Clinton Camp Erupts as Fla., Mich. Delegates Get Half-Votes

Some observers have pointed out an apparent Clinton campaign shift on what to do about Florida and Michigan.

At the time of the Michigan and Florida primaries, Clinton knew the delegates wouldn't count. In fact, although Ickes now favors representation for Florida and Michigan's delegations, he was one of several Clinton supporters at 2007's DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee hearing to vote not to recognize any delegates from either state because the they were about to violate party rules and hold their contests early.

But now, Clinton may need any delegates she can get to erode Obama's substantial lead in the delegate count -- 2,050.5 to 1,872.5 after factoring in Michigan and Florida, with 2,118 total delegates now needed to clinch the nomination. So Clinton's campaign demanded all the Michigan and Florida delegates be seated at full strength.

"If you turn your back on the voters of Michigan or Florida, you will be flirting with a McCain victory," former Michigan Gov. Jim Blanchard told the DNC panel on behalf of the Clinton campaign, citing presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

However, just last month at a private fundraiser in North Carolina, former President Bill Clinton took a different tack.

"Probably the only option then is to seat them under our rules as half delegates," he said in an April 29 audio clip posted on YouTube.

That's what the DNC committee ultimately decided to do.

The Obama campaign said it could go along with it. An Obama advocate at the hearing, Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla., said said seating all of Florida delegates with half a vote was a generous concession by the Obama, the Democratic frontrunner.

"This action will involve extra delegates, up to 19 delegates, being awarded to Sen. [Hillary] Clinton, [D-N.Y.]," Wexler said. "Sen. Obama should be commended for his willingness to offer this extraordinary concession in order to promote reconciliation to Florida voters."

The Clinton campaign disagreed. Clinton's Florida representative, Florida State Sen. Arthenia Joyner, told the DNC panel, "I want it all" -- meaning a full seating of Florida's delegates with full voting power -- and Ickes later ridiculed the Obama campaign's talking point of a concession.

"Concession?" Ickes said. "Gimme a break. Under their formula, Hillary Clinton loses delegates, not gains delegates. It is just a perversion of the word to call that a concession."

It got heated outside the hearing room, as well. At one point, as a group of both Clinton and Obama allies called "Florida Unity" described the proposal to give Florida delegates half votes, representatives of the Clinton campaign from outside Florida interrupted the group's press conference.

Clinton campaign surrogate Lanny Davis denied the Clinton campaign had agreed to anything less than a 100 percent seating of the delegates at 100 percent of their strength.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., a Clinton supporter and member of the "Florida Unity" group, noted that he was speaking "on behalf of the voters of Florida," not on behalf of the Clinton campaign.

"They're misrepresenting our stance," Davis said repeatedly.

Davis and Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio, a fiery supporter of Clinton's, exchanged some heated words with DNC member Jon Ausman of Tallahassee, Fla., after Ausman suggested they had no business speaking.

"Are you from Florida?" Ausman asked Davis. "Are you a designated representative of a campaign?"

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...