ABC News’ Teddy Davis and John Santucci report: Supporters of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton clashed bitterly over how to allocate Michigan’s delegates at a Saturday meeting of the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee.
"This event that happened on Jan. 15 was not anything close to a primary election and cannot allocate delegates in a normal fashion," said former Rep. David Bonior, D-Mich., on behalf of Obama.
"As a result," he continued, "this does not mean Michigan should not be represented at the National Convention, but it does mean that the delegates from our state should be split evenly between the two remaining candidates."
After Bonior’s comments were booed by Clinton supporters in attendance, Tina Flournoy, a top Clinton adviser and RBC panel member, argued that Obama’s position would put party officials in the position of displacing the will of the voters.
"What is being proposed here is that you go into a voting booth and at some point later down the road someone decides that your vote is for someone else," Flournoy said. "If we’re going to do that, let’s cancel 2012, and let’s divide all the delegates in all the states."
Clinton adviser Harold Ickes said that, with the exception of affirmative action, there is no more sacred principle in the Democratic Party than "fair reflection" of the voters’ intent.
Former Michigan Gov. Jim Blanchard made Clinton’s case to RBC members by warning that there could be consequences for the Democratic Party in November if the DNC panel does not allocate more delegates to Clinton.
"If you turn your back on Michiganm you will be flirting with a McCain victory," Blanchard said.
The Michigan Democratic Party has proposed splitting the difference between the Obama campaign’s call for a 50-50 split and the Clinton campaign’s call for a 73-55 split based on giving Clinton her share of the Jan. 15 vote and assigning Obama the day’s "uncommitted" vote.
But for now, neither the Clinton nor the Obama camp has been willing to meet the other half way.