May 31st, 2008
01:40 PM ET
12 years ago

Florida representative concedes punishment unavoidable

DNC member Jon Ausman speaks before the Rules and Bylaws committee meeting, Saturday.

DNC member Jon Ausman speaks before the Rules and Bylaws committee meeting, Saturday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Florida Democrats conceded in their opening remarks that a party penalty for holding their primary was unavoidable but pleaded with Democratic leaders to seat half their state's delegates at the summer convention.

"We recognize, in fact, that Florida has violated that timing rule," said Florida Democratic National Committee member Jon Ausman, who had challenged the original penalty, and a punishment of some kind was "appropriate."

But he said Florida's superdelegates did not need to face a similar reduction under party rules.

He appealed to party unity as he urged the Rules and Bylaws Committee to reconsider the penalty.

"When we leave the room, I want all of us wearing our blue jerseys, so we can take on the Republicans in their red jerseys in November," Ausman said.

But the meeting took a more contentious turn as RBC members cast a skeptical eye on some of Ausman's arguments.

RBC member Don Fowler called Ausman's assertion that superdelegates should not be affected under any penalty "totally incorrect."

And David McDonald, who hasn't publicly backed a candidate, questioned an argument by Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, who followed Ausman, the state's Democrats had been victims of a decision by the Republican-dominated legislature.

Nelson took offense to the "adversarial" manner that McDonald challenged his argument and said he would push back in kind.

"I was not going to rehash this in the name of party unity," Nelson said.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • DNC • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. Emma, San Jose, CA

    Hillary's campaign said they will accept nothing short of having all the Michigan delegates apportioned to her. That is unlikely to happen. Because the resolution needs to presumably be approved by both candidates, if it is a deadlock who will actually decide?

    May 31, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  2. deana

    The DNC leaders are a set of "chickens" without gut! How else could they allow the Clintons' behaviour to influence thier actions and
    (in)decisions so much.
    They are not leaders but a set of "jokers"

    May 31, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. Gaylon

    THAT'S BULLCRAP CNN! Here you go again misquoting the facts. I have been watching the meeting and no one has conceded any such thing. The florida representatives have said that only the people's vote will count one person one vote. Delegates i1Delegate 1 vote. Super Delegates 1 Delegate 1 vote. So quit putting out what you wish to happen.

    May 31, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. Gil, Pembroke Pines, Florida

    Why is that Florida seems to be in a mess again? Why do republicans have the say when the democrats vote? This has to do something with the governor that wants the republican VP postition. So the republicans wanted the Clintons out early in the race. But they may be in a suprise if Obama should pick her as the VP.

    Obama pick Clinton as your VP and really show you are for change by picking a woman as your VP. I wonder how Florida will then weasle their way out of losing to the democrat during the presidential election.

    Obama pick Clinton as your VP its the only way to win. Especially in Florida.

    May 31, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  5. Sheenla, Hollywood, Florida


    Let's show the ruling republicans that we what the two democrats to run together since they were both treated unfairly by Floirda and Michigan. This way they both can be heard and beat out the republicans.

    WE CAN DO IT TOGETHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    GO OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    GO CLINTON!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 31, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  6. Mary Smith

    I thought it was popular votes that count, why is Hillary fighting for delegates so hard if she's won more popular votes!

    The woman is a disgrace to her party, she's the most undemocratic person I know. She'll trample on anyone rights just to get her way. SORRY NOT THIS TIME HRC, BARACK HAS ALREADY WON!

    May 31, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  7. Marty

    Changing the rules in the fourth quarter after the two minute warning is far from "fair" no matter how you slice it. And, despite the sunny disposition of some, unifying the democratic party is a dream at this point.

    What democrats need to look at is the fact that running a campaign really does relate to how the country is run once the candidate is in the whitehouse. Bush is a really good example of this. I only hope that you democrats follow the advice of the DNC and get it together and get it together soon. This endless and useless bickering has to stop because you are losing us independent voters that you tried so hard to win over.

    By the way, I went through a 4-hour democratic caucus process to cast my vote in February...but apparently caucus state voters don't matter in this primary, only Florida and Michigan voters, so it's a mute point.

    May 31, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  8. Marc

    Punish Florida and you are punishing the Democratic Party for which should not be blamed. It was the Republican Legislature that changed the date not the Dems!!!!!!

    Hillary should get FULL votes/delegates.

    If not, you'll see McCain win FL in November.

    May 31, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. j

    I agree. Michigan & Florida should be penalized. A 50% restoration is fair but no more.

    May 31, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  10. Democrat in LA

    The job of any state's Democratic Party leadership is to see to it that more Democrats vote than Republicans– ultimately, the state-elected Republican legislature in Florida is the result of a failing Democratic Party in Florida. If Florida Democrats don't like being the "victims" of Republican rule, then they need to take responsibility for getting a Democratic majority into their state legislature. At the end of the day, Florida voters' "disenfranchisement" is not the doing of the national party, it's the doing of Florida voters. They need to realize that it's not the job of the national party to rescue them from themselves.

    May 31, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. After further review,Texas.

    I wish they could get the states to go on that program,"Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader".Florida just doesnt get it do they?

    May 31, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  12. Kirk

    Sen. Nelson's smile looked like a shark's, baring his teeth just before he eats you. Wow... he was nasty to McDonald!

    May 31, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. Oregon

    Florida and Michigan deserve to be punished, because they broke the rules. And they must be punished – otherwise, the 48 states who obeyed the rules are cheated.

    May 31, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. kris okosun

    it is sad the way clinton is going about florida and michigan. my fear is this, if mrs clinton cannot stick to simply party rules how can she stick to the constitution of the united state if she becomes the president?


    May 31, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  15. Lindsay

    This is all going to end in very bad taste and the whole process is going to make the USA look even worse than ever.

    The DNC will pander to HRC as most of those "high up" in the DNC did not expect or want Obama to be the nominee. At the time, no one was worried 'cos HRC was ahead. Now those in power in the DNC see the FL and MI case(s) as one last chance to help HRC over the top, which is what was "planned" and "expected" all along – her being the nominee that is.

    Somehow, HRC is going to be "given" the nomination in spite of being beaten and it'll all be made to look "right" and "legal" following a new interpretation of the "rules".

    Obama is the USA's best hope to move forward and from the brink of falling into a very dark period but he'll be ousted by the more "powerful" and the world will look on and groan and laugh (maybe) and loose even more respect for a once all-powerful nation.

    Oh how the mighty fall. Not just Clinton, McCain, Obama but the USA as a whole.

    Sad, but the whole world still looks on with a little hope and faith.

    May 31, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  16. Jesse

    The only fair solution is to abide by the rules. YOU CANNOT CHANGE THE RULES MIDSTRIDE AFTER THEY ARE BROKEN AND EXPECT A FAIR RESULT FOR ALL CONCERNED. That would be weakness, incompetency, and simply unfair in any organization. Florida and Michigan broke the rules. Now if any concession is given then it would not be fair for those millions of voters who did not turn out to vote because they knew their vote would not count because they believed that the party would stand by its rules. Further, Obama was not on the ballot in Michigan. Is this Democracy??? Democracy without fairness??? Rewarding those that break the rules? Penalizing someone that played by the rules? Penalizing voters that played by the rules? "The rule of law is the closest link between man and freedom." JFK. What that means is abiding by the rules we all agreed to is essential to fairness which, in turn, is essential to a free and democratic society. The Florida and Michigan voters that did vote should redirect their angst at their own legislatures that got them in this mess.

    May 31, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  17. Ed

    I dunno what else to say about madame Clinton. She should go home!

    May 31, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
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