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?

  • Southern Cameroons

    I want to know from anyone not biased to tell me in simple and honest way.Why is the arguement when both UNIQUELY ACCEPTED the penalties of both Michigan and Florida.I believe when we make laws we have to abde by them.

  • Honestly, because I believe the DNC realizes they made a mistake in penalizing Florida and Michigan so harshly. Now they run the risk of alienating the voters of Florida and Michigan. Plus, the voters in each state were NOT the ones who made the rules. Therefore, they’d be penalized because their state legislatures chose to move up the date and defy the DNC.

    Now, the DNC is doing damage control trying not to alienate the voters as they realize now they were too harsh in canceling all the state delegates.

    That’s how I see it, as unbiased as possible.

  • I don’t think the DNC expected any campaign to last this long and having to enforce those rules. In their minds, they probably thought that a campaign at this point would be so lopsided that a winner would be clear. We know that Hillary was expecting it to be over after Super Tuesday. But here we are.

    What I don’t get is why Obama doesn’t go ahead and campaign to get the delegates seated? It might not be in his favor and he may be giving Hillary some more ammo for her super delegate argument but really, shouldn’t the candidate about bringing people together make this his natural move. There would be a lot to gain from an act like that.

  • Jake

    But if Obama took the move to seat all the delegates, even if he still won under the image of the person who can bring people together, he would be challenged and ridiculed for not abiding by the rules that he agreed to.

    I think Michigan and Florida have more to do with principal than anything else. Yes, their votes should count and they’re crucial in an election like this, but as it’s been said before, “The rules are the rules.” Without them, there would be chaos – as this seems to be proving.

  • Erwin

    Had it been the other way around, I’m sure there would be people saying the same thing for both sides. Bending the rules for people because they failed to properly educate themselves is something I would expect for grade schoolers. The world of business sure doesn’t work that way. And the folks in charge broke the rules on purpose anyway. Unless I have it wrong, the rules were in place before all this began. And if the rules are so unfair, why didn’t they say something about it when THEY agreed to them initially? Now we have a bunch of people throwing temper tantrums because they don’t like the rules. Either it’s my way or I will sink the ship; What the hell is that about! And there way involves castrating the opposing team. Not even a little compromise given the circumstances of the situation. I say let the ship sink and follow the rules. No one is above the law in this country right? : ) I mean really lets face it, the folks voting for Hilary were gonna abandon the party in her absence anyway. The polls already revealed that. So flaming it up like this is the reason, is just an illusion. It’s more like an attempt to appease there conscience. Even if Clinton makes out like a bandit today and gets all the delegates, I predict if Obama takes the nomination, the party will still be divided. Cause if there is one thing I have learned in the past few months, it’s that there is always something to cry about.

  • Correct me if I am wrong, but don’t all states that have their primaries before Super Tuesday lose half of their delegates?

  • Michael_193

    No, that’s only in the Republican contests. The DNC allowed Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada to specially move up their contests without being penalized. The GOP, though, punished all states who moved their primaries up. However, Iowa and Nevada were not because their states have caucuses and these caucuses are technically non-binding under GOP rules.

  • Frank

    Wow,

    Those Clinton supporters in the video are really pissed off. The dont even want to come together. How dumb are they. Theyd rather have McCain then Obama.
    A question to the unbiased americans here 😉 , what has Barack Obama done that makes so many people (even democrats) detest him?

  • In the first clip, I was just wishing they would crank up the microphone. “From Mississippi, to Montana, to Oregon, to Ohio…” Wouldn’t have another rendition of Scream Dean!

  • That was supposed to say “would have enjoyed another rendition of Scream Dean!” blech. Can’t type today.