Friday, April 11, 2008

"Obama reinstates blocked delegates"

Sacramento Bee:
Sen. Barack Obama late Thursday reinstated hundreds of California Democrats to run as delegates in his name at the Denver national convention after blocking them earlier this week.
Obama's initial purge angered many Democratic activists around the state who volunteered on his behalf and planned to compete Sunday in local caucus meetings for 107 California delegate spots. They suggested that the removal of so many grassroots supporters ran counter to his reputation for reaching out to voters outside the political establishment. Many complained Thursday to his national headquarters in Illinois.

"There has been an extraordinary outpouring of grassroots support for Senator Obama among Democrats and Independents in all 53 California Congressional districts," wrote Obama campaign manager David Plouffe in an e-mail to delegate applicants.

"In recognition of this tremendous enthusiasm, our campaign has asked the California Democratic Party to allow all persons who have filed to be a district delegate candidate for Senator Obama at the Democratic National Convention to participate in the caucuses this Sunday, April 13, 2008."

Based on estimates from the state party, Obama's campaign blocked more than 800 out of 1,400 Democrats who applied. By comparison, Sen. Hillary Clinton scratched only about three dozen of 1,000 who applied to become her delegates at the convention.

Many of those booted from the Obama list learned of their fate only by checking a state party Web site, where lists of as many as 100 delegate contenders in a congressional district had been pared down to 20.

In California, all registered Democrats get to participate in caucus meetings Sunday in each congressional district to select delegates for Denver. These 241 pledged delegates are expected to carry out the wishes of California voters in the Feb. 5 primary, won by Clinton. State party leaders will choose another 129 pledged delegates in May, spots that are largely dominated by donors and political insiders.
Howie P.S.: On a different issue, Air America's Rachel Maddow riffs on "Clinton tactics" (audio).

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