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« FL Compromise Close | Blog Home Page | MI's Case: Electability, History »

FL's Case: Blame The GOP

Representatives from the Florida delegation finished their presentations to the Democratic Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting this morning by acknowledging they had broken party rules but that their primary should count anyway, both to put the state in play in November and because Republicans were truly to blame.

DNC member Jon Ausman, Senator Bill Nelson and representatives from both presidential campaigns urged the adoption of a plan that would return the 185 seats at the Denver convention in August and award each delegate half a vote. The state's super delegates would be given their full votes under Ausman's petition.

But to convince Rules and Bylaws Committee members to accept the proposal, presenters relied on blaming the GOP. Nelson, in a sharp exchange with one committee member, pointed out that the vehicle for moving the primary ahead of the pre-approved February 5 window was a bill pushed through the Republican-controlled state legislature, and that the party had neither the time nor the money to hold their own later contest.

"We recognize in fact that Florida has violated the timing rule," Ausman admitted. But, he and others argued, by not counting the 1.75 million votes cast in January, national Democrats would essentially take the state off the table in November. Refusing the count the votes, State Senator Arthena Joyner argued, would be comparable to Apartheid South Africa.

Joyner represented the Clinton campaign while Rep. Robert Wexler spoke on the Obama campaign's behalf. While Ausman's plan would hand Clinton a net gain of 19 additional delegates, Wexler said the Obama campaign would accept the compromise. "Senator Obama offers this concession in order to promote reconciliation among all Florida voters," Wexler said, pointing to the broad support for the plan. "If we in Florida can get it together and be unified, if we can keep our eye on the ball in November, so can you."

While some RBC members are hesitant to reinstate votes, mindful of the consequences in four years, most seem willing to accept the argument that Republicans were to blame. Votes on a solution to the Florida problem are expected after an early afternoon lunch break, followed by what is expected to be a more contentious debate over Michigan's delicate delegate situation.