In unity overture to Clinton, Obama wants Florida, Michigan, counted

Other News Materials 4 August 2008 08:36 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama on Sunday urged the party's credentials committee to give a full vote to the defrocked state delegations from Florida and Michigan - a move that could heal the lingering, deep divisions with narrowly defeated rival Hillary Clinton.

In a letter to the panel released by his campaign, Obama said he believed "party unity calls for the delegates from Florida and Michigan to be able to participate fully alongside the delegates from the other states and territories."

Clinton responded immediately to the letter, calling it "the right position" for Democrats.

Clinton had strongly advocated seating the full delegations with their full votes at the convention in Denver from August 25 to 28. She won both states, but their votes were originally barred because Michigan and Florida had defied a time plan set by the national party for their primary elections.

In late May, the party made a compromise ruling giving them only half of their normal voting power and giving some of Clinton's Michigan votes to Obama. Clinton supporters criticized the ruling and one of her advisors, Harold Ickes, said it would "hijack" the democratic process.

It was not clear if the move meant there would be a full round of voting at the convention that would allow delegates committed to candidates other than Obama to cast ballots. The Obama campaign did not answer questions on the issue from Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

Some disgruntled Hillary supporters have complained that Obama may try to avoid such a state-by-state balloting, and instead arrange to have himself nominated by acclimation in an effort to show party unity.

But his overture on Sunday could indicate there will be a symbolic round of voting for all the Democratic candidates to allow delegates to pay tribute to their candidate.