Clinton Camp Opposes Mich. Delegate Plan

GENERIC Michigan democrats election primary vote
CBS/AP
Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign opposes Michigan's plan to give fewer delegates to her and more to rival Barack Obama.

The Democratic National Committee stripped Michigan and Florida of their convention delegates for holding their primaries before Feb. 5. Both are looking for compromises that would get their delegates seated.

Michigan Democrats now back a plan that would give Clinton four delegates less than the 73 she gained by winning the state's Jan. 15 primary. Obama would get 59 pledged delegates even though he took his name off the ballot, forcing his supporters to vote for Uncommitted.

A Clinton campaign spokesman said Thursday that the campaign won't support any proposal that gives Clinton less than the delegates she earned winning the primary.

Clinton won the Jan. 15 Michigan primary and was to get 73 pledged delegates under state party rules, while Obama was to get 55. The state also has 29 superdelegates.

The state party's executive committee voted Wednesday to ask the national party's Rules and Bylaws Committee to approve the 69-59 delegate split when it meets May 31. The plan would shrink Clinton's delegate edge in Michigan from 18 to 10 and allow the state's 157 delegates and superdelegates to be seated at the convention.

The state's Democratic leaders also pushed back the date of the party's State Central Committee meeting from May 17 to June 14 to give the rules committee time to act. The party is to pick 45 pledged delegates and two superdelegates at that meeting. It chose 83 pledged delegates last month at district conventions.

A separate plan submitted to the rules committee by Democratic National Committee members Joel Ferguson of Michigan and Jon Ausman of Florida, both superdelegates, apparently will be withdrawn now that the Michigan executive committee has settled on the 69-59 plan. Under their proposal, delegates would have been allocated based on the primary election results, but have had only half a vote each. The superdelegates would have had full voting rights.

A message seeking comment was left on Ferguson's cell phone Wednesday evening.

The DNC stripped Michigan and Florida of their convention delegates - 366 in all, including pledged delegates and superdelegates - for holding their primaries too early in the nominating process, which violated party rules.

The 69-59 split was proposed last week by four prominent Michigan Democrats who have been working for months to find a way to get Michigan's delegates seated at the Aug. 25-28 convention in Denver: U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin and DNC member Debbie Dingell.

State party Chairman Mark Brewer said he thinks the state is closer to reaching a solution agreeable to the candidates and state and national party officials, although there is no guarantee that the rules committee will accept the plan or agree to seat the delegates.

"This does move the process forward in terms of stating our own position to the DNC. I really appreciate all the work of the working group to get us this far," Brewer said Wednesday after the meeting.

Obama spokesman Bill Burton said of the decision, "It is clear results in January won't be used to allocate delegates, and we agree with that decision. We have been talking with Michigan leaders about this proposal and will continue to do so."

Clinton spokesman Isaac Baker said the campaign expects a quick resolution. "The bottom line is that the delegates from Michigan and Florida must be seated," he said in a statement released Wednesday night.

Trailing in delegates, Clinton and her campaign have been pressing for her wins in Florida and Michigan to be recognized and the delegates seated. Obama, who wants to preserve his lead, has suggested other solutions such as splitting the delegates evenly.

Obama joined several candidates who removed their names from Michigan's ballot, and Clinton and Obama agreed not to campaign in either state.

Their absence has given GOP presidential candidate John McCain a chance to make up ground in Michigan, which has voted Democratic in the past four presidential elections. He attended a fundraiser in the state Tuesday night with former rival Mitt Romney before holding a town hall meeting Wednesday morning at Oakland University in the Detroit suburb of Rochester.

"Clinton and Obama have boycotted Michigan for a long time while John McCain has been getting to know us," state Republican Chairman Saul Anuzis said Wednesday in his blog.