Rep. Hastings, of Miramar, FL, is not happy with the results of today’s DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting:
It is with reluctance and disappointment that I accept the DNC’s decision today. I do so not because I agree with the decision but because it is time for us to move on and focus on winning in November.
I applaud Karen Thurman and the Florida Democratic Party, Robert Wexler, Bill Nelson and others who represented our state and the candidates for doing the best they could with a bad situation.
Florida Democrats have been serially abused and the DNC is the latest of offenders. How the DNC has the authority to ignore the votes of â€˜Jack and Jane Lunch Bucket’ is beyond my understanding. The insiders who actively sought to disillusion and disenfranchise the more than 1.75 million Florida Democrats who voted on January 29 give new meaning to collective arrogance.
The DNC’s decision today ignores the core principle of our great democracy: the right to vote. I know that the 1.75 million Democrats who voted on January 29 count and don’t give a damn what the DNC rules pronounce.
Going to a party’s convention is a privilege. Courts have said that political parties have a right to make their rules. In this case, the DNC has chosen to take away that privilege from people who I believe have earned the right to participate in the National Convention in Denver with a full vote. As Americans, we should never insinuate or give vent to taking away the constitutional, time honored, died for, and cherished rights of voters from any state. Yet that is what today’s decision has done to the people of
Florida and Michigan.
I suppose the DNC has the right to block Democrats in Florida from attending the National Convention. They also have the right to be stupid, and stupid they are.
At the beginning of our great country’s history my ancestors were counted as only 2/3 of a person. Until passage of the 15th Amendment in 1870, they weren’t allowed to vote. During that same time and until 1920, women could not vote. White men who did not own property could not vote at one point in our history as well.
Now, on May 31, 2008, a group of elitist insiders of the DNC have effectively said that some of my ancestors’ progeny equal only 1/2 and that men and women in Florida who voted on January 29th are 1/2 also. For a Party which will crown its historic nominee on the 45th anniversary of Dr. King’s â€˜I Have a Dream’ speech, the DNC’s decision today is tragically ironic.
As a matter of protest, I do not intend to attend the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
Despite all of this, too much is at stake this November. I refuse to allow those who have done me and my constituents wrong to stop us from taking back our country. Together, we will do whatever it takes to increase our majority in the House and Senate and win the Presidency.
While I cannot speak for others, I do not intend to take any further legal action against the DNC. If I believed that we could win, believe me, I would act and so would others. But based on case history, it is an uphill battle screaming for a change in federal law.
I will, however, spend enormous energy on convincing my colleagues in Congress that we must create a rotating regional Presidential primary system. 30 political insiders â€“ nearly all of whom ain’t ever been elected to a damn thing in their lives â€“ must never again have the ability to reject the will of and unilaterally disenfranchise 1.75 million voters.
This election is bigger than Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton. It is certainly bigger than the DNC. There are over 46 million Americans who are uninsured, gas and energy costs are spiraling out of control, America’s economy is faltering, and U.S. troops are dying nearly every day in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will take the energy and resources of all of us to fix these problems and the others facing our nation.
As Florida voters have demonstrated time and time again, we will rise above those who have sought to silence our voices and vote big and win in November.
U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Hillary supporter and superdelegate, said he’s sick of hearing DNC member Donna Brazile lament the potential power of superdelegates to tip the nomination one way or another. When Gore’s former campaign manager pushed hard to strip Florida of all its delegates “I recall her very vividly saying, “the rules are the rules.” Well, the rules arer the rules when it pertains to superdelegates,” said Hastings,. “I will excercise my judgement accordingly.”
This is huge news. The CNN news channel (via contributor Roland Martin) has the scoop, but the story is not on their website yet. I’ll post a link when I can find one.
The reason I suspect he’s doing it? The Clintons are using the Wright/Moss/Pfleger arguments with superdelegates that such controversies will make Obama unelectable in the general. That he is doing this the day the rules and bylaws committee meets is not a coincidence.
6:25 PM: There’s a little blurb at the top of the website about it but still no link.
(CNN) — Barack Obama resigned Saturday from his Chicago church — where controversial sermons by his former pastor and other ministers had created repeated political headaches for the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, his campaign confirmed Saturday.
Obama plans to hold a news conference after the town hall meeting he is presntly holding in Aberdeen, South Dakota, the campaign said.
7:38 PM: Obama is scheduled to speak shortly to this issue. Fox News is covering it, and I guess they will have live video on their website when Obama’s presser starts.
