Obama: Give Michigan And Florida Delegations "Full Vote"

UPDATED Barack Obama has sent a letter to the co-chairs of the Democratic National Convention's Credentials Committee urging them to pass a resolution allowing the Democratic delegations from Florida and Michigan to be fully represented at the Democratic National Convention.

The states were stripped of their delegates as punishment for moving their primaries before February 5th in violation of Democratic National Committee rules. They were awarded half-votes at a May meeting.

The Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigns sparred during the primaries over how the delegates from the two states would be allocated, with the debate centering on whether the allocation would be based on the popular vote or some other measure. Clinton won both states, though Obama was not on the ballot in Michigan, complicating efforts to award delegates.

As Clinton looked to keep her campaign alive towards the end of the primary process, she called on the DNC to fully seat the delegations from the two states. The Obama campaign, which would have been hurt in its battle for the nomination had the delegations been fully seated at that point, did not join Clinton's call.

A Democratic source told CBS News today that Obama walked a "fine line" during the primary by deferring to the DNC while Clinton was using the question of full representation issue as a rallying point.

"...I believe Party unity calls for the delegates from Florida and Michigan to be able to participate fully alongside the delegates from the other states and territories," Obama wrote in the letter. "Accordingly, I ask that the Credentials Committee, when it meets on August 24 to approve the delegates for the National Convention, pass a resolution that would entitle each delegate from Florida and Michigan to cast a full vote."

He continued:

"As a candidate for the nomination, I supported the DNC's efforts to establish and enforce a schedule for primaries and caucuses that would broaden the opportunity for Democrats from all regions of the country and all backgrounds and walks of life to have a meaningful voice....As we prepare to come together in Denver, however, we must be – and will be – united in our determination to change the course of our nation. To that end, Democrats in Florida and Michigan must know that they are full partners and colleagues in our historic mission to reshape Washington and lead our country in a new direction."

The DNC released a statement in response to the letter.

"Today we received a letter from Senator Obama requesting that the Convention's Credentials Committee grant each delegate from Florida and Michigan a full vote. We deeply appreciate and value Senator Obama's perspective on this important issue. This matter will be the top priority for the Credentials Committee when we meet on August 24th. As always our goal is to ensure a fair process and a unified Democratic Party so that we can win in November."

Senator Carl Levin, a passionate proponent of seating the full delegation in his state of Michigan, and DNC Committeewoman Debbie Dingell also released a statement.

"We have always been confident that Michigan would have a full delegation and a full vote at the Democratic National Convention," they wrote.

"Senator Obama's action today will help unify the Democratic Party. It also underscores the need for a fairer and more sensible process for selecting presidential nominees, as well as the critical role of Michigan and Florida -- two representative swing states -- over the efforts of Iowa and New Hampshire to perpetuate their privileged position in that process."

Full letter below.

August 3, 2008

Hon. Alexis Herman, Co-Chair
James Roosevelt, Jr., Co-Chair
Eliseo Roques-Arroyo, Co-Chair

Dear Credentials Committee Chairs:

In just a few weeks, our Party will convene in Denver for our National Convention. This will be an historic event that will showcase our vision for changing the direction of our country.

The delegates and alternates who gather on Monday, August 25 will reflect the talent, energy and rich diversity of our Democratic Party. The delegates will come from all 56 states and territories. As these delegates go about the important business of the Convention, I believe Party unity calls for the delegates from Florida and Michigan to be able to participate fully alongside the delegates from the other states and territories. Accordingly, I ask that the Credentials Committee, when it meets on August 24 to approve the delegates for the National Convention, pass a resolution that would entitle each delegate from Florida and Michigan to cast a full vote.

As a candidate for the nomination, I supported the DNC's efforts to establish and enforce a schedule for primaries and caucuses that would broaden the opportunity for Democrats from all regions of the country and all backgrounds and walks of life to have a meaningful voice. An unprecedented number of voters participated in our Democratic nominating process. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Governor Dean for his principled leadership during this long and challenging process.

As we prepare to come together in Denver, however, we must be – and will be – united in our determination to change the course of our nation. To that end, Democrats in Florida and Michigan must know that they are full partners and colleagues in our historic mission to reshape Washington and lead our country in a new direction.

With warmest personal regards,

Barack Obama

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