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The Florida Challenge Begins

The formalities are (finally) over and the official Florida challenge has begun.

Jon Ausman, a Florida Democrat, is making Florida's case; he sits at a small table surrounded by the u-shaped formation at which the Rules and Bylaws Committee is seated.

The essence of Ausman's case is that the Rules and Bylaws Committee overstepped its bounds -- as laid out in the Democratic Party Charter -- by stripping the state of its 23 superdelegates and 185 pledged delegates.

Ausman wants the superdelegates to be seated in full and half of the 185 pledged delegates seated -- the automatic penalty laid out for a state that violates the DNC rules in the nomination fight. "We recognize that Florida has in fact violated the timing rules," acknowledged Ausman.

Don Fowler, a former Democratic National Committee Chairman and longtime party leader, strongly disputed the claims made by Ausman that superdelegates could not be kept from being seated at the party's national convention by the Rules and Bylaws Committee. "There is nothing [in the history of the party] that suggests these automatic, unpledged delegates have any special power," Fowler said.

(An interesting sidenote: Ausman's entire challenge seems to center on the meaning of the word "shall". Ah, the Rules and Bylaws Committee. Did we mention it's Saturday?)

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) is expected to speak after Ausman in order to further argue the point.

Comity still generally reigns in the room, however. Before he began his assault on the Rules and Bylaws Committee, Ausman offered an olive branch to the committee. "I want this to be a healing process that brings us together," he said to applause.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 31, 2008; 10:48 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Comments

The "disenfranchisement" argument is just plain phony. Everyone was told clearly in advance that the Florida and Michigan results wouldn't count because they were scheduled in violation of Democratic Party rules. Hillary Clinton herself is on record saying it before those two primaries occurred.

You can't tell the voters an election won't count and tell the candidates they can't campaign, then go back after the fact and say, "Well, we changed our minds, some people voted so it's going to count after all." That vote doesn't reflect the true will of the people because you just don't know how many hundreds of thousands of people stayed home because they were told it wouldn't count.

Suppose your local election officials held an election for county sheriff that way---they schedule it in violation of state law, the state steps in and says prior to the vote that it won't count, but the local officials go ahead and hold the illegal rump vote anyway with the candidates not campaigning and many voters staying home. Then the state comes back later at the request of the "winner" of the illegal rump vote and says, "Well, we changed our minds, since some people did show up to vote even though we said it wouldn't count, we think their votes should be counted so we'll recognize the results of the illegal rump election." How undemocratic is that? It would disenfranchise all the people who stayed home because they were told it wouldn't count, and it would be profoundly unfair to the "losing" candidate who had no chance to campaign. That's not democracy, that's electoral fraud of breathtaking audacity. Yet that's just what the Clinton camp is arguing for in Michigan and Florida with its phony "dienfranchisement" argument.

Posted by: Brad K | May 31, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

60% of the nation sees Hillary as dishonest. Her unfavorable ratings are higher than any candidate from either party as long as polls have been taken. It has nothing to do with Fl or Mi, her gender or her age. The majority of people just don't like her. Right or wrong that's the way it is. Grow up and move on

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Yeah right. The Obama campaign has so much power and control over the state of FL that they "prevented" the entire state from compliance. Wow. You Clintonistas have gone off the deep end. You should go to work for George Bush. You're reasonings are similar

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

It is pretty clear that Obama's efforts to exploit the Michigan and Florida situations has been a DISGRACE TO DEMOCRACY

This is true

The actions and tactics of the Obama campaign campaign can be viewed has NOTHING LESS THAN SOVIET STYLE.


Obama is against having ALL the votes count.


Obama does not want a re-vote, he simply wants Michigan and Florida OUT OF THE DELEGATE TOTALS.

.

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | May 31, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Wexler is doing a good job and just handed Ickes his empty head. Then he [Ickes] appeared to leave the room. Unfortunately, the attempt by many at this meeting to establish unity will probably fall flat. More then one Clinton supporter on the Rules Committee is pretending their own attorneys have not defined their limitations under their own rules. Disingenuous at best since Clinton would gain delegates. It was also interesting to hear discussions regarding what the real Florida turnout would have been had voters not been told repeatedly their votes would not count. A very good question that will never be answered.

Posted by: maxfli | May 31, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Watch this youtube video of Florida DNC chair Geller, a Fla. State Rep., in the Florida Legislature, mocking the DNC's threat to sanction Florida - and basically saying F U to the DNC.

