DNC rules committee gathers to settle MI & FL (Update)

We also have video of the 500 or so Clinton supporters who turned out to protest outside the meeting. Naturally, Clinton’s campaign wanted all delegates counted and seated while Obama’s campaign was willing to meet halfway calling for only half of the Florida and Michigan delegates to be accepted.

You can watch the entire rules committee hearing live on C-SPAN or watch the live stream at C-SPAN.org. I’m currently watching live and it’s quite an entertaining meeting with cheers and boos.

A report on the meeting from Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON – Supporters for Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton staked out competing positions Saturday as Democrats searched for a compromise to seat disputed convention delegations from Florida and Michigan and clear the way for a smooth end to the marathon struggle for the presidential nomination.

In the opening hours of a daylong meeting of the party’s Rules and Bylaws Committee, Clinton’s designated spokeswoman urged the panel to grant a full vote for each of Florida’s 211 disputed delegates.

“In life you don’t get everything you want. I want it all,” Florida state Sen. Arthenia Joyner said with a smile.

But moments later, Obama’s campaign called for half-votes for each of the 211. Rep. Robert Wexler of Florida said that marked an “extraordinary concession, in order to promote reconciliation with Florida’s voters.”

Obama supporters cheered loudly when he spoke, but there were boos from some in the audience who back Clinton.

The challenge is to “come together at the end of the day and be united,” Howard Dean, the party chairman, told members of the committee gathered at a hotel across town from the White House.

Video from the committee open at 9:30am eastern Saturday morning:

Video of the Clinton supporters gathering outside:

It will be hours until anything is decided. I will update this story later this evening with the details once the news comes down.

Update

The decision is in and is as follows, from Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON – Democratic Party leaders agreed Saturday to seat Michigan and Florida delegates with half-votes at this summer’s convention with a compromise that left Barack Obama on the verge of the nomination but riled Hillary Rodham Clinton backers who threatened to fight to the August convention.

“Hijacking four delegates is not a good way to start down the path of party unity,” said adviser Harold Ickes.

Clinton’s camp maintains she was entitled to four additional Michigan delegates.

The decision by the party’s Rules Committee raised slightly the total delegates Obama needs to clinch the nomination. Clinton advisers conceded privately he will likely hit the magic number after the final primaries are held Tuesday night, but said the ruling threatened to dash any hopes of a unified party.

“Mrs. Clinton has told me to reserve her right to take this to the Credentials Committee” at the convention, said Ickes, who is a member of the Rules Committee that voted Saturday.

The resolution increased the number of delegates needed to clinch the nomination to 2,118, leaving Obama just 66 delegates away from the majority needed to secure the nomination.

“Our main goal is to get this resolved so we can focus on winning Michigan and Florida,” Obama said while campaigning in South Dakota. “There were compromises. … I’m glad the DNC worked it through and I hope we can start focusing on substance as opposed to process.”

The deal was reached after committee members deliberated for nine hours, including three where they met privately and argued fiercely over their eventual deal, according to several people inside. They voted in front of a raucous hotel ballroom that frequently interrupted proceedings and reflected deep divisions within the party.

A video report from the Associated Press:

So all delegates from Michigan and Florida will be seated. However, their votes will count as half. So, if there’s 100 delegates, they will count as 50, for example.

Seems like the most practical way to break things up at this point, what else could they do other than holding a new election in Michigan?