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Florida Looms Large

Howard Dean met with the Florida Congressional delegation and the head of the Florida state party and came up with a bowl full of mush, a vague statement promising to seat the Florida delegation ( if they can), yet stick to the DNC rules and get both campaigns to agree. How? They don’t say.

I tend to think this plays right into Hillary Clinton’s hands, emphasizing the unfairness of excluding the delegation and the potential consequences for the Democrats in November if they don’t reach an accommodation. Sure enough, she pounced, releasing this statement:

We have long maintained that pretending the voters of Florida and Michigan don’t exist is not fair in principle and unwise in practice. This morning’s Quinnipiac poll out of Florida reflects the urgent need for Democrats to get behind our effort to count Florida’s voters and seat its delegation. Chairman Dean is clearly committed to seating the Florida delegation and we urge Senator Obama to join us in calling on the rules and bylaws committee to make this a reality.

She is trying to prevent people from counting her out. Keeping the Florida dilemma front and center prevents a definitive conclusion to the race. If she can make Barack Obama look defensive and indifferent to the party’s interests (i.e. nailing down Florida in November) all the better.

And as for those superdelegates . . . As Abe pointed out, they are not necessarily her ace in the hole. They are not going to throw the nomination her way out of any sense of loyalty, let alone affection, for the Clintons. They will have to be convinced that an Obama nomination spells electoral disaster for the Democrats. It will take some cold, hard primary returns and some scary poll numbers to do that.


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