It is absolute proof the Florida Dems collaborated with the Republicans in moving up the date of the primary in knowing violation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r25wUeMAwdE

Geller is smarmy, rude and nasty in his comments about the DNC.

He is arrogant - he knew full well what he was doing.

Posted by: BlueDem | May 31, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Nelson states pretty clearly that Florida tried to comply with the rules, but the OBAMA CAMPAIGN KEPT ON PREVENTING THE STATE FROM COMPLYING WITH THE RULES.


The only penalty should go to the Obama Campaign, not the Voters of Florida.


.

Posted by: 37th&OStreet | May 31, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

This nothing more than the Clintons at their best, or worst. It's all about them. They know better than all other democrats, voters and campaign contributers what is best for the party, yeah right. I voted for Bill twice and at one time likde Hillary. I am know disguisted by them both. I hope Hillary does fight this to the convention. That would be the final stake in the heart of the Clintons and we will be done with them once and for all.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse


Nelson was really condescending and adversarial in dismissing the question about those who didn't turn out. Interesting way to appeal to the committee...

Posted by: oh boy | May 31, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Watch this youtube video of Florida DNC chair Geller, a Fla. State Rep., in the Florida Legislature, mocking the DNC's threat to sanction Florida - and basically saying F U to the DNC.

It is absolute proof the Florida Dems collaborated with the Republicans in moving up the date of the primary in knowing violation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r25wUeMAwdE

Geller is smarmy, rude and nasty in his comments about the DNC.

He is arrogant - he knew full well what he was doing.

Posted by: BlueDem | May 31, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

The Clinton campaign argues that if the delegates from these non-sanctioned primaries are not seated hundreds of thousand of voters in Florida and Michigan will be disenfranchised.

The other side argues that it is wrong to change the rules under which the nomination process after the fact in order to advantage one candidate over another. The latter is an argument I agree with -- but there's no question it lacks the emotive impact of the disenfranchisement argument.

What doesn't get mentioned, however, is this: it was widely reported and understood in both Florida and Michigan that the results of these primaries would not be counted. And based on that knowledge, large numbers of voters in both states simply didn't participate.

If the DNC were now to turn around and decide to make these contests count after all, these non-participating voters would be disenfranchised no less than the people who did turn out would be if the DNC sticks to the rules and doesn't seat any of the delegates. The simple fact is that large numbers of people, acting on accurate knowledge and in good faith, decided that there wasn't a real primary being held in their state on the day in question and on that basis decided not to participate.

Posted by: MN | May 31, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Grave Mistake. Lack of free coffee sounds like a recipe for disaster. I predict unanimity in short order on sending out for some caffeine!

If there's an entire presentation on the word "shall," they're going to need it.

Posted by: Fairfax Voter | May 31, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Florida Dems could have held another contest after the first one that violated the rules. They didn't. That was their decision.

I don't buy that they didn't have time -- they should have made plans as soon as they realized that the primary date was in violation of the rules.

I can't stand it when people make themselves victims...

Posted by: oh boy | May 31, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

The reasoning the Clinton supporters use in making the claim to seat all delegates from FL and MI is the same MO Bush used to sell the Iraq war to the nation. A sliver of truth surrounded by deception and wrapped in an illusion.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I have never seen a Campaign (i.e. the Clinton Campaign) try to sell such a load of crap to the American people.

Posted by: BlueDem | May 31, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

The other huge lie being spouted = cutting delegates in half cuts votes in half.

Hello - delegates are NOT AWARDED PROPORTIONAL to the number of Democrats in a state!

NONE of the states have one person = one vote for the PRIMARY. NONE.

The states don't even have the same % of Democrats to delegates.

This is another totally BOGUS measure, perpetuated as a big lie by the Clinton campaign.

And the lazy media fails to debunk it.

Posted by: BlueDem | May 31, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse


I have never ever seen a national party look like such a bunch of IDIOTS.


.

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | May 31, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Ausman says FLORIDA HAS BEEN PUNISHED ENOUGH

185 Delegates - the People - should get FULL VOTES

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | May 31, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Ausman says FLORIDA HAS BEEN PUNISHED ENOUGH

185 Delegates - the People - should get FULL VOTES

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | May 31, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Voice but no vote. If the rules allow it, it's the way to go.

