Splitting Votes

DNC rules committee decides on Michigan and Florida delegations

elected to remove their names from the ballot. Forty percent of the votes there were cast for “uncommitted.” All candidates, however, including Clinton, agreed to not campaign in either Michigan or Florida and that those elections would not count.

“We’re extremely gratified that the commission agreed on a fair solution that will allow Michigan and Florida to participate in the Convention. We appreciate their efforts, and those of the party leadership of both states, to bring this resolution about,” says David Plouffe, Obama campaign manager, in a statement issued by the campaign.

Yet Clinton campaign adviser Harold Ickes, who sits on the committee and voted last year to strip the two states of their delegations, used salty language to express his disgust over the meeting’s final outcome. He also announced that he had been instructed by Clinton to reserve her right to challenge the decisions made that day before the convention credentials committee in November.

Ohio Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio, who is also a national co-chairman of Clinton’s campaign, was also unhappy with the committee’s decision. “The fact that they decided to count the Florida vote is significant and a victory for Clinton,” she says. “On the Michigan vote, I’m disappointed that they would take away votes from the candidate on the ballot where others had the option to be on the ballot and chose not to, and [that they] are presuming that those votes that were uncommitted were for all Obama, so she loses delegates as a result thereof. It’s disappointing that my party would do that. Clinton has said she reserves the option to go to the credentials committee about this [at the convention], and I think that’s a legitimate statement to make in light of all that’s been presented.”

The following day, Clinton won the Puerto Rico primary by 68%, although only about 400,000 voters turned up at the polls. That did not diminish the New York senator’s desire to continue in the race. In her remarks from Puerto Rico, Clinton said, “… when the voting concludes on Tuesday, neither Sen. Obama nor I will have the number of delegates to be the nominee. I will lead the popular vote. He will maintain a slight lead in the delegate count. The decision will fall on the shoulders of those leaders in our party empowered by the rules to vote at the Democratic convention.”

South Dakota and Montana will hold their primaries on Tuesday, after which Obama is widely expected to reach or come extremely close to that magic number. The conventional wisdom is that beginning Wednesday, superdelegates who have so far held back their endorsements will begin lining up behind Obama.

“It seems to me that he’s going to be the nominee within a very short period of time—days not weeks. I suspect we’ll see Nancy Pelosi, the first woman speaker, leading an entourage of Democratic leaders to shut down Clinton’s campaign,” Taylor says. “It will be a very sad moment for a lot of people, because so many supported her

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