8:01 PM: Obama is speaking, says he and Michelle Obama made the decision to leave with “some sadness.” Praises Rev. Moss and Rev. Wright and Father Pfleger. He says he’s leaving for the sake of the church, to protect it, because of the intense media scrutiny. He’s essentially defending the church.
Turns the discussion to the DNC committee vote today. Says in so many words he is eager to wrap this up so they can work on winning FL and MI in the general.
Takes questions from reporters.
Says if he were playing politics with this he would have “distanced” himself from Rev. Wright when he made his announcement that he was running for president.
MOUNT RUSHMORE NATIONAL MEMORIAL, S.D. (AP) — Democrat Barack Obama paid an unscheduled late-night visit to Mount Rushmore Friday, visiting the national memorial at closing time and joking that his ears were too big to ever be included in such a display.
Two days after rival Hillary Rodham Clinton made a campaign stop here, Obama joined a group of reporters and staff members for an after-dark sightseeing visit to the national memorial, where the faces of four presidents are carved into the mountain. South Dakota and Montana hold their primary elections on Tuesday, the final ones in the nation, and Obama was campaigning in both states.
Asked by a reporter if he ever envisioned himself carved into the mountain, he said, “I don’t think my ears would fit. There’s only so much rock up there.”
Obama said it was his first visit to the landmark.
He did express curiosity about the filming of a chase scene in “North by Northwest,” Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 classic starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint that included a death-defying scramble over Rushmore’s presidential faces.
“How did they get up there in the first place?” he asked ranger Wesley Jensen.
“They didn’t. It was a movie set,” Jensen told him.
“Pretty spiffy, isn’t it,” said the Illinois senator, summing up his overall impressions.
Does this remind you a little of The Goracle’s “Who are these people?” comment he made while looking at the busts of George Washington and other historical American figures at Thomas Jefferson’s home about a week before Clinton’s first inauguration?
CSPAN‘s broadcasting it live both on TV and on their website. Looks like the DNC elites are behind this morning as no one is seated at this point and it’s 9:30. Perhaps they are a little behind because their dinner engagement went on until 2 this morning. Most of the CSPAN callers this morning are pro-Obama. One “Independent” caller suggested that Democrats should just take Bush and Cheney out of the office, skip impeachment, and make Al Gore president and Obama VP.
The protestors are out in full force:
Photo courtesy: Reuters/Jason Reed
9:45 AM: Looks like the meeting is about to get underway. It’s being held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in DC.
9:50 AM: They’re saying the Pledge of Allegiance.
10:00 AM: DNC Chair Howie Dean is giving his speech, saying this is not about the candidates but our country, recalls his campaign and how he was mad at the party, how Al Gore told Dean during a moment of Dean frustration that it wasn’t about him, and how Gore had had the presidency was snatched from him by 5 “intellectually bankrupt” Supreme Court justices.
10:17 AM: Florida’s flawed process is being blamed by one of the DNC Co-Chairs on the GOP Gov. and legislature. Typical.
10:25 AM: The Florida arguments are now being heard. First up is the rep. for the FL Democratic party. The BO and HRC campaigns will make their arguments shortly after the initial challenge is layed out.
10:48 AM: The first argument is over. Now the party elites on the committee are asking questions about the challenge.
11:00 AM: Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) is up next to speak. He supports Hillary. Nelson brings up 2000 election and how FL voters “felt disenfranchised.” Believes the Florida votes should count and that the delegates should be seated based on DNC rules (50% penalty?).
11:17 AM: Nelson and David McDonald (a committee member) are arguing about whether or not Democrats in the FL legislature and official FL party members were responsible at all for the situation they are in now.
11:22 AM: A black female FL state senator is speaking on behalf of the Clinton campaign.
Lunchtime for me. Back in about 45 minutes.
12:11 PM: Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) has announced that the BO campaign supports the Ausman petition. Ausman was the first person to argue on behalf of seating the Florida delegates at 50%. Verrrry interesting. Wexler has also requested the full power of the Florida superdels be restored. Wexler is very passionate about his case. Says Obama is making concessions for the sake of party unity.
12:20 PM: The HuffPo is reporting that high level sources are saying that the DNC reached an agreement last night on FL and MI (via Memeo):
Two sources, including a high-ranking official with the Florida delegation, have confirmed that the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC) reached an agreement last night and will seat the state’s entire delegation but give each delegate half a vote. The result would be a net gain of 19 delegates for Sen. Hillary Clinton, though there is no word yet on how the superdelegates from the state will be allocated. It is, the official says, a compromise that Sen. Barack Obama will be willing to make. “There will be theater but not much fight.”
