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early and often

Florida Says No to Revote, Michigan Confused

Obama, Clinton, Michigan, and Florida

Florida and Michigan join the candidates in delegate purgatory.Photo Illustration: Everett Bogue; Photos: Getty Images

With the news yesterday that Florida is putting the kibosh on a Democratic-primary revote, the state has solidified its reputation as the place where votes go to die. A statement from Florida's Democratic chairwoman, Karen Thurman, read, "We researched every potential alternative process — from caucuses to county conventions to mail-in elections — but no plan could come anywhere close to being viable in Florida." Meanwhile, Michigan Democrats are also trying to make some kind of revote possible, but the logistics are complicated and the candidates themselves are dubious. Hillary Clinton would like to seat the delegates from the original vote even though Barack Obama wasn't even on the ballot. And Obama doesn't need the risk of losing Michigan while actually on the ballot or the few extra delegates he could gain from winning. Pundits — dissect!

• Mark Halperin writes that the Obama campaign, with time on its side, has "cleverly slow-walked" the issue of revotes in the two states. Clinton's only hope now is that the party's credential committee rules in her favor and decides to seat some or all of the delegates, though even the Clinton campaign finds it unlikely. [Time]

• John Nichols thinks that in a close race for the title of most destructive party leader, Thurman has pulled ahead of DNC chairman Howard Dean. Because she was unwilling to consider a straightforward primary revote, she's to blame if the failure to seat Florida's delegates tears the party apart. [Campaign Matters/Nation]

• Jonathan Martin reminds us of the fun Republicans will have pushing the "Bush v. Gore buttons." [Politico]

• Matt Littman reports that some Clinton fund-raising bigwigs are going to threaten to withhold potential donations to the DNC unless Dean seats Florida's delegates. Littman implores Dean, for the sake of the rules, to stay strong. [HuffPo]

• Mark Ambinder looks at a big hurdle in the legislation for a Michigan revote: It wouldn't allow those who voted in the Republican primary to vote. This is a problem because about 32 percent of Republican primary voters were Democrats and Independents, who Ambinder speculates were Obama supporters since he wasn't even on the original Democratic ballot. Since the Obama campaign has to sign off on any revote plan, Ambinder says, this clause could be dealbreaker. [Atlantic]

• Ben Smith finds yet another problem in Michigan: For the legislation to take effect immediately it would have to pass in the State Senate with a supermajority. This is unlikely because the Republicans, who don't want to spend money on a revote for Democrats, are in control of the Senate, while skeptical Obama supporters might not support a revote either. [Politico]

• Megan McArdle says the dual reports out of Michigan and Florida are a serious blow to Clinton, though as a silver lining, she thinks a compromise could be reached wherein the superdelegates from those states are seated at the convention. [Atlantic]

• Rick Hasen looks at the legal and practical obstacles to revotes in either Florida or Michigan. He concludes a 50-50 delegate split might be the best solution, while hoping for strong leadership from unbiased party leaders to make something happen. [HuffPo]

• John Dickerson wonders whether the Democrats were tricked by Karl Rove or the Devil into creating a primary process with so many chances for voters to feel slighted — Florida and Michigan being only one example. [Slate] —Dan Amira

For a complete guide to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.

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