Denver Diary–Pt 2– FL Votes Restored

About the first thing this convention will do Monday evening is give Florida back 106 delegate votes… ending the state’s half-vote status.

The Credentials Committee’s vote to remove the half-vote punishment was unanimous and received a standing ovation.  “We’ve suffered enough”, pleaded former State Party chair Scott Maddox just before the vote was taken, “under not only one Bush, but two.”

Maddox also got a laugh with this line– “We all know that John McCain picked his running-mate long ago– George W. Bush.”  Not exactly on a par with Leno or Letterman, but Maddox had an easy audience of partisans.

And, clearly, FL Democrats think that “McSame”  line of campaign rhetoric is their best hope of healing the divisions caused by the delegate snafu.  Clinton delegate Michael Lockwood told me some of his Hillary-backer friends insist they’ll vote McCain in November.  Even Lockwood feels the Obama campaign dissed Sen. Clinton by not even going through the motions of vetting her as a possible VP. 

But Lockwood figures most Hillary-ites will come around– “They will see the policy differences and we just can’t afford 4 more years of same policies.”

Congressman Kendrick Meek– one of Senator Clinton’s most-outspoken Florida boosters– figures it about the same.  Meek will vote for Obama on the first ballot on Wednesday night, in the interest of party unity.

“We said we’d be with her ’til the end”, Meek told me, adding– “the Tuesday of the last primary was the end.”

But Michael Lockwood says he’ll cast a symbolic first-vote ballot for Senator Clinton: “I intend to vote for her because I believe I should represent the will of the people of Florida”.  Clinton won 105 of Florida’s delegates in the January primary, compared to Obama’s 67.

It’s actually not clear that pledged delegates selected according to primary results can switch their votes, even if they want to.  Even state party chair Karen Thurman said she wasn’t sure.  (Meek can vote for Obama because he’s a super-delegate).

John McCain’s latest ad (it began running today) is squarely aimed at disaffected Hillary voters, claiming she was passed over for the VP spot because she “spoke the truth about his plans”.   A series of clips of her saying negative things about Obama during the primary season follows.

Michael Lockwood says he’ll be happy to support Hillary on the first ballot, and then join in the chorus of “Kumbaya”– “We can vote by acclamation, tip our hat to him, and get behind the nominee.”

We’ll see how that works for Hillary voters less vested in party unity.  




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