Posted: May 31, 2008 1:37 PM
Status of Michigan Delegation Emerges as Key DNC Problem
As the Democratic meeting entered the early afternoon, the fate of Michigan, whose 157 delegates were stripped for moving their primary to Jan. 15, remained one of the most problematic issues the DNC faced.
Michigan officials, led by the state’s Governor and Clinton supporter Jennifer Granholm, are pushing the Democratic National Committee to award the delegates as per the vote totals — Clinton 55 percent and “uncommitted” 40 percent.
“We want the Michigan delegation seated in full with full voting rights,” Sen. Carl Levin told the committee.
But state party officials acknowledged that the vote did not fully represent the views of the party members since neither Barack Obama nor John Edwards appeared on the ballot voters cast that day.
“The ballot did not give us a true picture of the view of voters,” party chairman Mark Brewer said. “We find ourselves in a very unusual and unique situation.”
Heading into the meeting, Clinton advisers were saying they should be awarded all of the Great Lake State’s delegates they won, but added another wrinkle to the argument, saying the committee could not award any of the “uncommitted” delegates to Obama.
Some Democratic officials had proposed giving those uncommitted delegates to Obama as a compromise, but Harold Ickes, a senior Clinton strategist, said that would be a violation of the rules.
“This committee, the Rules and Bylaws Committee, and the DNC does not have the jurisdiction or the power to take those delegates, to take that uncommitted delegate line, and award it to Sen. Obama or any other presidential campaign any more than this committee and the DNC has the power to take the 73 delegates or any part thereof that were awarded to Hillary Clinton as a result of that January primary and give them to another candidate,” The Wall Street Journal quoted Ickes as saying, “That is as fundamental a rule as there is. It is bedrock, it’s below bedrock, you know, of our party. And so that’s a long answer, and the short answer is no.”
Obama strategist David Axelrod told CNN he expected the committee to abide by the rules, which could mean cutting the delegate total from the state in half.
“I think there are rules and those rules need to be enforced,” The Detroit Free Press reported in its blog.
It seemed the fight over Michigan may be one of the real contentious issues at Saturday’s meeting. A late night discussion among officials appeared to make little progress on the matter.
According to ABC, ” The key sticking point is how to allocate delegates in Michigan where Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., took his name off of the ballot.”