Having run the gauntlet of protesters this morning (mostly HRC folks bussed in from a dozen states), I’ve been sitting in the RBC meeting all day. They’re just wrapping up the Michigan arguments before breaking for a much-delayed lunch. The committee is expected to make a decision after lunch but the buzz around the room is they will likely only decide Florida along the lines of below and may leave Michigan for the credentials committee to decide later on.
The Florida delegation held a mini impromptu press conference outside of the room where the RBC is meeting here at the lovely Marriott Wardman Hotel in Washington. Senator Bill Nelson, former senator Bob Graham, Jon Ausman, Broward County Democratic Party Chairman Mitch Ceasar, Congressman Robert Wexler and others were unified in insisting that their full delegation is seated, but all seemed resigned to having only half a vote – superdelegates and pledges delegates alike. “I’m speaking for the people of Florida, I’m not speaking for a candidate here,” said Senator Bill Nelson, who presented Florida’s case before the committee and has endorsed Clinton. “I think we’re going to get this decided today for Florida… If the full Florida delegation is seated representing the vote on January 29 that is the acceptable outcome for Florida.”
The plan, outlined by Florida petitioner Ausman, would seat the full delegation but each with half a vote – a proposal opposed by the Clinton campaign which wants to see 100% of the delegation seated with 100% of the vote. Ausman’s plan calls for the seating of the superdelegates with full votes but outside of the meeting he acknowledged it would be “okay” if they receive half votes. Ausman, who endorsed Dennis Kucinich and is currently uncommitted, praised the Obama campaign’s willingness to compromise since it could’ve demanded the delegates be apportioned pre-January 29th which would net Clinton six delegates instead of 19. “It’s a very generous offer and shows one of the campaigns coming half way,” he said. “For sure the other campaign needs to do the same thing.”
David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign manager who is also attending the meeting, echoed: “19 is not chopped liver… She’s essentially being given gift wrapped a significant number of delegates.”
More to come…
The committee seated both delegations but gave each only half-votes. Clinton netted 24 delegates from the day but her supporters were verging on hysterical throughout the last 40 minutes of the meeting, heckling the panel for its decision. It was one of the ugliest Dem-on-Dem scenes I’ve ever witnessed, including chants of “McCain 08,” “Bastards,” and “Denver.” Not to mention “Lipstick on a Pig,” “Why don’t you resign?” (shouted at Don Fowler after he said he’d vote for the Michigan deal for the sake of party unity), “How could you do this to us?” and “You’ve stripped me of my party.” After the meeting adjourned women sat sobbing on the floor or ranting to tv cameras. The decision may have cinched the nomination for Obama, but clearly there’s a lot of party healing to be done.