WASHINGTON—There’s been enough testimony at Saturday’s Democratic Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting—and backstage dealing—to see that a compromise to seat the Florida delegates is in the works but the Michigan situation will be harder to resolve. But if Obama forces want to forge unity with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton—who everyone knows is likely NOT to be the Democratic nominee—then the Obama folks talk of “concessions” they are making is not helpful.
I ran into Obama campaign manager David Plouffe in the hallway of the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel here. Plouffe is leading an Obama war room staffed with himself, political director Matt Nugen and Obama delegate counter and rules maven Jeff Berman. The Clinton war room effort here has at least 20 people.
Officials from the Florida Democratic party are backing a plan to seat all their delegates, but just give them a half vote each. The Clinton campaign does not want this deal. There are three numbers in play: Clinton wants 38 Florida delegates. Obama is open to Clinton getting 19 delegates. Under another way of computing the delegates, Clinton would deserve six delegates.
Democrats from the Obama and Clinton camps want to physically seat all the delegates from Michigan and Florida at the convention. The real matter in dispute is whether they will have a whole, half or some other fraction of a vote.
So in Florida, for example, Plouffe said, “we’d be okay with 100 percent with a half vote. Plouffe said Clinton getting 19 delegates “is not chopped liver… She’s essentially being given gift wrapped a significant number of delegates.”
The notion that Obama was giving a “gift” to Clinton was disputed by Clinton backer Lanny Davis. Obama “is not doing us a favor. They are taking 19 delegates away from us.”
The meeting is on a late lunch break.
Outside the committee room, Harold Ickes, a top Clinton advisor, and a Rules and Bylaws Committee member said of Clinton getting 19 Florida delegates, “concession, give me a break. ….it is just a perversion of words to call it a concession.”