The Clinton campaign held a conference call, led by Harold Ickes, a top aide, to discuss the superdelegates issue and expectations for the upcoming contest
On Florida and Michigan, the campaign again said voters in those states should not be "disenfranchised" and that the states were important to the Democratic Party's fortunes. Ickes also said Clinton didn't vote on the DNC rules.
But Ickes did. And he voted in August to strip Florida and Michigan of their delegates as a sitting member of the Rules and Bylaws Commission.
"There’s been no change," Ickes said, adding that he was then acting as a member of the Rules and Bylaws Committee "not acting as an agent of Sen. Clinton. We had promulgated rules -- if Florida and Michigan violated those rules" they’d be stripped of their delegates. "We stripped them of all their delegates in order to prevent campaigns to campaign in those states."
In fact, however, that was not why Florida and Michigan were stripped of their delegates. They were stripped of their delegates because they violated party rules by moving up their contest dates before Feb. 5. A pledge to not campaign in those states did not come about until one was put forward by the four early states allowed to go before Feb. 5 by the DNC -- Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. Clinton was the last to sign this pledge.
"Those were the rules, and we thought we had an obligation to enforce them," Ickes acknowledged today on the call even while trying to convince members of the media that Florida’s and Michigan’s delegations should not only be seated at the convention, but should also have full voting rights and that delegates should be allocated based on voting that took place in those states -- even though in Michigan, Obama’s name did not even appear on the ballot and uncommitted got 41% of the vote to Clinton’s 55%.
Florida Democrats have made a big deal about how the Republican legislature and governor set the date, forcing Democrats in to the early date, and thus claiming they shouldn't be punished. [Michigan doesn't make this argument; they just moved up their date, period.] The problem with Florida's position is that the DNC offered to pay the costs of conducting a party-run, DNC-approved contest on February 5th or after. In fact, the offer still stands. And both Michigan and Florida have until June to submit plans to the DNC for a party-run contest—like Michigan did in 1996, 2000 and 2004, which they called a caucus but essentially operated like a closed primary—and bring their delegations in to compliance and avoid a controversy.
There's precedent, by the way, for this kind of arrangement. In 1996 Delaware jumped ahead of their approved date, and the DNC did as they did this year with Michigan and Florida, and penalized Delaware by refusing to seat their delegation unless they conducted a DNC-approved contest. They did, late in the primary season, and their delegation was seated at the Chicago convention.
If the Clinton campaign really cares about seating the Michigan and Florida delegations, its officials need to drop the charade that they only care about not disenfranchising the voters and pressure the Democratic leadership in Michigan and Florida to conduct DNC-sanctioned primaries or caucuses.