Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New York Times coverage: Democrats Weigh Putting Her (Sen. Clinton) Name in Nomination

The article mentions "Under party rules, Sen. Clinton's huge delegate count gives her the right to put her name into nomination."

However, something will be negotiated. An evening at the convention devoted to Clinton with the Obama campaign deciding the format, speakers, etc
Here is the full article:
Clinton's Convention Role Being Negotiated
Democrats Weigh Putting Her Name Into Nomination
By JUNE KRONHOLZJuly 8, 2008; Page A4

Hillary Clinton won a hefty 1,600 convention delegates in six months of primaries. A big question now is whether to let them vote at the Democratic convention.

High on the list of matters that Sen. Clinton and likely Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama are negotiating as her campaign closes down is whether and how her name is put into nomination at the August convention in Denver, said party activists in both camps.
A full roll-call vote that reminds everyone how close she came to being the nominee could reveal party rifts going into the fall campaign, they said. But keeping her name off the roll call could anger her supporters.
It is a "bone of contention" in the negotiations between the Clinton and Obama camps, said Democratic consultant Donna Brazile.
The Obama campaign said Monday that the Illinois senator would accept the nomination at the 76,000-seat stadium where the Denver Broncos football team plays so that thousands of nondelegates could attend. But the campaign hasn't settled other key questions about the convention, including whether Sen. Clinton's name will be put into nomination, said Obama spokesman Bill Burton.
Sen. Clinton's campaign office didn't answer emails seeking comment.
Under party rules, Sen. Clinton's huge delegate count gives her the right to put her name into nomination. "But do you do it?" asked Ms. Brazile. "Politically, does it heighten tensions?"
Neither party has had to face this problem in decades. Minor candidates typically get a few votes at the conventions. But no party has had a roll call with two candidates since the 1976 Republican convention, when then-President Gerald Ford beat Ronald Reagan by 57 votes.
Republicans have their own awkward convention problem: What to do about President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney? As the party's senior officeholders, they are entitled to a spot at the September meeting in St. Paul, Minn., but they are deeply unpopular with voters.
Sen. Obama could resolve the issue of Sen. Clinton's delegates by naming her as his running mate, in which case she would have her own roll call as the party's vice presidential candidate. Barring that, political observers said the Clinton and Obama camps may be mulling a handful of other options.
Sen. Clinton could decline to have her name put forward, and Sen. Obama then could be nominated by acclamation. Party rules require a roll call, but the party's rules committee could adopt any agreement the two campaigns reach, said political consultant Tad Devine, who helped script the roll-call votes for Walter Mondale in 1984 and Michael Dukakis in 1988.
Dropping the roll call would require a vote by the delegates, and would need choreographing to prevent any protests by disappointed Clinton delegates. But an unanimous nomination of Sen. Obama would send the message that he had unified the party, while allowing Sen. Clinton to ingratiate herself with his campaign.
The problem is "there's a strong feeling" that Sen. Clinton's delegates need the chance to vote for her, Mr. Devine said. Many are still angry with a party decision that they feel deprived her of delegates from Michigan and Florida. "You don't want a situation where anybody feels they've been cheated," he said.
A second option would be for Sen. Clinton to be nominated, complete with laudatory speeches and happy floor demonstrations. By prearrangement, Sen. Clinton then would take her name out of consideration and endorse Sen. Obama's nomination.
"There's nothing symbolically wrong to putting her name in," followed by a scripted withdrawal, said Ms. Brazile. But the spectacle of a rapturous welcome for Sen. Clinton would be irresistible to television and could embarrass Sen. Obama.
The two camps also could agree to hold a "friendly" roll call, with the states tossing verbal bouquets to Sen. Clinton before voting for Sen. Obama. But unless lots of delegates switch their votes to Sen. Obama, a roll call would remind voters that Sen. Clinton won the primaries in such swing states as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Mexico and Florida, which could determine the outcome of the November election.
An off-message delegation chairman or two could take a swipe at Sen. Obama when delivering a state's votes. Or the networks could decide not to cover a roll call, calculating that it would gobble up the evening's entire allotted hour of air time.
Sen. Obama would then be deprived of TV images of cheering delegates and a unified convention. "They need a roll call that looks good for Obama," said Mr. Devine. "That's what conventions are all about."
The worst scenario would be that Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama can't reach agreement and the convention splits its support. Political experts said that is unlikely, because it would hurt both.
Sen. Obama could avert that danger by offering to showcase Sen. Clinton with a prime-time speech, a biographical film, and appearances by her husband and daughter in place of a nomination. The two camps are still deciding when she will speak and how former President Bill Clinton will be worked into the schedule, activists in both campaigns said.
If Sen. Clinton speaks on Monday, she could set the tone for the convention but then would fade to the sidelines for the rest of the week, both sides agree. Tuesday is closer to the excitement surrounding Sen. Obama's expected nomination, but she might have to compete for TV time with the convention's keynoter.
Sen. Obama's campaign will have final say over how long Sen. Clinton speaks, what she says, who introduces her, how long her supporters can cheer and dozens of other details. Still, a showcase has its perils.
Democrats devoted an entire evening to the Rev. Jesse Jackson as part of a negotiated agreement in 1988 to keep him off the roll call, said Mr. Devine. The event upstaged the low-key Mr. Dukakis, who went on to lose the election to George H. W. Bush in a landslide.

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