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Hillary Clinton and the Michigan delegates

March 12, 2008 |  2:48 pm

Hillary Clinton again today banged the drum for the Democratic National Committee to let the Michigan and Florida delegates go to the party in Denver in August. "Honor the results or hold new primary elections," she said. "I don't see any other solutions that are fair and honor the commitment that 2 and a half million voters made in the Democratic primaries in those two states."

That's a somewhat different tack from the one she was taking back in October -- which also, of course, was back before anyone realized just how tight the race for the Democratic presidential nomination was Dncclogohorizcolorfinal going to be. Back then, just after Barack Obama and others withdrew from the Michigan ballot, Clinton told a caller into a New Hampshire Public Radio program that the Michigan vote wouldn't matter. "It's clear, this election they're having is not going to count for anything," she said.

But Clinton also addressed a key issue back then that remains alive: Whether the Democratic Party would be giving the Republicans an advantage in those two crucial states by ticking off rank-and-file Democrats who had nothing to do with the state party's decision to thumb a collective nose at the DNC and its primary and caucus calendar. She said then:

"I did not believe it was fair to just say, 'Goodbye Michigan' and not take into account the fact we're going to have to win Michigan if we're going to be in the White House in January 2009.... I just personally did not want to set up a situation where the Republicans are going to be campaigning between now and whenever, and then after the nomination, we have to go in and repair the damage to be ready to win Michigan in 2008.... If you look at some of the states we have to win, the margins have been narrow. And it wasn't, in my view, meaningful, but I'm not going to say there's an absolute, total ignoring of the people in all these other states that won't come back to haunt us if we're not careful about it."

It's already haunting the party. Remember, it was just a few months ago that people were talking about how divided the Republicans were and how united the Democrats were. Now John McCain stands alone to prepare for the general election, and the Democrats are not only fighting for delegates, but also over who the delegates will be.

That might be enough to get Howard Dean, the DNC chair,  to scream again.

-- Scott Martelle