Posted by: slaunchwise | May 31, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Ausman says FLORIDA HAS BEEN PUNISHED ENOUGH

185 Delegates - the People - should get FULL VOTES

Posted by: 37th&OStreet. | May 31, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Ausman says FLORIDA HAS BEEN PUNISHED ENOUGH

185 Delegates - the People - should get FULL VOTES

Posted by: 37th&OStreet. | May 31, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

This is BULL that Florida has suffered.

The penalty is about VOTES. And until they lose VOTES, the have NOT been punished.

Posted by: BlueDem | May 31, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

It's 1am in Sydney, and I'm watching this webcast on CSPAN. Oh yeah.

Sounds to me like they are heading to re-instate the Supers in Florida, plus 50% of the other delegates.

i.e. Nowhere near enough to help Hillary

Posted by: Boutan | May 31, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

The other huge lie being spouted = cutting delegates in half cuts votes in half.

Hello - delegates are NOT AWARDED PROPORTIONAL to the number of Democrats in a state!

NONE of the states have one person = one vote for the PRIMARY. NOTE.

The states don't even have the same % of Democrats to delegates.

This is another totally BOGUS measure, perpetuated as a big lie by the Clinton campaign.

And the lazy media fails to debunk it.

Posted by: BlueDem | May 31, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

The Internets are all atwitter with the notion that Florida and the DNC came to an agreement last night, out of view of the cameras and public. Heard anything about this?

Posted by: P Diddy | May 31, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

So happy that the reasoning is that the DNC fat-cat Washington Insiders should have full votes.


THEN it says that the Voters should be counted HALF.

And who said the democratic party cared about the regular democrats.


.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

After watching the Priest that was visiting at Trinity, you know Barry's church; the same priest that has received a couple of hundred thousand dollars from barry, the connection between Ayers,Wright,Farrakhan, and now this nutty priest that are full of hate toward America is shocking! Barry Obama has got alot of elite and college kids fooled into his change message. Oh, they'll be change alright. These guys are hiding like terrorist waiting to strike if Obama is elected and if you are a person that cares about the country or white, you would absolutely be a fool to pick Obama. That would be like a person of color picking David Duke. Obama is a phony, and his core group of friends that he has hung around in Chicago are a bunch of race haters and hate this country! They can even control themselves while they lie and wait for the trap to be sprung. The priest's speech was what they feel. "America has been raping people of color for years and it's time for it to pay." You would have to be a complete fool to vote for obama, knowing he has surrounded himself with these nuts for years, then his wife slip ups about how she has never been proud of this country...HELLO!!!!!!!!
The trap almost worked and now we have to grab every misguided young people and college kids that has been running around star struck and say wakeup, this is not American Idol you are voting for! Go Hilary or McCain!

Posted by: Wayne | May 31, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse


Compare and contrast the following:

Ausman says FLORIDA HAS BEEN PUNISHED ENOUGH


185 Delegates - the People - should get FULL VOTES

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | May 31, 2008 12:00 PM

Ausman says FLORIDA HAS BEEN PUNISHED ENOUGH


185 Delegates - the People - should get FULL VOTES

Posted by: 37th&OStreet. | May 31, 2008 11:56 AM

My comments:
Same words, same fonting. I guess Scrivner forgot which name he was posting this on. Listening to the proceedings (they are available on-line on CSPAN -- so the claim that they are "hidden" is just not true) its becoming clearer and clearer that Florida isn't even asking for all of the votes -- only half.

Posted by: The Truth Comes out | May 31, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

This whole meeting is a charade, given that Billary has staked out an impossible position, allowing them the wiggle room to take it to a floor fight if they don't get their way.

Not that I'm not watching it live on CSPAN as I type, of course.

Posted by: JT | May 31, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

This is another totally BOGUS measure, perpetuated as a big lie by the Clinton campaign.

And the lazy media fails to debunk it.

Posted by: BlueDem |

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Your posting reveals that you could care less if the party is united. Such shortsightedness will come back to haunt you when Obamabots are crying and whining that HRC's supporters won't vote for Barry. Good luck trying to win with just Obamabots. You will need it.

Posted by: Jack Straw | May 31, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Will the fix be here in Minnesota on Tuesday June 3 when Obama declares victory for the Democratic nomination during a major rally at the Xcel Energy Center, the site of the RNC convention in September?

Posted by: PS, Stillwater Minnesota | May 31, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I understand there is no free coffee in the room.

Posted by: Grave Mistake | May 31, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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