Nick Baumann

Nick Baumann

Senior Editor

Nick is based in our DC bureau, where he covers national politics and civil liberties issues. Nick has also written for The Economist, The Atlantic, The Washington Monthly, and Commonweal. Email tips and insights to nbaumann [at] motherjones [dot] com. You can also follow him on Facebook.

Get my RSS |

Rules Committee Votes Against Fully Seating Florida

| Sat May 31, 2008 7:09 PM EDT

The RBC returned after a three-hour lunch with a motion that Florida's delegates be seated in full with their full votes. The Clinton supporters on the committee apparently forced the vote. In support of her motion, committee member Alice Huffman emphasized that the Florida Democrats were not responsible for changing the date—that was the Republican-controlled legislature.

David McDonald, who opposed the motion, agreed with Huffman that it was not the fault of Florida voters that their primary didn't count. Yvonne Gates, who also opposed the motion, said "What we were trying to do was to respect the rules. It was not the voters fault. But when you have rules, they must be followed. And if they're not followed you have chaos."

Tina Flournoy, who is one of the two most avowed Clinton support, said she planned to "strongly support" the motion although it "has no chance" of passing.

Other committee members spoke in favor and against, but it was obvious that the motion was doomed from the start. It failed, 15-12.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Remember That "Smoke-Filled Room" Everyone Told You About?

| Sat May 31, 2008 6:19 PM EDT

That smoke-filled room you've heard so much about is apparently where the members of the Democrats' Rules and Bylaws Committee are as of 5:30pm on Saturday. They adjourned for lunch at 3:00 and have yet to return to the meeting room. Rumors of back-room deals are flying about. We could be waiting a lot longer, too: the committee members had "5 1/2 hours of cocktails, chicken dinners, and coffee" last night, according to James Pindell. Then again, they were up until 1:30. Maybe they're just catching some collective shut-eye.

Somehow I doubt it. I'll get you more news as soon as the meeting resumes.

Clinton Rep.: Uncommitted Delegates Could Switch "In August"

| Sat May 31, 2008 3:30 PM EDT

Whoa there, tiger. Former Michigan Gov. Jim Blanchard, who is representing the Clinton campaign at today's Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting, just drew the first boos from the Obama people in the audience. Blanchard, discussing the uncommitted delegates that the Clinton campaign wants assigned from the Michigan primary, said that while most would probably go for Obama, they could be "switching back and forth" "in August." A not-so-subtle signal of Clinton's plans to take this to the convention, perhaps?

That's not the only controversial statement Blanchard made. He also claimed that "no one in Michigan," including "the news media" "was saying the votes wouldn't count" in January. That seems unlikely.

More when the committee comes back from lunch later this afternoon.

Obama Campaign: Primary Contest Will Soon "Come to a Close"

| Sat May 31, 2008 2:45 PM EDT

The Obama campaign has exhibited excellent message control throughout the primary process. Saturday's Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting was no exception. The campaign's two official representatives at the meeting, Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) and David Bonior, a former member of Congress from Michigan, made sure to slip one telling claim into their testimony: that the primary contest will soon "come to a close." Even while they're arguing this issue out, the Obama people are still looking towards the general election.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) Calls Out Harold Ickes (D-Clinton)

| Sat May 31, 2008 2:32 PM EDT

Harold Ickes, a rules committee member and Hillary Clinton adviser, just spent 10 minutes badgering Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) in support of the Clinton campaign's Michigan position. The Clinton campaign says that it should get 73 delegates from the Michigan primary and the Obama campaign should get 0, with 55 going as uncommitted. Ickes said that the delegate allocation has to consider the principal of "fair reflection," with voters' preferences for "uncommitted" being accurately reflected. Since no one actually voted for "Barack Obama" on the ticket, that would mean Obama would get no delegates. But Sen. Levin told Ickes he had the concept of fair reflection all wrong. "You're calling for a 'fair reflection' of a flawed primary," Levin told Ickes, to massive applause. "What we're trying to do is to keep a party together so that we can win a critical state in November. And let me tell you the precedent that we set it seems to me is a good precedent if circumstances like this ever existed again. ... It's an unusual circumstance."

Mon Jul. 21, 2014 6:00 AM EDT
Mon Feb. 4, 2013 11:23 AM EST
Tue Nov. 6, 2012 9:47 PM EST
Fri Sep. 21, 2012 5:40 PM EDT
Sun Aug. 19, 2012 6:21 PM EDT
Mon Jul. 30, 2012 11:16 AM EDT
Mon Jul. 9, 2012 10:04 AM EDT
Thu Jun. 28, 2012 12:40 PM EDT
Wed Jun. 20, 2012 7:30 AM EDT
Mon Jun. 11, 2012 10:32 AM EDT
Mon Jun. 4, 2012 9:43 AM EDT
Wed May. 9, 2012 3:01 AM EDT
Tue Mar. 20, 2012 11:15 AM EDT
Fri Feb. 10, 2012 1:56 PM EST