Moreover, the impasse over what to do about Michigan’s delegation may be approaching resolution.
Sources with knowledge of the RBC’s inner dealings say a compromise is being crafted in which all of the candidates who took their names off of the state’s ballot would voluntarily agree that the now-uncommitted delegates would go to Obama, after which the state’s entire delegation would be seated.
The proposal, which two sources confirm has been discussed, would stand the greatest chance of passing: it would pacify Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, who has demanded that his state’s non-sanctioned January primary be fully honored; and it would circumvent the Clinton campaign’s insistence that party rules prevent simply assigning all of Michigan’s uncommitted delegates to Obama.
In addition to Obama, Sen. Joseph Biden, former Sen. John Edwards and Gov. Bill Richardson all removed their names from the Michigan ballot. The Clinton campaign has contended that it would be against party rules to simply determine that all “uncommitted” voters were backing Obama. The floated compromise would resolve that dispute.
Tad Devine, a veteran Democratic strategist who helped craft the delegate selection rules, says that such a compromise would be “based on the broad grant of authority under the charter of the [Rules and Bylaws Committee].” In other words, he said, the deal would rest on the agreement of all the relevant campaigns and Democratic leaders, not any specific party rules.
If completed, the compromise would net Clinton ten delegates — 69 for her and 59 for Obama. It remains unclear how the superdelegates from the state would be allocated.
If both the Florida and Michigan deals are reached, the Clinton campaign would receive a net gain of 29 delegates — far short of what the New York Democrat was hoping to pick up from the Saturday meeting.
The Michigan arguments are up next.
12:39 PM: Mark Brewer (MI) is arguing that the delegates should be allocated 69-59 Clinton-Obama. If you’re having trouble viewing the proceedings at CSPAN, you can watch them here:
12:55 PM: Clinton supporter Harold Ickes is clarifying that those who took their names off the ballot in MI did so voluntarily, that it was not a rule or required for them to do so.
Marc Ambinder has some interesting info on an upcoming speaker for MI – Sen. Carl Levin:
The big unknown tomorrow is a man whose primary interest has nothing to do with the electoral success of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. Sen. Carl Levin will be speaking on behalf of Michigan; he wants the entire delegation seated and given full votes, and if he does not get his way, he will likely challenge the RBC’s ruling when the credentials committee convenes unless the rules and bylaws committee promises to strip Iowa and New Hampshire of their privileged status in 2012.
What that means is that the debate about the size of Michigan’s delegation will not be settled tomorrow. [today – ST]
What we don’t know is whether Hillary Clinton will use Sen. Levin’s ornery desire to punish Iowa and Michigan [actually NH, not MI -ST] as a pretext for continuing her campaign.
The blogosphere is buzzing with conspiracy theories that Harold Ickes and Tina Flournoy have set a trap for Obama: because the RBC won’t given them everything they want, they’ll have an excuse to prolong the drama. (That rhymed!)
1:02 PM: Sen. Carl Levin is getting ready to speak. He is an uncommitted superdelegate.
1:10 PM: He is indeed making the argument about Iowa and NH always going first and how he believes it’s not right. I gotta say he’s making a pretty compelling argument.
1:44 PM: Levin’s speech is over. David Bonior is now speaking on behalf of the Obama campaign.
1:49 PM: The arguing outside continues as well:
Caption: Matthew NcNey of Laurel, Md., left, a supporter of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., argues with Jennifer Zambernard of Silver Spring, Md., a supporter of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., during a Count Every Vote ’08 rally near the site the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee hearing on Saturday, May 31, 2008, in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
2:23 PM: Former Gov. of MI Jim Blanchard is arguing on behalf of the Clinton campaign that the delegates be seated 73-55.
2:47 PM: Certain committee members are now objecting over the use of the word “disenfranchisement” (Gov. Blanchard used it) in comparison to what they allege happened in 2000 (“stolen” election). They didn’t object to it earlier when the arguments were being made in favor of Obama.
Donna Brazile is now arguing that trying to change the process now equates to “cheating.” Getting loud applause from the (pro-Obama) crowd.
3:00 PM: The committee is now at lunch. Will reconvene at 4:15.
4:05 PM: Fox is reporting that Florida is all but settled, but that Michigan will take more time to settle because of the fact that Obama was not on the ballot there.
4:15 PM: The meeting is about to reconvene. TNR’s Eve Fairbanks reports on what she’s seen today at the pro-Hillary protests taking place a couple of blocks from the Marriott.
