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Michigan Matters

Despite a day's worth of back-and-forth among almost all the parties involved, it appears increasingly likely that plans for a re-vote in Michigan will go the way of those in Florida – down the tubes. Here's a rundown of today's action.

Hillary Clinton rearranged her schedule to make a quick trip to the state this morning where she tried to put some pressure on Barack Obama to publicly support the re-vote plan that continues to languish in the state legislature, held up by many of his supporters. "Senator Obama speaks passionately on the campaign trail about empowering the American people," Clinton told an audience in Detroit this morning. "I'm here today to encourage him to match those words with actions."

Obama's campaign released a statement from campaign attorney Robert Bauer in which he outlined some potential legal problems with the plan, including that voters who participated in the GOP primary in January would be barred and raised the possibility of extensive post-vote litigation: "Whether the state can achieve its goals here depends on the nature and seriousness of the legal and administrative questions presented by this initiative — questions that, raised after the election, could put at risk the running of the election, undermine acceptance of the results if the election is held, and in both cases effectively deny Michigan voters, a second consecutive time, meaningful participation in the nominating process."

The Clinton campaign then issued a statement refuting those concerns: "The bottom line is that Michigan has all the problems and promise that we talk about in this country. Competing in Michigan sends a signal that Democrats care and understand the people there deserve the chance to make their voices heard and need someone in the White House who will hear their voices. If Barack Obama doesn't want to help make that happen, Hillary Clinton is ready to do so. We call on the Obama campaign to let the people of Michigan vote."

And the matter was hashed out on the op-ed page of the New York Times this morning where Michigan Senator Carl Levin and DNC member Debbie Dingell made their case against the DNC rules under the headline, "New Hampshire Cheated, Too." The duo wrote: "The Democratic National Committee proceeded to selectively enforce its calendar rule. It gave New Hampshire a waiver to move from third to second place in the sequence. But Michigan and Florida, which had also moved up the date of its primary, were denied waivers. When Howard Dean, the party chairman, says that states should not be allowed to violate the rules, he ignores the fact that when the committee itself decided not to follow the rules and granted a waiver to New Hampshire, it set the stage for the present impasse."

Not so fast, writes Carrie Giddins, communications director for the Iowa Democratic party: " Last year, the Democratic National Committee tried to work with the Florida Democratic Party after the Florida Legislature selected a date for the state's primary that conflicted with the committee's nominating calendar. Those efforts were met with silence and stonewalling from Florida's party leaders despite the penalties. The same thing essentially happened in Michigan. Now the Michigan Democratic Party is trying to convince the committee that they should have the opportunity to recast their primary votes, while Florida has thrown its hands in the air and is blaming the committee for the self-inflicted situation it finds itself in — having no convention delegates. Well, all I have to say is, grow up."