Can Democrats Agree on Michigan, Florida?

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Democrats meet this weekend to consider whether to seat the delegates from Michigan and Florida at the party's convention in Denver in August. But reaching an agreement might be tough.


In presidential politics, the Democratic Party has work to do this weekend. One of the longest running disputes is what to do about Michigan and Florida. Here's NPR's senior news analyst Daniel Schorr.

DANIEL SCHORR: Welcome to the latest battleground in the tangled war for the Democratic presidential nomination. On Saturday morning, in a hotel not far from the National Zoo, the 30 members of the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee will meet to thrash out the matter of the rogue delegations. The rogue delegations, in case you came in late, are the delegates from Florida and Michigan. They are so far unrecognized because they were elected in state primaries held before February 5th in defiance of the Rules Committee's rules. Senator Clinton won both of the rogue elections quite handily. Obama, complying with the rules, was not on the ballot in Michigan.

Now he asserts that he shouldn't be penalized for playing by the rules. So now, while supporters of both candidates hold demonstrations outside the meeting place, the Rules Committee must decide whether to waive its rules. At stake are 366 delegation spots, enough to narrow the lead between Clinton and frontrunner Obama. The Rules Committee will hear oral arguments in the morning in Salon #1 of the hotel. And the afternoon is designated for consideration and debate. That is likely to be quite lively.

Thirteen of the 30 members are Clinton supporters, eight are Obama supporters. Compromise ideas are being floated - with what authority it's hard to say. Most of them involve splitting the difference between all or none of the Florida and Michigan delegates. A legal memorandum would permit up to half of the delegates to be seated or for all of the delegates to be seated but with only half a vote. And if they fail to reach agreement, as they may well, what next? The issue then goes to the Credentials Committee of the Denver Convention in late August. If an agreement were to come out of the meeting near the zoo, it would be a rare moment in Democratic annals.

This is Daniel Schorr.

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