4:25 PM: It still hasn’t reconvened. Check out this report from Jake Tapper on the tensions on display both inside and outside the meeting. More on that here.
4:50 PM: The room is starting to fill up again but most of the committee members still haven’t returned.
5:04 PM: Still waiting for the meeting to reconvene. In the meantime, congrats to the Space Shuttle Discovery for a successful lift off.
I anticipate we’ll have “lift off” soon when the DNC elites get back together to decide the fates of the FL and MI delegates.
5:28 PM: CNN is reporting that the committee is meeting behind closed doors, possibly deciding on what proposals they will be debating and deciding in the public meeting.
5:43 PM: They’re still not back. Obviously they’re trying to hash this out behind closed doors. CNN speculates that’s because they don’t want to give the RNC any more “disenfranchisement” ammunition. Wonder how happy or unhappy Clinton supporters are that this may be decided behind the scenes rather than openly and publicy?
6:01 PM: The committee members are starting to file back in and take their seats.
6:14 PM: Clinton senior advisor and committee member Harold Ickes doesn’t look happy.
The meeting is about to start.
CNN reporting that a single source is saying that the committee has reached a deal on both FL and MI.
6:35 PM: The proposal by Alice Huffman to seat all delegates with full voting power in FL failed. Chanting erupted from the crowd but I couldn’t tell what they were saying.
6:44 PM: Huffman just confronted a protestor who was saying that the DNC were taking their votes away. A motion is on the floor to consider seating all of Florida’s delegates, giving them a half vote each. 27 of the 30 members voted in favor. Florida has now been resolved.
Michigan’s up next. The 69-59 proposal is up for discussion and vote.
Don Fowler, also a Hillary supporter, said it’s not his ideal solution, but he’s ok for it. Harold Ickes is against the proposal, saying it’s not fair to Clinton because it takes 4 delegates away from Clinton. He’s really upset.
6:55 PM: Sounds like the crowd is more pro-Clinton than Obama. Ickes just said Hillary Clinton has asked him to say that she is reserving her right to take this to the credentials committee at the convention.
7:00 PM: Will be interesting to see how this MI vote plays out. I sense a divided committee.
Everett Ward (from NC) is going off on Ickes for what he says is Ickes political posturing.
7:06 PM: 19 votes in favor, 8 against. Michigan has been resolved. On paper, anyway. The “Count the vote” chants start.
It’s no longer even debatable that the mainstream media are in the tank for Barry O. (see the latest example here). Should he happen to win the presidential election in the fall, it will be due to, in no small part, their willingness to cover for him in ways that their former favorite Democrat Bill Clinton can now only salivate over and whine about.
Think about it: If John McCain had even half – heck, a fourth – of the long term associations Obama has had with men (and women) of highly questionable character, he’d have already been toast. The mediots would have clobbered him, and the liberal 527s, with the DNC’s unspoken blessing, would have hammered home anything the mediots missed.
On the heels of a directive to soldiers from America’s top military official to stay out of politics, Senator John McCain acknowledged that his use of Gen. David H. Petraeus’s picture in a fund-raising pitch was not appropriate.
“It won’t happen again” he vowed at a news conference this afternoon.
This morning, the Obama camp dispatched a statement from Senator John Kerry criticizing Mr. McCain’s use of a photo of the top commander in Iraq in a fund-raising pitch that went out to supporters via e-mail on Thursday.
“It’s deeply disappointing that Sen. McCain is using a picture of General Petraeus in uniform to raise money and launch negative attacks” Mr. Kerry said in the statement.
Funny how Kerry’s so selective on who he chooses to condemn on using Petraeus’ image to supposedly launch negative attacks, especially considering the fact that when it came time to voting in the Senate to express support for Petraeus and condemn the disgraceful MoveOn.org ad ran in the NYT that called Gen. Petraeus’ “General BetrayUs,” Kerry voted against condeming it. Senator Barack Obama, conveniently, didn’t vote one way or the other. He was probably out taking care of much bigger priorities like, you know, campaigning for president.
So McCain has conceded and called the use of the image inappropriate. Whatever. Does this concession mean that the DNC will stop using images of troops on the pages of their website as well – images they thought were our troops but weren’t?
Oh, and while we’re on the topic of Kerry, would someone be generous enough to buy this guy a week’s worth of clues? On the same day (after a go around between the McCain camp and the Obama camp on troop surge levels) he accused McCain of being “out of step with history and facts,” and suggested that recent McCain “mistakes” on Iraq raise “serious questions about his comprehension of this challenge,” Kerry also stated that on September 11, we were “basically at peace.”
