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Democrats Push Back 2012 Primary Calendar

Barack Obama campaigns in Wisconsin
Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., greets supporters prior to making remarks at a town hall meeting in Waukesha, Wis., Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2008. AP

The Democratic National Committee today approved a primary and caucus schedule for the 2012 presidential election in which voting does not begin until February, roughly one month later than it started in the 2008 cycle.

The Associated Press reports that Democrats approved the plan today.

The Iowa caucuses remain the first contest, but they have been pushed back to Feb. 6th. The next contest will be the New Hampshire primary on February 18th, followed by the South Carolina primary ten days later. All other voting will take place on March 6th or later.

The contests will essentially be formalities on the road to President Obama's general election fight, barring an unexpected challenge to the president from within the party.

The plan also reduced the number of so-called superdelegates - the delegates who do not have to cast ballots in conjunction with primary voters' wishes - from 20 percent of the total number to 15 percent.

Superdelegates came under the microscope in the 2008 campaign, when Hillary Clinton's campaign reached out to them aggressively in an effort to close the delegate gap on then-candidate Obama.

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