Dilemma over Michigan and Florida delegates

March 7, 2008 4:53:20 PM PST
What to do with delegates from Florida and Michigan -- that's the dilemma facing the Democratic Party as the race tightens between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

After months of insisting that contested delegates from Florida and Michigan be seated at the convention, Clinton's campaign is signaling that maybe a do-over primary in Michigan would be acceptable. But like so much in politics, it comes down to money.

Asked about the possibility of a re-vote in Michigan and Florida, Hillary Clinton said her win in Florida should stand.

"... 1.7 million Floridians turned out to vote. They clearly believed that their votes would count and I think there has to be a way to make them count," said Clinton.

But she later said a do-over in Michigan, where Barack Obama wasn't on the ballot, might be acceptable.

Florida's governor continued Thursday to press for a re-vote in the sunshine state, but he wants the Democratic Party to pick up the bill. The parties haven't paid for any of the elections this year and party chair, Howard Dean, is not buying this time.

"A year-and-half ago we set a primary schedule, which Florida and Michigan both voted for. What you cannot do is change the rules in the middle of a contest," said Dean.

Dean says the party doesn't have an extra $20 million to fund another primary in Florida.

Barack Obama's campaign is also talking about money -- Hillary Clinton's money. The Illinois senator continues to press Clinton to release her tax returns.

Thursday, Clinton supporter and Bill Clinton's former press secretary, Dee Dee Meyers, told ABC7 Clinton should release those records.

"I think she's trying to push that down the road a little bit. But at what point do the lines cross, and withholding it becomes more damaging than anything that might be in it. Eventually she's going to release them, so she should do it sooner," said Meyers.

In the past 24 hours, Clinton's campaign has raised three million dollars and is pushing to raise another three million in the next 24 hours.

"It's just unbelievable the amounts of enthusiasm, both in money and voter turnout, that we're seeing in these primaries -- much more than the Republican side," said Ellen Malcolm, founder of Emily's List and one of Clinton's top fundraisers.

Now, some of that Democratic money is being spent to hammer John McCain. Billionaire investor George Soros and Taco Bell heir Rob McKay are two of the Democratic donors funding a new attack ad.

While Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton spend tens of millions battling each other for voters in Pennsylvania, independent Democratic groups are already trying to beat up the Republican competition.

Hillary Clinton did say in the Ohio debate that she would release her tax returns soon. Her campaign is now saying some time around April 15th. The Pennsylvania primary is April 22nd.


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