… this seems extreme for a top presidential candidate to be doing:
Caption: Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., jokes around with reporters on her campaign plane prior to takeoff from the airport in Rapid City, S.D., Wednesday, May 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
The Politico has obtained and verified the authenticity of a scathing email former Senator and GOP nominee for prez. Bob Dole sent to Scott McClellan:
“There are miserable creatures like you in every administration who don’t have the guts to speak up or quit if there are disagreements with the boss or colleagues,” Dole wrote in a message sent yesterday morning. “No, your type soaks up the benefits of power, revels in the limelight for years, then quits, and spurred on by greed, cashes in with a scathing critique.”
“In my nearly 36 years of public service I’ve known of a few like you,” Dole writes, recounting his years representing Kansas in the House and Senate. “No doubt you will ‘clean up’ as the liberal anti-Bush press will promote your belated concerns with wild enthusiasm. When the money starts rolling in you should donate it to a worthy cause, something like, ‘Biting The Hand That Fed Me.’ Another thought is to weasel your way back into the White House if a Democrat is elected. That would provide a good set up for a second book deal in a few years”
Dole assures McClellan that he won’t read the book — “because if all these awful things were happening, and perhaps some may have been, you should have spoken up publicly like a man, or quit your cushy, high profile job”
“That would have taken integrity and courage but then you would have had credibility and your complaints could have been aired objectively,” Dole concludes. “You’re a hot ticket now but don’t you, deep down, feel like a total ingrate?”
Ouch. Remind me to never get on his bad side.
In related news, get this: McClellan has reportedly apologized to another shameless book-peddling opportunist by the name of Richard Clarke for remarks he made in 2004 criticizing him for waiting until he was no longer a part of the admin to voice his complaints:
In an encounter last night in the lobby of a New York hotel, former White House press secretary Scott McClellan apologized for denouncing a former White House colleague, Richard Clarke, the former counterterrorism adviser, after Clarke wrote a book highly critical of the Bush administration in 2004.
Now McClellan is facing a similar denunciation from the White House for his own highly critical book.
“I should have known how personal it would get when they went after me, well, I mean, after what I said about you,” Clarke says McClellan told him in the lobby of New York’s Essex House.
“I think I can forgive you now,” Clarke says he replied.
“I’d like to ask you to,” McClellan reportedly answered.
Tomorrow is probably one of the most – if not the most – important days for Democrats this primary season, as the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee will be deciding what to do about the disputed Florida and Michigan delegates.
MSNBC’s First Read and the LAT have good primers up discussing what’s at stake, what the candidates’ arguments will be, and what’s at stake.
Hillary, of course, will be pushing for a full, unpenalized seating of Florida and Michigan delegates, and making her “popular votes” and “electability” arguments, while the Obama campaign – which has pledged to go “more than halfway” to resolve this dispute – will say it’s in favor of seating the Florida and Michigan delegations but obviously not in a way that would give Hillary Clinton any advantage over him. The BO campaign will also press their (correct) case that that the primary process is not about the popular vote but who has the most delegates, an argument they started laying the ground work for earlier this month.
Marc Ambinder tackles the argument some are making that the DNC accepting any of these Clinton challenges to the process (in terms of seating FL and MI) will dilute their power enforce existing DNC rules on the books as it relates to primary scheduling:
One argument made by those who don’t want the RBC to accept any of the challenges is that the DNC would lose all of its legitimacy and would not be able to enforce anything resembling a coherent calendar in 2012 or 2016; if states knew that their delegations would be fully or partially restored even if they broke the rules, they’d have no incentive to follow them in the first place.
But this isn’t exactly true: the reason why candidates Clinton and Obama didn’t campaign in Florida and Michigan had as much to do with the pledge they signed to stay out; one could envision a scenario where Iowa and New Hampshire and Nevada and South Carolina create a similar pledge for the next crop of candidates, and even though a plethora of states decide to go early, the campaigns will reluctantly sign the pledge for fear of alienating the earliest of early states. Of course, a potential candidate could view the carnage of 2008 and just as easily conclude that an angry Iowa isn’t as important as a major victory in Florida or Michigan. Then again, Republican Rudy Giuliani completed that calculus, and a lotta good it did him….
The meeting starts at 9:30 AM ET. Michelle Malkin notes that CSPAN will be carrying coverage of tomorrow’s events.
Oh, to be a fly on the wall when the DNC party elites converge …