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Harold Ickes' parting shot suggests more Democratic turmoil

May 31, 2008 |  6:46 pm

Maybe it will prove an idle threat.

But as the Democratic rules committee ended its lengthy meeting today in Washington today with a decision on the Michigan primary that left Hillary Clinton's campaign irate, the words from one of her Harold Ickes pressed the case for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton before the party's rules committee chief strategists have to haunt party leaders striving for elusive unity.

"Mrs. Clinton has instructed me to reserve her rights to take this to the credentials committee," Harold Ickes said.

The rules panel, which Ickes serves on, achieved its goal of resolving one of the party's two disputed primaries -- the Florida contest -- in a way that Ickes and other Clinton loyalists indicated they could live with. And combined with the more contentious action on the Michigan vote, the result was to put Barack Obama on the cusp of securing the number of convention delegates needed to soon declare himself the presidential nominee-in-waiting.

But Ickes' admonition on Michigan means that the Clinton camp has not signed off on the new "magic" number: 2,118 delegates. And that means any claim by Obama to be the presumptive nominee will carry an asterisk -- perhaps all the way to the late-August convention in Denver.

Indeed, along with Ickes' words, the chants of "Denver, Denver" by disgruntled Clinton supporters as the rules committee gathering broke up must be uneasily echoing in the ears of other Democrats.

-- Don Frederick

Photo credit: Associated Press

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