Saturday, April 05, 2008

Obama Plays Michigan Cards

Obama Plays Michigan Cards

Another week ends, and the Democrats are no closer to a solution on the Michigan-Florida delegate disaster. The Barack Obama campaign has finally made its condition official: they want a 50-50 split of the Michigan delegation. The Clinton campaign has predictably rejected that.

The dueling statements came Friday as the Michigan Democratic Party, finally completely, we mean it this time, killed the idea of a re-vote to replace the results of the calendar breaking Jan. 15 primary. Clinton won that primary over uncommitted, since Obama and most other candidates took their names off the ballot to stand up for Iowa, New Hampshire and other states that were allowed to vote early under Democratic Party rules.

"A 50/50 split of the delegates is an eminently fair solution, especially since originally Senator Clinton herself said the Michigan primary wouldn't 'count for anything,'" Obama spokesman David Plouffe said in a Friday statement. "It's now up to the Clinton campaign: they can agree to a fair resolution or they can continue trying to score political points and change the rules." While the 50-50 split has been mentioned in the media for weeks, this statement is believed to be the first time the Obama campaign has made it an official position.

Rejection from Team Clinton was swift, arriving in in-boxes before Plouffe's statement from Team Obama. "Close to 600,000 Michiganians cast ballots in January and these votes cannot be ignored," said spokesman Phil Singer, ignoring the fact that the usual term is Michiganders. "We urge the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee to take all necessary steps to ensure the voices of the people of Michigan are heard and its delegates are seated at the Democratic convention this summer.

Even if the elected delegates are seated 50-50, Clinton would still gain an advantage, as most Michigan superdelegates support her.

Michigan and Florida moved up their contests to try to increase their influence in the nomination process. Instead they were stripped of all their Democratic national convention delegates, and the candidates did not campaign there. In Morissette-worthy irony, the Obama and Clinton campaigns are now hunkered down in Pennsylvania, the biggest state that decided to vote late rather than early, and are working the state retail as if it was Iowa.

Interestingly, ├╝berblogger Markos "Kos" Moulitsas Z├║niga, an Iowa caucus hater, wants to see Florida and Michigan punished -- this cycle. "If Michigan and Florida get to flout the rules, then no DNC calendar can ever be enforced, which means that there's no possible way to break the Iowa and New Hampshire monopolies," he wrote.

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