Clinton: I'll take those delegates now, thanks

She says she'll push to have Florida and Michigan delegations seated at the convention.

Published January 25, 2008 5:26PM (EST)

When Michigan and Florida defied the Democratic National Committee by scheduling their primaries for dates before Feb. 5, the DNC Rules Committee responded by stripping both states of their delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

Most of the Democratic presidential candidates pulled their names off the ballot in Michigan, but Hillary Clinton didn't. And now that she has won in Michigan -- she beat "uncommitted" by 15 percentage points -- she says she's going to fight to have the delegates from both Michigan and Florida seated at the convention.

In a statement released by the campaign today, Clinton says she's going to ask her delegates at the convention "to support seating the delegations from Florida and Michigan" because the Democratic nominee -- whoever it is -- is going to need the support of Democrats from the two states to win the White House. "I know not all of my delegates will do so and I fully respect that decision," Clinton says. "But I hope to be president of all 50 states and U.S. territories, and that we have all 50 states represented and counted at the Democratic convention."

Clinton adds: "I hope my fellow potential nominees will join me in this." Then she reminds her competitors that they, like she, pledged not to campaign in Florida or Michigan, and that she will "expect" them to abide by that pledge.

Why pick this fight now? By raising the possibility that Tuesday's Florida primary will actually mean something in the delegate count, Clinton could be creating a softer sort of landing for herself in the event that she loses badly in South Carolina Saturday.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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