The Note: 'Closer to 'Not' Than Yes'?

As you get ready for ABC's upcoming Democratic debate in Pennsylvania, there are six balls worth watching this Friday: Michigan, Florida, the McCain campaign's first engagement with Barack Obama's controversial former pastor, James Carville's op-ed in the Financial Times, charges that Hillary Clinton has overstated her work on S-CHIP, and the (new) fight for delegates in Iowa.

1. Michigan: 'A Compromise May Be Announced as Early as Today' (Detroit News):

The Detroit News reports that a Michigan compromise may be announced as early as today after a "blue-ribbon group" of four top Michigan Democrats met in Washington on Thursday with top officials in Clinton's campaign and by conference call, separately, with Obama's camp.


"Sources close to the negotiations said the talks were centering on a state-run, privately financed June primary of voters who would be willing to declare themselves Democrats."

"A compromise may be announced as early as today, the sources said, but they added that details must be negotiated, including figuring out how the party declaration would work, nailing down $10 million or more in private financial backing and securing legislative and gubernatorial approval to call the election."

Members of the blue-ribbon group are Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich., DNC member Debbie Dingell, and UAW President Ron Gettelfinger.

The Detroit Free Press notes that "time is running short."

"Legislation allowing for a second presidential primary would have to be written and considered by the state Legislature before the House of Representatives goes on two-week spring break on Thursday. If the bills don't pass before then, they get put on hold until April 15 when the Senate returns from its two-week spring break. According to Democratic party rules, an election would have to be held before June 10."

2. Florida: 'Closer to 'Not' Than Yes':

The Florida Democratic Party promoted a plan Thursday for a new, mail-in presidential primary.

But Karen Thurman, the party chairwoman who offered the proposal, is sounding gloomy about its chances of winning acceptance: "I have a feeling that this is probably closer to 'not' than yes."

The Florida Democratic Party will continue to seek responses over the weekend from Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, the DNC, and others, but the New York Times reports that "if no consensus was reached by Monday the plan would most likely die."

Under the proposal, Florida Democrats would receive mail-in ballots in April and May. The vote would then be counted in early June after voter signatures were verified. The Florida Democratic Party would run the contest and pay the state to authenticate ballot signatures. The party would then pay a private firm to count the results.

The state party estimates that the cost would be somewhere between $10 million and $12 million. However, according to the Times, "the Florida Democratic Party raised only $5 million in all of 2007, and many Democratic lawmakers" in Florida "doubt that the money would materialize."

"There was one big problem" with the plan, per the Los Angeles Times. "Hardly anyone who mattered liked the idea."

The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder writes that at this point the biggest hurdle to a new primary in Florida is "the lack of a non-biased sponsor."

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