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Barack Obama, other Democrats call for fixes to caucus/primary scheduling

August 20, 2008 |  4:53 pm

For most folks, the inanity that marked the early part of this campaign's caucus and primary calendar no doubt has been forced from memory -- like a bad dream.

To review:

-- The states that have come to view their sway in the nomination battles as a God-given right played every card at their disposal to hang on to their special places in the process. At one point, the specter loomed of Iowa caucuses that convened before 2008 even arrived! As it was, the caucuses and the New Hampshire primary were crammed into the year's first few days (holiday cheer be damned).

-- Other states, anxious for a greater voice, tried to muscle their way into the action. One result: Rogue primaries in Florida and Michigan that ended being a long-term headache for the Democrats. Another: So many states scheduled their contests for the same day -- the first Tuesday in February -- that several of the candidates simply had to ignore some of them (in the case of Hillary Clinton, a consequence that cost her dearly).

The defects were well-noted by hard-core politicos -- (Democratic activist Elaine Kamarck, for instance, was reflecting on needed fixes back in April, and discussions have been underway within Republican circles on the matter.

Today, Barack Obama's campaign, in conjunction with the Democratic National Committee, announced a step designed to prevent a repeat of what happened this year.

As Democrats start gathering in Denver this weekend for the national convention that starts Monday, the party will be asked to establish a special commission to grapple with the timing of the nomination calendar and other aspects of delegate selection. (Goals will include reducing the number of "superdelegates")

Our colleague Frank James has more on the move at the Swamp.

-- Don Frederick

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