 6, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  7. Pete

    I'm tired to pandering to these Jews,the so called" chosen ones".They're like the black sheep in everyone's family,can't fight their battles alone,the ones their ignorent ,arrogent mouths get them into,yah know a battleship mouth and a row boat ass,that's them..Quit running to bail them out,they're a country aren't they,they do have some military resources don't they,let them stand up and take their lumps when BEBE runs his mouth,put up or shut up.In my upbringing if I ran my mouth and got my butt kicked,that's my fault ,I didn't have a bully to back me up,that's how life is,you make your bed and you sleep in it!!Netanyahu should be more diplomatic,he's one of the smallest countries out there,don't screw it up,just once make a decision without hoping the Americans will back you up.You start a fight ,then fight it and finish it,that's life,grow up Isreal!!

    September 6, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  8. Taylor

    Did you see them try to add God back in to the platform with a 2/3's vote. That was hilarious. I don't think they had the 2/3 but out of sheer desparation it was gaveled it in. How about the term "technical omission" from Sargent Schultz – another fairy tale.

    September 6, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  9. Ancient Texan

    No surprise here; fits the narrative of the Dims these days. "God has no place in America's politics", " Religious people should not be allowed to vote because they cause theocracies", etc. THe Democratic Party has become something far different than the Democratic Party of Harry Truman.

    September 6, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  10. Decima

    Maybe it's because the Dems don't need to use God as a crutch, like the GOP does.

    September 6, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  11. simp

    Why, Why, WHY?? CNN you are more concerned about this then this entire convention. Last night I thought it was shameful the way your panel of right wingers kept talking about this like it was the event of the evening. Why didnt you all hammer ryan about all those lies he told at the rnc? I was watching when brenna interview Wasserman-schultz about this and even though the chairwoman answered her question, repeatly, she kept asking the same question over and over again, it was as though she wanted the chairwoman to slip up. You are so bias I only watch to see what you people say after big speeches, and it's obvious you are not neutral, you are on the right side.

    September 6, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  12. gt

    the mayor crawfish on this made booker look little and confused....

    September 6, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  13. Mark Mathews

    The party in which the "Evil One" parties. Comfortably

    September 6, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  14. v_mag

    I have to go along with the original idea, although I understand that pulling those clauses from the platform gave ammunition to the right wing. God's name should not be taken in vain, and a party platform is no place for it. Also, a statement about Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is totally out of place. Sort of like putting in your grandmother's recipe for bread pudding. What is it doing in a party platform?

    The contrast, of course, is that the Repugnants steadfastly refused to include language excluding rape and incest from their abortion ban plank, despite a simultaneous gaffe by Todd Akin. Just like they "double down on trickle down", they double down on all their mistakes. Heck, they doubled down on George W. Bush by nominating Mittler.

    September 6, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  15. 90909090

    what a complete JOKE......How can the press not be ALL over this. This was a very deliberate!!!. How bout the coverage of the republicans...which had not changed... the media aired it over and over.....yesterday Pelosi steamrolled the CNN staff...what a joke.....comon CNN you stand up to Nancy Pelosi when she is telling you to shut up??? I was embarrassed for you CNN

    September 6, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  16. fghjnbgfhjk

    Is israel going to become the 4th or 5th happiest country now cause america is going to be 12th or 14th

    September 6, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  17. TheRealDNCVote

    No to Jerusalem!
    No to God!

    September 6, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  18. myviewis

    And the Democrats are backpedaling again and attempted to put a spin on 1 more thing. Wow, these are the people telling us to trust them in running our country, let the government make decisions for us because we need government in our lives and these are the people running the government.

    September 6, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  19. Dan

    No God, No Jerusalem, individual democrats calling republican politicians "Nazis" (abusing the notion of what were the Nazis) and Abe Foxman and the ADL are silent! Groese Shanda!

    September 6, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  20. Thomas

    Please have the news anchors address the main issue from yesterdays vote at the DNC. That is the perversion and dismantling of the bedrock of our democracy; the vote itself.

    It's clear to anyone that they did not have the votes to pass the changes in the platform. How is it democratic to ignore the results of the vote, ignore the peoples voice and push forward anyway.

    The perversion of our democracy for pure political positioning should be of the greatest concern.

    September 6, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  21. fghjnbgfhjk

    I noticed the last convetion speech moved from one place bank of america to harvey winestiens building instead go figure

    September 6, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  22. myviewis

    And how does he explain away that the teleprompter was already showing to Antonio Villaraigosa that 2/3 of the delegates had voted in the affirmative when Villaraigosa was still taking vote????? Was it fixed??????

    September 6, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  23. Sandra

    What does Jerusalem have to do with the democratic party, we are trying to establish jorb in this country,,, our coutry should be first before we start medeling in other countries affairs.

    September 6, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  24. Ray E. (Georgia)

    That's OK. I don't need the Democrats to explain God to me. Just explain Bill Clinton and Elizabeth Warren to me. Last noght Warren said she grew up in a good system but now says we don't want to go back to that system. Which is it? Bill clinton took us right into the weeds but made it sound like we were on a well manicured lawn. He told us how Democrats were so much better for us than the Republicians but forgot to mention the people threw out the democrats during his term in office. Bill sure knows how to blow smoke. It al sounds good until you get the bill.

    September 6, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  25. James

    It was a remarkable commentary on their concept of the democratic process: we assume you want what we want, and when you disagree, we decide you don't know what you're talking about and we run right over you and try to act like nothing happened.

    September 6, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
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