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Campaign Notebook

Clinton's advisers are confident all disputed delegates will be seated

Bob Dole told Scott McClellan that he should have spoken up or quit his post. Bob Dole told Scott McClellan that he should have spoken up or quit his post.
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May 31, 2008

WASHINGTON - Top advisers to Hillary Clinton said yesterday they are "quite confident" that a key Democratic committee meeting today will end in their favor - with a ruling that the disputed delegations from Florida and Michigan will be seated at the party's convention in August.

Harold Ickes, a top Clinton strategist, said Clinton's campaign lawyers have reviewed the party rules and concluded that the Rules and Bylaws Committee has the power to fully reinstate the delegations from Florida and Michigan, which were voided after both states held their primaries in January, earlier than the party allowed.

That is at odds, however, with a memorandum from the party's lawyers issued late Tuesday that says their review indicates that the committee has to penalize both states for jumping the gun and that sanctions begin at docking each state half of their convention delegates.

In a letter yesterday to the rules committee, Clinton's general counsel, Lyn Utrecht, said the campaign does not agree with the Florida Democratic Party's challenge, which offers as a compromise the seating of only half the 211 delegates, or with the Michigan Democratic Party's challenge, which calls for crediting Barack Obama with the votes cast for "uncommitted" in dividing up that state's 157 delegates. Obama pulled his name off the ballot in Michigan.

Obama's campaign has suggested a 50-50 split of the disputed delegates.

Ickes said it is premature to say whether Clinton would appeal to the party's credentials committee if, as expected, today's ruling falls well short of seating all the delegates with full voting rights.

An appeal would all but guarantee a potentially damaging fight during the Democratic National Convention in Denver in late August.

Clinton said yesterday that she expects undeclared superdelegates, who will probably determine the nominee, to decide who would be the stronger candidate soon after Tuesday's final nominating contests in Montana and South Dakota.

"I think that after the final primaries, people are going to start making up their minds," she told Montana reporters.

JOSEPH WILLIAMS

Democrats use McClellan book to link McCain, Bush
No surprise, but Democrats are trying to make hay from former White House press secretary Scott McClellan's explosive tell-all book, accusing John McCain of being part of what McClellan calls a "propaganda" campaign to sell the Iraq war.

The Democratic National Committee released a new Web video yesterday that features McClellan promoting his book in television appearances, then shows McCain parroting Bush administration talking points in the run-up to the war. The 1-minute video shows McCain saying that Saddam Hussein presented a "clear and present danger" and that US troops would be "welcomed as liberators."

"This week, the American people are getting a fresh look at John McCain's key role in the propaganda machine that Scott McClellan describes in his book," DNC spokesman Damien LaVera said in a statement accompanying the video.

FOON RHEE

Dole calls McClellan a 'miserable creature'
So Bob Dole, how do you really feel about Scott McClellan's tell-all book about his days in the White House?

Yesterday, the former senator and presidential nominee fired off an e-mail - first reported by The Politico - to President Bush's former press secretary, who has been on a media blitz promoting his book.

"There are miserable creatures like you in every administration who don't have the guts to speak up or quit if there are disagreements with the boss or colleagues. No, your type soaks up the benefits of power, revels in the limelight for years, then quits, and spurred on by greed, cashes in with a scathing critique," Dole wrote. "I have no intention of reading your 'exposé' because if all these awful things were happening, and perhaps some may have been, you should have spoken up publicly like a man, or quit your cushy, high-profile job."

Asked about Dole's missive, McClellan said on CNN that he has "a lot of respect" for Dole. "I am speaking up. I have had time to reflect and go back. And what I'm saying is sincere," he said. "I am trying to openly and honestly address these issues, look back at my experiences, and learn the lessons from where we went wrong."

FOON RHEE

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