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Obama: Clinton Should Not Get Florida and Michigan Delegates

(CBS)

From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Barack Obama argued today that the Michigan and Florida delegates should have a role in the Democratic convention, but that the delegates that Hillary Clinton won in those states should not be allocated to her. He said it "defies logic" to give her the delegates because the candidates agreed to abide by Democratic National Committee rules and not campaign in those states.

"The whole point of campaigning is that the voters actually start getting to know who the candidates are," Obama said. "If we had made that determination and all these states are just putting my name on the ballot without me campaigning or running any significant ads, I would have lost by 20 points across the country, right? I don't think anybody would think that was fair."

Clinton won easily in both Florida and Michigan the first time around, but Obama took his name off the ballot in Michigan and didn't campaign at all in Florida, per DNC rules.

Obama said his campaign opposes a mail-in option in Florida, in part because of logistical concerns. He noted that both Clinton and the Florida house delegation also disagree with this option, but he hopes that an agreement will be reached soon. "Our campaign has been in conversations with the Michigan delegation, the Florida delegation, and the DNC and talked about what options are out there and I think they're going to be explored over the next several weeks," he said.

Obama also commented on Eliot Spitzer's resignation, calling it a "tragedy." When asked if it may impact Clinton's campaign, Obama argued that it should not. "I think that first of all Senator Clinton should be judged on her own merits," he said. "I think that people can actually draw better conclusions from how our respective campaigns have been run where I am in charge of my campaign and she's in charge of hers."

There is also the ongoing endorsement battle between the two candidates. Obama admitted to speaking to Al Gore last week and John Edwards two weeks ago, but did not indicate whether he expects an endorsement from either.