We're well into Saturday afternoon here on the East Coast, but the meeting of the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee still has a long way to go.
The first half of the meeting consisted of presentations from interested parties and their representatives, followed by question-and-answer sessions. This half lasted much longer than it was intended to, and the scheduled lunch break was hours late. After lunch, the committee is scheduled to take up its debate. One member suggested that a final decision might not come until after midnight tonight.
Despite the amount of time this has now dragged on, it seems that half of the question the committee was charged with taking up has been answered and just about everyone now agrees that the decision about Florida's delegation has essentially been reached.
The DNC originally chose to strip the state of its entire delegation; a challenge to this decision made by DNC member Jon Ausman asks for half of the delegation's strength to be restored. There were two ways proposed to do this -- one was to halve the size of the delegation, the other was to reinstate the entire delegation and give each member a partial vote.
Hillary Clinton's campaign wants a full delegation with full votes. Barack Obama's campaign agreed to a full delegation with half votes; it seems that they'll get their way. Amie Parnes of the Politico reports:
In response to the Ausman proposal, a person close to the Clinton camp said "we agree this is the way it's likely to end."
"I don't know if we're satisfied but it looks like that's what's going to get passed. You take the best deal you can get."
If this is in fact the committee's decision, Clinton would seat a net of 38 pledged delegates and net 19 pledged delegate votes.
Ausman had argued that the superdelegates should each get a full vote, but Parnes says that after the morning session Ausman said, "the superdelegates are probably going to end up with half votes."
The sticking point will most likely be the Michigan delegation. The problem is that in Michigan, Obama's name was not on the ballot for the Democratic primary. Instead, most of the people who did not vote for Clinton voted for "uncommitted." The Clinton camp wants the full Michigan delegation seated, and argues that "uncommitted" votes should not be given to Obama. The Michigan Democratic Party's proposal is that the pledged delegates be allocated 69-59 in favor of Clinton; speaking on behalf of the Obama camp, former Rep. David Bonior, who was John Edwards' campaign manager in the 2008 race, advocated an equal split.