Friday, February 22, 2008

Hillary Claims She Made No Agreement to Not Seat MI and FL Delegates

Interview with Evan Smith of Texas Monthly:
There’s been a lot of talk about what your campaign would do should it get to the convention. Would you commit today to honoring the agreement made earlier not to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations?

Let’s talk about the agreement. The only agreement I entered into was not to campaign in Michigan and Florida. It had nothing to do with not seating the delegates. I think that’s an important distinction. I did not campaign--

The press seems to have missed the distinction if that’s the case. The talk is that you agreed not to seat the delegation.

That’s not the case at all. I signed an agreement not to campaign in Michigan and Florida. Now, the DNC made the determination that they would not seat the delegates, but I was not party to that. I think it’s important for the DNC to ask itself, Is this really in the best interest of our eventual nominee? We do not want to be disenfranchising Michigan and Florida. We have to try to carry both of those states. I’d love to carry Texas, but it’s usually not in the electoral calculation for the Democratic nominee. Florida and Michigan are. Therefore, the people of those two states disregarded adamantly the DNC’s decision that they would not seat the delegates. They came out and voted. If they had been influenced by the DNC, despite the fact that there was very little campaigning, if any, they would have stayed home. But they wanted their voices heard. More than 2 million people came out. I mean, it was record turnout for a primary. Florida, in particular, is sensitive to being disenfranchised because of what happened to them in the last elections. I have said that I would ask my delegates to vote to seat.

So your intention is to press this issue?

Yes, it is. Yes, it is. It’s in large measure because both the voters and elected officials in Michigan and Florida feel so strongly about this. Senator Bill Nelson, of Florida, early on in the process actually sued because he thinks it’s absurd on its face that 1.7 million Democrats who eventually voted would basically be disregarded, and I agree with him about that.
Video of interview.

I feel that in no case should the leaders, the super-delegates of Michigan and Florida, be seated as they led the effort to ignore the rules of the Democratic National Committee and hold the primaries early after being told their delegates would not be seated.

Meanwhile based on early vote trends Hillary is not as successful in turning out her vote in Texas. Her campaign could be in trouble. I do know that Obama is try to have an organizer in every Texas precinct calling likely Democratic voters. I have a friend who has called hundreds already. UPDATE - more on the Texas numbers.

Another Texas Monthly blogger covered the Texas debate which Hillary lost. Although Burka is biased he is fundamentally correct in that Hillary missed what she needed to do and made some jabs and mistakes that alienated the initially highly supportive crowd. That said Hillary is better at debates with her command of facts and details, her misjudgments about what to do and how far to take things cost her support. Obama won despite debates not being his forte.

ADDED - Why Obama voted present. Fodder for both sides here. Nathan pointed me to this. Did Hillary triumph over bad advice in the debate?

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