The DNC Rules Committee Takes King Solomon’s Suggestion
The Democratic Party Rules and Bylaws Committee wimped out this afternoon and allowed Michigan and Florida delegates to be seated at the convention, though the delegates from those states will have only half a vote to cast for either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama.
This decision seriously jeopardizes Senator Clinton’s presidential campaign, which needed every Michigan and Florida delegate to have a full vote. The Clinton campaign has specifically not ruled out an appeal to the DNC Credentials Committee.
The committee’s action marked a significant setback for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and makes her already improbable bid to overtake Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination even less likely. Out of today’s proceedings, Clinton netted 24 delegates — 19 from Florida and 5 from Michigan. She remains roughly 175 total delegates behind Obama heading into tomorrow’s Puerto Rico primary, which Clinton is expected to win.
Primaries in South Dakota and Montana next Tuesday, both of which Obama is favored to win, will close the voting portion of the nomination fight. There now exists almost zero chance that Clinton can reduce Obama’s delegate lead below 100 before the end of voting on Tuesday.
The magic number for either candidate to formally clinch the nomination rises to 2,118 (from 2,026), according to a release being distributed by the DNC.
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In a joint statement by [Harold] Ickes and Tina Flournoy, another committee member and Clinton supporter, the New York senator’s campaign made clear that they will strongly consider continuing the fight over delegate allocation in Michigan.
“We reserve the right to challenge this decision before the Credentials Committee and appeal for a fair allocation of Michigan’s delegates that actually reflect the votes as they were cast,” the duo said in a statement.
Michigan and Florida broke the rules by moving their state primaries ahead of the cut-off date set by the DNC. The DNC needed to hold firm on their prior decision barring those delegates altogether. Why should rule-breakers be rewarded, even by half?
UPDATE: Clinton Campaign Recalls Advance Teams
Ben Smith at Politico reports:
Members of Hillary Clinton’s advance staff received calls and emails this evening from headquarters summoning them to New York City Tuesday night, and telling them their roles on the campaign are ending, two Clinton staffers tell my colleague Amie Parnes.
The advance staffers — most of them now in Puerto Rico, South Dakota, and Montana — are being given the options of going to New York for a final day Tuesday, or going home, the aides said. The move is a sign that the campaign is beginning to shed — at least — some of its staff. The advance staff is responsible for arranging the candidate’s events around the country.
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UPDATE: Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee says the advance staffers haven’t been let go or told to find other jobs, just sent home. They aren’t typically paid for off days. “We just haven’t figured out our schedule past Tuesday,” he said.