Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Iowa DNC Rules Member: Clinton Florida Comments "Not Helpful"

Iowa DNC Rules Member: Clinton Florida Comments "Not Helpful"

As Florida Democrats go to the polls today to vote in a presidential primary that officially has no delegates at stake, an Iowa City member of the Democratic rules committee that unseated those delegates told Iowa Independent that Hillary Clinton's recent comments on Florida are "not helpful" to the process.

Sarah Swisher, first vice chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, serves on the Democratic National Committee's rules committee.  That committee punished Florida for scheduling its primary today, a week before an approved window.  Friday, Clinton said she will ask her delegates to seat delegates from Florida and Michigan.

"It's not helpful when you have candidates express themselves in direct conflict to rulings by the DNC," said Swisher.  "It's helpful for those participating in the nomination process to adhere to the rules of the party."

"We didn't see any letters of support for Florida months ago," said Swisher.

Florida and Michigan moved their primaries up in order to maximize their influence on the nomination.  Many leading Michigan Democrats said their goal was to end the traditional early role of Iowa and New Hampshire.  Republicans also punished Michigan and Florida, but only took away half of their delegates, not all the delegates as the Democrats have.

"I hope to be President of all 50 states and U.S. territories," Clinton said in her statement, "and that we have all 50 states represented and counted at the Democratic convention."  Barack Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe said in response that Clinton is "using Florida for her own political gain by trying to assign meaning to a contest that awards zero delegates and where no campaigning has occurred."

"State parties were very well informed about the repercussions of violating the DNC rules," said Swisher.  "Michigan and Florida chose to do so at their own peril and with full warning."

Swisher acknowledges that ultimately, it'll be up to the national convention to decide whether or not to seat Michigan and Florida.  "At every level of the party, the convention is the ultimate governing body."

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